EARLY RETURNS: ZONE STARTS

BTN is back up this afternoon and the other resources are turning in some very valuable information. It’s early to read many things into this situation, but things like zone starts can give us some idea about what the coach is thinking in the first two games.

FORWARDS (OZONE START %)

  1. Matt Hendricks 7.1
  2. Jesse Joensuu 7.1
  3. Boyd Gordon 11.1
  4. Jordan Eberle 68.2
  5. Taylor Hall 71.4
  6. RNH 73.7
  7. Nail Yakupov 75
  8. Leon Draisaitl 75
  9. Benoit Pouliot 77.8
  10. Teddy Purcell 94.7
  11. David Perron 94.7
  12. Mark Arcobello 94.7

That’s remarkable. Dallas Eakins, in the first two games of the season, has perfectly deployed his forward group in terms of optimizing offense. The Oilers have some very impressive numbers pertaining to the forwards after two games, this is the most impressive. Outstanding deployment.

FORWARDS (CORSI ON)

  1. Boyd Gordon 27.93
  2. Teddy Purcell 19.55
  3. Nuge 17.67
  4. Jesse Joensuu 15.53
  5. Matt Hendricks 14.17
  6. Taylor Hall 11.91
  7. Benoit Pouliot 11.74
  8. Mark Arcobello 6.98
  9. David Perron 6.93
  10. Jordan Eberle 0.00
  11. Nail Yakupov -3.12
  12. Leon Draisaitl -5.81

Boyd Gordon’s line is ridiculous. These are insane numbers considering the zone starts and cannot last. Still, what an incredible set. Nuge—Hall look good from here, but Eberle looks hurt and WHO is he playing with when not on the ice with the other two guys? Pouliot is running ahead of the kids, that’s from the times he’s working with others no doubt (duh).

I think the Oilers might have to shake up that 1line, and is Jordan Eberle okay?

DEFENSEMEN (OZONE START %)

  1. Jeff Petry 44.0
  2. Andrew Ference 44.0
  3. Justin Schultz 66.7
  4. Brad Hunt 66.7
  5. Nikita Nikitin 72.0
  6. Mark Fayne 78.3

Dallas Eakins knows his people, and I’m thinking he probably wanted to protect Nikitin as he’s dealing with ankle problems. That’s my guess here, although I wonder if they’ve thought of the Petry—Fayne pairing we talked about late summer/early fall. Giving those two drastic zone starts might allow Hunt—Schultz to remain where they are and Nikitin—Ference would get the easier time.

Thoughts?

CORSI ON DEFENSE

  1. Nikita Nikitin 19.71
  2. Jeff Petry 18.76
  3. Mark Fayne 9.68
  4. Justin Schultz 5.30
  5. Brad Hunt 3.85
  6. Andrew Ference 3.65

Wow Petry. Impressive. After that, Ference doesn’t look terrible by this measure, he’s getting 44 ZS and his CorsiOn is still in the black. Nikitin’s number is impressive, and it should be—he’s a veteran. I’m even more convinced this is ankle now, he’s not able to recover is my guess and that would explain the poor photo’s he is taking. Finally, here’s even more evidence Fayne is being used wonkily (is that a word), suspect Eakins is keeping him with Nikitin and when healthy those two will get the tougher minutes.

This is all BTN, and you can contribute to Gabriel Desjardins’ favorite cause then we’re all ahead by miles.

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35 Responses to "EARLY RETURNS: ZONE STARTS"

  1. zatch says:

    I think this team walks the edge of a knife. For the first time, I truly see daylight. The forwards actually look competent. On paper and in practice, they’ve seemed passable, with more help on the farm incoming for the bottom 6 (where it’s needed more). The defence is a shambles, but even then, I see a spark of hope there. There seem to be major system issues and there are some weak points that may not be easily solved (Ference, Nikitin potentially). There are a few things that can be done short term (Call up MM, send down Hunt, systems) with some young studs developing.

