CBC Edmonton News (TV): Loss to the Devils, recent ten games and the general manager search

cbc edmonton logoI joined host Min Dhariwal on the CBC Edmonton News for my weekly television segment to discuss all things Oilers. Clip is here and starts at the 16:00 mark: CBC Edmonton News (2019, March 14)

Topics we covered:

  • Last night’s loss to the Devils and the playoff aspirations. For me, it’s been obvious for a while that the Oilers aren’t playoff contenders.
  • The key drivers for their recent success, which has largely been goaltending. Over their last 10 games, the Oilers have six wins, but it’s due in large part to their team save percentage at even-strength (93.42%, 6th in the league). The team has posted a 45.15% Corsi For percentage (score-adjusted) over that stretch, a good indicator that this team has some major issues to address.
  • The penalty kill, which allowed another two goals last night, and continues to be one of the worst in the league. I mentioned a couple things the Oilers could look into doing, which I had also written about recently: Drivers and Anchors on the Penalty Kill – The SuperFan (2019, March 4)
  • The general manager search, and the importance of expanding their scope and looking for ideas from outside the industry. Related article here, which includes my previous work.

Data: Natural Stat Trick

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CBC Edmonton News (TV): Oilers winning streak, Draisaitl’s performance and upcoming games

cbc edmonton logoI 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 17:45 mark: CBC Edmonton News (2019, March 7)

Topics we covered:

  • The Oilers recent road trip, with three straight wins against Ottawa, Columbus and Buffalo.
  • The Oilers last 10 games, and some of the keys. Worth noting that the team was trending upwards in mid February, largely due to improved defensive play, but are now finally getting results thanks to improved netminding.
  • Leon Draisatl’s performance. Noted that his individual shooting percentage is at 20.0% at even-strength (Data: Natural Stat Trick). Well above his career average of 10.96% heading into the 2018/19 season – so definitely worth tempering expectations for next season.
  • Upcoming home games against Vancouver and Toronto.

CBC Edmonton News (TV): Loss against the Leafs, trade deadline re-cap and the penalty kill

cbc edmonton logoI 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.

Oilers - 4v5 - Fenwick - 25

  • 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. 😉

 

CBC Edmonton News (TV): The Oilers GM search and the upcoming trade deadline + radio spot

cbc edmonton logoI joined host Tanara McLean on the CBC Edmonton News for my weekly television segment to discuss all things Oilers. Clip is here and starts at the 16:40 mark: CBC Edmonton News (2019, February 21)

Topics we covered:

  • The Oilers last 10 games and the areas that they’re starting to improve on.
  • The general manager search, and what type of leadership the Oilers need in the front office. Touched on a few things from my recent article. 
  • The recent acquisition of Sam Gagner and some of the benefits he brings to the roster.
  • The upcoming trade deadline, and why the Oilers need to be acquiring assets for next season.
  • Upcoming games against New York and Anaheim, and what to expect from each club.

I also joined host Tara McCarthy on CBC Radio Active to talk all things Oilers. Full segment is here: CBC Radio Active (2019, February 21)

 

CBC Edmonton News (TV): Loss to Pittsburgh, progress in Bakersfield and approaching the trade deadline

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 16:00 mark: CBC Edmonton News (2019, February 14)

Topics we covered:

  • The loss against the Penguins and where the Oilers actually did well.
  • The Oilers current goaltending situation, which was driven by the Oilers hockey operations’ lack of foresight.
  • The success Bakersfield is having right now, the young prospects getting ice time and what impact they could have for the big club in a few years.
  • The upcoming trade deadline and how, because of their current state, they should be working to shed salary and recouping the skill and assets they’ve lost over the last few seasons.
  • Upcoming games against Carolina and Long Island, and what to expect against a couple of good teams on back-to-back nights.

 

CBC Edmonton News (TV): Current losing streak, playoff aspirations and getting things back on track

cbc edmonton logoI joined host Emily Fitzpatrick on the CBC Edmonton News for my weekly segment to discuss all things Oilers. Clip is here and starts at the 14:10 mark: CBC Edmonton News (2019, February 7)

Topics we covered:

  • The current six-game losing streak and the dire situation the Oilers are in.
  • What the Oilers need to do to stay competitive in the playoff race.
  • How the Oilers need to approach their future to get things on track. Touched on some of the items I wrote about recently.
  • We did a run down of the Canadian teams and where each team is at in the standings.
  • The Oilers goaltending situation.
  • Preview of tonight’s game in Minnesota.

Related:

Disorganization

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After the Oilers won the draft lottery in 2015, the goal was simple: build a competitive roster around your generational talent and start contending for championships as soon as possible. Assemble a coaching staff, enhance your hockey operations department, draft and develop players – the standard items part of any professional hockey team’s plans. The Oilers, however, had the added advantage of having a good cluster of talent featuring an elite player.

Instead what the Oilers did was make a long series of roster decisions that were clearly misinformed and lacked the proper foresight. Peter Chiarelli failed to assess/identify talent, properly evaluate the player market, manage his team’s salary cap and calculate the risk involved in his moves. Every single one of his decisions served as an example of one or more of these managerial flaws.

What’s especially troubling – I think even more so than some of the decisions themselves – was the fact that an entire hockey operations department supported these decisions, and were part of the environment that allowed this level of incompetence to continue driving decisions. So much damage could have been prevented had someone internally been properly monitoring and assessing Chiarelli’s work.

While it’s a relief that Chiarelli is no longer the general manager, the Edmonton Oilers now have a lot of work to do to pursue a championship. And I don’t think traditional hockey-operation-methods is what’s going to get them out of this hole. The Oilers really need to take a more drastic, more innovative approach that will make them competitive and steer them towards their goals.

For example, rather than hire an individual who was a former player or who has been serving as a scout or assistant general manager in the league, the club should look outside of the traditional hockey circles and construct a hockey operations department with people who have extensive decision-making experience and understand how to manage finances, and evaluate labor markets and risks. A general manager needs to understand what it takes to make evidence-based decisions, and how to identify and collect necessary information.

I fully get that hockey isn’t even close to where baseball is in terms of progressive, outside-the-box thinking. But I think it’s that type of mindset that I think will turn the Edmonton Oilers around.

One last note: I’m glad people are finally recognizing how poorly Chiarelli managed this team. But the early warning signs were there and were regularly discussed and documented by those paying careful attention and willing to think critically. Hopefully we’ll see less appeals-to-authority when discussing the game and hear more individual opinions based on sound logic and reasoning. Hockey discussions can be a lot more valuable that way.

ICYMI: I joined host Tanara McLean on the CBC Edmonton News for my weekly segment to discuss Chiarelli’s dismissal. Clip is here and starts at the 7:00 mark: CBC Edmonton News (2019, January 23)

I also joined Rod Kurtz on CBC Radio Active to discuss this topic. Full audio clip is here: More Change for the OilersCBC Radio Active (2019, January 23)

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