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Sifting by means of the rubble of Edmonton Oilers' disastrous first 10 video games

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Phase assessment #1, Video games 1-10

In preseason polls a couple of quick weeks in the past, Edmonton Oilers have been regularly lauded as a prime Stanley Cup contender. How’s that figuring out for them?

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Up to now, so not good. 10 video games into the 2023-24 season, the Oilers languish on the backside of the NHL standings, forward of simply the winless San Jose Sharks however behind all different NHL groups, all 30 of whom have extra wins than the depressing 2 the locals have logged so far.

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Similar to that, the Oilers discover themselves in what, even when profitable, is likely to be a season-long battle to easily qualify for the post-season. It’s a multitude.

What within the heck occurred?

Season so far by phase


Video games 1 – 10: 7-3-0, .700 | 41 GF, 32 GA | 334 SF, 338 SA | 1.028 PDO
Video games 11-20: 3-7-0, .300 | 25 GF, 40 GA | 304 SF, 346 SA | .964 PDO
Video games 21-30: 7-3-0, .700 | 43 GF, 30 GA | 317 SF, 313 SA | 1.040 PDO
Video games 31-40: 4-4-2, .500 | 33 GF, 31 GA | 332 SF, 289 SA | .992 PDO
Video games 41-50: 7-1-2, .800 | 45 GF, 28 GA | 367 SF, 310 SA | 1.032 PDO
Video games 51-60: 4-2-4, .600 | 43 GF, 36 GA | 360 SF, 324 SA | 1.008 PDO
Video games 61-70: 7-3-0, .700 | 44 GF, 34 GA | 295 SF, 323 SA | 1.044 PDO
Video games 71-80: 9-0-1, .950 | 44 GF, 22 GA | 364 SF, 289 SA | 1.045 PDO


Video games 1-10: 2-7-1, .250 | 27 GF, 41 GA | 334 SF, 302 SA | .945 PDO

On this part we take a look at the 10-game file together with final result stats in wins and targets, and course of stats together with pictures and PDO. The latter is a brief type of expressing taking pictures percentages at each ends of the ice, and whereas extremely risky it’s a very telling indicator of quick time period success.

By the primary 10 video games of the brand new season, the Oilers did OK with a shot share approaching 53%, however a dreadful objective share a shade beneath 40%. Why? As a result of Edmonton scored on simply 8.1% of their pictures, whereas their opponents transformed at a charge of 13.6%. The Oilers percentages (8.1% Sh%, .864 Sv%) add to a dismal PDO of .945, higher than solely the dreadful Sharks, who simply turned the primary NHL crew to surrender 10 targets in consecutive video games because the pre-Bobby Orr Boston Bruins of 1965.

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Whereas outshooting one’s opponent is a stable base, it’s in the end the power to transform these pictures which has the larger affect, particularly within the quick time period. Simply take a look at final 12 months’s segments, the place PDO plummeted within the second phase to a lowly .964, and with it the Oilers file to an unsightly 3-7-0. Barely higher than the one simply concluded. Digging additional, we are able to see 2 segments inside a couple of factors both method of 1.000 led to break-even outcomes; within the different 5 the Oilers have been north of 1.025 and gained not less than 7 of the ten video games every time. On the season, Edmonton’s all-situations PDO of 1.018 ranked third within the NHL, based in a league-best taking pictures share of 11.8%. Merely put, the Oilers created better-than-average taking pictures alternatives and/or did a greater job of ending these seems.

This has been a standard factor to the Oilers through the Ken Holland period.

PDO by segment Holland era

Over the previous 4 seasons, the Oilers have ranked sixth, 4th, thirteenth and third league-wide in all conditions by this key indicator, within the inexperienced — and within the prime half of the NHL — each 12 months. The occasional stretches of video games with poor percentages have ended badly certainly. The two worst segments of these seasons, each 3-7-0, featured PDO’s of .964 and .965. The following worst stretch of 3-6-1 had a PDO of .966. These have been the three worst of the 28 segments in each classes.

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Now comes the opening phase of 2023-24, at 2-7-1 the worst of the Holland period. So too is its wretched PDO of simply .945.

The encouraging factor right here is that previously the Oilers have proven a constant skill to bounce again from a foul phase. True, they muddled about for a major stretch in 2021-22, resulting in a mid-season teaching change; in any other case the turnaround tended to occur rapidly.

That mentioned, I don’t completely settle for the suggestion in some quarters that PDO is just an expression of “puck luck”. That’s a few of it, for certain, however there’s additionally a component of shot high quality at each ends of the rink, and of execution of identical. Thus far, the Oilers haven’t been making their pictures, nor have they been making sufficient saves. However they’ve additionally been responsible of giving up method too many high-end possibilities. To wit:

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Our evaluation right here on the Cult of Hockey exhibits the Oilers have generated a decent 52% of Grade A pictures to this point this season, however simply 47% of the subset of higher-danger possibilities we name 5-alarm pictures. Extra alarming is Edmonton’s 42% of rush possibilities at 5v5, and simply 25% of targets off such performs. Of the 30 pictures that opponents have generated off the frenzy, a staggering 18 (60%!!) have resulted in targets. That’s a save share of simply .400, not a primary sees typically. And whereas the goalies should bear their share of the duty, it’s hardly simply on them. A few of odd-man rushes the squad has allowed have been 10-alarm fires.

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Going the opposite method the Oil have transformed 6 of twenty-two pictures created off the frenzy, a 27% conversion charge. That’s a giant distinction in variety of alternatives, however a far larger one within the conversion charge of identical, and a giant a part of that ugly PDO within the opening 10 video games.

Can they flip it round? The easier query is, how can they not? For starters, the “puck luck” facet is for certain to average.