    At the point, I think the team is a 2C, a legit top pairing D, a #3 D away from achieving LT’s balance. This could come in a year or so via development of prospects, it could come sooner via trades, or it could never come and we see a true crash-and-burn where Hall and co. want out. I think the clock is starting to tick on Hall for the first time. New prospects won’t be enough. Experienced hands are needed, and soon. If all goes well, this team could be something scary. If it doesn’t, it could be a long decade.

  2. Halfwise says:

    How the hell does Boyd Gordon manage that result with those ZS? If Nuge is a powerplay witch then Gordon must be a dzone warlock.

    Does managing the zone starts take a toll on Yak’s ice time? It has to. I bet he gets more ice time when Drai sits out for a game.

  3. G Money says:

    zatch: The forwards actually look competent.

    This is the single greatest improvement from last year. In all three zones, the forwards seem to know what they hell they’re doing. It is, as LT sez, Music!

    The defense is a cluster fuck of a tire fire. Cacophony!

    But a lot of that is personnel and some of it is deployment.

    As wise as Eakins’ forward deployment has been, his D personnel selection and usage is baffling. Until we actually see: Petry-Marincin (all situations), Nikitin-Fayne (heavy dzone with Nikitin on PP2), and Ference (or preferably Klefbom but not going to happen)-Jultz with as sheltered EV time as possible but load Jultz up on the PP1… until we see how that group looks, not exactly going to hit the Panik button.

    Maybe the F**K YOU button. Maybe the Staples Opposite button – instead of the Easy Button, we get the Unnecessarily Hard Button.

    Forward-wise, we’ve gained a Yak and lost an Eberle. Not sure what is up with Ebs. Injury is the working theory, but he’s been invisible throughout pre-season too. If the guy is actually injured, SIT THE M****F***** DOWN until he’s better. All he’s doing right now is giving Hall and Nuge an anchor.

  4. Woodguy says:

    Holy Gordon!!!!!

    Unicorns!!!

    There is no question that the 4th line’s yeoman’s work of driving possession from the Black Hole of ZS is the most pleasant surprise so far.

    Those guys are freaking killing it.

    That makes everyone else’s job soooooo much easier.

    We’ve only whined since 2007 about having actual NHL players on the 4th.

    I’m just thrilled the Oilers are doing it. Finally.

    Now that they see the results, there’s no going back.

    Yay!

  5. Woodguy says:

    Of course the sample size is small and most of this is them beating the piss out of CAL in every way except scoring, but i’m enjoying it while I can.

    Run corgis run!!

  6. G Money says:

    Toronto up 3-1 on the blue shirts on a chase-behind mistake by McDonagh that looked an awful lot like the first two Calgary goals.

  7. Adam Wu says:

    Hopefully they don’t wreck the fourth line by putting Gadzic back on it!

  8. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Woodguy:
    Holy Gordon!!!!!

    Unicorns!!!

    There is no question that the 4th line’s yeoman’s work of driving possession from the Black Hole of ZS is the most pleasant surprise so far.

    Those guys are freaking killing it.

    That makes everyone else’s job soooooo much easier.

    We’ve only whined since 2007 about having actual NHL players on the 4th.

    I’m just thrilled the Oilers are doing it. Finally.

    Now that they see the results, there’s no going back.

    Yay!

    just wait til Gazzy is back. That line’ll be back to ~40% in no time under his supervision

  9. Kmart99 says:

    LadiesloveSmid: just wait til Gazzy is back. That line’ll be back to ~40% in no time under his supervision

    Noooooooo

  10. Adam Wu says:

    Well color me astounded. The forwards are being deployed optimally and there is method behind the apparent madness of the defence deployment too.

    And here I thought that the coach was a useless, worthless, idiot bum….

  11. Lowetide says:

    Adam Wu:
    Well color me astounded. The forwards are being deployed optimally and there is method behind the apparent madness of the defence deployment too.

    And here I thought that the coach was a useless, worthless, idiot bum….

    The problem (as I see it) is his veteran defensemen (Nikitin and Fayne) look good by the numbers but execution in specific defensive moments has been poor. Plus Ference blew a tube.

