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Where Can the Oilers’ Offence Improve?

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Gregor
3 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.
October:
PlayerGPTOIGAPTSShotsSH%Pen DR
McDavid7156:1079163917.952
Draisaitl7162:37581320251
RNH7146:36010101400
Puljujarvi7122:102791513.333
Hyman7129:346171637.52
Kassian678:223255601
Foegele792:012241216.671
Ryan792:13101128.332
Yamamoto7105:220001005
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.
November:
PLAYERGPTOIGAPTSShotsSH%PEN DR
Draisaitl13297:1515122750308
McDavid13291:34713203917.959
RNH13272:132810336.064
Hyman13246:22358446.821
Puljujarvi13223:315273613.892
Yamamoto13209:5241516255
Foegele13169:090441200
Kassian10131:51134137.692
McLeod10105:49303933.331
Ryan10103:09000300
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.
December:
PLAYERGPTOIGAPTSShotsSH%PEN DR
McDavid11253:58511163813.168
Draisaitl11250:3347113411.763
Puljujarvi9155:373472910.340
Yamamoto11174:04336742.863
RNH10198:37156244.173
Hyman8158:342241414.292
Foegele11155:363032611.542
Kassian9116:34033800
McLeod890:46022701
Sceviour11127:552021612.53
Ryan11118:5510110100
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.
January:
PLAYERGPTOIGoalsAPTSShotsSH%PEN DR
Draisaitl10232:07:0073104316.283
McDavid9206:13:00347387.897
Hyman7124:48:002461711.761
Yamamoto10182:01:00145175.881
Foegele10149:43:000442402
Ryan995:42:001345200
RNH478:03:00134812.50
McLeod10122:36:002021513.330
Sceviour876:57:00022701
Shore10104:22:00022501
Kassian794:16:00112128.332
Puljujarvi10170:45:000222100
Kane236:49:00101616.670
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.
February:
PLAYERGPTOIGAPTSShotsSH%PEN DR
McDavid12252:45:0061016501210
Draisaitl12266:46:0058133116.135
Hyman12249:37:0064103218.757
Kane12229:16:004593312.122
Ryan12148:24:005381631.251
RNH11196:15:00347387.891
Foegele12139:28:00235267.692
McLeod12180:52:000551302
Puljujarvi794:31:002131612.51
Yamamoto11188:37:0021320102
Shore864:13:00011200
Kassian329:07:00000300
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.
March:
PLAYERGPTOIGAPTSShotsSH%PEN DR
McDavid15333:43:00916255915.258
Draisaitl15338:37:001310235523.644
Yamamoto15268:31:0086142729.634
Kane15305:37:00103135418.527
Hyman15302:51:003710496.125
McLeod15220:18:003362313.042
Shore13134:31:0032515202
Puljujarvi8116:00:000551801
Ryan13143:40:000441301
RNH475:15:00134119.090
Foegele15175:40:002131711.762
Kassian983:22:00022501
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.
April:
PLAYERGPTOIGAPTSShotsSH%PEN DR
McDavid13270:52716235213.466
Kane14264:3779165911.866
Draisaitl12240:0267134513.334
RNH14250:033692611.541
Hyman14267:315494112.22
Yamamoto14238:042681711.763
Ryan13155:132241315.382
McLeod14173:49123156.673
Foegele14152:3130325120
Kassian14150:04123128.334
Puljujarvi11172:162132582
Brassard11107:49011900
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…

PLAYERGPTOIGAPTSShotsSH%PEN DR
McDavid801327:4922365820710.6344
Draisaitl801284:4326285414817.5725
 Hyman761098:0119173616711.3817
Yamamoto811174:331415299115.3819
Kane43681:1012132511610.3413
Puljujarvi65928:19916251316.879
Foegele82954:39913221237.328
Ryan75710:331011216914.496
RNH63820:4261420886.826
McLeod71744:4979166910.148
Kassian58656:3431114535.6610
Shore49404:4846103013.332
Perlini23187:404152317.390
Turris23185:18134214.762
Sceviour35272:38224326.254
Brassard15145:162131612.50
Malone855:00112714.291
Benson29242:07112185.564
Marody15:52011100
Archibald859:55011303
Griffith15:37000000
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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