Oilers ES / PP / PK…

By , January 27, 2013 3:19 pm
Conclusion.. Jordan Eberle is the best player in the history of the NHL.. ever.. more or less... roughly.. give or take a few names.

Conclusion.. Jordan Eberle is the best player in the history of the NHL.. ever.. more or less… roughly.. give or take a few names.

So I decided to do some digging to see what sort of patterns or patterns of problems there were in the Oilers systems since the 2005/06 lockout year. I apologize for the horribly formatted table, but the width of the blog doesn’t allow for too wide of a table without some wrapping of text.

I took a look at several “systems” type stats. So here is a bit of a note on those:

Standings Rank / Points show of course where we finished in relation to the rest of the league.
5-5 F/A – the first number is how we ranked at the ratio of 5 on 5 goals for to 5 on 5 goals against. The second value (5-5 F/A) is the actual ratio. A ratio of less than one indicates that teams outscored us at 5 on 5. There was only one year where we basically broke even. The rest of the years were in “the negatives”, so to speak.
PP% – this is our powerplay rank and percentage of successful powerplays (successful = we scored a goal on the powerplay).
PK% – this is our penalty killing rank and percentage of successful penalty kills (successful = no goals scored against on the PK).
PP Time – PK Time – this is the amount of time we spend on the powerplay minus the amount of time we spend on the penalty kill. This is probably the best indicator to tell whether a team is spending too much time in the box, instead of something like number of penalties.
Notes – is just my own take and describes some of the problems I’ve seen from the analysis.

Year Standings Rank Pts 5-5 F/A Rank 5-5 F/A PP Rank PP% PK Rank PK % PP Time – PK Time Rank PP Time – PK Time Notes
2005-2006 14 95 23 0.9 14 18.1 8 84.1 15 -9:09 Bad 5 on 5… average on the powerplay… good on the penalty kill. Close to average PP – PK time.
2006-2007 25 71 26 0.77 27 14.2 6 84.6 19 -16:27 Bad 5 on 5… bad on the powerplay.. Good penalty kill… the team spent more time on the PK than PP.
2007-2008 19 88 27 0.86 20 16.6 5 84.7 25 -41:26 Bad 5 on 5. bottom end powerplay.. PK quite good, which is good since they spent more time in the box than on PP.
2008-2009 21 85 14 1.01 21 17 27 77.5 7 30:51 Awful PK. On the good side of PP time – PK time, so they had their chances. 21st ranked PP didn’t do them any favors. Average at 5 on 5.
2009-2010 30 62 30 0.75 18 17.3 26 78 13 1:47 Worst in the league at 5 on 5.
2010-2011 30 62 29 0.74 27 14.5 29 77 22 -23:26 Big struggles with 5 on 5. Too much time on the PK, which is also nearly the worst in league. Very poor powerplay.
2011-2012 29 74 22 0.91 3 20.6 14 82.4 28 -75:37 PP % is fantastic, but too much time on PK not enough PP.  Some difficulty with 5 on 5
2012-2013 20  4 28  0.44 9  27.3 9  83.3 23  -5.53 Off to a horrible start with 5-on-5 again… also spending too much time on PK. Both the powerplay and penalty kill seem quite efficient, however.

So what can be taken out of that? Well, some of the more common problems seem to be 5 on 5 play. The Oilers have only been good at this in one year. I wouldn’t mind doing some deeoer analysis later to figure out who our top 5 on 5 players are and who our worst are. That can be kind of difficult to find a reasonable measurement for, as it really should take into account things like ice time, competition, and your linemates. For now, I’ll take a quick/rough look at this. I don’t want to get too involved in this because it requires more analysis and time than I want to put into it right now. Zone starts are also a huge factor. For now, I checked last year’s numbers and ranked things based on even strength points per 60 minutes of even strength play. Here are the results…

The best forward:
Jordan Eberle… leads the team last year with 2.99 ES points / 60 mins (At evens: 24 G, 32 Assists with an average ES TOI of 14.40 mins/game). For the record, this number puts him in elite territory. He finished 3rd in the league of guys who played more than 10 mins per game at ES and played more than 40 games (used those numbers to filter out the irrelevant thugs). I include Crosby in there though (#1 overall) even though he didn’t play enough games to technically make this cutoff. That is simply amazing given the team he plays on. Again though, zone starts and other factors should be considered, however.. so take that with a grain of salt. But it’s clear he should be eating up as much ice time as we can give him.

