Oilers First Half: A Look At Individuals
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
By Jason Gregor1 year ago
Yesterday we looked at the team results of the Oilers through the first half of the season, and today we will look at the forwards, defensemen and goalies.
While the team, as a whole, had a great first quarter and subpar second quarter, that wasn’t the case for individual players.
Some players struggled in the first quarter, but improved in the second, while some key players had great first quarters, but saw a dip in the second quarter.
Here is an overview for the forwards in points, shots, penalties taken and drawn, giveaway, takeaways, hits and blocked shots.
Draisaitl and McDavid were ripping it up offensively at almost two points/game. RNH, Hyman and Puljujarvi had very good point totals, while Kassian and Foegele were chipping in nicely. Yamamoto had five goals, which is good, but only one assist. He did draw 10 penalties. Colton Sceviour was the only forward who averaged one block shot/game. The forwards weren’t in the shooting lanes very often.
Much of the offence game from five forwards.
McDavid and Draisaitl saw their point production drop in half. I didn’t expect them to hover around two points/game all season, but dropping to one point/game is low for them. McLeod and Foegele’s overall production was virtually identical as the first quarter. Hyman and Puljujarvi’s goal production took a big dip. Kassian’s production dropped a bit as well. However, Perlini exploded with four goals in nine games. He went from 0.5 shots/game up to 1.77. He shot more and scored more. Ryan and Sceviour combined for five goals after having zero in the first quarter. Kane played three games in the second quarter and had 2-1-3. He will add a lot to the team.
In the first quarter McDavid drew 12 penalties and the other forwards drew 44. However, in the second quarter McDavid continued to draw penalties (14), but the rest of the team only drew 29. Players not named McDavid need to do more to draw calls.
The overall goal scoring production from the first quarter to second quarter plummeted. The forwards scored 72 goals on 453 shots (15.8SH%) in the first quarter, but only 49 goals on 473 shots (10.3SH%) in the second quarter. For reference sake, last season the Oilers forwards had a combined 13.2SH%.
A big reason for the dip was due to lack of power play success. I outlined that in a previous article. Mainly Draisaitl and McDavid didn’t shoot nearly as much and the PP production dipped.
The addition of Kane will help the Oilers on deflected goals and goals in the paint. Despite the brutal second quarter production from the forwards the Oilers are still ninth in goals per game (3.31) and they are fourth in expected goals and fifth in quality chances according to Sportlogiq. Offence shouldn’t be a concern moving forward, but the forwards did struggle to produce the past 21 games.
Here is the same overview of points, shots, penalties taken and drawn, giveaway, takeaways, hits and blocked shots for the D-men.
Bouchard, Barrie and Nurse all had excellent production. The Oilers had five D-men on pace to score 20+ points. They had two last year, so it was a good start offensively. The blueliners were quite disciplined as well taking only 20 minor penalties.
Bouchard’s overall offence was very similar, but his goals were up. He was very consistent with his shots, penalties drawn, giveaways, takeaways hits and blocked shots. The major difference was he took nine minor penalties after only taking one in the first quarter. It would be interesting to look at all the infractions to see why the massive increase.
Duncan Keith was very good in the second quarter. He has the highest completed pass percentage among blueliners and had many excellent outlet passes that led to goals off the rush. Tyson Barrie saw a major dip in his production. He didn’t score a goal and only had four assists. He missed six games, but overall he didn’t have the same impact offensively as he had last year or in the first quarter. History suggests he should bounce back.
Niemelainen only played in six games but was third among blueliners with 31 hits. He brings a very unique physical dimension, and if he can improve his puck skills he could be a very solid third pair defender who kills penalties. The Oilers’ blueline needs more size, but they also need to increase their competitiveness in 50/50 battles along the wall and in front of the net.
Nov 12, 2021; Buffalo, New York, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (29) and center Connor McDavid (97) talk during a stoppage in play in the third period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Most of the game is played 5×5, so here’s a look at points and possession numbers for the forwards.
It is goals, assists, points, shots, and then percentages for Corsi For, Fenwick For, Shots For, Goals For, Expected Goals For, Scoring Chances For, High Danger Chances For, High Danger Goals For, PDO (on ice SH% and on ice Sv% combined) and then Offensive, Neutral and Defensive zone starts.
The Oilers were eighth in 5×5 goals/game in the first quarter. Offence wasn’t an issue. The problem was the bottom six lines got severely outscored. The GF% for Perline (0),Ryan (18.8), Benson and Sceviour (20) Turris (22.2), Shore (33.3) and Foegele (39.1) wasn’t good. They didn’t produce much and allowed far too many goals.
The second quarter was much different for most forwards.
Ryan, Perlini, Scevoiur and Shore had much better possession numbers, and Ryan, Shore and Sceviour did that with more defensive zone starts.
Many of the Oilers’ top-six forwards, specifically Draisaitl’s line got crushed in GF%, and HDGF%. RNH had a PDO heater (for the second consecutive quarter) which led to his high GF%, despite being 37.5%-46.9% in all the other categories.
The offensive production, actual goals and points, from the top-six dropped from 31 goals in the first quarter to 21 in the second. Hyman’s shoulder injury could have been a factor as he wasn’t the same for many games when he returned, but the Oilers’ top-six players need to be more productive when play resumes next Tuesday.