  12. Dicky94 says:

    Do you think the oilers would ever consider the idea of playing Shultz as a winger. Not sure he could handle the grind of being a forward or would even be effective at that position. Plus I think it’s mandatory for anyone with the last name Shultz to play d in the NHL.

  13. "Frank The Dog" says:

    With MM, Klef and Nurse in the wings I’m surprised that they don’t sit Nikitin and Ference to help whatever is ailing them.
    If Ebs had his bell rung or they know what is ailing him, as they should, they should sit him too. I would hesitate to try again what has failed, putting Yak with Hall and Nuge, rather keep Yak building chemistry with Drai, and building extra minutes with Arco,

    I just wish we could keep Petry but something as big as forcing MM to play right tells me its all over but the shouting.

  14. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Why were Hunt and Schultz on the ice together?
    More specifically why were they on the ice together killing a penalty?
    Perhaps Eberle and James Norris could fetch an actual top pairing right shot Dman.

  15. Ben says:

    Watching an effective 4th line for the first time in half a decade — I can’t help but feel a bit sick at the thought of Gazdic coming back to it.

  16. Bruce McCurdy says:

    In that crazy first game there were 31 faceoffs in Flames’ territory, just 9 in Oilers’. That’s gonna skew the zone start %s for awhile.

    As i said that night, i have no idea how rare that is exactly, but i’m confident it’s rare.

  17. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide: The problem (as I see it) is his veteran defensemen (Nikitin and Fayne) look good by the numbers but execution in specific defensive moments has been poor. Plus Ference blew a tube.

    “The Internet is a series of tubes”

    -Al Gore

  18. Bos8 says:

    IT’s two flippin games, repeat, two games. Microanalysis of a miniscule sample size. Normally it’s ten games to start getting some valid results.

    The Oilers turned over almost fifty percent of the roster. Guys are still introducing themselves on the D.The D decisions are boggling but its the same people that tuned up the forwards.

    That fourth line is a total joy. Lord willing JJ’s back holds out. He’s a total wrecktem out there.

  19. book¡je says:

    Woodguy: “The Internet is a series of tubes”

    -Al Gore

    Ted Stevens

  20. Woodguy says:

    Had a look at what NYI was doing.

    We’ve coveted one of their C’s for a while.

    Here is there deployment:

    Okposo-Tavares-Conacher
    Grabvoski-Nelson-Strome
    Bailey-Nielsen-Kulemin
    Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck

    3 good centers on the 2nd line!!!!

    I wonder if the Oilers C is coming from NYI. Man they have some good ones.

    Nelson is killing it early leading NYI in scoring (2gp 3g-3a-6pts) and in corgi (raw +29, Rel +23.8)

  21. Woodguy says:

    book¡je: Ted Stevens

    Ted Nugent

  22. Kmart99 says:

    CorsiON of 27?!? Loloolololololz
    That isn’t even human. But based on the CGY game, someone had to be posting otherworldly possession nbrs that night.

    Just two games. Based on Gordon’s usage, I’m sure he’ll find himself in the red soon enough.

  23. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Warlock Gordon has a Corsi on of 27.93
    Brock Nelson is on pace for 246 points.
    How do you spell sample size?

  24. theres oil in virginia says:

    book¡je: Ted Stevens

    That guy is so stupid. Everybody knows that the internet is a series of intertubes. That’s why they call it the internet. Republicans, sheesh.

    EDIT: Not sure if you guys call the tube inside of a bicycle tire the “inner tube”, but if you don’t then this post will seem extra-lame instead of normal-lame.

  25. flyfish1168 says:

    Jonas Brodin a third-year defenceman to a six-year contract, $25 million contract extension on Sunday.
    i know some may point the point totals out and the are slightly different style of players but at he end of all this he is better a quiet a few disciplines than Justin. Justin’s only strength over Jonas is on the PP. JMHO

  26. Lowetide says:

    theres oil in virginia: That guy is so stupid.Everybody knows that the internet is a series of intertubes.That’s why they call it the internet.Republicans, sheesh.

    EDIT:Not sure if you guys call the tube inside of a bicycle tire the “inner tube”, but if you don’t then this post will seem extra-lame instead of normal-lame.

