Thoughts on the Oilers: Winning Streak; Shots on Net; Goaltending; Realistic Expectations

Source: TSN.ca

Source: TSN.ca

Amazing what a three-game winning streak can do. Since the Oilers embarrassing streak of three straight home shutout losses, the team has bounced back scoring 15 goals to defeat the Flames, Blue Jackets and Panthers. In those three wins, the Oilers scored 14 straight goals before allowing one against the Panthers.

Shots, Shots, Shots

The Oilers continue to get more shots on net compared to last season.

The question becomes how good are the shots that the Oilers are taking. Michael Parkatti of Boys on the Bus has been tracking shot quality. His work is well worth reading as shot quality is a critical factor for team success.

The best part about winning is that the Oilers aren’t being mentioned in trade rumors. The majority of the stories being written are about the small things the Oilers are doing well, such as the powerplay and penalty kill.

Goaltending

The other positive of the winning streak is that Devan Dubnyk can continue playing without the chatter of Ilya Bryzgalov taking over. Pretty sure if the Oilers had lost any of the past three games since Bryzgalov joined the Oilers roster, there would be all sorts of content produced about the Russian netminder. I think the signing of Bryzgalov is a good one for the Oilers as they definitely enhanced their tandem. But the additional narratives about Bryzgalov’s character and his run-ins with the media are a bit much. This was quite apparent when he first arrived in Edmonton as very little was asked about his on-ice performance and more about his personality and attitude.

Realistic Expectations

But with all of the positives coming out, there is a harsh reality that the poor start to the season has already cost the team the playoffs. To make the playoffs in the Western Conference, a team would need about 95 points.  For the duration of the season (58 games) the Oilers would need to win games at the same rate as the best teams in the league to make the playoffs. Possible, sure, but the odds are firmly against this roster.

The advanced stats also suggest that the Oilers are headed to their eighth straight year out of the playoffs. Tyler Dellow put together a piece comparing team Corsi rates at the quarter pole of the season and how it’s a fairly clear indication of whether or not a team makes it to the playoffs.

NHL Teams Due to Rise Up, Fall Down Standings – Sportsnet

I can’t say I’m disappointed. My expectation going in to the season was that the Oilers would finish between 10th and 12th place. This was mainly due to the fact the Oilers hired a new coach, started the season with one legit centreman (Boyd Gordon) and that the defense was weak compared to other Western Conference teams.

Recommended Links

Signs of Life – OilersNation

Defense Needed: Apply Within – The Copper and Blue

Of Note: Eakins on Forecheck – mc79hockey

How Devan Dubnyk Got His Groove Back – Oil on Whyte

Get Happy! – Lowetide

Thoughts on the Oilers: Rookies; Rumors; Trades; Shots on Net

Source: Edmonton Journal

Source: Edmonton Journal

The Oilers continue on their four-game road trip, where they picked up a win in Florida, but dropped a decision to Tampa Bay. I thought the Oilers played well in both games, even though they lost in Tampa Bay and ALMOST blew it against the hapless Panthers.

Taylor Fedun

Great to see the young defenceman make it to the NHL and score a couple goals right away. Fedun has made a remarkable recovery coming back from a shattered leg which he sustained on an icing play. Since the injury, the NHL has smartened up and introduced hybrid icing to reduce the number of accidents occurring.

Trade Rumors

As long as the Oilers struggle on the ice, they’ll be mired in absolute garbage trade rumors. Nothing irks me more than garbage information, so it’s been a challenging week hearing about Nail Yakupov and Jordan Eberle potentially on the trading block.

Hockey fans have to remember that teams use media outlets and “insiders” to throw off rival GM’s and potential trade partners. Unfortunately, this leaves a ton of garbage information for fans to decipher through and digest.

Trades

Friday was a busy day for the Oilers as they dealt away defenceman Ladislav Smid to Calgary for prospects, and then later signed free agent goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. As you can imagine, Twitter was flush with junk information on who would be next to go on the Oilers.

I’ll never quite understand how teams justify shipping out players for prospects. Shouldn’t the objective of every team be to find good players and keep good players? Can’t be shocked that the Oil pulled this off once again, I but remain surprised that the team is taking a chance on Bryzgalov. Dubnyk has struggled and the case can be made that the players may not have a lot of confidence in him. But I don’t see how Bryzgalov is a major upgrade, as he was recently bought out by the Flyers. Regardless, lets hope the Oil can get their act together and get some wins on this current road trip.

Shots on Net

Great point by the Oilers Radio Bob Stauffer last night after the loss in Tampa Bay.

Recommended Links

“The Grass Is Always Greener” Is Not To Be Taken Literally – mc79hockey

Omark and Eager Returning to Oklahoma City – The Copper and Blue

Permanent Revolution: Oilers Trade Smid for Magic Beans – The Copper and Blue

The Remarkable Story of Taylor Fedun – OilersNation