I joined host Alicia Asquith on the CBC Edmonton News for my weekly television segment to discuss all things Oilers. Clip is here and starts at the 19:15 mark: CBC Edmonton News (2019, February 28)
Topics we covered:
- Wednesday night’s loss against the Leafs on national television. Good reminder of how far the Oilers are from being a competitive team and becoming a legitimate contender. The Oilers could not match up with the Leafs skill and depth. And if there’s anything the Oilers can learn from Toronto, it’s the long-term vision and strategic planning that needs to happen before a general manager is even hired.
- The Oilers penalty kill, which remains as one of the league’s worst. After 64 games, the Oilers rank 28th in the league at 4v5, allowing 8.15 goals against per hour. In their last 25 games, the Oilers have allowed 9.44 goals against per hour. What’s especially alarming is the increase in the rate of unblocked shot attempts (i.e., Fenwick) against over the course of the season (Data: Natural Stat Trick). Note, the red line indicates the league-wide average of 70.5 Fenwick against per hour.
- Early on in the season, the team was allowing one of the lowest rates of Fenwick against on the penalty kill in the league, but unfortunately their goaltending had been dreadful. The team has seen a gradual increase in Fenwick, and are now one of the league’s worst at preventing unblocked shot attempts – something that the coaching staff needs to address considering the penalty kill is bleeding goals and off-setting the goal production from the team’s powerplay (currently generating 8.2 goals-for per hour, 8th best in the league). Considering Hitchcock’s previous success with penalty kills, I was expecting a lot better.
- We also touched on the Oilers passive approach to the deadline, and the importance of leveraging opportunities like the trade deadline and the upcoming draft to get things on track. Asset management and finding efficiencies in the cap (i.e., value deals) are critical, and the Oilers have got to be better at this, and far more aggressive and ruthless, if they want to win championships.
- With playoff hopes dwindling – Moneypuck had the Oilers at a 1% chance of getting in to the playoffs – we discussed what the Oilers should hope to accomplish over their remaining 19 games. It’ll be important to give Koskinen lots of starts to get a sense of what they have, and give ample ice time to the younger forwards who have contracts with the Oilers next season. The off-season should be busy for the Oilers, so they need as much intel on their own players to make well-informed decisions. Hopefully the Oilers are gathering more information on every other roster as well, and getting a better understanding of what the market will be like – pretty much for every position – this summer.
Big thank you to everyone at CBC for putting it all together. 😉