Ceci had twice as many D-zone starts to O-zone starts and that likely reflected his possession numbers. Barrie, despite producing offence, didn’t have vey good possession numbers. Nurse had a very strong first quarter.
Keith had a much better second quarter. He produced more points and had much better possession numbers. The gap in Ceci’s D-zone to Oz-one starts shrunk significantly. Nurse and Bouchard had solid possession numbers, but were on for more goals against. I think some of that was due to goaltending based on high danger chances. Bouchard did look like a rookie at times, which is expected. It is a tough learning curve. Bouchard will learn that sometimes the safe play up the boards is the better decision even if there is someone open in the middle. Miss that pass, like he did against Washington, and it can cost you. However, Bouchard has been very solid this year overall. Just like Nurse, Klefbom, Petry and many other young D-men, there will be some tough lessons at times. These experiences will only make him better, and when he adds some more muscle and strength to his frame I think he could be dominant.
It would be nice if Barrie could find more consistency in his game, or if Ken Holland goes looking for a RD with more experience to handle top pair minutes. Until that happens I could see Bouchard and Barrie switching pairs for a few games. Mainly so Bouchard doesn’t get worn down or overwhelmed. This is not a critique of Bouchard. Not at all. I like his potential and his skill, but like many rookies he shouldn’t be asked to play top pair minutes. Barrie needs to play better or Holland will need to go find a RD who can handle top pair.
The top-five D-men missed nine games in the first quarter and 17 in the second. A few games the Oilers were without Nurse, Ceci and Keith. All teams have injuries (or COVID), but it is rare to have three of the top-four D-men out at the same time. Having to play young Broberg and Dmitri Samorukov for a game showed the difference experience can have.
Jan 1, 2022; Elmont, New York, USA; Edmonton Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen (19) during the second period against the New York Islanders at UBS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
The Oilers need more consistent goaltending. I don’t expect their goalies to be elite, but they can be more consistent. Koskinen does not play well if he plays too much. This has been proven over four years. If Mike Smith can stay healthy the Oilers’ goaltending will be better because Koskinen won’t have to play as much, which helps him, and Smith should be able to post respectable numbers. I wouldn’t expect him to post a .923Sv% the rest of the season like he did from February 8th to the end of the season in 2021.
Smith’s injury in game three definitely put a wrench in the Oilers’ plans.
This table tracks the following: Shots against, Saves, Goals against, Save percentage, Goals against average, Expected goals against, High Danger shots against, High Danger saves, High Danger Sv%, High Danger Goals against average, Rush Attempts against, Rebound attempts against, Average shot distance, average goal distance
|Game 1-21 5×5||GP||TOI||SA||SVs||GA||SV%||GAA||XGA||HD SA||HD SVs||HDSV%||HDGAA||RAA||REBA||Avg. SD||Avg. GD|
Skinner was the closest to goals against and expected goals against in his six appearances. He had the best overall Sv%, and got beat on more high danger goals.
|Game 22-42 5×5||GP||TOI||SA||SVs||GA||SV%||GAA||XGA||HD SA||HD SVs||HDSV%||HDGAA||RAA||REBA||Avg. SD||Avg. GD|
The Oilers did a much better job of limiting High Danger shots against. They allowed 156 in the first quarter and 134 in the second quarter. Koskinen and Smith’s HDSV% was worse however. Where Edmonton struggled defensively was allowing chances off the rush in the second quarter. They gave up 25 in the first quarter, but the goalies faced 38 in the second. Edmonton’s neutral zone puck possession needs to improve.
|Game 1-21 PK||GP||TOI||SA||SVs||GA||SV%||GAA||XGA||HD SA||HD SVs||HDSV%||HDGAA||RAA||REBA||Avg. SD||Avg. GD|
The goaltending was solid on the PK early on. They only allowed eight goals on 112 shots.
|Game 22-42 PK||GP||TOI||SA||SVs||GA||SV%||GAA||XGA||HD SA||HD SVs||HDSV%||HDGAA||RAA||REBA||Avg. SD||Avg. GD|
The Sv% of all three goalie plummeted. Koskinen went from a .938% down to .723%. The goalies faced 26 high dangers shots in the first quarter and stopped 23 of them, but in the second quarter they faced 23 high danger shots, but only made 10 saves. Koskinen’s HDSV% dropped from .875% to .368%. Edmonton did allow more shots from close. His average goal distance was 20.25 in the first quarter, but 9.62 in the second.
The defenders didn’t help him around the crease, as he faced the 10th most HDSA/60 in that quarter among the 56 goalies who played at least 25 minutes on the PK. However he did have the second worst HDSV% and the worst HDGAA.
Good goaltending is a must on the PK, and the Oilers need better goaltending on the PK in the second half. The first quarter was solid, but the second quarter was abysmal.
The Oilers don’t need Smith to be as great as he was last season, he just needs to be solid and post a Sv% around .915. If he does that and plays over half the games, then Koskinen has a better chance of being successful as well. If neither find consistency right away then Ken Holland has to look outside the organization or give Skinner a larger opportunity.
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