CBC Edmonton News (TV): Recent success, expectations under Hitchcock, lack of scoring and goaltending + notes

cbc edmonton logoI joined host Sandra Batson on the CBC Edmonton News for my weekly segment to discuss all things Oilers. Clip is here and starts at the 17:55 mark: CBC Edmonton News (2018, November 29)

Topics we covered:

  • Recent stretch of games, and what the positives have been.
  • What we can expect from the Oilers with Hitchcock behind the bench.
  • The Oilers goaltending situation with Koskinen starting again tonight, and what this can mean for Cam Talbot.
  • Goal-scoring issues and what the Oilers should do to address it.
  • Preview of tonight’s game against Los Angeles.

Notes:

  • While it’s great that the team is banking points, the Oilers should be concerned with the fact that they’re constantly in one-goal games and often needing overtime to collect the extra point. Couple articles I found helpful in the past and their key findings:
    • Clear victories, which are victories by two or more goals (non empty-net), “are a better indicator of talent level than a team’s overall record, and much better than a team’s record in one-goal games” (Source: Copper & Blue)
    • Also: “There’s almost no relationship between winning (or losing) a lot of one goal games in one season and winning (or losing) a lot the next season.  There’s a reasonably strong relationship between wins by two or more goals from year-to-year, though.  It’s pretty clear which is an indication of real talent and which is mostly chance.” (Source: Pension Plan Puppets)
  • I also mentioned the work I did last week about Ken Hitchcock, and his history with special teams.
  • Goaltending numbers worth keeping an eye on:
    • Even-strength (5v5)
      • The Oilers team save percentage at even-strength isn’t bad. They currently rank 13th in the league with 92.23%. It’s their save percentage on the penalty kill that’s bad, ranking 25th with 82.61%. More on that below.
      • Among 39 goalies who have played at least 450 even-strength (5v5) minutes (roughly 10 games) this season, Koskinen ranks 9th with a save percentage of 93.5%. Talbot ranks 26th with a save percentage of 91.5%. Average save percentage among the group of 39 is 92.2%.
      • When it comes to high danger save percentage (5v5), Koskinen ranks 17th with 84.2%. Talbot ranks 21st with 83.7%. Average high danger save percentage among the group of 39 is 83.6%.
    • Penalty kill (4v5):
      • Among 36 goalies who have played at least 50 minutes shorthanded, Koskinen ranks 5th with a 93.0% save percentage. Talbot ranks last with a save percentage of 73.5%. Average save percentage among this group is 87.75%.

  • Can’t emphasize enough how it’s the Oilers’ lack of scoring talent that’s sinking them right now. They’ve only scored 37 goals at even-strength, the third lowest total in the league, for a goals-for per hour rate of 1.93. They rank 28th in the league with a 6.18% shooting percentage. They’re right around league average when it comes to generating unblocked shot attempts (a good proxy for shot quality), but just can’t finish.
  • How the team addresses their scoring issue is going to be interesting. I doubt that guys like Yamamoto or Puljujarvi are the answer – they might be another year away from being dependable NHLers. And I don’t think the third or fourth lines have enough talent to squeeze out a few goals. Best bet is to part with an asset, maybe a pick or a prospect, but it’ll probably require a roster player to land a good scoring winger.
  • This is where the Oilers need to get creative. One player that I mentioned on the newscast as potential trade-bait was Darnell Nurse. Mostly because his perceived value on the market is likely far, far higher than his actual value. His numbers have not been good this year, and I’m not convinced he’s anything more than a second or third pairing player.

Data: Natural Stat Trick

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