The good players:
Taylor Hall… 2nd on the team last year with 2.08 ES points / 60 mins (At evens: 14 G, 18 Assists with an average ES TOI of 15.1 mins/game). This put him at 109th in the league in this area. Other big names that stand out in this range are Bobby Ryan, Thomas Vanek, Matt Read, Ilya Kovalchuk.. with some surprises like Todd Bertuzzi, Jaromir Jagr, Curtis Glencross, Drew Stafford, Jason Chimera, Chris Kunitz.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 3rd on the team last year with 1.93 ES points / 60 mins (At evens: 15 G, 14 Assists with an average ES TOI of 14.56 mins/game)
Ryan Smyth 4th on the team last year with 1.92 ES points / 60 mins (At evens: 15 G, 23 Assists with an average ES TOI of 14.45 mins/game)
Sam Gagner 5th on the team last year with 1.91 ES points / 60 mins (At evens: 12 G, 23 Assists with an average ES TOI of 14.67 mins/game)

We start to see a big drop off now:
Ales Hemsky 6th on the team last year with 1.52 ES points / 60 mins (At evens: 9 G, 18 Assists with an average ES TOI of 15.4 mins/game)
Ryan Jones 7th on the team last year with 1.51 ES points / 60 mins (At evens: 12 G, 12 Assists with an average ES TOI of 12.1 mins/game)
Ben Eager 8th on the team last year with 1.46 ES points / 60 mins (At evens: 8 G, 5 Assists with an average ES TOI of 8.4 mins/game)
Shawn Horcoff 9th on the team last year with 1.05 ES points / 60 mins (At evens: 7 G, 13 Assists with an average ES TOI of 14.06 mins/game)

Now before everyone jumps on the guys on the bottom, it should be reminded that they generally are playing the tough minutes vs. tough competition. Shawn Horcoff gets the shaft as far as zone starts. BTW, the numbers I’m quoting all relate to even strength only. Horcoff (43.9% of starts were offensive zone), Ryan Jones (44.6% of his starts were offensive zone), Nick Schultz (43.8% of starts were offensive zone) and Eric Belanger (43.2% of starts were offensive zone) sit at the bottom for offensive zone starts, meaning that Tom Renney habitually put these guys on the ice during defensive faceoff situations, and generally one of the stellar young kids during the offensive faceoffs. It’s a bit of a raw deal for these guys. So it should be noted that their numbers will definitely be on the worse end of things.

The Nuge (62.5% of starts were offensive zone) and Eberle (60.7% of starts were offensive zone) had the benefit of the highest offensive zone starts for our forwards, with Hall (56.5% of starts were offensive zone) and Gagner (51.1% of starts were offensive zone) less so, but still on the positive end of offensive starts. Hemsky was fairly balanced at 50.3%, and Ryan Smyth deserve props with an offensive zone start of 48.1% and nearly 3rd in ES points / 60mins. Eager had a slight bias to defensive zone starts with a 49.3% of his starts in the offensive zone.

If you’re looking at these numbers, you should be quite impressed by Ryan Smyth the most, and secondly by Ryan Jones. I figured Jones would look good in this area. But it really does need bolding that Jones has put up respectable even strength numbers with one of the worst offensive zone starts on the team.


So what have I concluded from all of this long winded rant? Well, a few things. One, it doesn’t matter how effective your PP is if the other team gets to use theirs a lot more than you use yours. That’s an obvious conclusion… but that should be a worthy note for last season. Another note is that 5-on-5 play for the Oilers has been horrible nearly every year, save for one slight anomaly in 2008-09. It would be very “Tom Renney / Craig MacTavish / Etc” of me to say this team needs more Horcoff, Smyth and Hemsky. So I’m not sure I want to go down that road. Our best offensive weapons ARE our kids, hands down. I’d like to see them get more minutes. Perhaps we’re going to need to push them a bit more.. sink or swim time, and see what they can do in the defensive zone. In doing so, maybe it will relief some of the vet responsibilities and give them opportunity to put up some numbers.

Interestingly enough, according to Behind the Net’s data (which I think should also be taken with a grain of salt.. especially given a small sample set right now), Krueger appears to be leaning quite heavily on the Yakupov-Gagner-Hemsky line for defensive zone starts (35.3, 29.4, 31.3 respectively for offensive zone %). That’s a pretty large bias of defensive starts. Hopefully they can keep being reliable at those, advance the puck and generate some offense. That’s a tougher go though than even our most defensive players have faced this year.

I’ve admittedly thought about line shuffling. You guys will rage on me for that. But I can’t help but wonder how things would look if we bumped Horcoff in to center Hall/Eberle for added net presence… or put Smyth on a kid line for vet presence.. test out something like this for a bit.. (not the most inspiring on paper, but who knows):


You then can feed any type of minutes to each of those lines.

Anyways, weird thoughts.. long ramble.. analyse the data above, yourself, if you like, and share your own conclusions/thoughts. It’s still too early in the season to worry.. but I think ES play and penalty minutes against vs. for should be addressed by the team. Discipline is easily correctable, so that should be option 1.

