G33 2016-17: LIGHTNING AT OILERS

by Lowetide

Saturday’s are magic in the land of ice and snow. If you are Canadian, you can recognize the sound of marching through snow-covered ground on a bitter winter morning just by the crispness of the crunch. There is a certainty to it—this is the real stuff, don’t be pissing around—and the scene creates a sense of urgency. There are many miles to go before spring, but the sound of this season has real clarity. March with a purpose—this is important.

GOING TO TAMPA, YEAR OVER YEAR

  • Oilers in October 2015: 4-8-0, goal differential -7
  • Oilers in October 2016: 7-2-0, goal differential +10
  • Oilers in November 2015: 4-7-2, goal differential -6
  • Oilers in November 2016: 5-8-2 goal differential -3
  • Oilers in December 2015: 7-6-1, goal differential -9
  • Oilers in December 2016: 3-2-3, goal differential E
  • Oilers after 32, 2015: 14-16-2, goal differential -11
  • Oilers after 32, 2016: 15-12-5, goal differential +7

Edmonton has nine points in eight December games, which is a good not great recovery from the 12 point (in 15 games) November. As you may remember, I argued that the first nine games (14 points) allowed the Oilers to go a point-per-game the rest of the way (73 games total) and land just shy (87 points) of 90 for the year. After October, Edmonton has 21 points in 23 games—almost, but no cigar.

G33 a year ago was a 4-0 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, as Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews dominated Edmonton. A victory tonight and the Oilers are more than halfway to last season’s win total (31) by game 33. That would be a fine development, and gives hope to the idea the town team could hit 40 wins by the end of the season.

OILERS FORWARDS OFFENSE, 2016-17

  • Connor McDavid is an even-strength demon. Although I have 24 points posted above (via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com), his overall even-strength total is 26 points in 32 games. Leads the league.
  • McDavid is on pace for 67 even-strength points, just a little shy of the 69 points Patrick Kane produced in 2015-16.
  • Tyler Pitlick appears to have won an NHL job, as a regular. His 5×5 points per 60 is over 2.00 and that is a terrific total. No idea what his final number will be, but the demotion of Anton Slepyshev suggests to me Pitlick is going to be a regular until further notice.
  • Jesse Puljujarvi remains in Edmonton, still lots of chatter about his being unable to post offense without McDavid. Although Puljujarvi’s McDavid 5×5/60 is terrific (3.07), the Finn winger is 1.71/60 with Leon Draisaitl.
  • Leon Draisaitl is on pace for 33 5×5 points this season, I think that should be considered a major step forward (should it happen). Hehad 38 5×5 points one year ago, but 34 of them came while playing with Taylor Hall. Leon’s most successful arrangement with a portsider this season? Benoit Pouliot. Draisaitl is 3.17/60 at 5×5.
  • Jordan Eberle, Milan Lucic, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Drake Caggiula are all shy 5×5, but each man has been productive on the 5×4. I think Nuge is about to come around at evens.

OILERS BLUE OFFENSE, 2016-17

  • Oscar Klefbom is on pace for 21 5×5 points and is on pace for 82gp, 13-18-31. Among Oilers defenders, he has the biggest and brightest future in my opinion.
  • Andrej Sekera is having the best season in this group, taking in all considerations. One of my favorite moments watching Edmonton comes in overtime when this fellow is on the ice.
  • Adam Larsson is starting to take some shots from fans, but I think he is going to be fine. Larsson is over 50 percent at 5×5, is helping a little on the offense and playing a lot of big minutes. I would like to see him passing the puck smartly out of the zone, those lob passes to nowhere result in sorties the other way 110 percent of the time.
  • Matt Benning is doing so many good things the mind boggles. I mentioned to Darcy the other day on the Lowdown that he, unlike the other blue, rarely stands behind his net waiting for the setup. Benning gains speed while carrying the puck behind the net, allowing him to beat the forechecker by pass or carry. Good brain on Benning.
  • Benning has the top Corsi for 5×5/60 and Corsi Rel. I get the qual comp, but let’s take a moment to look at just how marvelous this number is, relative to the rest of the team. In fact, young Mr. Benning ranks No. 3 in the NHL in 5×5 Corsi Rel, giving some of us a case of deja vu. Brandon Davidson finished No. 22 last season.

