Thursday, December 11, 2014

Edmonton Oilers Postgame 29: Eakins Thinks it's Execution

This is an analogy for being an Oilers fan: we're in the chair, Eakins is the guy at the switch,
and the Oilers play is the lethal electricity coursing through our body.

22 SOG
34 SOG

Eakins has been absolutely hammering on the fact that the young Oilers squad has been losing games recently due to offensive execution. There might be some weight to that, as you can see in the table below which features forwards that were on last year and this year's team:

Player Shooting % Shooting % Diff from 2014 Shooting % Diff from Career
TAYLOR HALL 11 0.2 -0.5
JESSE JOENSUU 11.1 3.8 1.6
NAIL YAKUPOV 6.7 -2.3 -5.5
STEVEN PINIZZOTTO 11.1 11.1 11.1
JORDAN EBERLE 8.2 -5.8 -5.5
LUKE GAZDIC 0 -6.7 -5.4
MATT HENDRICKS 5.4 -0.7 -1.8
MARK ARCOBELLO 10.6 4.9 2.9
BOYD GORDON 11.8 1.8 4.8
DAVID PERRON 8.1 -4.6 -4.8
TYLER PITLICK 0 -11.1 -9.1
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS 10.6 -0.1 -0.1

Some key players are way below career #'s: Yakupov, Eberle, and Perron - all have played plenty of 5v5 minutes, and the only regular guys up are Arcobello and Gordon - neither of which are in the top 6 usually. I'd suggest that shooting percentages like we are seeing are contributing to Eakin's feeling like the Oilers are missing in executing the scoring play after generating it. While shooting percentage is no direct representation of "execution", it certainly is a proxy for the impression of whether a player is executing.

Applying the analysis to tonight's game, I'm not sure the Oilers really blew a ton of grade A chances, and I'm quite certain Anaheim did. Rene Bourque had a couple of Getzlaf-gifted tap-ins that he shanked worse than a pedophile in jail. In terms of territorial play, surprisingly the game was even enough by corsi (click on the Corsi EV in the Game Flow section). There were clear sections in the game where the Oilers carried play - first half of second and third periods - after being roundly stick-paddled in the first.

It speaks to a couple of things:
  • The Oilers refuse to play consistently in the opening portions of the game. It's feast or famine: we've seen them absolutely shut out opponents in the opening frame, and too often we've seen the enemy pump pucks up the backsides of our stay-puff net defenders. This game featured famine.
  • The Oilers continue to be resilient regardless of lousy first periods. As a testament to coaching or familiarity, the Oilers do tend to settle into a consistent brand of hockey that seems to give them the competitive chops to hang with most teams in the league.
  • We still have no idea what kind of goaltending will show up for a game. It doesn't matter if it's Fasth and Furious or the Professor, we are getting a huge range of performances from both of the goalers. In this one Fasth was rock solid, and what does that mean for the future? Who the fuck knows!
  • The Oilers continue to lose, and the offence is a big reason. They can still throw up the odd 5-6 goals against if a defenceman has an off night or career (wink, Nikitin). Thing is, we've seen them play strong defensively, but we've yet to really see them be strong offensively. They have to scratch and claw for every goal. For a team with a buttload, a bevy, a bountiful blessing of beastly first round forwards, it's just not making any sense. The Oilers have only won TWO GAMES BY MORE THAN 1 NON-EN GOAL!
Couple of players after the hop.
Oscar Klefbom is getting the 4th most average ice time among rookies right now - granted it's 9 games - but I think he's been handling it extremely well. For a 21 year old rookie defenceman to immediately step into the lineup and give 21 quality minutes is almost unheard of outside of elite defencemen. His Corsi For Relative 5v5 is +7.5%, which leads all regulars. Cautionary tale: we saw the same thing from Marincin last year, and he definitely struggled by that metric this year.

Viktor Fasth played a great game, making every stop he should and a couple he shouldn't have. His .941 save percentage in the game was a big reason the Oilers had a shot for a win right up to the last whistle.

Taylor Hall and Nugent-Hopkins finally came to life in the third period, shaking off the funk that had clouded their play over the last little stretch. Hall is on a 7 game goalless stretch, and for an elite winger in the game, you just know he's ready to bust out. Between the two of them they had 7 shots and a goal. RNH continues to be a big minutes, all-situations center, and he's been a major stabilizing element night in and night out. He still has a lot of untapped potential, and his added stretch, and quicker release should soon start propelling his point totals into the top 50 realm (79th currently).

Draisaitl, Yakupov, and Eberle lost most of the magic that had made them so dangerous on the previous night. They managed a measly 3 shots between them, and the level of quality in their play dropped and consequently so did their ice time.

The Power Play continues to suck. I like Fayne as a player, but he really has no business playing the point on the PP. The entries are terrible, and they can't seem to figure out how to get a net-front presence when the point shot is incoming. The 27th ranked PP is not doing the Oilers offence any favours.


It might be a the result you expect from the #1 team playing the 30th, but it certainly didn't look like they were teams from different leagues, which definitely has been the case in the past. If the Oilers could figure out why their offence is 29th in the league, maybe they'd actually have some success. (Calgary is 7th on the list, and it's been hiding a lot of problems they are having with puck possession).

Where's Corey Potter when you need him?!


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