What’s Going on with Jordan Eberle?

Jordan Eberle is in a bit of a funk right now. After 37 games, the winger is tied for third on the team with 25 points (8 goals, 17 assists), but the majority of those points have come on the powerplay, as he only has 12 points at even-strength. Considering his history, and that he’s getting top six minutes with the best players on the team, his production should be much higher.

Since players don’t get the same amount and quality of ice time (i.e., some get more offensive opportunities than others), we can look at how efficient a player is at getting points in the time that they get. When it comes to points per 60 minutes of even-strength ice time, Eberle currently ranks 11th among 15 forwards on the team who have played at least 100 minutes this season with 1.40.

Season GP TOI G A P Points/60
2010/11 69 941.31 12 17 29 1.85
2011/12 78 1044.52 23 31 54 3.10
2012/13 48 693.51 12 15 27 2.34
2013/14 80 1151.03 17 21 38 1.98
2014/15 81 1228.93 18 23 41 2.00
2015/16 69 972.86 16 15 31 1.91
2016/17 37 514.04 3 9 12 1.40

Looking at his career numbers, we see that 1.40 points per 60 is well below his expected level. Since entering the league, Eberle has regularly finished in the top three on the Oilers when it comes to this metric, so it’s pretty odd to see him ranked so low.

eberle-p60

Knowing his individual production is off, we can next look at how the Oilers as a team have done with and without Eberle this season. Below are the five metrics I’ll be using.

  • Corsi For% (CF%) – The proportion of all the shot attempts the team generated and allowed that the Oilers 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.
  • Fenwick For% (FF%) – The proportion of all the unblocked shot attempts the team generated and allowed that the Oilers 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, slightly better than Corsi.
  • Scoring Chances For% (SCF%) – The proportion of all the scoring chances (as defined by Corsica Hockey) that the team generated and allowed that the Oilers generated (i.e., Scoring Chances For/(Scoring Chances For + Scoring Chances Against),
  • Expected Goals For% (xGF%) – This is a weighting placed on every unblocked shot based on the probability of the shot becoming a goal. This depends on the type of shot, location and uses historical shot and goals data to come up with the probability for each unblocked shot. This has been found to be a better predictor of future goals than Corsi and Fenwick. (Detailed explanation can be found at Corsica Hockey)
  • Goals For% (GF%) – The proportion of all the goals that the team scored and allowed that the Oilers generated (i.e., Goals For/(Goals For + Goals Against).

Here’s how the team has done across those five metrics with and without Eberle this season.

eberle-on-ice

Here we see that across four of the five metrics, the Oilers are a better team with Eberle than without him. For instance, of all the shot attempts (i.e., Corsi) that happen, for and against, the Oilers get 53.07% of them with Eberle on the ice, but that number drops to 50.50% when he’s on the bench. The problem for Eberle is that when it comes to the team’s share of goals, the Oilers are currently taking a hit as they’ve been outscored 17-19 (a goal-share of 47.22%) when he’s on the ice. When he’s on the bench, the team has outscored the opponents 51-44 (a goal share of 53.68%).

Goals, and the share of all the goals, are obviously the most important thing, but they don’t do a good job of predicting future goals. That’s why we look at the shot share (i.e., Corsi/Fenwick) as well as the team’s share of expected goals. The team is outshooting opponents with Eberle on the ice and are getting more quality shots, so we can hope that the actual goal-share will eventually start to align with the metrics that predict future outcomes.

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Eberle and Hall and Stats and Meaning

Bob Stauffer of 630 CHED tweeted this out a couple days ago regarding Jordan Eberle and former Oiler Taylor Hall. My initial reaction was that it was missing some important context that would make it more clear to readers. But my initial guess was that it was implying that both players are in a bit of a funk.

Beyond the whole “is Eberle being traded for a second-pairing defenceman?” question, I got asked a few times “what does this actually mean?”, as in what are these stats telling us?

So here goes. Feel free to question or expand in the comments.

Points

Hall has 23 points this season. 13 have come at even-strength (498 mins), which translates to 1.86 points per 60 minutes of ice time. Using a per-60 rate, at even-strength, we can see how efficiently players use their time in a natural game state as we know that not everyone gets the same amount and type of ice time.

