RE 15-16 TODD MCLELLAN: WHAT AM I DOING HERE?

This must be a crazy time for Todd McLellan. After accepting the job as Edmonton Oilers coach last spring, the whirlwind year finally came to a merciful close in early April. I am certain a rest had been well earned but—coaches being coaches—the mind is likely wandering to next season by now. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, his former team looks to be on the verge of boldly going where no Sharks team has gone before. It is a complicated time (What Am I Doing Here?)

  1. How many games did he win? 31, the largest total since Tom Renney’s second year. Last time a coach won 40 here it was MacT in 2007-08. Think about that, MacTavish won 41 with the 2007-08 team. Incredible.
  2. How did his first year compare to Tom Renney’s first season? In terms of wins and points, McLellan was better—31 to 25 wins, 70 to 62 points.
  3. What about possession? At 5×5, Renney’s first team (2010-11) was 46.4 Corsi for 5×5, and improved to 47.3 in year two, 2011-12.
  4. McLellan’s first team? The 2015-16 Oilers were 48.8 5×5 Corsi for percentage.
  5. That isn’t terrible. Five Western Conference teams finished with less impressive totals—Colorado (No.30), Arizona (No. 28), Vancouver (27), Minnesota (23) and Calgary (No. 21). Edmonton finished No. 19 overall.
  6. If they won 48 percent of the Corsi, why didn’t they win 48 percent of the games? A few reasons. The Oilers scored only 44 percent of the 5×5 goals-per-60 minutes, the 5×5 save percentage ranked No. 28 overall, PDO was No. 28 overall. The club power-play goal differential was +36, and the penalty-kill differential was -43.
  7. So, what was the problem? There were lots of issues. I would list (in no specific order): Extreme lack of depth on defense (Darnell Nurse is the obvious example, but there were others), early goaltending issues, a devotion to Lauri Korpikoski and poor special teams performance.
  8. What were McLellan’s biggest mistakes? I think he (or Chiarelli, or both) overreacted to Darnell Nurse and first 11 games. Possession numbers were good, they had a need, so elevated him to the pairing with Andrej Sekera. Even after poor results proved the pairing was not doing well, Edmonton stayed the course with the pairing. That is a mistake.
  9. Maybe he doesn’t believe in your stupid Corsi God. Todd McLellan: “Volume shooting, I don’t know what that does to Corsi or Fenwick because I don’t even know what those things are, but volume shooting is important. I think it breaks down defensive zone coverages, gets players out of position, taxes the opposition, makes them play more minutes in their zone.” Source
  10. Shot volume is completely different than Corsi. Really?
  11. He’s talking about moments that make a difference. Like a bridge over troubled water.
  12. Anything else? Lauri Korpikoski usage is a mystery, guess he felt the goals were needed and coaches love veterans. At 5×5, his Corsi for percentage was 43 percent. Todd McLellan coached the San Jose Sharks from 2008-15, and employed a forward with a poor possession number most years—and they played quite a bit, were often veterans. Scott Nichol in 2010-11 (47.2), Michal Handzus in 2011-12 (44.6), Adam Burish in 2012-13 (43.9).
  13. Were these players counted on? Nichols played a very specific role not designed to accentuate offense, Handzus was not effective but a veteran who had filled the role in previous seasons, Adam Burish was an end of the roster player that season.
  14. Was Korpikoski counted on? I think the idea was to get some offense on the third line, and he did score. But it came at a high cost.
  15. Any other roster issues? Had a communication issue with Mark Fayne, sent him to the minors. I think the player was solid all year, but did play better upon return.
  16. Did he play his defensemen in the correct roles? Beyond Nurse and the Fayne blip, I think he deployed pretty well (it was a ghastly crew and the good ones could not stay healthy). Based on the information I have seen at War-on-Ice and behind the net and over at Rob Vollman’s place, he was probably overwhelmed and the key item was Nurse deployment. Sekera and Fayne played tough minutes, as did Oscar Klefbom when available. All three are in the ‘shut down’ sector of the Vollman Sledgehammer—along with Brandon Davidson and Darnell Nurse. Nurse, as mentioned above, is the mistake.
  17. What about lefty-righty? Deployed lefty-lefty a lot, but no idea if it was due to personnel issues or ‘the plan’ involved it. I do think the team felt Sekera was effective RH side based on early usage, the numbers suggest otherwise. I don’t know if that is due to Nurse skew, AS was not strong with Brandon Davidson as well.
  18. Why wasn’t the PP better? McDavid was fire on the power play, keeping him healthy will help enormously. I also think the team needs to add a hammer from the point and a RH center with a bit more skill than Mark Letestu. Letestu averaged 11 shots per 60 on the PP, if that position is occupied by a better RHC, more pucks go in. (Note: 30 shots for Letestu according to Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com, 29 according to NHL.com. Also slight difference in TOI, not sure of issue involved).
  19. Were there positive signs? Yes. The possession number remained solid for a long period, suggesting Edmonton can play at par with some notable improvements.
  20. Are you disappointed in McLellan’s first year? Yes. I would have hoped for more, but will not pretend I know how much is the coach, the players, the injuries or the lack of actual talent. Suspect all four contributed. (h/t Ducey).
  21. Should he be fired? Good grief no. McLellan will have a better group in year two and he will know this crew better. That is all positive. Tom Renney’s Oilers were much better in year two, McLellan I am sure will have more structure and a better defensive group.
  22. Why do fans like him so much? McLellan is a straight shooter and has a way of connecting with people. You can see it, the media like him, the fans went nuts when he was introduced on the final night at Rexall. He has an easy way.
  23. What does he need to improve this team? Four things for sure, and there is no guarantee all will be addressed. I have suggested the Oilers require a better backup goalie, two RHD—a complete player like Jason Demers or Justin Faulk, as well as a power-play QB like Tyson Barrie or Sami Vatanen—along with a substantial RHC.
  24. And keep the other forwards? I believe this group has tremendous value. McDavid, Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Draisaitl, Pouliot, even Maroon, Kassian and I am fine with Letestu in a reduced (offensive) role. Forwards are not the issue, save Korpikoski.
  25. Why this song? There had to be nights, man. There had to be nights.

