During the RE series, I set the Oilers GF-GA total for the 48 game season at 131-138 all in (EN, PP, PK, the whole shebang). That means the club should be 46-49 after 17, and they are in fact 38-45. What does that mean? Defensively they’re a little ahead of the game while offensively the club is off by 8 goals, or about .5 per game. And we know that the trouble is 5×5 scoring.
- OILERS 5X5 GPG 11-12: 1.695 (139 goals in 82 games)
- OILERS 5X5 GPG 12-13: 0.94 (16 goals in 17 games)
- (source: nhl.com)
Can we identify a reason for it? If we’re talking overall offense then the Nuge’s injury would be a reason we could point to, but that’s more PP falloff from last season than 5×5 activity. I spent some time on Friday with Woodguy, Michael Parkatti and Bruce McCurdy and found the conversation inspiring (actually, I talked more than any of them so learned little). WG mentioned “variance” and think it fits the current group.
When we talk about expected (46-49) result and then have a peek one third of the way through the pie being baked and see the current number (38-45), how much is variance and how much is a lack of skill? Well, assuming my projections for the Oilers are correct (and that’s a different issue) I’d say a lot of this is random. The Oilers best players are their best players, the offensive stalwarts are at the top of the scoring table and the PP is humming. 5×5 is a bad day, but we know it should get better and that’s good news for Ralph Krueger. The bad news? Nothing in the math suggests this thing falls back to the mean over the next 31 games.
So, the Oilers are missing about 45% of their 5×5 scoring. The bottom 5 EV goal teams in the NHL so far this season:
- #25 Minnesota 25 5×5 goals
- #25 Nashville 25 5×5 goals
- #25 Florida 25 5×5 goals
- #25 New Jersey 25 5×5 goals
- #29 San Jose 23 5×5 goals
- #30 Edmonton 16 5×5 goals
That’s an expansion level gap. The Atlanta Thrashers were looking way up in 1999-00 and Doug MacLean put together a gang that couldn’t shoot straight for the Blue Jackets in their early days.
I don’t see this as being THIS bad for the entire season.