Early in his first season as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers, Todd McLellan emphasized the value of volume shooting, and its importance in generating offence.
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)
Taking a look at the rate of shot attempts (i.e. Corsi For/60) the Sharks generated when McLellan was behind the bench, we see that they were always above the league average and typically ranked in the top five.
|Season||Corsi For/60||League Rank|
It appears that the Oilers have gradually made progress when it comes to generating shot attempts under McLellan, as they currently rank 12th in the league, 5th in the Western Conference, with 57.18 shot attempts per hour at even-strength. The top five teams: Boston, Toronto, Montreal, Pittsburgh and Washington.
As you might guess, one of the key drivers for the team’s rate of shot attempts includes Connor McDavid. When he’s been on the ice this season, the team has generated 62.66 shot attempts per hour, which is just below what Boston, who ranks first in the league in this metric, is generating. Without McDavid, the Oilers generate 54.55 shot attempts per hour, which is below league average, and would rank them 19th in the league. Also worth noting that the Oilers top line of McDavid, Maroon and Draisaitl is currently generating 71.12 shot attempts per hour.
If we break out the Oilers rate of shot generation over rolling 10-game segments, we see that they had at one point been generating over 60 shot attempts per hour, but steadily declined starting around the end of November. As I mentioned in my previous article, I suspect this has to do with two things. One, the team lost Darnell Nurse, who was showing progress in his offensive game, to a long term injury at the end of November. And two, the team began giving more and more ice time to Kris Russell, who provides very little to a team’s offence. More on individual players later.
In the graph above I have the team’s rate of shot attempts, but I’ve also added two additional lines: one for the rolling 10-game averages of when McDavid is on the ice (orange line), and one for the rolling 10-game averages of when McDavid is off (blue line). The team is having issues this season where they’re relying heavily on one line, more so than other teams with elite players. Knowing his ability to escalate the play of his team, and the importance of having depth to win a cup, we’ll need to know how the rest of the roster is doing without McDavid on the ice.
What we can start to do is look at each player this season, and how the team does when it comes to generating shots with and without them on the ice. I’ve ranked the table below by Corsi For/60 Rel, which tells us how the team does with the player on the ice, compared to how the team does when they’re on the bench. So when Patrick Maroon is on the ice, the Oilers generate 65.65 shot attempts per hour. Without him, that number drops by 11.77 shot attempts.
Full article is at The Copper & Blue.