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62 Responses to "RE 15-16 TODD MCLELLAN: WHAT AM I DOING HERE?"

  1. Woodguy says:

    How many games did he win? 31, the largest total since Tom Renney’s second year. Last time a coach won 40 here it was MacT in 2007-08. Think about that, MacTavish won 41 with the 2007-08 team. Incredible.

    *waits for Godot10 to pro-rate St. Ralph’s number*

    *grabs beer*

  2. Woodguy says:

    Why do fans like him so much? McLellan is a straight shooter and has a way of connecting with people. You can see it, the media like him, the fans went nuts when he was introduced on the final night at Rexall. He has an easy way.\

    He’s also from Saskatchewan and has an amazing hair line.

    Never under-estimate the impact of either one of those.

  3. geowal says:

    Why this song? There had to be nights, man. There had to be nights.

    Yes, and unlike us he couldn’t change the channel or leave early.

  4. bucknuck says:

    You keep commenting on the mistake of Nurse playing top minutes, but for me I couldn’t really see an alternative. There were no other better personnel to throw in front of the bus. Gryba, Davidson, Klefbom, Ference, and Schultz were all injured at different parts of the year. Who else who is better would you play with Sekera. No one had a hope.

    It was gross… but the blame for that lies with the GMs of the past decade, NOT Todd Mclellan. I expect next year when/if there are alternatives that will not happen.

  5. Lowetide says:

    bucknuck:
    You keep commenting on the mistake of Nurse playing top minutes, but for me I couldn’t really see an alternative.There were no other better personnel to throw in front of the bus.Gryba, Davidson, Klefbom, Ference, and Schultz were all injured at different parts of the year.Who else who is better would you play with Sekera.No one had a hope.

    It was gross… but the blame for that lies with the GMs of the past decade, NOT Todd Mclellan.I expect next year when/if there are alternatives that will not happen.

    When a rookie, especially one you value highly, is struggling that badly, you absolutely have to move him down the depth chart. Nurse and his development are very important.

  6. sliderule says:

    The only thing wrong with this team was Korpikoski.

    Buy him out and oil are in playoffs.😂😂😂

  7. Lowetide says:

    sliderule:
    The only thing wrong with this team was Korpikoski.

    Buy him out and oil are in playoffs.😂😂😂

    Well, maybe throw two top 4D in there and a couple of other things.