7 Responses to “Oilers ES / PP / PK…”

  1. dawgtoy says:

    64-93-14, 4-89-83, 91-10-56, 37-20-94.
    To me the old balls have looked old and slow. Not sure if its a result of the lockout or that they’re just getting old, but to me these lines tend to be more balanced, keeping speed together on the top two line. I think 4 and 93 would flourish apart. 64 getting the puck from 93 would be golden as well. Can’t hurt. Can’t wait till Jones is back, they need his energy.

  2. dawgtoy says:

    If i was GM, I’d also maybe have a conversation with Colorado to see what interest they might have in swapping O’Reilly and Gagner.

  3. Racki says:

    For fun comparison’s sake… Ryan O’Reilly… 1.85 ES Points / 60 mins, dead even on the zone starts.

    Oh and another thing I meant to do while writing this, but forgot, was check on Evgeni Malkin’s zone starts. He’s at a very comfortable 65.9%, so I guess if that tells us anything, it’s that it’s perfectly fine to load a player with offensive zone minutes, since he and Pit seem to do just fine with that plan. The same goes for Jon Toews. One name I was surprised to see in there, just by virtue of age, is Jason Arnott. Seems as though he’s had a bit of a helping hand getting those nice numbers.

    Some stand out numbers just based on ES P/60 and zone starts per Behind the Net…

    Patrice Bergeron.. 2.48 ES P/60 with 47.6% off zone starts.. and a 52.3% off zone finish. That’s impressive.
    Jordan Staal… 2.30 ES P/60 with 47.8% off zone starts..
    Henrik Sedin… 2.58 ES P/60.. but an ASTOUNDING 78.6% off zone start and a much worse 58.8 off zone finish… talk about making life easy on the guy. He puts up points, but also loses ground in a lot of cases, it seems.
    Max Pacioretty.. 2.68 ES P/60.. but what is good about him (other than that quite high number) is that he starts in off zone 49.4% of the time and finishes there 55.6% of the time… a good improvement that not many players see.

    Another odd one is Martin Erat, who seems to have a lot of defensive responsibility. His 2.15 ES P/60 would be second on the Oilers, but his 41.2% off zone starts is quite remarkable.

    I think my conclusion in this post will slowly evolve, but it definitely is possible/likely that we need some better players to fill the roster out still.

    Not surprisingly, two guys I hated seeing traded, Glencross and Brodziak, have good ES P/60 numbers (2.09 and 1.64 respectively). The important part for Brodziak is that he did that with under 40% of his starts in the offensive zone, and finishing 45.9% in the offensive zone.

    I try not to read too much into stats though because there is more to it than what I’m just cherry picking here though.

  4. oilinblood says:

    Good article Rack. As you point out; it is nice to look at stats but most stats dont show the whole picture. Staples had an interesting stat last year looking at the best centre for 4/14. He looked at scoring opportunity plus/minus of the 3 main centres for those wingers …RNH, Gagner, and Horc. I was surprised to find it was Horcoff who had the best stat of the 3. That being said i would also point out that i would think RNH actually creates higher end chances than Horc does (the stat does not grade the quality of those chances).
    I honestly like Horcoff and Smyth where they are and i feel they have played well in their roles so far this season. They make up the one line that just gets pucks out of their zone and into the offense and keeps things simple. I can only take watching young pups continually try to force a deke so many times – halls outside inside move etc. it is nice to have a line that keeps it to basics like most dominant teams do.

    I dont think its in Smyth or Horcoffs best interest, nor the teams, to move them up in this compressed season.

  5. dawgtoy says:


    This is a very good read IMO. Some insight into how Coach K is using his lines.
    From LT’s article:
    RK’s 5v5 TOI/gm is why I don’t think moving Hall pays dividends.

    •Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 16:28:00; Taylor Hall 16:20:00; Jordan Eberle 16:02:00
    •Sam Gagner 13:04:00; Ales Hemsky 12:49:00; Nail Yakupov 11:52:00
    •Ryan Smyth 08:20:00; Shawn Horcoff 08:07:00; Magnus Paajarvi 08:05:00

  6. Steve-O says:

    Dawgtoy,I was just going to post the same thing. Quote that stood out to me and matches what I’ve seen so far this year is(and paraphrased cause I’m on my phone so copy and paste from his site sucks) “RK seems to be riding his top 6 forwards, with 89’s line getting the short end of the stick”.

    I don’t think we’ll be seeing much of the old dudes or the fourth line this year

  7. Racki says:

    FYI, my thoughts on juggling lines wasn’t to get more scoring out of the top line, but to get more scoring out of the rest of the lines. The top line definitely isn’t an issue.

    Also, if Behind the Net’s stats are correct, that’s pretty shitty for Gag’s line that they aren’t getting as much ice time as is, and playing some hard minutes.

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