Shots from the blueline

klefbom

The Oilers are currently near the bottom of the league when it comes to scoring goals at even-strength (5v5) this season, having only scored 49 goals in 29 games. Their goals-per-hour rate of 2.10 is 26th overall, and well below their scoring rate from the previous two seasons.

What doesn’t help is the fact that the Oilers are an average team when it comes to generating shots, namely the shot attempts from the high danger area (i.e., home plate area) in front of the opposing goal.

They rank 13th in the league when it comes to unblocked shot attempts (i.e.. Fenwick; a proxy for shot quality) with 43.99 per hour. That number of course jumps to 51.31 per hour with McDavid on the ice, but drop to 40.16 without him. Anything below 40 has you in the bottom five in the league, so the Oilers are just barely getting by without their captain.

When it comes to generating high danger shot attempts, the Oilers are 17th in the league with 10.61 per hour. Again, we see a spike in this metric when McDavid is on the ice as the team generates 13.58 high danger shot attempts per hour with him. And the team sees a significant drop in production, currently only generating 9.06 per hour without him. Anything below 10.0 high danger shot attempts per hour, and you’re in the bottom third of the league.

Now a big reason why the team struggles to generate quality shot attempts and score goals is due to the fact that they lack shooting talent. It’s become obvious that Oilers management struggles to identify skilled players at the professional level, and has made poor, franchise-altering decisions based on flawed logic.

I think another related reason for their scoring issues is the team’s insistence on running low-to-high plays in the offensive zone, moving the puck to their defencemen for point shots in an attempt to make tip-plays and find rebounds.

Related: Tactalytics: Using Data to Inform Tactical Offensive Zone Decisions – Hockey Graphs (2016, July 11)

While there are benefits to moving the puck to the blueline and creating space and potential passing lanes, the shots that come from defenceman are typically from low probability scoring areas. And the rebounds that are created from point shots, which could just as easily be recovered by the opposing team, aren’t frequent enough to warrant the continuation of funneling offence through the point shots.

As of today, the Oilers have two defenceman in the top 10 in the league when it comes to the number of individual unblocked shot attempts (iFF/60) at even-strength: Oscar Klefbom who sits 5th among defencemen with 92 and Darnell Nurse who ranks 10th with 83. Worth noting that when it comes to the number of shots that actually hit the net, Klefbom currently ranks 3rd among defencemen with 71 – only behind Erik Karlsson and Dougie Hamilton. And Nurse ranks 7th among defencemen with 64, tied with Brent Burns who often finishes first every year.

Player Team GP iFF Rebounds Created
Erik Karlsson S.J 30 105 11
Dougie Hamilton CAR 28 103 13
Brent Burns S.J 30 100 10
Roman Josi NSH 29 94 5
Oscar Klefbom EDM 29 92 5
Kris Letang PIT 26 88 6
Morgan Rielly TOR 29 88 6
Thomas Chabot OTT 29 86 10
Matt Dumba MIN 29 84 8
Darnell Nurse EDM 29 83 7

The Oilers reliance on two of their left-shot defencemen shows up in the shot-map below. The club is well above league average when it comes to point shots from the left side near the blueline, but it’s not translating to a higher frequency of high danger shot attempts from in close. The frequent shots Klefbom and Nurse are taking are not only from low-probability areas, but their shots aren’t creating any rebounds.

 

Oilers - FF60 - HockeyViz

What’s worth noting is that the team only sees a slight increase in the rate of high danger shot attempts when Klefbom is on the ice (11.32 per hour), compared to when he’s not on the ice (10.15 per hour). When Nurse is on the ice, the team actually sees a slight decrease in the rate of high danger shot attempts (9.88 per hour). Without McDavid on the ice with him, Nurse’s on-ice rate of high danger chances decreases even more (8.30 per hour).

What’s interesting is that the Sharks also have two defencemen in the top 10 when it comes to individual unblocked shot attempts. The difference is that the Sharks are getting a much higher rate of high-danger shot attempts, second best in the league with 13.50 per hour. Whether that’s directly related to the defencemen shooting is unclear, but my thought is that the Sharks forwards do a great job playing from behind the opponents net and generating chances off cycles down low.

Below is the shot map for the Sharks.

Sharks - FF60 - HockeyViz

My initial take away from all of this is that the Oilers defencemen are taking way too many shots and are taking away offensive opportunities from the forwards. Now you could argue that the team doesn’t have enough talent up front, and that might be why the team is instructing the defencemen to shoot so often. The problem is that the defencemen are shooting from low probability scoring areas. And the shots they do take aren’t translating into rebounds and second chances. That could be due to Klefbom’s and Nurse’s shots being seen and saved by the goalie, or the fact that the forward talent isn’t doing enough to get to rebounds. Probably a bit of both.