    Yep inner tubes. My Dad had a truck that used tubes in the tires, I think it was his flathead Ford but could be wrong. We also had a yellow truck, might have been that one.

    Anyway Chase has 2 assists tonight.

  27. book¡je says:

    Woodguy: Ted Nugent

    Damn, you win, Ted Nugent covers Ted Stevens.

  28. jjerms12 says:

    Woodguy

    You’re right on both counts. Sample sizd is small, but the fancystats are looking great! I was checking out the team stats today for a piece I wrote, and the Oilers are at 77% Offensive zone starts at 5v5 close! That’s first in the league by 10%! They’re also 4th in fenwick close and well over 60%. Itsr early, but if they can sort out the defense…

  29. Sevenseven says:

    Hunt goes out for Marincin

    Gazdic gets on the fourth line

    1 step forward, 2 steps back

  30. TheOtherJohn says:

    Have a dim recollection that the possession numbers were good this time last year as well. I assume somebody has compared last years #’s against this year. May want to wait till Tuesday. Expect # may be a wee bit lower.

    What happens if either of Nuge or Gordon miss 25 games?

    Or is that how MacT will get us into the lottery for McDavid or Eichel. Whereupon somebody here will say that was his plan all along

  31. nycoil says:

    Woodguy:
    Had a look at what NYI was doing.

    We’ve coveted one of their C’s for a while.

    Here is there deployment:

    Okposo-Tavares-Conacher
    Grabvoski-Nelson-Strome
    Bailey-Nielsen-Kulemin
    Martin-Cizikas-Clutterbuck

    3 good centers on the 2nd line!!!!

    I wonder if the Oilers C is coming from NYI.Man they have some good ones.

    Nelson is killing it early leading NYI in scoring (2gp 3g-3a-6pts) and in corgi (raw +29, Rel +23.8)

    I’m always happy to toot my horn for also being vocal about the Islanders in a positive light all summer (and for drafting Nelson) in my hockey pool as I know you did, BUT

    Carolina with their injuries may be a worse team than Calgary. The Isles’ Corgis are going to look amazing after two games with them.
    Canes are firmly in the McDavid quadrant.

    Not hearing any rumblings of the Isles wanting to mess with a good thing. Talked about it in the summer, but they keep drafting centers and breaking them in on the wing. It’s starting to come together. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    Isles are stacked. They may soon regret having too much depth with Grabo and Kulemin once Anders Lee and Michael Dal Colle are ready, too.

    Young D they’ve got Pulock, de Haan, Hamonic, Reinhart all clicking or on the cusp.

    You could probably pry a nice C from them if you had a great young goalie prospect. But sadly the Oilers don’t have one. I’d say best we could hope for is Bailey’s expensive contract to shake loose due to the emergence of Lee.

  32. Hammers says:

    I’m surprised anyone is using these numbers after 2 games . Save this and look after 20 and see where we are . P.S. Look at the top 10 scoring leaders , Crosbt then 9 that were not there last year . Give me a break .

  33. commonfan14 says:

    nycoil: The Isles’ Corgis are going to look amazing after two games with them.

    A smart team would be calling the Sabres right about now.

    The value of that NYI pick is at an all-time low, but the Isles are still the Isles. It’s been hard to go broke betting against them the last 20 years.

  34. Ryan says:

    Klima’s_Bucket:
    Warlock Gordon has a Corsi on of 27.93
    Brock Nelson is on pace for 246 points.
    How do you spell sample size?

    If you want to get technical here, that’s not a very good analogy. The sample size for Corsi data is much larger than scoring data. That’s kinda the whole point of using Corsi data in the first place.

  35. Lowetide says:

    Hammers:
    I’m surprised anyone is using these numbers after 2 games . Save this and look after 20 and see where we are . P.S. Look at the top 10 scoring leaders , Crosbt then 9 that were not there last year . Give me a break .

    Zone starts are very revealing in terms of what the coach is attempting to do. Dallas Eakins is manic in his ZS this fall, giving the team their best chance. That’s a big damn deal.

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