  8. Ducey says:

    Are you disappointed in McLellan’s first year? Yes. I would have hoped for more, but will not pretend I know how much is the coach, the players or the lack of actual talent. Suspect all three contributed.

    #4 with a bullet: Injuries man, the injuries.

    A healthy Kelfbomer, Nuger and McDavider are likely worth at least 5 – 10 wins on their own

  9. frjohnk says:

    Woodguy:
    How many games did he win? 31, the largest total since Tom Renney’s second year. Last time a coach won 40 here it was MacT in 2007-08. Think about that, MacTavish won 41 with the 2007-08 team. Incredible.

    *waits for Godot10 to pro-rate St. Ralph’s number*

    *grabs beer*

    I think you spelled Eakins wrong.

  10. kinger_OIL says:

    – Great post LT!: You talked about McL’s rest: I’ve always wondered what coaches do in the off-season. Seems a lot like being a teacher: once class is over they decompress, try to forget about little Johnny who never listened in class,then show up a few days before the of summer, get a class list, have some staff meetings, look over their notes and prepare for upcoming year.

    – Just like a coach: see who Chia gets, meet up with coaching staff, spend a few days plan for next year and show up when the bell rings.

  11. Woodguy says:

    *** SPAM ***

    New Because Oilers:

    If the Oilers get Tyson Barrie, how big should that contract be?

    http://becauseoilers.blogspot.ca/2016/05/if-oilers-get-tyson-barrie-how-big.html

    *** END SPAM ***

  12. Water Fire says:

    Ducey:
    Are you disappointed in McLellan’s first year? Yes. I would have hoped for more, but will not pretend I know how much is the coach, the players or the lack of actual talent. Suspect all three contributed.

    #4 with a bullet: Injuries man, the injuries.

    A healthy Kelfbomer, Nuger and McDavider are likely worth at least 5 – 10 wins on their own

    Another thought is that the perennially strong teams might be fading and the Hawks have hamstrung themselves with the 2 contracts, and the fantastic Hossa be old. Not to mention Keith having some serious mileage.

    Still it comes down to putting an NHL player in almost every position, ones that play the whole game. Not to say each guy needs to be offensive but can score at the right level for usage, and then we get the balance picture which I think is LT skulling two yards of beer two in one hand, mic in the other, typing with his toes and not spilling a drop.

  13. RexLibris says:

    Woodguy:
    *** SPAM ***

    New Because Oilers:

    If the Oilers get Tyson Barrie, how big should that contract be?

    http://becauseoilers.blogspot.ca/2016/05/if-oilers-get-tyson-barrie-how-big.html

    *** END SPAM ***

    For anyone interested in reading this one, I recommend it.

    If only for the expected hosing of the Avs in a trade. Worth noting, they gave up a 2nd round pick for Reto Berra two years ago.

    Reto.

    Berra.

    Sakic can be led down the garden path and I’d like Chiarelli to be his tour guide.

  14. OF17 says:

    Really nice Kassian piece up on ON http://oilersnation.com/2016/5/20/zack-kassian-i-still-have-a-lot-to-prove

    It hints at one of the major advantages the team has in its coaching stability. McLellan wants Kassian to become a regular penalty killer, but instead of some nebulous “get better at it in general and we’ll get more specific in camp,” it can be a very practical conversation about the specific responsibilities and reads a RW will need to make on the Oilers PK next year. Huge advantage. I wonder to what extent if any that advantage will be reflected in the team’s early season performance next year.

  15. Woodguy says:

    LT your site is eating my posts when I respond to Sliderule.

    Weird.

    Let’s try it this way:

    Oilers’ Goal share in 15/16

    Korpse on the ice 32%
    Korpse off the ice 46.32%

    Hmmmmmmmm.

    Sliderule may be onto something here……

  16. OF17 says:

    Callahan has had a hell of a start to this game.

  17. dustrock says:

    If McLellan did nothing different whatsoever except ditch Korpse, and last year’s roster stayed healthy, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  18. Lowetide says:

    kinger_OIL:
    – Great post LT!: You talked about McL’s rest: I’ve always wondered what coaches do in the off-season. Seems a lot like being a teacher: once class is over they decompress, try to forget about little Johnny who never listened in class,then show up a few days before the of summer, get a class list, have some staff meetings, look over their notes and prepare for upcoming year.