LIGHTNING LINEUP UPDATE

It looks like Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat will all be out of the lineup again tonight. The Oilers should never enter an NHL game over confident, but surely that makes the chore less difficult tonight.

PLATZER!

Photo by Mark Williams

Kyle Platzer scored his first goal of the AHL season last night, Anton Slepyshev had an assist and Lander continues to roll. If Jesse Puljujarvi does spend time on the farm (chatted with Jason Gregor on his show yesterday, he seems convinced), I hope he gets Anton Lander and Ryan Hamilton/Jujhar Khaira as linemates. Important for him to play with skill in Bakersfield.

CORSICA INDIVIDUAL SCORING CHANCES PER 60

For me, the top stat for forwards is 5×5/60. If you can post 2.00/60 at 5×5 in the NHL (for an entire season), there is a future for you. One of the unreported stories this season is Tyler Pitlick’s offense, something I have been intrigued with since he scored over 20 at evens in Medicine Hat back in the WHL days. One other camera angle for offense is individual scoring chances. Here they are.

  1. Connor McDavid 4.59
  2. Patrick Maroon 4.09
  3. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 4.00
  4. Zack Kassian 3.77
  5. Milan Lucic 3.35
  6. Tyler Pitlick 3.27
  7. Leon Draisaitl 3.07
  8. Jordan Eberle 2.99
  9. Jesse Puljujarvi 2.70
  10. Matt Hendricks 1.67
  11. Mark Letestu 1.63
  12. Benoit Pouliot 1.45
  13. Anton Slepyshev 1.09
  14. Anton Lander 1.02
  15. Drake Caggiula 0.76

Some interesting numbers in there, hello Patrick Maroon and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The Pitlick number is good, remember he has been playing a little with McDavid and is on fire with Mark Letestu. There are 110 NHL forwards over 3.00, meaning Edmonton has way more than average (3.7 would be average for each NHL team). My initial argument would be McDavid floats all boats, your mileage may vary.

Looks like the No. 1 line from the season opening series is back, Eberle getting a push here and he is clearly pleased with this development.

  • Jordan Eberle: “He’s (McDavid) a fun player to play with. I think we’re just trying to find some chemistry again. I think we started off the season pretty well and we’ve played a lot together. We know each other’s tendencies and it should be good.” Source

When this line was going well, Eberle was aggressive and going to the net (I am thinking of a PP goal in Calgary, G2, where he hung in there and got stick to puck for a tally). No. 14 isn’t a classic sniper, but he is the best option available.

This is a massive chance for Pitlick, who will (apparently) play with Benoit Pouliot and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. If the trio can develop chem, that would solve some major issues on the roster. Taylor Beck is also in the equation, although a slow plane kept him from practice and could conceivably keep him out of tonight’s lineup.

Benson is coming on strong now, the Vancouver Giants are finding a little more offense these days. He currently sits at 28gp, 9-24-33 and remains healthy and productive. A spike in offense should be expected as the season continues, Benson didn’t get a full offseason of training but should be caught up by now.

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flyfish1168

Woodguy:
Georges,

I haven’t looked at expected GF% closely other than what I said earlier about shot metrics and scoring chance metrics. Won’t comment on any argument based on those numbers. I posted on the team performance with McDavid and Hall in the lineup. Also about where Klefbom is career-wise right now. And thoughts on Demers.

You need to break out how Hall and McDavid played away from each other last year to show how they did independently.

Showing how the team did is useless and leads to blaming the best players for bad team performance.


LT posted a link to the Michael Lewis article on Daryl Morey earlier this week. The article talks about the endowment effect:
The mere fact that they owned Kyle Lowry appeared to have distorted their judgment about him.
Not sure whether it applies. The Oilers have lost for a long time. The Senators lost for a long time. They had a failed build and then a rebuild. They got great players but they never won a cup. Only one finals appearance. The great players went away. No guarantees. Saying we were going to be a dynasty if we played our cards right is understandable pie in the skying once you have an ace like McDavid. But saying you’d be disappointed if we win just one cup is diminishing the very real need for winning in this city. Every win is like water. Every loss is like the lash. Just win, Oilers.

I actually DM’d LT that piece because I thought he’d enjoy it and he posted the link the next day.

I think the Oiler’s probability of winning even one Cup dropped when they traded Hall.

I just want them to win too.

