Are the Edmonton Oilers nasty?

Photo credit:Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 year ago
It’s time we start asking the question.
Last night after beating the Boston Bruins, I penned about how that win was a game the Edmonton Oilers could, and should, hang their hats on. Their top-six was quiet with Leon Draisaitl getting the lone point from that group.  It’s the rare — and I mean rare — game where that happens.
It was a night when almost everything started to click. The Oilers’ depth was tremendous getting goals from Evan Bouchard, Ryan McLeod and Darnell Nurse. For as big of blunders as he made on Boston’s two goals, Stuart Skinner shut the door down the stretch of the game.
But the Oilers’ strong play as we saw last night dates back quite a bit further. Since the calendar turned to 2023, the Oilers have been one of the best teams in the league. They’ve posted a 16-6-6 record over 28 games posting a .679 points percentage — the sixth-best rate in the league. At 5×5, they’ve been one of the best teams in the league, too.
Here are some underlying numbers and their ranks since Jan. 1, according to Natural Stat Trick:
  • 60.35 CF/60 (7th)
  • 50.27 CA/60 (3rd)
  • 54.56 CF% (3rd)
  • 3.32 GF/60 (2nd)
  • 2.65 GA/60 (18th)
  • 55.56 GF% (t-5th)
  • 3.19 xGF/60 (4th)
  • 2.36 xGA/60 (2nd)
  • 57.52 xGF% (2nd)
  • 32.43 SCF/60 (8th)
  • 25 SCA/60 (2nd)
  • 56.47 SCF% (2nd)
  • 9.82 team shooting percentage (5th)
  • .9071 team save percentage (22nd)
Now look — if we’re looking at solely the numbers here, the Oilers are verifiably nasty right now. They’ve turned a corner on their season in a big way and they’re doing so with some sub-par goaltending. As great as Stuart Skinner has been, the Oilers still have the 22nd-best team save percentage since Jan. 1. Yet still, the Oilers are posting some excellent expected goal share.
They’re scoring as they should with their GF/60 and xGF/60 rates close, but the difference in GA/60 and xGA/60 is significant. It shows that the Oilers are playing very good hockey and should be getting better results. This is translating into other area’s here, too. Since Jan. 1, the Oilers have been one of the best teams in the league in terms of limiting opposing teams shot attempts and their scoring chances, too.
For as much as the Oilers stars have been producing in 2023 — 52 points from Connor McDavid, 40 points from Leon Draisaitl, 33 from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 32 from Zach Hyman, all over a point per game — they’re getting depth contributions too. Ryan McLeod has eight goals and 13 points. Warren Foegele has seven goals and 12 points. Mattias Janmark has three goals and 11 points. Kailer Yamamoto has eight points in 16 games.
There are a lot of things clicking for this Oilers team right now, so much so that we’re sitting here debating if Klim Kostin or Devin Shore should be the 12th forward in the lineup. That’s a great problem to have at this time of year.
Now, let’s see if they can stick with this great play through the season, and hopefully into a deep run into the post-season.

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 zach@oilersnation.com.


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