Woodguy mentioned something yesterday about coach Ralph Krueger devoting a high percentage of even strength ice time to the Oilers top line. He posted in response to my assertion that Ralph Krueger might be best served by moving Taylor Hall to the Gagner line and Yakopov to the Nuge line–thus creating a ‘tough minutes’ line and a soft parade line in Gagner (Hall-Hemsky) and RNH (Yak-Ebs) respectively.
WG takes it from here: RK’s 5v5 TOI/gm is why I don’t think moving Hall pays dividends.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 16:28:00; Taylor Hall 16:20:00; Jordan Eberle 16:02:00
- Sam Gagner 13:04:00; Ales Hemsky 12:49:00; Nail Yakupov 11:52:00
- Ryan Smyth 08:20:00; Shawn Horcoff 08:07:00; Magnus Paajarvi 08:05:00
If you move Hall and have 10′s line do heavy lifting then the TOI needs to flatten out considerably. That’s not RK’s plan. His plan is to play his top two lines hard in most situations, with 89′s line getting the shitty end of the stick.
All the graphs we looked at yesterday confirm the bolded portion, and a quick look through the EV TOI at NHL.com also confirms WG’s point:
- Nuge-Hall-Eberle average 16:17 EV ice-time per game (37.86%)
- Gagner-Yakupov-Hemsky average 12:15 EV ice time per game (28.25%)
- Horcoff-Smyth-Paajarvi average 8 EV ice-time per game (18.6%)
- 4th line and extra’s (15.29%)
Going back to 1997-98, no Oiler forward averaged 16 EV minutes per night, let alone an entire line. Now its early in the season and Ralph Krueger will likely flip lines around (has already tweaked 3 and 4lines) countless times during the year. Still, Woodguy’s point is well taken: this team’s even performance rests on the 6 forwards at the top of the order. Imagine Ryan Smyth batting 7th.
- Horcoff: “We still aren’t learning. It’s a mindset, it is patience, and that comes from experience. We’re young, we’re inexperienced, and we’re showing it at the start of games. We’re not patient, especially on the road. We wanted to make plays and win the game in the first 10 minutes, and that’s not the way it works.”
I think that’s a great quote. Most of the things hockey players say aren’t really valuable–I’m not trying to be a smartass here, but its true–I’ll love Ryan Smyth as a hockey player until I die, but his interviews are the same ones that I heard Gretzky and Fuhr give and before them Keon and Orr and Mahovlich. “We gotta get pucks in deep” would be a great name for a book of cliche hockey quotes, but I can’t imagine any hockey fan would buy it.
We hear it every night.
Horcoff’s quote (courtesy Joanne Ireland at the EJ) is a step above that imo, he’s giving some insight into this young team. Anyway, we could go the whole year without hearing another quote that has some value so I wanted to point it out.
Interesting item came up last night on twitter. The Oilers have 4 EV goals, and Taylor Hall is 1-3-4 at evens! Incredible.
Shawn Horcoff went missing for about 10 minutes in the third period, it’ll be interesting to see if we read about why this morning.
All of these teams are basically tied for first and only one of the has an even GF-GA (tonight’s opponent). Varlamov has a .927SP, Matt Duchene is 4, 2-2-4 and PA Parenteau and John Mitchell have a couple of goals each. Gabriel Landeskog has no goals, but 17 shots, so tonight might feature a breakout for the young gun.
I won’t post lineups because there could be a tweak or two–please post if you see them. Thanks!