However there are ongoing issues in regards to the well being of the Oilers’ one-man rush generator. Connor McDavid had a sluggish begin, missed a few video games with harm, then come again with a sequence of so-so performances. He’s scored simply 2 secondary assists within the 3 video games since his return, regardless of being tasked with almost 24 minutes an evening in these video games. The state of McDavid’s well being and by extension his sport, is a big concern going ahead. Take into account the next uncharacteristic info:

  • He’s at present on the second web page of the NHL scoring leaders, in a 24-way tie for 57th place with 10 factors. Granted, #97 has performed 2-4 fewer video games than these tied or forward of him, however even a Seventeenth-place rating in points-per-game is unfamiliar territory for the 5-time Artwork Ross winner.
  • In his 8 video games so far McDavid has but to be chosen as one of many three stars, extremely uncommon for the league’s prime game-breaker.
  • Amongst these to put on the Oil drop to this point this season, McDavid ranks a surprising twenty first and final in anticipated objective share. Certainly he’s the one member of the squad beneath 50% by this commonly-used superior metric. This compares to a 58% share over the prior 3 seasons, by a long way the tops amongst Oilers forwards as one would possibly anticipate. Whereas the formulation is certainly not excellent, the identical guidelines apply to all and McDavid’s present placement is startling within the excessive.

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The opposite facet of the equation is shutting down the jailbreaks going the opposite method, which can certainly be the topic of intense focus from the teaching workers within the speedy future. It doesn’t assist {that a} key defensive participant, Mattias Ekholm, has additionally been coping with harm since coaching camp. Whereas his sport is slowly coming round, he’s not but discovered the excessive stage of play that sparked the Oil to an 18-2-1 run after his arrival finally season’s commerce deadline.

Nevertheless it’s hardly been simply Ekholm’s pairing with Evan Bouchard that has been getting burned. Certainly, it hasn’t been simply the blueliners who’ve been at fault on such performs both. It’s a crew huge problem that has snowballed into an avalanche of ache.

How painful? As of Sunday morning the Oilers ranked useless final within the NHL with a staggering -19 objective differential vs. what is likely to be anticipated primarily based on stream of play.

Goals vs Expected 10 GP

Evaluate to the #1 crew on this class who the Oilers will face on Monday evening. As chilly because the Oilers have been, the Canucks have been that scorching. Time for some good ol’ regression to the imply at each ends of the spectrum, what?

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Let’s flip now to particular person outcomes for the opening phase.


Games 1-10 G

These are fairly dreadful numbers proper throughout the board, and for each ‘tenders. The argument could be forcefully made that they haven’t had quite a lot of assist at occasions, however simply as strongly volleyed again that they haven’t made a behavior of bailing out their teammates’ errors which are inclined to wind up at the back of the web far too regularly.

Of the 2, Jack Campbell has the considerably higher save share however considerably worse goals-against common, as he has been deluged with 35 pictures per 60 minutes in comparison with simply 26 for Stu Skinner. Every man has held his opponent underneath 3 targets simply as soon as, performances that coincided with the two Edmonton wins. Of their 7 regulation losses the Oilers allowed 35 targets, a surprising 5 per sport.


Games 1-10 D

Evan Bouchard leads the best way with 10 factors, equaling the mixed complete of the opposite 6 rearguards. 6 of Bouchard’s factors have come on the powerplay, whereas his 4 even-strength factors (and a couple of targets) are double the numbers of another d-man.

Of concern is the ocean of crimson ink that may be seen in each cell of the plus/minus column, with ice time leaders Darnell Nurse and Bouchard sharing the poorest such mark of -6. The crimson figures stand in stark distinction to anticipated objective share of 55% to 61% for every blueliner at 5v5. These bizarre outcomes are half and parcel of the shot/save share points raised earlier.

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Games 1-10 F

A transparent divide between the 5 forwards on the prime of the pay scale and the others, not less than when it comes to level manufacturing. Objective manufacturing is down throughout the board, with no person at present on pact for as many as 35 targets. Final 12 months no fewer than 4 Oilers topped this mark. The nice shock right here is Warren Foegele whose 3 even-strength targets are tied with Zach Hyman for the crew lead.

One other sea of crimson within the minus column, with solely prodigal son Sam Gagner on the plus facet of the ledger, and simply Leon Draisaitl even. Once more that is at odds with anticipated objective share. This simply in: anticipated targets are helpful indicators, however they don’t win hockey video games.

Participant grades

We shut in our typical style by reviewing the set of 10 video games by means of the lens of our personal subjective rankings right here on the  Cult of Hockey. Common readers will know that we grade on a scale of 1 to 10, the efficiency of each Edmonton Oilers participant in each sport the crew performs, primarily based on a mix of remark and interpretation of statistical output. Listed below are common grades for Video games 1-10 together with our customary thumbnail remark summarizing every participant’s contribution over that span:

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G 1-10 grades

Outcomes by grader, first phase:

  • David Staples – 5 video games, 0-4-1, common grade 4.8
  • Bruce McCurdy — 3 video games, 2-1-0, common grade 5.6
  • Kurt Leavins – 2 video games, 0-2-0, common grade 4.8
  • Phase totals – 10 video games, 2-7-1, common grade 5.2

Not too long ago on the Cult of Hockey

STAPLES: Joel Quenneville chat untimely, Jay Woodcroft wants a correct likelihood to show issues round

LEAVINS: 9 Issues, totally on Woodcroft and the Oil’s iffy begin

STAPLES: But extra psychological errors value the Oilers one other 2 factors versus Nashville

McCURDY: Ugly errors doing in Oilers simply now

STAPLES: Raphael Lavoie lastly will get the decision

McCURDY: Philip Broberg will get despatched out as Oilers cope with accidents up entrance

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