a·cu·men [ak-yuh-muhn] noun: keen insight; shrewdness

Welcome to Oil Acumen. All Oilers, all the time... Occasionally other stuff.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

12/04/11 By The Numbers: Hall, Oilers, Standings

If the season ended today, the Oilers would finish 17th in the league, which is a quantum leap forward from last year. Here are a boatload of other numbers about a variety of topics ranging from Taylor Hall's importance to the team to the quality of the penalty kill.

Let's start with Hall. It's impossible to overstate the importance of Taylor Hall to this Oilers team. Last season the Oil were 12-1-4 when Hall scored at least one goal, and this year they are 5-0-0 when Hall scores. Overall, that means the Oilers have a record of 17-1-4 when Taylor Hall riffles the twine. The Oilers are 4-12-5 with Hall out of the lineup altogether, although that stat is a bit deceiving because there were so many other corresponding injuries last season.

- While we're on the subject of injuries, here is a look at three key ones from last year and how they affected the team:

Oilers record last season with Hemsky, Whitney and Hall all in the lineup (we'll call this the control): 6-5-2; 46.1% Winning Percentage, 53.8% Points Percentage

Record without Hemsky11-17-7 overall. 32% Winning Percentage, 42.6% Points Percentage

Record without Whitney13-28-6. 27.6% Winning Percentage, 34% Points Percentage

Record without all three: 3-10-4. 17.6% Winning Percentage; 29% Points Percentage

Obviously losing all three was devastating, but these numbers indicate how important Ryan Whitney was to the Oilers last year. They also show how much better this team could have been if all three had stayed healthy for any length of time. The Oilers weren't as far away from being competitive as it looked, but they couldn't ice a healthy squad. If they ever manage to get all three of these players (let alone RNH) together for an extender period, watch out.

- Edmonton's record when Jordan Eberle scored last year: 10-5-2. This year: 6-2-1. Overall: 16-7-3.

- After December 3rd last year the Oilers were 9-12-4 with 22 points, good for 15th in the Western Conference and 26th in the NHL. The Islanders, Devils, Leafs and Panthers were worse at that point. In fact, the Islanders had a record of just 5-14-5 and 15 points. Interestingly, Colorado had a record of 13-9-3 (Edmonton is currently 13-11-3) after December 3rd and the same 29 points that the Oilers have this year. Colorado ended up finishing 29th.

- Edmonton's powerplay is 5th in the NHL right now and 1st at home, where it's clicking 25% of the time. The Oilers' 22 total powerplay goals is tied for 3rd in the NHL.

- The penalty kill has dipped down to 15th overall, but it's actually been better on the road than at home. The Oilers are 15th in the league in PK% at home and 13th outside of Rexall. The Oilers have allowed 19 powerplay goals which puts them in 23rd place. The least PP goals allowed by a team this year? That would be New Jersey, which has allowed just 5 in 25 games.

- After one game Nugent-Hopkins was 13.3% in the faceoff circle. After four games he'd improved to 24%. He's now sitting at 37.3% on draws, which isn't great but isn't horrible. He won a career-high 71% against Nashville on November 28th.

- The Oilers' best player in the faceoff dot right now is actually Ryan O'Marra. O'Marra has won 10 of the 14 draws he's taken so far, good for 71.4%. Sam Gagner has taken 74 faceoffs and won exactly half of them, which is a stat that should make fans rejoice. Shawn Horcoff has taken by far the most draws of anyone on the team at 535. He's won 49.3% of them so far. Among those who have taken at least 100, Eric Belanger is best with a 55.2% winning percentage on 373 faceoffs total. Overall the Oilers are 27th in faceoff winning percentage. At 712 and 790, the Oilers rank 24th in faceoffs won and 24th in faceoffs lost.

- The Oilers are 27th in Shots For per Game, which is going to have to improve. Right now they are averaging just 26.3 per outing.

- The Shots Against per Game total is much more encouraging. The Oilers are 13th in the NHL in that regard, allowing an average of 30 per game.

- The last few games have been a bit of an anomaly in that the Oilers have blown leads. Overall the team is 10-4-3 when scoring first, and 4 of those losses have come in the last 5 games. That also means that the Oilers have scored first in 17 of their first 27 games (63% of the time), while last year they scored first in just 32 games (39% of the time).

No matter how you slice it, the Oilers are better. This is definitely a season to build on, whether they make the  playoffs or not.

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