Definitely something to keep an eye on as the season progresses. I’ll also dig through some of the micro-stats as they become available to see how often the Oilers make shots and passes through low-to-high plays and behind-the-net plays. At this point, the team needs to squeeze out as much offence as they can to contend for a playoff spot, and should be doing everything possible to improve their rate of generating high danger shot attempts.

Data: Natural Stat Trick, Hockey Viz

Related articles:

 

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CBC Edmonton News (TV): Goal-scoring issues, Klefbom’s performance and upcoming games

cbc edmonton logoI joined host Alicia Asquith on the CBC Edmonton News for my weekly segment to discuss all things Oilers. Clip is here and starts at the 16:10 mark: CBC Edmonton News (2018, December 6)

Topics we covered:

  • Re-cap of last night’s game against the Blues, what went well and what the challenges were.
  • The Oilers goal-scoring problems, as they currently rank 26th in the league when it comes to total goals and 29th in terms of goals per 60 at even-strength (5v5).

  • Klefbom’s performance so far this season and his improved play compared to last year. I also touched on how Klefbom takes a lot of shots from low probability scoring areas and how it might be hurting the rest of the team’s offensive production.

  • Upcoming games at home against Minnesota and Calgary – two teams who are top-10 in the league when it comes to points percentage.

Big thank you to everyone at the CBC for putting it all together!

Tracking the Pacific Division – As of November 30, 2018

hkn-knights-oilers-20181118

Following up to my post from the end of October where I looked at the Pacific division and each team’s underlying numbers.

Heading into Saturday night’s game at home against Vegas, the Oilers were fifth in their division with 26 points. The Flames are sitting in first with 32 points, and a +14 overall goal differential. The Ducks, thanks to their exceptional goaltending, are second with 31 points but have a -14 goal differential. Amazing. San Jose – who were expected to run away with the division are third with 29 points and a -2 overall goal differential.

Here’s how the Pacific division teams have done as of November 30, 2018. An explanation of each metric can be found in the glossary at the end of the article.

Pacific Division - 20181130

Couple notes:

  • At even-strength (5v5), the Edmonton Oilers have been good possession-wise, ranking 12th in the league when it comes to Corsi For percentage and Fenwick-for percentage. Their goaltending has been fine as well, ranking 13th in the league thanks to the play of Mikko Koskinen. The Oilers are doing well defensively, ranking 9th in the league when it comes to the rate of unblocked shot attempts (i.e., Fenwick) with 40.75 per hour and ranking 10th when it comes to the rate of high danger shot attempts with 10.47 per hour. Most importantly, the Oilers rank 10th in the league in goals against per hour with 2.24 per hour.
  • The biggest and most alarming issue for the Oilers is goal-scoring. They’ve only scored 38 goals at even-strength, a rate of 1.90 per hour which ranks them 4th worst in the league. The only teams they’re ahead of? Anaheim, Arizona and Los Angeles – all division rivals.
  • One more thing about goal-scoring – over the last two seasons, the Oilers have never posted a 25-game stretch where they’ve scored lower than 2.00 goals per hour. This really is incredible considering that they’re top players are all healthy. Part of the issue is luck, as their shooting percentage is below team averages. The big problem of course is the lack of talent on the wings, something that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
  • The teams that are currently strongest possession-wise are Calgary, San Jose and Vegas. Arizona started off strong, but their possession numbers have dropped since the end of October, while Calgary has gradually improved.
  • When it comes to powerplays, the Oilers are tops in the Pacific and sixth league-wide with 8.73 goals per hour. San Jose is 11th and Calgary is 13th. When it comes to penalty kills, Arizona and San Jose are one and two respectively league-wide allowing less than 4.5 goals against per hour. Calgary, Vancouver and Los Angeles are among the league’s worst.
  • While Calgary’s goaltending appears to have improved, both San Jose and Vegas are having issues with theirs. San Jose has a -10 goal differential at even-strength and Vegas has a -7 goal differential – remarkable considering the amount of hype around both teams in the off-season.
  • Among 38 goalies who have played at least 450 minutes at even-strength this season, Sharks goaltender Martin Jones ranks last with a save percentage 88.1%. And Marc-Andre Fleury ranks 32nd with a save percentage of 90.7%. It’ll be something to keep an eye on as both clubs have high expectations and may need to explore the goalie market to ensure they have success.