    – Just like a coach: see who Chia gets, meet up with coaching staff, spend a few days plan for next year and show up when the bell rings.

    I remember him saying the coaching staff was going to hang around after the exit meetings for a few days and discuss what they could have done better. It would be an interesting process to follow these guys around for a year (I am sure they would love it, lol) to see what preparations are made for things like rookie camp, et cetera.

    I always hope they spend extra time with guys who had tough seasons (like Lander) who are clearly heading into an uncertain offseason. Bring back Oil Change! 🙂

  19. OF17 says:

    Lowetide: Bring back Oil Change!

    Amen to that!

  20. HeatTreaterJoe says:

    Lowetide:

    Bring back Oil Change!

    I’ll see your “Bring back Oil Change!” and raise you a “Bring back Oilers Playoff Hockey!” 🙂

  21. Snowman says:

    I’m not sure Marner’s line has left the ice yet…

    Does anyone track TOI for the Mem Cup?

  22. David says:

    Tkachuk draws a penalty by being a pest. On the powerplay gets a nice assist.

  23. Gret99zky says:

    Everytime Kinger says “Great post, LT” drink.

    😉

  24. wheatnoil says:

    One other area that McLellan may have improved on is Zone Exit strategy. The team as a whole showed significant improvement comparing the start of the year to the end of the year, which doesn’t appear to be just Oesterle coming on board. They simplified their exit strategy to have fewer stretch passes leading to more controlled zone exits (53% at the start of the year to 60% at the end). (Info is buried in here… http://www.theoilersrig.com/2016/05/zone-tracking-oscar-klefbom-dreamy/)

    We’ll see if that pays dividends into next year or not.

  25. Lowetide says:

    wheatnoil:
    One other area that McLellan may have improved on is Zone Exit strategy. The team as a whole showed significant improvement comparing the start of the year to the end of the year, which doesn’t appear to be just Oesterle coming on board. They simplified their exit strategy to have fewer stretch passes leading to more controlled zone exits (53% at the start of the year to 60% at the end). (Info is buried in here… http://www.theoilersrig.com/2016/05/zone-tracking-oscar-klefbom-dreamy/)

    We’ll see if that pays dividends into next year or not.

    Excellent stuff, Wheat. Impressive info.

  26. Doug McLachlan says:

    David,

    I believe our Finnish d-man is sporting a couple of assists too.

  27. David says:

    Doug McLachlan:
    David,

    I believe our Finnish d-man is sporting a couple of assists too.

    I’m not as high on Juolevi as most. I have him as the fourth defender after Chychrun, Sergachev, Bean.

  28. square_wheels says:

    I think Julz minutes may have just reverted back to Oilers level with that injury to Daley.

    This Pittsburgh D is getting skinny.

  29. square_wheels says:

    And now Boyle egging on Letang…..well played.

  30. Doug McLachlan says:

    David,

    Well I am not a scout but Bob MacKenzie’s survey of 10 NHL scouts seems to rank Joulevi high.

  31. Ducey says:

    I don’t know. Tkachuk is cherry picking pretty good. As the puck starts leaving the offensive zone he is hanging back hoping for a turnover. And he has been hanging out at the offensive blueline a few times when the puck is in his zone. London really likes to push it up thru the neutral zone.

  32. OF17 says:

    Eric Fehr is a guy I’d love to add. RHS, can play center or wing, pretty good production, good PKer, good size, good grit. Only hope is the Penguins think his salary is too rich for 4RW. He would look fantastic on our 3rd line IMO.

  33. David says:

    Doug McLachlan:
    David,

    Well I am not a scout but Bob MacKenzie’s survey of 10 NHL scouts seems to rank Joulevi high.

    He’s a low risk pick. Will be a solid second pairing d. That doesn’t represent value in the top ten though. Certainly not at number 4.

  34. Lowetide says:

    Doug McLachlan:
    David,

    Well I am not a scout but Bob MacKenzie’s survey of 10 NHL scouts seems to rank Joulevi high.

    He is a fairly complete defenseman, save for the physical aspect. I do think the Oilers would like him, and get the sense Chychrun has faded a little. IF Oilers choose a D at No. 4, my guess is that it is Juolevi.

  35. MrEd says:

    Tampa!

    is Dan Boyle for 2 years at a good price unreasonable?

