It should come as no surprise that one of the Oilers biggest issues in the 2017/18 regular season were the number of goals against. Now a lot of the damage was done when the Oilers were on the penalty kill, as the club finished 27th in the league, and allowed one of the highest rates of scoring chances against when shorthanded. But it was also at even-strength (5v5) when the team struggled, allowing 176 goals – the fifth highest in the league – with a rate of 2.62 goals against per 60. What’s especially disheartening is that the Oilers actually scored 161 even-strength (5v5) goals this past season, 12th best in the league, and only four goals less than the season prior when they finished second in the Pacific division.
Needless to say, team defence was a significant issue. Not only were the goals against pouring in at even-strength, but the Oilers were also one of the worst teams in the league when it came to the rate of high-danger shots against, as well as the rate of scoring chances against. Another metric that captured the Oilers deficiencies on the defensive side of the puck was the rate of expected goals against (xGA), a weighting placed on every unblocked shot against based on the historical probability of the shot becoming a goal, taking into account the type of shot and shot location.
What’s troubling is that team defence has been an ongoing issue for the Oilers since Chiarelli and McLellan arived in the spring of 2015. The Oilers have historically had issues with defence, but you would expect things to improve considering the number of moves the current management group has made to address the blueline, including significant trades and free agent signings.
Here’s how the Oilers have done over the last three seasons when it comes to different defensive metrics, and where they’ve ranked league wide.
Full article is at The Copper & Blue.