I agree with you about taking a hit by trading Hall. I’m feeling positive about Leon and I’m cheering for JP to come into his own to make up for it. I’m thinking with Connor and the new building UFA signing for a skilled RHC and RHD will come our way. I still see Jordan and RNH being trading chips over the next 2 years to shore up our needs. Here is hoping. JMHO

frjohnk

I know I have not seen Hendricks good since the end of last year.
But he played his heart out last night. Was very good in the dot and made some plays.

We iced probably our slowest lineup last night and it showed against Tampa.

Imagine Tampa not playing their 3rd game in 4 nights and having their 3 best forwards back from injury playing us.

“Fast and skilled” is looking like it is trumping “big, heavy and skilled”

Woodguy

Georges,

I haven’t looked at expected GF% closely other than what I said earlier about shot metrics and scoring chance metrics. Won’t comment on any argument based on those numbers. I posted on the team performance with McDavid and Hall in the lineup. Also about where Klefbom is career-wise right now. And thoughts on Demers.

You need to break out how Hall and McDavid played away from each other last year to show how they did independently.

Showing how the team did is useless and leads to blaming the best players for bad team performance.

LT posted a link to the Michael Lewis article on Daryl Morey earlier this week. The article talks about the endowment effect:
The mere fact that they owned Kyle Lowry appeared to have distorted their judgment about him.
Not sure whether it applies. The Oilers have lost for a long time. The Senators lost for a long time. They had a failed build and then a rebuild. They got great players but they never won a cup. Only one finals appearance. The great players went away. No guarantees. Saying we were going to be a dynasty if we played our cards right is understandable pie in the skying once you have an ace like McDavid. But saying you’d be disappointed if we win just one cup is diminishing the very real need for winning in this city. Every win is like water. Every loss is like the lash. Just win, Oilers.

I actually DM’d LT that piece because I thought he’d enjoy it and he posted the link the next day.

I think the Oiler’s probability of winning even one Cup dropped when they traded Hall.

I just want them to win too.

jake70

Nice to get the 2 points. The games played gap is narrowing a bit in the west, Oilers still in the hunt. Draisaitl has really improved his skating from the first year, his agility side to side for a big man is improving nicely. 97 I thought should have dished to 55 on that last play in OT – 55 was perfectly positioned for a one-timer, but 97 with a decisive no BS approach in the shootout, fantastic shot.

spoiler

By .500, I mean when wins and losses are the same…

y’know, McCurdy .500.

😉

spoiler

Remember when this team would quail at the thought of going over .500?

They seem to be playing themselves so much less. They still are, don’t get me wrong it’s a young team, but there are steps forward here.

spoiler

I would tell Hendricks that he gets through NYE to show his stuff to other teams. We have to consider that in an enclosed league like the NHL, relationships are important, and they’re not going to screw him over. But there has to be a deadline.

spoiler

I thought Hendricks played his heart out tonight; his best game this year. I enjoyed every minute of the warrior battling, the gamesman plying his trade.

But I am ready to capitulate on the venerable soldier. His absolute best is just good enough, but no one performs at that level game in and game out, and he has to absolutely strive to have a positive impact.

Sadly. I think other teams see this too, and despite his sheer will to do what it takes to keep playing, I don’t see the Oilers getting the trade they want. Maybe at the deadline. Maybe Vegas saves his career for a year or two, but his playing time here needs to go to others.

GMB3

Bag of Pucks:
Have to keep reminding myself that Lucic is the battering ram that’s built for the playoffs. The no hit regular season? Not so much.

He’s top 20 in the NHL for hits so wherever your gettin your info from its wrong

Android

Dino,

I have a friend who works at sport central in Edmonton, and loves to tell people that he knows “Todd”.
I’ll make sure he passes it along. 😉

JD_Wry

Pescador: Sure, anything else?
He calls

Hendricks no more.

Pescador

Dino:
Can someone tell coach to ice his best possible lineup next game? Thanks.

Sure, anything else?
He calls

Dino

Can someone tell coach to ice his best possible lineup next game? Thanks.

Bos8

Hey come on, TMac is coaching the hell out of this team. I’ve seen more exciting slot hockey. Between shortening the bench and the blender, there aren’t many options left. My favorite is the cycle, don’t try anything – just cycle in slo-mo.

Man, this is boring, shit hockey. Coach by numbers, control freak. What the hell happened to our coach?

Rocknrolla

Feels good to gut one out!!

