G74 Game Notes: Oilers can prove they measure up as Cup favourites in meeting against the Stars

Photo credit:Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
1 month ago
The Edmonton Oilers and the Dallas Stars are quite good, and tonight will be a great test for both clubs to see how they compare.
— Dallas leads the Western Conference with 47 wins and 103 points in 75 games. The Oilers have 45 wins and 95 points in 73 games. Dallas is third in the NHL in offence with 3.64 goals/game and 11th in GA/GP at 2.91. Edmonton is fourth in offence at 3.59 GF/GP and ninth defensively at 2.85 GA/GP. The Oilers have a +0.74 GF-GA differential while the Stars are +0.73. Not much separates them.
— In the 60 games since Kris Knoblauch took over the Oilers are a league-best 42-14-4. They are second in GF at 3.78 and fifth in GA at 2.62. The Stars have the fourth-best record at 36-16-8, are third in GF at 3.70/game and 15th in GA/game at 3.00. The Oilers need to respect the Stars, but they have no reason to be intimidated by them. Dallas is good, but so are the Oilers.
— The one area the Oilers need to respect is the Stars balanced scoring. No team is close when it comes to balanced scoring among its forward group. The Stars have eight forwards with 49 points.
Rookie Logan Stankoven is the other forward in their top nine and he has 12 points in 17 games (prorates to 52 in 73 games). They have three balanced scoring lines.
— No team comes close to the even contribution across three lines of Dallas. Here are how many forwards, with 49+ points, the other NHL teams have. **Players in ( ) were traded, but the player either had 49 points with them before being traded or is above it now.**
One: Columbus and San Jose
Two: Anaheim, Chicago, Seattle and Washington.
Three: Arizona, Carolina, Calgary, Colorado, Detroit, Montreal (Monahan), Nashville, New York Islanders, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Vancouver and Winnipeg.
Four: Boston, Buffalo (Mittlestadt), Edmonton, Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey (Toffoli), Pittsburgh (Guentzel), Toronto, Tampa Bay and Vegas.
Five: Los Angeles, New York Rangers and Ottawa (Tarasenko).
Eight: Dallas.
Only three teams have more than half of what Dallas has.
— Jason Robertsson leads the Stars with 76 points. He is 21st in league scoring. He is their only player in the top-55 of league scorers. Matt Larkin had an interesting article about the most common traits among the past 10 Stanley Cup Champions. Having a t0p-1o scorer was one of them. The Stars don’t have that, but the Oilers have two, and the Oilers have four players in the top-36 in points. Both teams produce offence, but the Oilers have a few more go-to guys. We will find out in the playoffs if having more depth across the board, or having more high-end scorers, is better.
— The one area the Stars struggled this year is in goal. Jake Oettinger hasn’t been able to find his rhythm until recently. In his first 40 starts he had a .900Sv% and 2.95 GAA. In 25 starts, Scott Wedgewood had a .901Sv% and 2.89 GAA. However, since March 15th, Oettinger seems to have found some consistency. He is 5-1 with a .915Sv% and 2.04 GAA. However, on the season he has struggled, despite playing in a pretty safe environment. The Stars allow the sixth-fewest high-dangers chances per game.
—  Skinner has been more consistent than Oettinger, even when you include his rough start. Skinner’s first eight starts were so bad, .861Sv% and 3.53, that they still make his overall numbers look average. Since Knoblauch took over Skinner is tied for third among goalies with a .914Sv% and ranks fifth in GAA at 2.45. Connor Hellebuyck (.920) and Joey D’Accord (.919) are the only goalies above .915 over that span. With more offence, people need to readjust their expectations for what is a competitive Sv% for goalies. Oettinger ranks 34th among the 36 goalies (with at least 28 starts) with a .892Sv% and he is 27th in GAA at 3.06.
— If Oettinger finds his game down the stretch and into the playoffs, the Stars could easily be considered the favourite. They sit in first place despite below average goaltending. But Oettinger has shown signs of life lately. He has won his last five starts while posting a .940Sv% and 1.40 GAA. He’s proven in the past he can be an elite goaltender.
— Leon Draisaitl is one goal shy of 40 goals on the season, and he is one point shy of 100. When he reaches those milestones, he is going to join some elite company.
He will be only the 20th player in NHL history with five 100-point seasons, and he will become the third active player alongside Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid.
He will become be the 37th player with five 40-goal seasons, and the third active player with Auston Matthews and Alex Ovechkin.
The fact Draisaitl is the only active player on both lists illustrates his uniqueness. He is just as dangerous as a passer as he is a shooter.
— No team has drafted better than the Stars from 2017-2021. Their first three picks in 2017 were Miro Heiskanen (3rd), Jake Oettinger (29th) and Jason Robertson (39th). They took Thomas Harley 18th overall in 2019 and Wyatt Johnston (23rd) and Logan Stankoven (47th) in 2021. All six are now regular contributors. Mavrik Bourque (30th in 2020) leads the AHL in scoring with 71 points and will be in Dallas next season. GM Jim Nill and director of amateur scouting, Joe McDonnell deserve a lot of credit. Nill will join me on Sports 1440 and Oilersnation YouTube today at 2:20 p.m. MT to discuss the Stars, and their scouting.


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