The powerplay just doesn’t seem to be clicking and that’s not a new story for Oilers fans. We’ve run assistant coaches out of town for less but what usually starts the ball rolling is horrid special teams. I mean I’m all for asking Ralph Krueger or Todd Nelson to come back and sort this sh*t out but I’m fairly certain those bridges have been burned with the people responsible for putting fuel on those bridge burnings still working for the team.
Edmonton is 18th in the league for PP% with 16%. Which isn’t horrendous by any means, at least we’re not Calgary, they’re sitting dead last in the league with a 10% PP… Now that is atrocious! We’re closer than ever to being a playoff team, yet, the Oilers are on the verge of another 5-game losing streak that is partly due to their inability to capitalize with the man advantage.
My thinking is that maybe that PP really needs a shot in the arm and what is more expensive to acquire, a right-handed defenseman to QB the PP or a right-handed centre that could play the McDavid role with Oscar Klefbom on the point?
I suppose that depends on the player, right?
I mean, why are the Oilers continually running the PP through McDavid like they are? His choices are:
- cross-ice pass to Ebs
- to the point to Klefbom or Sekera
- stickhandle through the slot and try himself
- shoot through two penalty killers
Why (and they might be doing this with Ebs and Klefbom put on the 2nd PP unit yesterday) don’t they run the PP through Ebs and Klefbom? And if that brings success, find a 2nd pairing righty for the McDavid unit or alter the positioning of 97’s unit in order to make room for Puljujarvi’s 1-timer?
What we do know is that Eberle can’t shoot right now despite being the most active shooter on the team and in the top 5 of the NHL.
You know, Leon Draisaitl hit the post versus Toronto with a beauty of a 1-timer, why haven’t they tried working the puck over to him?…
Maybe the Oilers should start looking at that right-handed PP QB that Hall was supposed to bring in… Somebody like:
- Sami Vatanen (ANH) – (2013-2016) 4.99 pts/60 on the PP.
- Justin Faulk (CAR) – (2013-2016) 17.2 shots/60 on the PP + 2.07 goals/60 (2nd in NHL in both stats).
- Matt Dumba (MIN) – (2016/17) 20.3 shots/60 on the PP (2nd in NHL).
- *Inhales sharply and says with a hand over his mouth*…Dennis Wideman (CGY) – (2016/17) 6.17 pts/60 on the PP + 3rd in the NHL w/3.09 goals/60 on the PP.
I dunno guys, right now Nuge for Dumba is looking pretty tasty and that was a deal turned down (rightfully so at the time) at the draft. That cannon of his, his urgency to use it and his physical play could really fit in on a Todd McLellan/Peter Chiarelli team, no?
Now, I know that a majority of the game is played 5×5, so let’s check the four players corsi for % 5×5 (close) with 100 minutes TOI minimum and see where we land (league ranking in brackets)?
- Vatanen (#70) 51.3%
- Faulk (#48) 52.4%
- Dumba (#97) 50%
- Wideman (#170) 42.9%
Comparing that with the Oilers we’ve got:
1 – Adam Larsson (#22) – 54.7%
2- Oscar Klefbom (#25) – 54.4%
3 – Eric Gryba (#26) – 54.1%
4 – Darnell Nurse (#30) – 53.8%
5 – Matt Benning (#79) – 51.0%
6 – Andrej Sekera (#135) – 47.2%
7 – Kris Russell (#138) – 46.8%
Oilers on the PP this season (I had to reduce the minimum TOI to 1 minute to get more than 2 Oilers):
1 – Matt Benning (#40) – 14:35 TOI, 4.11 pts/60
2 – Andrej Sekera (#66) – 43:23 TOI, 2.77 pts/60
3 – Oscar Klefbom (#89) – 68.50 TOI, 1.74 pts/60
4 – Adam Larsson (#161) – 6:23 TOI, 0.00 pts/60
5 – Darnell Nurse (#166) – 1:22 TOI, 0.00 pts/60
6 – Kris Russell (#183) – 11:06 TOI, 0.00 pts/60
If we jack the minimum TOI up to 50, which I think is a decent variable at this point in the season, then Oscar Klefbom jumps to #41 in the NHL. And if we change the time frame from just this season to the previous four (including this one), Kris Russell is 48th in the NHL over that time with a points per 60 of 3.80 and Andrej Sekera (3.77) is right under him at 49th. But that’s it.
As for the four dmen I named above, what do you think their teams would be looking to acquire in exchange?
- Matt Dumba – Last I heard the Wild were looking for scoring. Do the Oilers have anybody they could serve up without handcuffing themselves?
- Justin Faulk – Some don’t like that his defense is going off the rails this season but Carolina would kill to get Nuge, wouldn’t they? But do they have someone to replace Faulk? We know that person isn’t Ryan Murphy. But hey, what about Ryan Murphy for Griffin Reinhart? Hehehe.
- Sami Vatanen – The ducks are having an odd season so far. Their big guns aren’t firing on all cylinders, so I imagine scoring is something they’d be looking for as well given their ridiculously deep back-end. Last year Pouliot was rumored to be of interest but I can’t see that this year. And what would you deal to a division rival?
- Dennis Wideman – I think he could be had for a Bobby Nick’s Burger.
I don’t really like the idea of moving a high-profile player just to “fix” the PP to be honest but what would you do? Would you sacrifice a Nuge, Eberle, Nurse, Klefbom or a Draisaitl to upgrade the Oilers PP?
Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!