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Edmonton Oilers player review and 2023-24 preview: Nick Bjugstad

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Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
6 months ago
Welcome to the 2022-23 season review and 2023-24 season preview player-by-player! In this, and other articles, we’ll be, well, reviewing the 2022-23 season of Edmonton Oilers players and previewing their 2023-24 season. You can read about the analytics behind my analysis here.
Sail on, Nick Bjugstad.
We’re continuing the player review and preview series by taking a look at a number of players who have moved on to other organizations but spent time with the Oilers last season.
Bjugstad joined the Oilers in a trade deadline deal alongside AHL defenceman Cam Dineen with the Arizona Coyotes getting back a 2023 3rd round pick and defenceman Michael Kesselring. He appeared in 19 regular season games for the Oilers scoring four goals and six points, and chipped in another three goals in 12 playoff games.
5×5NHL GPTOI + TOI/GPG – A – PCFCACF%SCFSCASCF%GFGAGF%xGFxGAxGF%PDO
Individual19215.002-4-617718149.449011244.5510662.59.859.5350.821.03
Per/6011.320.88-0.66-1.5349.450.5125.1231.262.791.672.752.66
Per/60, RelTm%-10.320.57-5.01-9.874.53-12.14-0.55-0.916.16-0.350.06-3.62
Bjugstad was an admiral, but unspectacular addition for the Oilers. With the team he helped keep the Oilers at a positive in terms of 5×5 scoring, but his underlying numbers suggest it wasn’t happening in an overly effective way. His shot attempt share and expected goal share hovered around the 50 percent mark, but we can see that both of those numbers were 5.01 and 3.62 percent, respectively, worse than the average player on the Oilers this year.
Admirable, yet unspectacular.
He did kill some penalties, but wasn’t overly effective at it, and Bjugstad got exposed in the playoffs when the Oilers — for some inexplicable reason — bumped him up to the second line alongside Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman. The trio spent 29 5×5 minutes together and got absolutely caved in on the ice controlling a putrid 22.22 percent of the shot attempt share, 21.45 percent of the expected goal share and 20.69 percent of the scoring chance share.
Bjugstad got matched up against Jack Eichel in the second round of the playoffs, and the latter took the former’s lunch money in what was a matchup I still believe cost the Oilers in the post-season. Nonetheless, the Oilers didn’t re-sign Bjugstad, who was an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and he ended up signing back with the Coyotes on a two-year, $2.1-million AAV deal.

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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