  36. Lowetide says:

    MrEd:
    Tampa!

    is Dan Boyle for 2 years at a good price unreasonable?

    Dan Boyle is done I believe. Great career.

  37. Rondo says:

    Lowetide: He is a fairly complete defenseman, save for the physical aspect. I do think the Oilers would like him, and get the sense Chychrun has faded a little. IF Oilers choose a D at No. 4, my guess is that it is Juolevi.

    Why hasn’t Juolevi scored more points in the regular season as well as playoffs though he is doing well in the playoffs?

  38. MrEd says:

    Coach McLellan.

  39. Professor Q says:

    Tkatchuk is not on the scoreboard as much as his linemates tonight, but has taken 8 shots…a bit snakebit but not completely bad. Attention is all on Marner (and future teammate Matthews), though.

    Still more time in this game and more games to come.

  40. Jaxon says:

    Ducey:
    Are you disappointed in McLellan’s first year? Yes. I would have hoped for more, but will not pretend I know how much is the coach, the players or the lack of actual talent. Suspect all three contributed.

    #4 with a bullet: Injuries man, the injuries.

    A healthy Kelfbomer, Nuger and McDavider are likely worth at least 5 – 10 wins on their own

    THE INJURIES LAST SEASON WERE NO SMALL THING. (oops, just noticed caps lock, not yelling).

    Fair Warning, this is a novice attempt to do some rudimentary stats manipulation, so bear with me.

    From “Man Games Lost”
    https://www.mangameslost.com/end-2015-16-nhl-regular-season-man-games-lost-april-11-2016/

    The impact on the Oilers was given a value of 3032. The average injury impact in the NHL was given a value of 1852. No injury impact would be a value of 0. To figure out the no injury impact, I used an 18 skater roster of current and probable Oilers next season and extrapolated goals/gp to an 82 game season (no injuries). That gave the Oilers an extra 86.5 goals. Since no injuries is impossible, average injuries seems like a reasonable thing to hope for. 1852 is 61% of 3032. The inverse of 61% or 39% of 86.5 goals would be the extra number of goals if they had average injury impact or 33 extra goals. Maybe I’m wrong. Should it be the inverse of that? That would be 53 extra goals. I don’t think that would be correct, though, so let’s leave it at 33. My head is spinning in stats.

    33 extra goals on their 203 goals gives them 236 GF and put them in 3rd place in the Western conference for goals for behind DAL (267), SJS (241), and ahead of CHI (235). That doesn’t account for the effect McDavid, Klefbom, Eberle, Pouliot, Nugent-Hopkins & Davidson would have to increase everyone’s production rates.

    If the Oilers goaltending gets up to .920 SV% next season (let’s say Talbot improves by 2% and Chad Johnson brings his .920% to town) they will let in 203 goals if they have the same number of shots against. Wow, that’s a 42 goal difference if they simply have 2 decent starters!!! Now, if Klefbom and Davidson are healthy and Schultz is gone and they don’t have to experiment with players like Clendening and they have their forwards healthy thus keeping the puck in the other end longer, then there should be fewer shots. But, for simplicity, let’s keep the shots the same. That would be the 4th best goals against in the Western Conference. ANA (192), LAK (195), STL (201), MIN (206).

    A positive goal differential of +33 (236GF-203GA) would have been the 2nd best in the Western Conference. Dallas (+37), San Jose (+31), LAK (+30).

    Factor in the fact that they are still a young learning team and won’t go through as many ‘learning-the-system’ growing pains with the same coach for a second year in a row. McDavid will be improving, as will Klefbom, Draisaitl, Nurse, Davidson, Nugent-Hopkins, and even Hall.

    Add a solid RD or 2 like Jason Demers and Kevan Miller without trading anyone away. Add in some possible youngsters making an impact like Caggiula, Russell, Sallinen or maybe a 4th overall C/LW like Pierre-Luc Dubois and that differential should climb a bit higher. I think the panic to trade away the “rotten” core for an elite #1RD is a bit overdone. Breathe. It’s all going to be okay. I say add what you can via free agency and restock some depth issues on RD and forward and hope that Brent Burns goes to market next summer and loved playing for MaCLellan. Keep the core (except maybe Yakupov as it’s probably best for both sides to part at this point) and draft Dubois (or Tkachuk, but I’d go Dubois).