Hall’s current scoring rate is below his career rate of 2.32 between 2010/11 and 2015/16. But he still ranks 3rd on the Devils this season among 14 forwards (minimum 100 minutes played) only behind Zajac and Cammalleri.

Of Eberle’s 23 points, 10 have come at even-strength (419 mins), which translates to 1.32 points per 60 minutes of ice time. That’s below his career rate of 2.19 between 2010/11 and 2015/16. Eberle sits 12th on the team among 15 Oiler forwards this season, ahead of Lucic (!), Pouliot and Caggiula.

Goals

Individual points are important. But so too are the number of goals a team scores and allows at 5v5 when a player is on the ice as this impacts the standings.

When Hall has been on the ice at 5v5 this season, the Devils have scored 15 goals, but allowed 18. So of the 33 total goals scored (for and against), the Devils have a goal-share of 45.45%. When Hall is not on the ice, the Devils have been outscored 24-29, a goal-share of 45.28. Basically, the team is getting outscored with and without Hall. The Devils as a team have a goal-share of 41%, only ahead of Colorado. Brutal.

When Eberle has been on the ice at 5v5 this season, the Oilers have scored 16 goals, but allowed 19. So of the 35 total goals scored (for and against), the Oilers have a goal-share of 45.71%. When Eberle is not on the ice, the Oilers have outscored their opponents 51-46, a goal-share of 54.26. So the team is getting outscored when Eberle is on the ice. And they fare much better with him on the bench. Strange, considering he’s a skilled top-6 forward, who has played a lot with McDavid.

Goals matter for obvious reasons, but they don’t do a good job of predicting future goals. That’s where the shot (Corsi) data comes in.

Corsi (i.e., shot attempts, proxy for possession, predicts future goals)

The Devils are one of the worst teams when it comes to their share of shot attempts, sitting 26th in the league with 47.27%. When Hall’s been on the ice this season, the Devils have been outshot by their opponents 375 to 381 at even-strength. So of the 756 shots (for and against), the Devils have a shot-share of 49.60% with Hall on the ice.

When Hall is on the bench, the Devils have been outshot 635-775, which is a shot-share of 45.04%. The team is better with him than without him. But the Devils are not likely to outscore their opponents if they can’t outshoot them.

The Oilers are currently 11th in the league with a shot-share of 51.06% at even-strength. With Eberle on the ice, the Oilers have outshot their opponents 511-459, which gives the team a 52.68% share of the total shot attempts. Without Eberle this season, the Oilers have a 50.37% share of the total shot attempts, having outshot opponents 1,077 to 1,061. So the Oilers have done better with Eberle when it comes to their share of shot attempts, but it hasn’t translated into a better goal-share. What gives?

PDO

PDO is the team save percentage + the team shooting percentage when the player is on the ice. This gives us a sense of how lucky or unlucky a team and player might be. (Great interview of Brian King, the inventor of PDO, over at The Oilers Rig). PDO should equal 100, as team’s on average stop 92.5% of the shots against, and convert 7.5% of shots taken into goals at even-strength. As Bob tweeted, both Hall and Eberle’s on-ice PDO, as individuals, are around 98.

The Devils rank 26th in the league when it comes to the team PDO sitting at 98.17. Their team save percentage is 26th (91.44%), and their team shooting percentage is 24th (6.73%) – both metrics are below league average. When Hall is on the ice, the team’s save and shooting percentages align with the team average (6.67% team shooting, 91.96 team save percentage). The Devils are a mess of a team right now, Hall is a bright spot and over time (if he stays healthy) we know he can be a driver for them. (This topic deserves more time and analysis, but I’ll focus on Eberle for now.)

NHL: Nashville Predators at Edmonton OilersThe Oilers rank 10th in the league, sitting at a PDO of 100.32. Team save percentage (92.55%) and team shooting percentage (7.76%) are right around the league average. When Eberle is on the ice, the team save percentage stays the same, right at 92.72%. The shooting percentage on the other hand, takes a dip with Eberle on the ice, dropping down to 6.04%. Eberle’s personal shooting percentage (the proportion of his own shots that turn into goals) at 5v5 is sitting at 4.84%, a significant drop from his career shooting percentage prior to this season, which sits at 13.19%.

