Where Can the Oilers’ Offence Improve?
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Jason Gregor7 months ago
The Edmonton Oilers scored 285 goals last season, the most the organization has scored since 1992. They averaged 3.48 goals/game in 2022 which tied them with Tampa Bay for seventh best in the NHL and had them behind Florida, Toronto, St. Louis, Colorado, Minnesota and Calgary. The offence was a strength last season, and should be again in 2022/2023 with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl leading the charge.
The majority of a team’s goals come from the forwards, so today we will look at the Oilers’ forward production month-by-month.
Edmonton was seventh overall in goals, but they were sixth in goals by forwards at 246 and they were ninth in goals by forwards at 5×5.
The top-eight teams in goals were also top-eight in goals by forwards, but in 5×5 goals Carolina moved into seventh with 159, while Edmonton was tied with Pittsburgh and Boston for ninth with 152. Edmonton has room to improve their 5×5 goal scoring from their forwards this season.
McDavid and Draisaitl combined for 48 goals at 5×5, while playing on separate lines much of the time. Their 48 goals was tied for fourth among forward duos.
Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner tallied 60, Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk combined for 52 in Calgary, but both are on different teams this season, while Kirill Kaprisov and Ryan Hartman had 52 goals for Minnesota. Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers had 48 for Winnipeg as did Vladimir Tarasenko and Jordan Kyrou with St. Louis.
Tarasenko and Kyrou as well as Ehlers and Connor were on separate lines most of the time like McDavid and Draisaitl. Having Evander Kane with McDavid all season could give the Oilers more goals. Even two finishers would help. Toronto had Matthews (38), Marner (22) and Michael Bunting (21) on the same line — all had 20+ goals at 5×5, and they played much of the season together when all three were healthy.
Edmonton does have room to grow with their depth scoring. Here is a look at the forwards scoring by month last year. I used the players who were regulars in the lineup each month. As the season progressed we saw more play due to injuries.
Kailer Yamamoto had a rough month producing offence. His best contribution was drawing five penalties. Jesse Puljujarvi and Zack Kassian both had strong starts 5×5 as Puljujarvi had 2-5-7 and Kassian had 2-3-5 at 5×5 in seven and six games respectively. Zach Hyman had four power play goals and a very good start to his Oilers career. McDavid and Draisaitl combined to average over two points a game.
Draisaitl was dominant with 27 points including 13 at 5×5. Ryan McLeod had his best month of the season scoring three goals, all at 5×5. The forwards combined to score 27 goals at 5×5 over 13 games.
Injuries hit the forwards and defence and the Oilers’ 5×5 production suffered. The forwards only produced 17 goals at 5×5. McDavid and Yamamoto each had three, while Hyman and Colton Sceviour had two. The other seven forwards who scored a goal each had one.
Draisaitl scored six goals at 5×5 in 10 games and the rest of the forwards combined to score 13. A better month than December, production-wise at 5×5, as they were close to 2.00 goals/game at 5×5. Puljujarvi, Kassian and Warren Foegele each had zero goals 5×5, while Yamamoto and RNH had one each. Not great when five of your top-nine forwards combine for two 5×5 goals in a month.
Ryan had his best month of the season with 5-3-8 at 5×5. The forwards scored 23 goals at 5×5 and 35 overall in 12 games. Jay Woodcroft was hired on February 10th and coached nine of the 12 games in February.
The forwards scored 32 goals at 5×5 in 15 games and 52 overall. Kane, McDavid and Draisaitl combined for 32 goals and 17 of them came at 5×5. They were dominant.
Kane and McDavid each had 14 points at 5×5 and Kane had six goals at 5×5. Kane scored one goal at 5×5 in February, four in March and six in April. He and McDavid started to gain continuity and that could carry over into this season. RNH only had two points (1-1-2) at 5×5. He had 6-14-20 at 5×5 the entire season. He was 10th among Oilers forwards in 5×5 goals last year. Not good enough when 43% of his 5×5 TOI is with either McDavid or Draisaitl.
FULL SEASON at 5×5…
Currently, Edmonton has its top-10 scoring forwards from last year under contract. They should get off to a good start without having to incorporate many new faces into their top lines.
They’d like better finishing skills at 5×5 from RNH, Puljujarvi and Foegele at 5×5, but it would be difficult for Ryan to produce 10 goals on 69 shots again.
Edmonton has enough skill to score a few more goals 5×5. They should be able to average two goals/game (164). That is an increase of 12 goals. It isn’t a massive ask, and they don’t need a major increase as they were ninth in the NHL last year, but there is room to get a few more goals from the forward spots not occupied by McDavid and Draisaitl.
Offensive production from the forwards was a strength of the Oilers last year, and they should be able to score even more this season.
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