Data: Natural Stat Trick

Glossary:

  • Points percentage (PTS%) – The total points accumulated divided by the points that were available, including extra time.
  • Goals-for and Goals-against (GF/GA) – The number of goals scored and the number goals allowed at even-strength.
  • Goal Differential (Goal +/-) – The difference between the goals scored and the number of goals allowed (i.e., goals-for minus goals-against)
  • Corsi For percentage (CF%) – The proportion of all the shot attempts the team generated and allowed that the team generated (i.e., Corsi For/(Corsi For + Corsi Against). This is used as a proxy for possession and can predict a team’s future share of goals (GF%).
  • Fenwick For percentage (FF%) – The proportion of all the unblocked shot attempts the team generated and allowed that the team generated (i.e., Fenwick For/(Fenwick For + Fenwick Against). This is used as a proxy for shot quality and considers shot blocking a repeatable skill. It can also predict a team’s future share of goals, slightlty better than Corsi.
  • Shots For percentage (SF%) – The proportion of all the shots on goal that the team generated and allowed that the team generated (i.e., Shots For/(Shots For + Shots Against).
  • Scoring Chances For percentage (SCF%) – The proportion of all the scoring chances that the team generated and allowed that the team generated (i.e., Scoring Chances For/(Scoring Chances For + Scoring Chances Against),
  • Goals For percentage (GF%) – The proportion of all the goals that the team scored and allowed that the team generated (i.e., Goals For/(Goals For + Goals Against).
  • Shooting percentage (SH%) – The percentage of the team’s shots on goal that became goals (i.e., total goals divided by the total shots on goal).
  • Save percentage (SV%) – The percentage of the team’s shots on goal against that were saved (i.e., 1-(totals goals allowed divided by the total shots on goal against))
  • PDO – The sum of a team’s shooting percentage (SH%) and its save percentage (SV%). It’s based on the theory that most teams will ultimately regress toward a sum of 100, and is often viewed as a proxy for how lucky a team is. (Source)

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

Hitchcock’s history with special teams

hitchcock_ken

Out of curiosity, I wanted to know what Ken Hitchcock’s history has been on the powerplay and the penalty kill. Fact is, the Oilers are coming off a dreadful  season that was sunk in large part by their poor special teams. This season, things haven’t gone so well either. Prior to Hitchcock’s hiring, the Oilers ranked 16th in the league on the powerplay (5v4), with a goals for per hour rate of 7.72, and 25th in the league on the penalty kill (4v5), allowing 8.69 goals against per hour.

Worth noting that the penalty kill has done a good job prior to Hitchcock’s hiring at limiting shots and chances against, but their goaltending has sunk them.  The results have been poor, but I don’t think it’s because of the process they have in place. The powerplay on the other hand is average and average for good reason as they struggle to generate shots consistently. Considering how much talent they have, their current results and underlying numbers are unacceptable.

Two numbers that I rely on when looking at special teams: goals and unblocked shots.

Goals are what wins and loses you games – those are the actual results so it’s obviously important. Unblocked shots  (i.e., Fenwick – also a proxy for shot quality) is what teams are trying to generate on the powerplay and limit on the penalty kill, and it’s largely driven by coaching and the tactics they employ. Goals on the powerplay can be driven by individual talent – players go hot and cold, and we know how random goal-scoring can be sometimes. On the penalty kill,  same thing, but it’s the individual talent between the pipes that can hide a team’s deficiencies and prop up positive results. That’s why I look at shot metrics, as they  can give you some insight on whether or not the results on the powerplay or penalty kill are real.

When pulling goals and shots, I look at rate stats to gauge how efficient a team is on special teams. We know that not all teams take and draw the same number of penalties. And looking at goals and Fenwick at a per-60 rate gives us a better idea of how efficient a powerplay or penalty kill unit was.

Since we only have access to Fenwick numbers on powerplays and penalty kills from 2007 on-wards, I only looked at three of Hitchcock’s four seasons in Columbus, his full six year run in St. Louis, and his one-year stint in Dallas last season.

Powerplay (5v4)

Below are Hitchcock’s results on the powerplay since 2007.

