Consistent Depth Scoring

Photo credit:© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Liam Horrobin
6 months ago
The Edmonton Oilers love to send us all on an emotional rollercoaster every night. The ride consists of multiple loop-de-loops and endless drops until you hit the flat part of the track that guides you into the station after 60 minutes.
Ryan McLeod scored early, but then after that, only the top line of Connor McDavid, Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were able to give consistent signs of life. Real scoring opportunities were few and far between and then next thing you know the Oilers are down 3-2 heading into the final frame.
Whatever was said during that final break jolted the squad.
A third period push got the Oilers over the line in New Jersey, giving them their first win in four games. While it was McDavid and Leon Draisaitl that started the onslaught, it was Ryan McLeod and Adam Erne adding the insurance, two unsuspecting candidates to do so.
Contributions from the bottom six haven’t come often enough in Edmonton this season. Until last night, only the Anaheim Ducks (1) had fewer contributors on their bottom two lines in December than the Oilers. Sam Gagner, Derek Ryan, Warren Foegele and McLeod had a goal each, but James Hamblin and Mattias Janmark haven’t chipped in this mid to late November.
Those goals in December come in all situations. The Vancouver Canucks and Seattle Kraken lead the charge with nine goals, while the Calgary Flames are a near second with eight. Even the San Jose Sharks saw more production, with Mike Hoffman showing he’s still got some touch from his previous near 30-goal seasons. For all your curiosities sakes, the Vegas Golden Knights have seven goals from their bottom six, and the LA Kings have five, which the Oilers passed last night.
The loss of Dylan Holloway hasn’t helped, as it looked like he was finding his feet before his injury. Furthermore, the lack of production from Connor Brown hasn’t helped either, adding extra stress to forwards lower in the lineup to elevate their games.
It’s OK that the Oilers rely upon their elite talent to score every night. We’d be kidding ourselves if we didn’t think every team in the NHL wasn’t asking the same if their best talents. The problem is the elite teams get consistent scoring production from lower in the lineup.
Over the coming weeks following the Christmas break, McLeod has to continue to step into a bigger offensive role. His defensive game has consistently been throughout, but having only four goals this season is not enough. Since the start of December, McLeod has only shot the puck more than once is a game twice. Anybody want to guess which games he scored in? If you’re thinking the two games he shot the puck more than once you’d be correct. McLeod has never been a highly offensive guy but he got to find more it in him more than twice a month.
Ken Holland needs to add more production to the bottom six via trade. However, the talent in that group hasn’t played well enough to help the Oilers win. All in all, if the Oilers want to win anything this year then more production from the lower end of the line has to come.

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