Also I agree above, should there not be a rule for an auto penalty shot if you take a penalty late in OT? Seems like everyone would have free riegn to whack a mole if there’s no repercussion?

JD_Wry

jm363561: As instructed by Kinger I will make no comment on the coaching.

If you choose not to decide

You still have made a choice

jm363561

Centre of attention:
Bob Stauffer ‏@Bob_Stauffer20s20 seconds ago
Oilers have gone 2-1-1 in their last 4 despite Connor McDavid registering just one point

I’ll leave this here with no comment.
=====
Not sure if the wider team are getting better or McD is being dragged down to their level.

Poor performance against a tired and broken team. As instructed by Kinger I will make no comment on the coaching.

Centre of attention

Professor Q: Wait, what? McLellan was playing McDavid on the fourth line?!

I think he meant top 3 line up of the shoot out. He put Hendricks in the first 3 of the rotation last shoot out.

Gordies Elbow

Davidson’s stick was clearly slashed out of his hands on a power play goal by Tampa. The lack of a call could have determined the outcome of the game.

That said, Edmonton came away with 2 points. If I were a GM in Tampa’s division, I would be pissed. Edmonton got 2 points, but Tampa ended with 1, with a number of poor calls giving them that point. From the video, really poor reffing tonight.

Professor Q

Confused:
Terrible performance.

Great to see Connor back in the top3 and no hendo

Need to get better fast, let’s go!

Wait, what? McLellan was playing McDavid on the fourth line?!

digger50

Thanks to Debrusk for saving us from Remenda and providing a more enjoyable game.

Pescador

OmJo: Hand me my plate o’ crow.

I’m hungry.

Plate is empty, Ryan ate the whole bird

BONE207

Ice Sage: Don’t shoot wide!

Whatever…at least there will be no dusting off. One timers and bar down.

BONE207

Centre of attention:
Bob Stauffer ‏@Bob_Stauffer20s20 seconds ago
Oilers have gone 2-1-1 in their last 4 despite Connor McDavid registering just one point

I’ll leave this here with no comment.

Is that what some people say: Growth??

Ice Sage

BONE207:
Now I can perform my own shootout. 3 shots of CR back to back to back…Woohoo.

Don’t shoot wide!

Centre of attention

Bob Stauffer ‏@Bob_Stauffer 20s20 seconds ago
Oilers have gone 2-1-1 in their last 4 despite Connor McDavid registering just one point

I’ll leave this here with no comment.

BONE207

Now I can perform my own shootout. 3 shots of CR back to back to back…Woohoo.

Gordies Elbow

Klima’s_Bucket:
Oilers pick up 2 points.
Was there ever any doubt?

Love this site. 🙂

Klima's_Bucket

Oilers pick up 2 points.
Was there ever any doubt?

Confused

Terrible performance.

Great to see Connor back in the top 3 and no hendo

Need to get better fast, let’s go!

OmJo

Only saw the game from the last three minutes of the third. Two points on the board, if we can finish this year 5-2 I think we will have a real shot at making the playoffs.

russ99

I’ll take it.

We hung tough with them, so I’m not thinking it as totally undeserved.

D

russ99: Hahaha!!

Yes we do.

McDavid did his best Omark impression with that last goal there.

Gordies Elbow

Game was terrible.

2 points.

I’ll take it.

Ice Sage

TB might have the best D Corps in the league.
Good win.

edit – OK, one guy accounts for 1/2 of that excellence

Gerta Rauss

Boy we needed that

whew

D

Wow. Talk about pulling one out of the fire. This feels great though.

Centre of attention

Draisaitl leads the NHL in power play goals. (tied with others)

StixMalone

2 points the hard way!…

russ99

Nice. Hope that gets Connor his shooting mojo back.

jzed

Very undeserved, feels goood

Ryan

Talbot. Bitches.

BONE207

Connor show!!!!

Centre of attention

Oh my Connor.

Gret99zky

Easy win.

Ice Sage

Younger Oil:
Unpopular opinion:

Penalties in the last 30 seconds of OT should be automatic penalty shots.

That’s a great idea.
McDavid – that’s more like it

jzed

Get it up

OmJo

McDavid doing McDavid things.

Damn.

russ99

D:
We need Linus Omark here for this Tampa shootout.

Hahaha!!

Yes we do.

Centre of attention

Drai should try getting some speed and do the Forsberg thing.

He’s got that long reach.