Team Season Fenwick For/60 Goals For/60
CLB 2007/08 58.54-23rd 4.98-25th
CLB 2008/09 65.93-25th 4.63-29th
CLB 2009/10 69.76-17th 6.24-15th
STL 2011/12 75.96-6th 6.33-12th
STL 2013 73.08-4th 7.08-7th
STL 2013/14 67.54-20th 6.73-6th
STL 2014/15 76.33-7th 7.89-4th
STL 2015/16 60.11-30th 8.10-1st
STL 2016/17 69.52-24th 7.46-9th
DAL 2017/18 79.32-10th 6.99-17th

Notes:

  • He had some fantastic results in St. Louis, but I suspect it was largely driven by the individual talent on his teams. As a group, the Blues didn’t always do a good job at generating unblocked shots and instead relied on above average team shooting percentages. That 2015/16 season was interesting – they were last in the league at generating shot attempts, but still managed to finish with the best powerplay in the league – thanks to a 18.59% shooting percentage, the highest rate a team has posted in a full season since 2007.
  • Hitchcock’s results on the powerplay in Columbus weren’t very good. They finisihed near the bottom of the league,  and struggled to generate a lot of offence. Prior to being fired in his fourth season there, the club had improved and was right around league average when it came to goals and shots.
  • The powerplay in Dallas appears to have been a little unlucky. They were 10th in the league at generating shots, and did well in generating chances from the high danger area. But their team shooting percentage finished in the bottom third of the league. The numbers they posted on the powerplay under Hitchcock were pretty close to the numbers they posted the year before when Lindy Ruff was behind the Stars bench.

Penalty Kill (4v5)

Below are Hitchcock’s results on the penalty kill since 2007.

Team Season Fenwick Against/60 Goals Against/60
CLB 2007/08 61.89-10th 5.47-10th
CLB 2008/09 68.18-10th 6.25-11th
CLB 2009/10 69.09-15th 6.71-22nd
STL 2011/12 60.67-5th 3.44-3rd
STL 2013 52.82-2nd 4.89-5th
STL 2013/14 61.69-3rd 4.54-2nd
STL 2014/15 63.73-2nd 5.43-8th
STL 2015/16 70.46-13th 4.58-3rd
STL 2016/17 66.47-9th 6.49-20th
DAL 2017/18 72.73-8th 6.64-13th

Notes:

  • Outstanding results pretty much anywhere he goes.
  • Hitchcock regularly has his team in the top 10 when it comes to the rate of unblocked shot attempts against.
  • The year before he got to Dallas, the Stars had one of the worst penalty kills in the league, allowing the most goals per hour and were mediocre when it came to limiting shots against. It did also help Hitchcock to have Ben Bishop in net for most of the games, compared to the season prior when Ruff only had Lehtonen and Niemi.
  • For my own interest, I looked into how well Hitchcock’s clubs have done at generating shot attempts when shorthanded – just to get a sense of how aggressive his teams play. His teams have typically been below average in this regard, so I don’t expect a spike in shorthanded goals.

Thoughts

  • Hitchcock’s results on the penalty kill have been excellent, and they’ve been real. It’s true he’s had some very good goaltending over the years, but his teams have regularly been top five defensively limiting shots and high danger chances. Hopefully he can implement some of that in Edmonton. Wonder how Trent Yawney feels.
  • The powerplay is an area that I think Hitchcock should lean on Manny Viveiros for, as his assistant has had powerplay success in his prior coaching stints. Hitchcock hasn’t had the greatest success when it comes to generating chances, and he could get away with it in Edmonton with McDavid running things. But it’d be in the team’s best interest to have two effective units that consistently generate shots and hopefully goals.
  • One thing worth seeing after another 20 games or so is how much different Hitchcock deploys certain players and forward and defensive tandems on the powerplay and penalty kill compared to McLellan.
  • At the end of the season, it’ll be interesting to compare the Oilers results under Hitchcock with the results under McLellan. Here’s how the Oilers fared over the three full seasons with McLellan behind the bench:
2015-2018 Fenwick For/60 Goals For/60
Powerplay 74.47-14th 6.44-18th
2015-2018 Fenwick Against/60 Goals Against/60
Penalty Kill 72.34-12th 7.09-24th

Any feedback, let me know.

Data: Natural Stat Trick

CBC Edmonton News (TV): Coaching change, acquiring Wideman and Spooner, and previewing the upcoming games + other notes

cbc edmonton logoI joined host Alicia Asquith on the CBC Edmonton News for my weekly segment to discuss all things Oilers. Clip is here and starts at the 15:00 mark: CBC Edmonton News (2018, November 22)

Topics we covered:

  • The hiring of Ken Hitchcock, and what we can expect from the new head coach.
  • The key factors that lead to Todd McLellan’s dismissal, including the general manager’s poorly constructed roster.
  • The acquisition of Ryan Spooner last weekend and Chris Wideman earlier today, and what to expect from each player.
  • The upcoming games against Anaheim and Los Angeles, and really how poor the Pacific division has been.

Couple other thoughts bouncing around in my drafts that I haven’t converted into articles.