  41. godot10 says:

    The Oilers need two top 4D, preferably right shots, one who is experienced on the powerplay. #ThatIsAll
    #TheRestFollows

  42. GCW_69 says:

    godot10:
    The Oilers need two top 4D, preferably right shots, one who is experienced on the powerplay.#ThatIsAll
    #TheRestFollows

    They need a third line. Add two of Parenteau, Shaw, Strome, Matthias, and Helm and you’re talking.

  43. oilersfan says:

    Lowetide

    Why are people assuming tkachuk is being zoomed by his London teammates, but nobody seems to be concerned that the same points inflation is happening for Juolevi?

    Also why is not being able to break a cycle unimportant? Juolevi Sounds like a left shot schultz

    Chychrun had more ppg on an inferior offensive team , is 20 pounds heavier and has a mean streak.

    Chychrun is Nurse with more offence.

  44. Lowetide says:

    oilersfan:
    Lowetide

    Why are people assuming tkachuk is being zoomed by his London teammates, but nobody seems to be concerned that the same points inflation is happening for Juolevi?

    Also why is not being able to break a cycle unimportant? Juolevi Sounds like a left shot schultz

    Chychrun had more ppg on an inferior offensive team , is 20 pounds heavier and has a mean streak.

    Chychrun is Nurse with more offence.

    I think calling Juolevi a LH Schultz suggests we know more than we do.

  45. Water Fire says:

    The Oilers can ice 3 scoring lines well, now. McLellan seems to think top players want TOI per
    his Leon comments.

    I’d prefer they spread the TOI out to keep guys fresh. Especially for playoffs. And get 6 defense with mobility and passing skills, of course in a range of quality and play everybody to a reasonable degree. Listed in order of responsibility. Nuge and Letestu play the hard 5V5 minutes, Nuge to saw off and score, Letestu to saw off and smother. Connor and Leon get gravy and blow away their comp. Everybody plays, hot line gets more minutes in a game. Imagine playing those 4 lines rolling at you. If you’re not on your heels your watching out for the freight train. Or both.

    Hall RNH ?
    Hendricks Letestu Kassian
    Maroon McDavid Eberle
    Pouliot Draisaitl ?

    Sekera ?
    Klefbom ?
    Davidson ?

    When playoffs come everybody is fresh and engaged. With more even TOI the injuries go down I’d say, and production would go up overall and individually, assuming good players are added, because the attack has 3 prongs so it can’t be keyed on like always, and the defense can move the puck up.

  46. oilersfan says:

    Lowetide,

    Perhaps it does.

    Yet i haven’t seen one commentator worried that Juolevi is getting points inflated by his elite offensive teammates when nobody here could likely name even one of the forwards chychrun played with.

    Did anybody notice Juolevi is 180 and chychrun is 210 with the same ppg but one is on an offensive juggernaut and the other is on a team with little to zero high end forwards?

  47. Lowetide says:

    oilersfan:
    Lowetide,

    Perhaps it does.

    Yet i haven’t seen one commentator worried that Juolevi is getting points inflated by his elite offensive teammates when nobody here could likely name even one of the forwards chychrun played with.

    Did anybody notice Juolevi is 180 and chychrun is 210 with the same ppg but one is on an offensive juggernaut and the other is on a team with little to zero high end forwards?

    They look even offensively. The EV totals are quite similar and for me the idea that Chycrhun plays a lot (that has been mentioned many places) is a bit of a tell as well. Chychrun is a very good prospect, Oilers pick him at No. 4 I wont bitch, but the overall view seems to be he is fading.

  48. Kevin McCartney says:

    LT, I’m surprised you didn’t express more more concern over McLellan given the success DeBoer has had with the Sharks. McLellan is clearly a good coach and strong communicator who should absolutely stay for the sake of continuity, but much of his ‘elite coach’ rep is based on his powerplay design in San Jose and the great regular season success that squad had during his tenure. But it seems like Hall of Fame’r Joe Thornton and co. aren’t as reliant on McLellan as we maybe expected or came to believe.

