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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Month One Recap

A new week means we’ve got a brand new Mailbag to help you get your Monday started and also to make sense of everything that’s going on with our beloved Edmonton Oilers! This week, analytics, the Oilers at even strength, the first month of the NHL season, and more. If you’ve got got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.

1) Ed asks – Yesterday, Tippet had some great lines about Corskis and Fenskis. Basically telling the crowd that anyone thinking the Oil are not doing “analytics” don’t have a clue. Are the Oil better at “analytics” than some have been giving them credit for?

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Robin Brownlee:

I have no idea about the actual scope of the Oilers’ use of analytics. I do like hearing that scout Brad Holland’s use of analytics likely played into his dad’s interest in acquiring Zach Hyman and Warren Foegele. The more you know the better.

Jason Gregor:

I know Dave Tippett has tracked his own for years. He watches and grades every offensive and defensive scoring chance and has them ranked A, B, and C, with A being the most dangerous. Many teams today pay SportLogiq for their data, so there are different ways to get information. I can’t say for certain how good they are at analytics, but I think the suggestions they don’t care about them are incorrect.

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Tyler Yaremchuk:

I mean, it’s hard to tell from the outside. I remember when Paul Maurice was on The DFO Rundown he talked about how the Jets basically track their own info and that he’s been doing things similar to “high-danger” chances for decades. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tippett is the same way. He might look at a lot of numbers and have a lot of numbers available to him that the public doesn’t have access to. Just because they don’t have a large department with a big “ANALYTICS” label on it, doesn’t mean they aren’t looking at a lot of information about the team.

Baggedmilk:

I honestly don’t understand the analytics argument that keeps happening around here. Using analytics is adding another tool into the toolbox for player evaluation. I’m not saying you should run the show using only spreadsheets, but to ignore them entirely is to willingly put yourself at a disadvantage. I hope the Oilers are using analytics as part of their process, if not, they’re falling behind. AGAIN ANALYTICS SHOULD BE A TOOL FOR EVALUATION NOT THE SOLE METHOD OF PLANNING.

Oct 16, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) celebrates after a first period goal against the Calgary Flames at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

2) Clay asks – What do the Oilers need to do to improve at 5v5? We know their power play is deadly but the team has to be able to win at even strength when the playoffs come around and the power play chances dry up.

Robin Brownlee:

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Depth scoring, which started hot but has cooled off a bit, is one of the keys. This bottom six group is better than the group last season and I expect we’ll see 5×5 results that show that. We’re not deep enough into the season with a forward group that is significantly different to worry or be elated about trends after so few games.

Jason Gregor:

Edmonton has improved to start this season at 5×5, and the biggest improvement will come from reducing goals against 5×5. They are currently tied for 20th in GA/game at 5×5 (2.00/game) and will need that number to drop as the season progresses.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Honestly, when I watch them, they certainly don’t look like a team that’s 26th in 5v5 SF%. I think they generally do a good job of keeping teams to the outside and limiting high-danger chances. The numbers would say that they’re being consistently outplayed at 5v5. Part of it might be that they’ve been winning a lot of games and when you play with the lead, you generally tend to give up more shots. They do need to be a little bit better though. Limiting mistakes while they’re breaking out of their own zone is the biggest thing that I can think of.

Baggedmilk:

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The Oilers need to make sure they keep getting depth scoring and that the guys that make things happen on the PP are also getting it done at even strength. More importantly, though, is having consistent depth scoring beyond Connor and Leon.

Oct 16, 2021; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Warren Foegele (37) and Calgary Flames forward Trevor Lewis (22) battle for a loose puck during the first period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

3) Tiff asks – Looking around the NHL, which team or player has been most impressive to you through the first month of the season?

Robin Brownlee:

Carolina and Calgary. Canes are 7-0-0 and plus-20 in GF.

Jason Gregor:

McDavid and Ovechkin offensively has been great. Freddie Anderson in goal for Carolina has been unreal with a .956sv%. He’s only allowed nine goals on the 205 shots he’s faced. He and the Canes, along with the Panthers have been very good. So too has Edmonton and Calgary.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

It’s gotta be Buffalo, right? I thought they’d be a dumpster fire but they’re been very impressive. I’m also very impressed with how bad Arizona has been. Shoutout to them for making me a lot of money early in the season. For individual players, I’ve been really surprised with the bounce backs by Kuznetsov and Tarasenko.

Baggedmilk:

I hate to say it but the Calgary Flames have been impressive lately, going 5-0 on their road trip with Jacob Markstrom standing on his head the whole time. I assume they’ll come back down to earth, but this run has be wild to watch.

4) Evan asks – If you were going to put toughness, skill, chemistry, coaching into a percentage out of 100 in terms of importance, how much would each objective get in your ideal team makeup. Example: Coaching getting 30% out of a 100%

Robin Brownlee:

Skill 70
Chemistry 10
Coaching 20

Jason Gregor:

Skill would be the highest by far. Skilled toughness is valuable in today’s game.

I’d say 80% skill, 10% coaching, 5% competitiveness (toughness) and 5% chemistry. And then you need some luck at key times.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

I answered this on Oilersnation Radio. 70% skill, 15% coaching, 10% chemistry, and 5% toughness. I’m sure Jay will love this answer!

Baggedmilk:

I’m going with 60% skill, 20% chemistry, 15% coaching, and 5% toughness.

Dec 6, 2019; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) and forward Leon Draisaitl (29) discuss a play during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

5) David asks – The best points season by two teammates in NHL history was in 85-86, when Gretzky and Coffey combined for 353 points. With a combined 17 points in the first 6 games, McDavid and Draisaitl after 6 games are on pace to score a combined 369 points (nice). What odds would you give them of beating this record?

Robin Brownlee:

Same odds as McDavid scoring 82 goals because he’s got seven goals through seven games. Infinity-to-1.

Jason Gregor:

I’d say zero. To break it McDavid would have to score 200 points and Draisaitl would need 154. I love offence and would love to see it, but there is a better chance people will stop complaining about the Bear trade than these two scoring 354 points.

Tyler Yaremchuk:

Very slim. That would require McDavid getting close to 200 points and while I understand that they’re on a crazy pace right now, I don’t think they’ll keep this up for all 82 games.

Baggedmilk:

I say they do it because I’m answering this question on Sunday afternoon and I’ve been drinking. Happy Halloween!

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