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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020-21 Edmonton Oilers in Seven part three: Depth, depth and more depth

Welcome to year two of the Oilers in Seven series. I kick-started this series last season to break down the Oilers in a smaller sample size. I chose seven games based on the size of a playoff series. 

The Numbers

Games 1-7: 3-4, .429 points %
Games 8-15: 4-3, .571 points %
Games 16-21: 6-1-0, .857 points %

Season record: 13-8-0, .619 points %.

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Games 1-7:
PP% – 11.5, 25th overall.
PK% – 75.0, 21st.

Games 8-15:
PP% – 37.0, second overall.
PK% – 73.1, 24th.

Games 16-21:
PP% — 30.4, 7th overall.
PK% — 85.0, 11th.

Season stats:
PP% – 26.3, 10th overall.
PK% – 77.3, 19th.

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Even Strength

STAT RATE G1-7 + LEAGUE RANK RATE G8-15 + LEAGUE RANK RATE G16-21+ LEAGUE RANK SEASON RANKS
CF% 46.63 — 26th 51.63 —11th 45.45 — 31st 47.83 — 27th
GF% 46.67 — 21st 50.00 — 16th 62.50 — 3rd 52.94 — 13th
xGF% 53.15 — 9th 52.60 — 13th 49.31 — 18th 51.73 — 12th
GF/60 2.52 — 15th 3.56 — 6th 3.46 — 2nd 3.18 — 4th
GA/60 2.88 — 24th 3.56 —25th 2.08 — 9th 2.83 26th
Team SH% 7.69 — 19th 12.12 — 6th 12.42 — 2nd 10.63 — 5th
Team SV% 91.44 — 14th 87.65 — 30th 93.88 — 4th 91.19 — 19th
PDO 99.1 — 19th 99.8 — 13th 106.3 — 2nd 101.8 — 9th

All Situations

STAT RATE G1-7 + LEAGUE RANK RATE G8-15 + LEAGUE RANK RATE G16-21+ LEAGUE RANK SEASON RANKS
CF% 48.00 — 21st 51.78 — 11th 45.87 — 28th 48.47 — 24th
GF% 45.24 — 22nd 52.63 — 13th 64.29 — 3rd 53.90 — 11th
xGF% 53.43 — 10th 52.26 — 12th 49.46 —18th 51.74 — 10th
GF/60 2.71 — 22nd 4.28 — 2nd 3.86 — 2nd 3.62 —1st
GA/60 3.29 — 22nd 3.85 — 29th 2.14 — 5th 3.09 — 22nd
Team SH% 8.23 — 23rd 14.35 — 3rd 13.04 — 2nd 11.75 — 3rd
Team SV% 90.34 — 15th 87.02 — 31st 93.67 — 3rd 90.48 — 18th
PDO 98.6 — 21st 101.4 — 10th 106.7 — 2nd 102.2 — 8th

Stats via Natural Stat Trick, glossary with definitions here.

Player Stats

Stats via Hockey Reference 

What it all means

The Oilers have been on an absolute tear here over the last few weeks, and it’s largely in part due to the depth on the roster stepping up. Sure, Connor McDavid has 11 points and Leon Draisaitl eight, but some other key players have stepped up to the plate.

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Jujhar Khaira has found his rhythm on a third line alongside Josh Archibald and Tyler Ennis, which has arguably been one of the Oilers best in this stretch. Khaira has scored five points, with Ennis and Archibald chipping in four and three points, respectively.

It’s helped the Oilers win some games when their big guns weren’t running and that’s been huge for Edmonton. Even a guy like Alex Chiasson has really started to find his way scoring three goals and six points in the last seven games. The Oilers have struggled to get production from their bottom-six over the years and it’s a huge reason why Edmonton sits atop the league in goal scoring this season.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention some huge production from the Oilers backend, too. Tyson Barrie has scored seven points and Darnell Nurse six over this recent tear — another thing the Oilers haven’t had in years.

In net, Mike Smith returned from injury and is playing some of the best hockey of his career at 38 years old. Not many players can say that. He’s played in five games posting a 4-0 record and a .928 save percentage with one shutout. Mikko Koskinen, too, is playing some really good hockey. He’s looking more rejuvenated after being ran into the ground early this season (even though he hasn’t said that’s the case), posting a 2-1 record in three games played with a .949 save percentage.

The Oilers have been on a PDO burner recently with on ice save percentage and on ice save percentage being well above average, but it’s what’s helped the team go 6-1 over the stretch. There’s lots to like, as I mentioned above, but this level of high-scoring with strong goaltending doesn’t usually last over the long term.

Despite that these little runs go a long way over the course of a full, 56-game season and will, at the end of the day, help the Oilers massively.

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Going into tonight’s games, the Oilers have the third best chance of making the playoffs in the North Division sitting at 78%, according to hockeyviz.com. Toronto leads the division with a 98 percent chance, while the Canadiens at 80 percent chance, Jets at a 77 percent chance, and Flames at a 56 percent chance are the only other teams in true contention for a playoff spot. Hockeyviz.com has the Canucks at an eight percent chance, and the Senators at a three percent chance, respectively.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]