    Specifically, the Oilers PP didn’t improve under McLellan while the Sharks PP got better under DeBoer (Sharks last three years under McLellan: 19.5, 17.2, 20.9 vs. first season under DeBoer: 22.5), the possession numbers weren’t better than under Eakins (lots of ink spilled on that head scratcher) and the goal differential didn’t change as drastically as expected. He had a Much better roster than Eakins did – partly of his own good sense, given that Brad Hunt wasn’t on the starting roster, but partly because Chiarelli got McDavid and Talbot and buried Nikitin and Ference and eventually moved Jultz.

    He also made many of the roster errors in San Jose that he’s making in Edmonton, which we can now see in how DeBoer has altered the lineup: Korpse-esque utility players Melker Karlsson and Barclay Goodrow have diminished roles under DeBoer, they acquired and use veteran multi-tool defenders (Polak and Dillon) over plausibly more talented prospect Mirco Mueller and one-dimensional defenders like Scott Hannan, Brad Stuart and Matt Irwin, and DeBoer ended the ‘forward pairs’ line structure in favour of more stable forward trios.

    McLellan is clearly a good coach – an experienced, NHL-level coach who has made visible and measurable improvements to a squad headed in the wrong direction. I don’t mean to whine for Todd Nelson or Saint Ralph. But I do think your comment ‘we expected more’ can be added to – he put his ‘elite’ status into question and not because of his under-staffed team’s record. DeBoer’s man-to-man defensive transition in San Jose (rather than McLellan’s vertical lane back pressure system that put Fayne in the minors), his lighter practice schedule (apparently – I can’t see that part), and his more creative and open offensive-zone concepts seem to suit the Sharks. Equally, DeBoer’s system needs fewer of the specialists McLellan seems to require (be it vertical speed players for the chip-and-check system or muckers for his ‘planned battle areas’).

    My point isn’t that DeBoer is a better coach, even, but simply that many of the things we took from watching McLellan as necessary concepts for winning are now reasonably questioned. Should the team really be investing dollars and minutes into marginal specialists like Gryba, Korpikoski and Letestu because the coach can’t imagine another way to win a hockey game?

    We wait (as you say). I can only hope I will be eating my anxious words by this time next year.

  49. russ99 says:

    The Oilers eventual season results were affected by roster construction and injury but McLellan had some hand in it as well.

    If I could interview him, I’d have lots of questions:

    Why was Schutlz still given first pairing minutes, why was Nurse run into the ground, why did we stick with Clendening for so long when we knew we weren’t getting much,

    Why are we keeping our best forwards apart and forcing a big on each line who’s just there to keep the cycle going?

    Why did we play a possession game on the power play – akin to giving up the extra man?

    Why are some players allowed to carry the puck in the offensive zone and why not others (McDavid / Hall)

    Why all these non-dangerous shots from everywhere with seemingly no plan to cash rebounds, only lets go get it back and shoot unthreatening shots again?

    Why can’t we adapt our strategies for the players playing that night, the opposition and site instead of a Dallas Eakins-like “we’re going to play this way” unbending running it into the ground and hope it eventually works?

    Maybe it was an adjustment year and he wanted to see who’s going to play ball,but he has to change this or we’ll be throwing away wins again, regardless of the roster fixes/better health.

  50. russ99 says:

    Water Fire,

    Playoffs won’t come if we don’t fix the defense, and not just add a few defensemen.

    GAA doesn’t increase on its own, and Talbot could improve if he has more help, and the forwards do their part, which few of our scorning forwards do.

    Third line has to be two-way for us to win in the Pacific, especially on the road.

  51. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    David: I’m not as high on Juolevi as most. I have him as the fourth defender after Chychrun, Sergachev, Bean.

    Have you watched a lot of Bean play? I only ask because most of our assessment of these players is of the blind variety.

    I’ve seen Bean a bunch. He’s good, but I don’t see top 10 pick there.

  52. frjohnk says:

    An excellent draft eligible comparison chart.

    https://public.tableau.com/profile/brandon.dennis#!/vizhome/DraftEligibleCHLComparisonTool/CHL

    Ricki will love it, it shows shots and goals for from the “box” for all players.

  53. frjohnk says:

    frjohnk,

    Talking to myself, but if we keep the 4th overall, its interesting to compare numbers for Dubois and Tkachuk.

    Comparing Chychrun and Juolevi shots for is not even close.