Here’s how Eberle has done year over year. His shooting percentage has been pretty consistent through his career with his current 4.84% shooting percentage being an anomaly.

Season Individual Shooting%
2010/11 9.76
2011/12 18.25
2012/13 11.43
2013/14 12.32
2014/15 13.74
2015/16 13.33

Takeaway

Expect Eberle to convert more of his shots into goals this season. And don’t expect him to be 11th on the team in points per 60 at even-strength by the end of the season.

The team is getting a higher share of the shot attempts with him on the ice, and we know he’s capable of scoring at this level. It should be a matter of time before things get back to normal for him.

Data: Corsica Hockey

 

The Oilers Have League Average Goaltending. Rejoice!

A big reason why the Edmonton Oilers have been a competitive team this season has been the play of 29-year old goalie Cam Talbot. The netminder has started 32 of the Oilers 36 games this season, the most among all goalies, playing over 1,900 minutes, and has a record of 17-10-5 with three shutouts. Among the 46 goalies who have played at least 500 minutes at even-strength (5v5) this season, Talbot ranks 20th with a save percentage of 92.73%. Worth noting that his play on the penalty kill was a big reason why the team ranked so highly at one point, as he ranks 10th among the 41 goalies who have played at least 70 minutes shorthanded with a save percentage of 89.66%. (Source: Corsica Hockey).

The Oilers currently sit 10th in the league, and 5th in the Western Conference, when it comes to team save percentage at even-strength with 92.55%. This is a major jump from the past three seasons, as the club has ranked 26th, 30th and 29th since the 2013/14 season. The league average typically hovers around 92.0% to 92.5%, so anything near that can be considered progress for this franchise.

team_save_percentage___edm_vs_league

Full article is at The Copper & Blue.

The Edmonton Oilers With and Without McDavid (Part II)

A while back, I looked into how the Edmonton Oilers did across five metrics with McDavid on the ice and McDavid off the ice at even-strength (5v5) (Source). Those five metrics were:

  • Corsi For% (CF%) – The proportion of all the shot attempts the team generated and allowed that the Oilers 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.
  • Fenwick For% (FF%) – The proportion of all the unblocked shot attempts the team generated and allowed that the Oilers 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.
  • Scoring Chances For% (SCF%) – The proportion of all the scoring chances (as defined by Corsica Hockey) that the team generated and allowed that the Oilers generated (i.e., Scoring Chances For/(Scoring Chances For + Scoring Chances Against),
  • Expected Goals For% (xGF%) – This is a weighting placed on every unblocked shot based on the probability of the shot becoming a goal. This depends on the type of shot, location and uses historical shot and goals data to come up with the probability for each unblocked shot. This has been found to be a better predictor of future goals than Corsi and Fenwick. (Detailed explanation can be found at Corsica Hockey)
  • Goals For% (GF%) – The proportion of all the goals that the team scored and allowed that the Oilers generated (i.e., Goals For/(Goals For + Goals Against).

Here’s how the Oilers are looking with and without McDavid after 35 games.

Here we see that the club is relying heavily on their captain to score goals and generate chances and high quality shots this season. On the bright side, the team is posting a share of shot attempts and unblocked shot attempts above 50%, which is significant as the franchise has historically been very poor when it comes to these metrics, often ranking near the bottom of the league. Before this season, the Oilers have only once in their last 8 seasons posted a 25-game stretch of 50% CF% (Source). So the goals aren’t coming as often with McDavid off the ice, but the team isn’t getting caved when it comes to the number of shots.

While it’s expected that teams do better with their star players, there should not be a significant drop off without them. What we’ve seen in the playoffs year over year is that depth and consistency is critical for a team’s success. Ideally a team’s management group compiles a balanced roster and establishes a five or seven year window where they can be legitimate contenders. To do that, the team needs offensive output from across their roster, something the Oilers have struggled with so far this season.

Since the end goal is a championship, I looked into the last six Stanley Cup finalists to see how the team did over the regular season with and without their best player (which is based on the total number of points they accumulated in the regular season). Not an exact science, and there’s plenty of things you can alter, but I’m comfortable with this simple method.

Full article is at The Copper & Blue.

