Fun with percentages + TV spot (CBC)


I joined Adrienne Pan on the CBC Edmonton news this evening to discuss the Oilers struggles and their upcoming games. But since the newscast was province-wide, I also got to discuss the Flames. Clip is here and starts around the 14:25 mark: CBC Edmonton News (2017, October 19).

One thing we touched on were the Oiler’s even-strength shooting and save percentages over the first five games this season. And how they compared with all of last season.

Even-strength (5v5) 2016/17 2017/18
Team Shooting % 8.28% 3.92%
Team Save % 92.72% 89.91

It’s worth mentioning that among all 30 teams last season, the shooting percentages ranged from 9.20% to 6.26%. So the Oilers were right around the league average. They’re at a rate right now that no team has finished a season with. So really, I don’t think there’s much to worry about; it should get better.

One thing I wanted to see was if the Oilers posted this poorly of a shooting percentage at any point last season.

Oilers - 20162017 - Rolling 5 Game Shooting Percentage

For the most part, the Oilers were above the league average. But there was a dip after the all-star break. It was an interesting slump, as heading into the break the Oilers had beaten the Flames 7-3 and then had those two wins in Anaheim and San Jose on back-to-back nights. They had outscored their California rivals 8-1, and the playoffs started feeling like a real possibility at that point.

Following the break, the team was terrible, losing four of their next five, and nothing seemed like it was going right. They were outscored 14-5 over that stretch and had a 2.33% shooting percentage. What’s interesting though is that their Corsi For% over those five games was around 53%, but they just weren’t getting any breaks.

The one concern I have is that the Oilers traded away the one player who was actually pretty good at converting shots into goals. I know Eberle has his flaws, but the Oilers did nothing to replace his unique skillset. The club is hoping that one of the young players – Puljujaarvi, Yamamoto, Strome – can step in and replace the points that Eberle provided. But right now, Eberle has been replaced by Draisailt, who (when healthy) should be playing on his own line to bolster the secondary scoring.

And just for my own review, I also looked at the Oilers save percentages over rolling 5-game stretches last season.

Oilers - 20162017 - Rolling 5 Game Save Percentage

Pretty much what I expected. The Oilers had a save percentage above league average (91.5%-92.0%) for most of the season, with spikes and dips along the way.

What’s funny here is that when the team struggled to score following the all-star break, the goaltending was just fine and actually kept them in games.

Talbot did struggle in early January over five games, posting a save percentage just above 86%, but then the team’s shooting percentage jumped up to over 9% basically bailing out the shoddy goaltending. They beat the Bruins and Devils on the road before losing to the Senators. Got home, lost to the Sharks and then beat the Devils again.

I guess my takeaway from this brief exercise is that pretty much everything is going wrong for the Oilers right now. The goaltending has been bad, leaving the team in a hole early in games. And then the skaters just start pressing to score, often taking shots for the sake of taking shots. One of the two, shooting or save percentage, is bound to rebound and the team should be able to start banking some points.

Data: Natural Stat Trick

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