    If you make a “box from the top of the circles and the faceoff dots and the goal line,
    Juolevi took 18 shots for, 3 goals
    Chychrun took about 53 shots. Only had 1 goal from this “box”.
    Sergechev took about 38 shots. Had 5 goals from this “box”

  54. David says:

    Ca$h-McMoney!: Have you watched a lot of Bean play? I only ask because most of our assessment of these players is of the blind variety.

    I’ve seen Bean a bunch. He’s good, but I don’t see top 10 pick there.

    No barely seen him. Impressive offence though. I’d slot him just outside the top ten.

  55. Lowetide says:

    Kevin McCartney: I gave him some leeway due to personnel—the Oilers were very poor on defense and many of their good D ended up getting hurt. As for the PP, it was highly dependent (imo) on personnel. McDavid was very successful, Letestu was getting a lot of looks (and the Oilers need a better Letestu to cash those chances).

    Injuries and personnel (for me) are major factors. As for the Sharks, I think the team improved in several areas, including speed. I think we saw things to be concerned about in Edmonton (and they are expressed above), but for me framing SJS success as a failure of McLellan is both a reach and far too early.

    Todd McLellan got the Sharks to the third round twice in seven years, and faced the Chicago Blackhawks in one of them (Vancouver in the other). For me, DeBoer has done a helluva job, and a fresh approach no doubt had enormous impact (as did roster changes). I am absolutely uncertain we can lay much of it at the feet of McLellan.

  56. Ryan says:

    Woodguy:
    How many games did he win? 31, the largest total since Tom Renney’s second year. Last time a coach won 40 here it was MacT in 2007-08. Think about that, MacTavish won 41 with the 2007-08 team. Incredible.

    *waits for Godot10 to pro-rate St. Ralph’s number*

    *grabs beer*

    Waiting for Godot lol. Good one.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waiting_for_Godot

  57. godot10 says:

    I think McLellan unfortunately is a #ThoroughlyMedicoreCoach, but that doesn’t become a problem for a long time (until the Oilers lose playoff series after playoff series). An experienced #ThoroughlyMediocreCoach is good enough at this point. Got to do something about the power play though. Another year like last year, and that will get him fired.

    The range of players who can play for him is more limited though as a result. Chiarelli has to stay away from outliers from the norm. But this is true for almost any systems first coach, which is what McLellan is.

    Aside: My preference is for a coach who plays the hand he is dealt, rather than one who keeps throwing out the cards, till he gets the particular ones who can play his system. We have the latter. It is important to understand what type of coach one has.

  58. Zack says:

    frjohnk:
    An excellent draft eligible comparison chart.

    https://public.tableau.com/profile/brandon.dennis#!/vizhome/DraftEligibleCHLComparisonTool/CHL

    Ricki will love it, it shows shots and goals for from the “box” for all players.

    Simply beautiful.

  59. pocession charge says:

    Lowetide:
    Kevin McCartney: I gave him some leeway due to personnel—the Oilers were very poor on defense and many of their good D ended up getting hurt. As for the PP, it was highly dependent (imo) on personnel. McDavid was very successful, Letestu was getting a lot of looks (and the Oilers need a better Letestu to cash those chances).

    Injuries and personnel (for me) are major factors. As for the Sharks, I think the team improved in several areas, including speed. I think we saw things to be concerned about in Edmonton (and they are expressed above), but for me framing SJS success as a failure of McLellan is both a reach and far too early.

    Todd McLellan got the Sharks to the third round twice in seven years, and faced the Chicago Blackhawks in one of them (Vancouver in the other). For me, DeBoer has done a helluva job, and a fresh approach no doubt had enormous impact (as did roster changes). I am absolutely uncertain we can lay much of it at the feet of McLellan.

    McLellan’s team had lesser goaltending in those series. That was the difference. Most coaches have similar systems; it’s up to the players to execute.

  60. square_wheels says:

    Laine is a helluva consolation prize. Damn that was a sweet pass on the 2-1 goal.

  61. square_wheels says:

    Belov still has the 90’s hot chick tattoo on his neck……cover ups apparently don’t happen in the Motherland.

  62. Hockey Buddha says:

    MacTavish was on the receiving end of a lot of fan wrath for his coaching. I always thought that he got a lot out of his teams. The 2007-2008 line up was decimated after the cup run; 41 wins is pretty remarkable.

    I agree with Woodguy’s sharp observations of Tmac. What a hairline.

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