The Oilers Goal-scoring Slump + Radio spot (TSN 1260)

Joined Lowetide on Monday morning on TSN 1260 to talk all things Oilers, including the young defencemen and what to expect over the next week. Clip starts around the 25 minute mark.

The Oilers are currently mired in a goal-scoring slump at 5v5. Their season’s share of goals is still at 51.4%, 11th in the league, but they’ve only outscored their opponents by one goal (61-60). What’s especially troubling is that since their hot start in October when they held a 58% goal-share over the first nine games, they’re had a 47.8% goal-share ever since. Here’s how things are looking by breaking out the season into 10-game rolling averages.

oilersdecgf

Each point represents the average goal-share over the preceding 10 games. The first dot is the 10th game against Toronto, with the 52% representing the first 10 games. The next dot represents games 2-11, with the 11th game being the one against New York. I have the opponents listed on the axis to give a sense of what the competition was like over the 10 games.

Over the most recent ten games, the Oilers have had a goal-share of 43%, which represents their low point to date. The team’s shooting percentage is around 6.3%, slightly lower than the league average. Considering the talent on this team, we can hope that bounces back.

Full article is at The Copper & Blue.

 

Penalty Kill Struggles

When I last checked in on the OIlers penalty kill in early November, things were humming along just fine. They had the 4th best penalty kill percentage with 90.2% efficiency, and they allowed the fourth fewest goals against per hour with 3.01. One issue the team was having at the time was that they were allowing a higher than average rate of unblocked shot attempts against per hour. And this issue was being masked by some outstanding goaltending, which was mostly Cam Talbot, as the Oilers had one of the best team save percentages in the league, with 93.55%.

Fast forward to today, and it looks like things are starting to catch up to the Oilers. The club is now ranked 10th in the league with an efficiency of 83.5%. They now sit at a goals against per hour rate of 4.87, 8th best in the league, with the league average being 5.80. The rate of unblocked shot attempts against is now at 67.47, now only slightly higher than the league average of 67.12. And the club’s team save percentage on the penalty kill has come back down to earth, down to 89.86%, but is still ranked 7th in the league, with league average being 87.77%.

We can also break out the Oilers performance on the penalty kill into rolling 10-game stretches, to get a sense of the overall trend. Below is the goals against per hour rate over the first 32 games. The first dot in the graph represents the rate of goals against per hour between games 1 and 10. The second dot represents the rate of goals against per hour between games 2-11, then 3-12, and so on. What we see here is that the Oilers were pretty darn good early on, well below league average, but things have been getting progressively worse. It looks like things may stabilize for the Oilers around the 5.0 goals against per hour mark, right around the league average, but the most recent stretch of 10 games have been pretty bad. We also have to consider here that the Oilers have had a pretty grueling schedule over the past couple of weeks, so fatigue may be a factor.

oilerspk-ga60-20161218

Full article is at The Copper & Blue.

Letestu to the Rescue II

The Oilers powerplay has been trending upwards the past few weeks, and currently ranks 6th in the league with a 22.4% efficiency. Another way to look at the powerplay is by the number of goals the team has scored per 60 minutes, which currently has them second in the league, only behind the Columbus Blue Jackets, with 8.06. The league average for goals scored per 60 is 5.74, which the Oilers have been above for the most part thanks largely to a shooting percentage over 14% (4th best in the league). What’s also been encouraging is the fact that the number of unblocked shots (i.e., Fenwick) the club generates per 60 has steadily increased on the powerplay, a good predictor for future success, and is now ranked 11th in the league with 68.12. At one point the Oilers were ranked quite low league-wide, well below the league average of 66.5.

Related: Letestu to the Rescue (2016, November 18)

It’s really been the last 10 games for the Oilers, and the addition of Mark Letestu to the powerplay unit, that has driven the team’s success with the man advantage. Over the first 17 games, Letestu had played a total of 19 minutes on the powerplay, which ranked him near the bottom in terms of ice time among forwards. This was surprising considering that Letestu has historically had a positive impact on the team on the powerplay, as the Oilers typically generated more unblocked shot atttempts with him on the ice. This impact also showed up in his teammates performance, as players often had better on-ice shot generation rates with Letestu than without him. Please note that the graph below contains the shot metrics as of November 18, 2016.

letestu_pp_ff60

Full article is at The Copper & Blue.