Coaching change

  • This does not appear to be a Peter Chiarelli hire. I’d speculate that the decision to bring in Ken Hitchcock came from higher up. And it signals, to me at least, that the team is now evaluating the general manager’s work.
  • I think Chiarelli’s preference would’ve been to replace McLellan with one of the experienced assistant coaches that he hired in the summer.
  • I understand why the head coach had to be replaced. The results weren’t there, and we didn’t see enough progress from some of the higher-end draft picks like Yamamoto and Puljujarvi. He didn’t line match, and I don’t think he put together optimal line combinations. It doesn’t help either when the roster he was given had so many flaws, so many holes. And I get the sense he was pressured by management to play Lucic in the top six and do everything he could to have Draisatl center his own line.
  • Not absolving McLellan for the team’s poor results, but there’s a lot of external factors that I hope Hitchcock, or the future coach, doesn’t have to put up with.
  • If the organization was committed to the management group, I think there would’ve been a more exhaustive search, lead by the general manager, to find the next head coach.
  • I’m really curious to see how much the shots against drop with Hitchcock behind the bench. The Oilers are league average right now when it comes to shots, unblocked shot attempts and scoring chances against per hour. Worth tracking after another 20 games.

Strome/Spooner trade

  • I didn’t understand the Strome-for-Spooner trade before the coaching change. I especially don’t understand it now. The trade itself came across to me as something the coach influenced, perhaps thinking that Cooper Marody could slide into that third line center spot. And that an additional winger who has some speed would help the team.
  • One line I wanted to see was Strome with Marody and Khaira. Wasn’t going to happen because Lucic was stapled to Strome’s wing, and he wasn’t going to be on the fourth line or healthy scratched. Aaand now we definitely won’t see it.
  • Can’t help but wonder how Hitchcock would’ve handled a player like Strome had the trade not been made. Strome is such a non-event player; he doesn’t create much and doesn’t allow much against either. I would think he’d have found a spot in the top six on the wing or maybe remain as a third line pivot and a key penalty killer.
  • I had a good laugh when I noticed that Spooner’s career shooting percentage is just as lame as Strome’s. I was hoping that maybe Spooner would be closer to league average and that maybe he could find some success playing with RNH on the second line. Expectations are fairly low at this point for Spooner.

Shooting percentage

  • I suspect we’ll see the team’s shooting percentage at even-strength gradually improve, and the credit will automatically go to the new head coach. Heading into Tuesday’s game in San Jose, the Oilers ranked 26th in the league with a 6.60% shooting percentage. They’re 13th in terms of generating shots on goal (31.62 shots per hour).
  • The team’s high danger shooting percentage is also extremely low. They’re 29th in the league with a 13.19% shooting percentage. I want to think that they should improve since they’re right around league average when it comes to high danger shot attempts per hour. The problem is they don’t have enough skill outside of McDavid, RNH and Draisaitl to be finishers. Currently the top two players in terms of individual high danger shot attempts per hour are Rattie and Caggiula – not exactly the most talented guys that strike fear into goalies.

Such a brutal spot that the Oilers are in right now. They need to change how they operate and how they assemble a roster, but that’s only going to happen if they overhaul their management group, and even make some changes to the executive group above the general manager. So much potential being wasted. In my opinion, they need to start changing their overall approach and strategy right away and get a jump on things for next season.

 

Tobias Rieder’s injury and its impact to the Oilers penalty kill

coppernblue.com.full.54273Some bad news for the Edmonton Oilers as the club announced that they will be without the services of Tobias Rieder for one month. The winger suffered an upper-body injury in Tuesday night’s win against Montreal (Source).

In 18 games this season, Rieder has played predominantly on the second line alongside Leon Draisaitl, registering seven assists. Five of those assists have come at even-strength (5v5), giving him a points per hour rate of 1.53 – ranking him seventh on the team among forwards.

While his offensive output hasn’t been great, it’s his versatility on the roster that will be missed the most.

”It’s a blow that hurts us in a number of different areas. He became a very trustworthy player for us. A very solid defensive player, one that you could put out in any situation. Up front, he was creating well while maintaining that responsible aspect of the game.” – Todd McLellan (Source: Edmonton Oilers)

Rieder has been deployed as part of the second powerplay (5v4) unit this season, as well as the penalty kill (4v5) where he ranks just behind second on the team in the number of minutes played shorthanded (28:24) and the average number of minutes played per game (1:34).

Considering how poor the special teams were last season, and how it impacted their final results, it’s critical to assess what Rieder’s absence will mean to the team as they try to remain competitive.

Full article is at The Copper & Blue.