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

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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

06/27/12 Ralph Krueger and the Kids

Ralph Krueger is expected to be named the next head coach of the Oilers on Wednesday. Krueger stepped in for Renney in five games this past season. How did he use his players?

The Kids

Many wished that Tom Renney would have leaned more heavily on the Oilers' three young stars, especially because the team was losing anyway. When Krueger was behind the bench, he had no problem giving two of them more ice time, even at a young age.

Taylor Hall

Full 2011-12 season average ice time: 18:13 total
In five games under Krueger: 19:45 total

Jordan Eberle

Full 2011-12 season average ice time: 17:35
In five games under Kruger: 19:24

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Full 2011-12 season average time time: 17:36
In one game under Krueger: 15:03

Only once did Taylor Hall play less than 19 minutes in the five games when Krueger was the bench boss. Eberle had three games over nineteen minutes, one with 18:48 and one with 17:11. This is a very small sample size, but it paints a picture because Krueger knew he'd only have a limited window. Nugent-Hopkins had a tough night in the game listed above, finishing as a minus-3 with no points, which explains his ice time.

Shawn Horcoff averaged 19:35 all year long, but only reached 19 minutes of ice time twice under Krueger. Ryan Smyth had less ice time as well. If the new coach has any input, don't expect Sam Gagner to be traded. Krueger played Gagner for 23:04 on February 17th despite no points from Sam, and he played more than his season average of 17:10 in every game under Krueger. In fact, Gagner played 18 or more minutes in four of the five games.

Jeff Petry was a workhorse for Krueger; four times playing over 21 minutes and one time playing a whopping 24:14 - plenty of ice for an inexperienced defender. Krueger and Renney were apparently in agreement on Petry's abilities. Most of the defense got similar ice time under Krueger and Renney.

The powerplay was already under Krueger's control, and improved by a substantial margin due to his philosophy of shifting the quarterbacks from the points to the half wall. The Oilers' young stars saw more ice time under Krueger than they did under Renney, and we should probably expect him to lean heavily on them next season. Read more about the coach here.

The Oilers took a very long time and then simply ended up promoting from within. It's good to know that management exhausted all options, but it still seems like a drawn out process. Let's hope that Krueger ends up being just what this young team needs.

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