It changes by year of course, but I always look at five on five scoring first when evaluating forwards. If a player is on the No. 1 line, it’s proper to expect 2.00 pts-60; second line 1.70+ and the final two lines should have a 1.50 pts-60 player or more in order to assure secondary scoring.
For defensemen, I look at Corsi five on five. You need the top two pairings to be at or over 50 percent. It’s the widest swath you can cut and along with other stats gives us a truer view of the blue. Goalies? Five on five save percentage. Have to have a starter who is inside the top 15 among staring goalies across the leagues. How do the Oilers look for next year?
I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here’s the latest!
- New DNB: Rating the Oilers’ offseason
- New Lowetide: What are Oilers’ ideal defence pairings for 2021-22?
- Lowetide: The future may come early for three Oilers prospect defencemen
- DNB: What I’m hearing about the Oilers offseason, 4.0
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers 2021-22 depth chart
- Lowetide: Warren Foegele acquisition possible key to improving the Oilers third line
- DNB: Ethan Bear on being traded, his time with the Oilers
- DNB: Ethan Bear out, Cody Ceci in, Tyson Barrie stays
- DNB: ‘Ultimate competitor’ Zach Hyman signs with Oilers
- Lowetide: Oilers targets for early and late in NHL free agency
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects, summer 2021
- DNB: Oilers draft day notebook
- DNB: Oilers come under the microscope after passing on Jesper Wallstedt
- Jonathan Willis: Zach Hyman, by the numbers
- Lowetide: 5 players outside the NHL who could help the Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: Yes or no? Have your say on 10 hypothetical Oilers trades
- Lowetide: Why Oilers defenceman Evan Bouchard is poised to exceed expectations
- Lowetide: The 7 Oilers roster spots GM Ken Holland must improve this offseason
POSSIBLE OILERS ROSTER, OPENING NIGHT 2021-22
- Line 1: McDavid is the best player in the game, Hyman clears the bar and Puljujarvi posted 1.95 pts-60 at five on five when with the captain. I think this trio has the bet covered. It will be interesting to see if Tippett runs Kassian up here, I don’t see it working. Kassian isn’t strong in coverage, the coach needs this line to outscore.
- Line 2: Draisaitl clears the 1.70 pts-60 line in the sand with ease, both wingers were unable to reach a satisfactory total. In both cases, I think you give the benefit of the doubt, and expect both to exceed in 2021-22. A repeat from either man would force management to reassess.
- Line 3: Foegele gives the team a winger who can score at five on five, plus move up the depth chart. Ryan had a season that isn’t likely to be duplicated (Khaira had the same issue) but he can help on the PK, faceoffs and hopefully aid the third line in not getting caved. Archibald needs to score more points, this line gives him a better chance.
- Line 4: No one listed on the fourth line or as an extra had much going on offensively last year, but that has to change. The Oilers might be forced to abandon an unproductive fourth line, scrapping it for parts and an improved penalty kill. Could Tippett run eight defenseman all year? I believe he might, as it takes care of the PK problem.
- Pairing One: Nurse has a strong number overall, propped by McDavid minutes. Without 97, his Corsi five on five (44.6) is low. Nurse did not perform well with centers Jujhar Khaira (46.2), Devin Shore (38.1), Kyle Turris (41.7) and Gaetan Haas (40.3). Many Oilers fans hammer Nurse for those numbers, but for me it’s a roster quality issue more than anything. Tyson Barrie is also above 50 percent overall, but 45.9 away from McDavid. That’s a better number than Nurse, but my take is he’s sheltered more. Barrie’s numbers with bottom-six centers: Turris (45.6); Khaira (50.9); Shore (45.4); Haas (49.4).
- Pairing Two: Duncan Keith and Cody Ceci are both newcomers to the team, their Corsi does inform us about their seasons in Chicago and Pittsburgh, respectively. Keith has some strange Corsi totals, including a higher number (45.2) away from Patrick Kane than with him (44.3) last year. The most striking stat of all Corsi totals is Keith away from goalie Kevin Lankanen: He has a 61.5 percent Corsi away from him. I don’t have an answer, it just stands out. Ceci played very well with Mike Matheson, a big puck mover with chaos in his game, don’t know what it means (49.1 percent Corsi) but Matheson is very mobile in case that becomes an issue. Lefties on the Oilers roster who have good speed (aside from Nurse) include Dmitri Samorukov and Philip Broberg.
- Pairing Three: Evan Bouchard is the key here, he is likely to have several defensive partners over the year (Ryan Murray was a player Edmonton reportedly pursued before he signed with the Colorado Avalanche). He was 52.2 Corsi with Russell, 53.6 without him and played well with all defenders save Lagesson (39 percent) and Koekkoek (43 percent). Russell is going to play more than most believe, and Lagesson is in no-man’s land at this moment.
- Goalies: Among goalies who played more than 1000 minutes in 2020-21, Mike Smith ranks No. 9 in five on five save percentage. Mikko Koskinen ranks No. 39 (.903). I will tell you there’s a larger than you think chance Koskinen will outplay Smith next year. Goalering is bewildering.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we kickstart a short week that ends with four CFL games! Woot! Jeff Krushell from Krush Performance will drop by at 10:20 to discuss the MLB deadline and the teams with the best post-season chances. Laura Armstrong from the Toronto Star will follow up with more baseball talk, this time specifically devoted to the Jays. Josh Lewenberg from TSN will talk NBA free agency, a crazy 24 hours in the league, and saying goodbye to Kyle Lowry. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!