Dealing and Wheeling – How Do the Oilers’ Forwards Produce Compared to the League Average?


With the trade deadline coming up, and everyone wanting to know who’s worth what, who to keep, and what there is on the roster, I decided to run a little comparison with the Oilers roster.

A great article by Andrew Berkshire, looked at what the average numbers across the league were for an article on the Montreal Canadians.  Using his numbers, and estimating based on those what 4th line performance would be, here’s how the Oilers break down.

First, Andrew’s numbers state these as 1st through 3rd line forward production averages in the league:

1st line: LW 42-87 points // C: 55-80 points // RW 42-81 points

2nd line: LW 26-41 points // C: 39-55 points // RW 26-41 points

3rd line: LW 12-25 points // C: 31-39 points // RW 12-25 points

From that, you can project a 4th line as: LW: 5-11 points // C: 10-30 points // RW: 5-11 points

So, if we pro-rate all the Oilers forwards this year over 82 games, this is how they do:

Hall: 70 points (1st line LW)  // Draisaitl: 68 points (1st line C)  // Eberle: 60 points (1st line RW) // Pouliot: 54 points (1st line LW) // Purcell: 43 points (1st line LW) // RNH: 53 points (2nd line C) // McDavid: 92 points (1st line C) // Letestu: 21 points (4th line C) // Yakupov: 31 points (2nd line RW) // Korpikoski: 24 points (3rd line LW) // Hendricks: 15 points (4th line C or 3rd line RW) //  Pakarinen: 13 points (3rd line RW) // Kassian: 26 points (2nd line RW) // Khaira: 13 points (3nd line LW) // Lander: 3 points (low-end 4C)

And the summary is this:

1st line players: Hall, Draisaitl, Eberle, Pouliot, Purcell, McDavid

2nd line players: RNH, Yakupov, Kassian

3rd line players: Korpikoski, Hendricks, Pakarinen, Khaira

4th line players: Letestu, Lander

By comparison, here are the numbers for Chicago:

1st line players:  Kane (109), Panarin (77), Toews (58), Hossa (43)

2nd line players:  Anisimov (44), Shaw (40)

3rd line players: Teravainen (35), Desjardin (13), Rasmussen (16), Panik (14)

4th line players: Danault (14), Mashinter (8), Kruger (3)

A Few Interesting Conclusions:

  • We do have a solid collection of 1st line level production players, showing that, in theory, there is depth to draw from to address the defensive issues
  • Yakupov, for all the criticism he takes, is still putting up 2nd line level numbers on a cheap contract, and Kassian is pro-rating to be a very good addition
  • Pouliot’s contract (and even Purcell’s) isn’t nearly as bad as they seem on first glance for a 1st line forward
  • Since Hendricks, if used as a Center, is 4th line caliber, it shows the flaw in the Oilers roster at 3C.  Plenty of wingers, but unless you slide RNH down to the 3C spot, there’s a serious lack of production in this role
  • Chicago slots almost perfectly into the 3/3/3/3 prediction for points, and the Oilers have stronger C production from the 1st and 2nd lines, and strong winger numbers when contrasted head-to-head.  Overall, the Oilers have a stronger producing lineup, but it also shows the lack of scoring from the defense compared to each other.

So, if build a roster based on scoring numbers, we have:
Hall-McDavid-Eberle (L1)
Kassian-Draisaitl-Yakupov (L2)  <- we are using a 1C level player here, just due to his value to the club
Khaira-(          )-Pakarinen (L3) <- the Oilers could use a proper 3C here
Lander-Letestu-Hendricks (L4) <- Again, we’re using a 3rd line player here, but Hendricks fits this role.

That leaves the following players who can be dealt:  Pouliot, Purcell, RNH, and Korpikoski. Based on this estimation, dealing those 4 players to address defensive issues and the 3C position wouldn’t weaken the Oilers’ scoring at all. They’d actually still have a 1st line C on the 2nd line, and a 3rd line winger on the 4th line.

You could, if needed, classify it as Kassian-RNH-Yakupov as the 2nd line by production also, and then consider the tradable players to be Pouliot, Purcell, Draisaitl, Korpikoski, but for now let’s leave that as a last resort.

Now, if you subscribe to the theory of needing to change the core, you can do this:

Loui Eriksson-McDavid-Kassian <- bring in a veteran UFA who can lead the team
Hall-Draisaitl-Puljujarvi <- mix and match the Top-6 based on chemistry, and plug-in the proper draft player
Khaira-Eller-Pakarinen <- rumor is Eller may be in a Yakupov deal, plug him here
Lander-Letestu-Hendricks <- good defensive line

Now, adding via trade and draft and free agency, you can deal Yakupov, Eberle, RNH, Purcell, Pouliot, Korpikoski to fix the D.  This also changes the core sufficiently, but still has the proper points totals.

Lastly, as a point of curiosity, here are the scoring numbers for Chicago and Edmonton’s defense, also pro-rated:

Chicago: Keith (59), Seabrook (49), Gustafsson (30), Hjalmarsson (23), Svedberg (17), van Riemsdyk (12), Rozsival (14)
Edmonton: Klefbom (33), Sekera (29), Clendening (21), Schultz (18), Davidson (15), Nurse (13), Gryba (9), Fayne (8)

It jumps out very fast how much the Oilers need one or two points-capable defensemen.  If you delete Schultz and Fayne, and replace them with Shattenkirk and Vatanen, it reads:

Edmonton: Shattenkirk (48), Vatanen (43), Klefbom (33), Sekera (29), Clendening (21), Davidson (15), Nurse (13), Gryba (9)

Starts to look (on paper anyhow) much more like how this team should be built.

Hope you enjoyed the read 🙂

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Micah Kowalchuk Written by: