Breaking Point: Points Per 60 By Line Assignments

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHwWbXNatho&w=420&h=315]

This morning Garret Hohl of Arctic Ice Hockey and Hockey Graphs posted a series of interesting tweets.

So… the obvious question for an Oilers’ fan is to take a look at how the Oilers’ forwards matched up by this metric. I’ll be using the point per 60 numbers from behind the net. All numbers are 5×5.

NOTES: Because the roster and lines were jumbled around quite a bit, I’ve ordered the players by TOI/60, which is the most reasonable way to delineate 1st from 2nd and so forth lines. A number of the players, especially the wingers, switched positions throughout the year, I’m not overly concerned about their placement for this exercise. I gave a “pass/fail” grade but haven’t been especially picky about it, if you are in the range, you pass.


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As if we needed more evidence the NHL center depth chart for the Oilers is pretty thin… well, here some more. Both Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner scored at around the 3rd line center baseline (1.50 P/60). Both players rely on power play time to boost their boxcars and we can see that when we isolate for 5×5 and per 60 minute scoring. Neither were strong even strength scorers this year.

Gordon, for all his defensive chops, isn’t up to snuff as a scorer. The good news is, assuming MacTavish follows through and plays him on 4th line next year, he’s in the range as a 4th line scorer.

Acton is a pleasant surprise by this measure, though we should caution about sample sizes. Acrobello, in his limited time in the NHL scored at a 2nd line rate. That’s a good sign going into next year and probably helps explain why MacTavish isn’t ready to break the bank or spend major assets to acquire a 2C.

Lander is in a world of hurt as an NHL player.

Left Wing

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Well, look at that! Hall’s just the bee’s knees, isn’t he. Seriously, he’s blowing the doors off here. One more reason to insist MacTavish build a functional NHL team around him. He’s ready to play and win now.

Perron looks damn fine. Great pick-up by MacTavish.

Smyth is in tough by this measure, because he was put in the jack-of-all-trades box this year playing everywhere from the first line LW (opening night roster, remember that!?) to the fourth line C. But, the TOI/60 shows that this is roughly where he belongs. If the Oilers had enough depth to play him 4LW, we’d be laughing (he clears that bar, no problem). His failure here is the failure of management to add NHL depth at LW.

The attempt to add depth on the wings (Jones and Joensuu) didn’t work out as you can see. Jones is shy of 4 line scoring here and the newly retired Smyth ate his lunch in ever capacity we measure.

The less said about Gazdic the better. Meatpuck is stupid.

Right Wing

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Take a screen grab of this. Seriously. 3 scoring lines on RW. They did it!

The Oilers had an embarrassment of riches on RW this year with all of Eberle, Hemsky and young Yakupov. All three were in the range of the even strength scoring target for their line assignments.

Whether it was injury, or something else, Joensuu didn’t get it done. And, Hendricks comes out looking much worse here than I expected––something to keep an eye on for next year.

Breaking Point

If you only looked at the Oilers’ forward roster last year from this point of view, you’d come away with two areas of concern:

1) They aren’t good enough down the middle

2) They aren’t good enough at the bottom of the roster

Oddly enough, that’s exactly the kind of result you’d expect a casual observer of the Oilers to reach.


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