It looks to me like these Oiler kids are in a period of transition. Last year and earlier this one, it was a lot about protection and offensive success. As we roll along late into year 2 for Hall and Eberle, we ask the question made famous by George Bush: is our children learning?
This old joke from our friend Sean helps us frame the issue: there is an expectation about where the joke is going and it is followed by the unexpected and yet delightful (hopefully) punchline. The expectation for the young Oilers was a season on the soft parade, scoring goals against the other team’s less talented and more fragile groups. However, as the season wears on the math from behind the net is sending us some interesting data.
QUAL COMP 11-12
As we might expect, Horc-Smyth-Hemsky are handling the tougher minutes, but the kids are second and it looks like Hall is closing on Smyth in terms of qual comp. How does this compare to the way things swayed one year ago?
QUAL COMP 10-11
A year ago, Hall and Eberle were the top wingers in qual comp, suggesting the Oilers are better able to handle matchups with Ryan Smyth back and Ales Hemsky healthy. Does that make sense?
ZONE START 11-12
Belanger, Jones, Horcoff, Petrell, Smyth, Paajarvi and Hemsky are underground this season at zone starts, with 10 and 20 sheltering the two rookie centers heavily. Eberle and Hall also get an enormous push in 11-12–that’s not quite Sedin-level but it’s getting there!
ZONE START 10-11
A year ago, the forwards were far more even in their zone starts, with all of the top 9 forwards between 48% and 54%. Jordan Eberle had a much tougher zone start as a rookie than he’s seen in year two. Looking at these zone starts, I wonder how much of this season’s success was sacrificed to bring along Lander, and when we look at everything this summer a big part of the conversation should revolve around ZS’s for veterans Belanger and Horcoff (and why it was this way).
Fun to see Hall run away from the crowd, although he was at 22.4 one month ago. This graph lines up perfectly with what our eyes tell us: Hall’s scooting, Hemsky’s trending, Gagner, Eberle, RNH and Sideburns are progressing while Horcoff, Smyth and Belanger pay for their zone starts and qualcomp.
Nice rookie season from Hall, Eberle too and of course Linus the Lucky. You know, looking at last season’s CorsiRel it kind of splits at Brule and from him on down the Oilers flushed 7 guys–all but Ryan Jones. Hmmm. Maybe the are into advanced stats.
Anyway, if you’ve followed this far perhaps you can riddle a few things for me:
- Are the Oilers bringing the kids along in the best possible way?
- Should these zone start dynamics remain?
- Should the Oilers add a veteran winger to cover off the tough minutes along with Smyth and Hemsky?
- What in the hell did Paajarvi do to Tom Renney?
- Omark: wtf?
- Can you help me explain Lennart Petrell?
Thanks in advance.