We know that Pete Chiarelli has prioritized adding size over the last year. Those moves have been universally lauded where the package included skill (e.g. Pat Maroon), but less universally loved when it involved a size vs speed+skill tradeoff (Lucic for Hall for example).
No question, though, that the Oilers are now a bigger and tougher team than they have been in the past.
Seems that a couple of questions are now floating in the heads of some Oilers fans: a. do we need to get even bigger? b. will we?
Maybe, maybe not.
There does seem to be a tendency for teams to copycat the latest Stanley Cup champions “formula”. So now the focus turns to Pittsburgh’s speed and skill rather than size. It always works that way – follow the “leader”!
But how big are the Oilers really?
Before most Oilers games, I tweet out what I call my “Heavy Hockey Update”, which scrapes the NHL roster pages for the Oilers and the team they are playing. I take all players listed on the active roster for each team, and calculate the average height and weight of the forwards and defensemen separately.
Although I do this mostly for fun, splitting the data this way I think is more useful than just giving a roster height and weight, which not only conflates the two player positions, but also rolls in goalies (who, let’s be honest, are not relevant to the question of how big a team really is!).
(The ideal way to do this would be to weight the players based on TOI, but I won’t have that improvement ready for a little while yet as I’m preoccupied with other projects).
What I did for this article is tweak my program to scrape the rosters of all 30 teams at once. You can take a look at the raw data table at the end of this article. What can we glean from it? Let’s dig in!
First off, you can see that height is mostly not a big deal – the shortest team forwards are TBL at ~5’11”, and the biggest are COL and WSH at 6’2″. That’s a range of about 4%. For defensemen, that range compresses, running 6’1″ to 6’3″.
The bigger discrepancy is in weight, where the range is ~11% for forwards and defense.
The roster size of forwards ranges from 190 lbs (CHI) to 210 lbs (COL).
For defense, that range runs from 194 lbs (MIN) to 217 lbs (CBJ).
In the table, I’ve highlighted the Oilers, as well as the top and bottom teams in the two categories.
Based on these parameters, the Oilers now rank:
- 14th overall in the forward size ranks
- 21st overall in the defense size ranks
Again, this is based on the NHL.com active roster listings as of January 4th, 2017.
There is no question the Oilers are bigger – in times past, the Oilers were bottom 5 in the league in both categories. But still far from ‘big’!
Is it enough?
Well, if you look at the table, you’ll note that there really doesn’t appear to be much of a relationship between size and results. CHI and MIN and PIT are all well down there, and they’re pretty good! Mind you, so are CBJ and LAK up at the top of the table.
But BUF and COL are both big and terrible.
Also funny to see how average Chiarelli’s old team is size-wise.
Personally, I’d rather add speed and skill over more size. The Oilers need a right handed shooter, and someone on defense who has a PP cannon and/or can make headman passes like Ryan Whitney or Pronger or Visnovsky used to do.
If you are going to add size, though, it’s the defensemen that are smallish, not the forwards.
|Team||Avg F Height||Avg F Weight||F Weight Rank||Avg D Height||Avg D Weight||D Weight Rank|