The Oilers have finally fired Dallas Eakins today and reportedly MacTavish will step back behind the bench as the interim head coach until the team can find a more permanent replacement.
There is also talk that perhaps Todd Nelson could join the team and I for one would be a fan of that move.
UPDATE: Todd Nelson To The Rescue
In the press conference MacT announced that he will be stepping into the head coaching role solely as a transition to Todd Nelson who will take the job for the remainder of the season.
I’m a fan of Todd Nelson so its nice to see him get a chance, and to be honest I think that he has a great opportunity here. The team is better than the record suggests and is bound to turn things around as the lucky bounces start to go their way so Nelson should be more than capable to post a much better record for the remainder of the season than Eakins had for the first portion. We’ll see if its enough to turn this into a permanent role, but I for one will be pulling for him.
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Ok, so Calgary is having a pretty great season so far right? I mean their 3 points away from leading the entire NHL after going 9-5-2 in their first 16 games, not bad for a team that most people thought would be battling Buffalo for last. Meanwhile the Oilers have 13 pts in their first 15 games and sit just 1 point out of last place in the western conference. Obviously the Flames are a better team right? No, of course not, lets take a deeper look.
PDO is found by adding a teams save percentage to a teams shooting percentage and over a large sample size all teams will approach a PDO of 100 or about a .920 save percentage and an 8% shooting percentage. This means that we can use PDO to predict if a team has been getting lucky bounces and will regress or vise versa if a team has been unlucky and will improve. The Calgary flames have a PDO of 103.15 which is the first indication that they’re just not as good as the early standings suggest, they have an above average save percentage (932.5) and an above average shooting percentage (9.91) which will surely regress. The Oilers on the other hand have a PDO of 97.11 on a shooting percentage of 7.16 and a save percentage of .899, both of which are under league average and will surely rebound. So based on PDO its pretty easy to predict that the Oilers will climb in the standings while the Flames will fall in the standings.
I’m going to use Corsi for percentage (CF%) to show which team is leading the way on possession. A Corsi event is any shot attempt on goal including blocked shots, missed shots and shots on goal and CF% is the percentage of total Corsi events that were generated by a team. For example if there are 50 shots attempts taken in a game and EDM generated 30 of those attempts then their CF% would be 60% and the opposing team would be 40%. The Calgary Flames have a CF% of 43% so far this season, that means that out of every 100 shot attempts 43 of them have been by Calgary and 57 of them have been against Calgary. The Oilers on the other hand have a CF% of 51.4% which is such a fantastic thing to see after all these years of getting outshot every game. These numbers are a pretty clear indication that the Oilers are the superior possession team and overtime should surpass Calgary in the standings.
Face Off Location
The Flames have taken 25.69% of their faceoffs in the offensive zone and 36.02% in the defensive zone. Good teams that possess the puck don’t take nearly as many defensive zone faceoffs as the Flames and take many more in the offensive zone. The Oilers on the other hand take 32.66% in the offensive zone and 29.01 in the defensive zone.
Goals For Percentage
The Flames have scored 55.2% of the goals in their games so far this season which is really incredible considering they’ve only had 45.6% of the shots. Pretty lucky. The Oilers on the other hand have only scored 41.3% of the goals in their games even though they’ve had 49.7% of the shots.
The Oilers Are Just Better
The Oilers are off to a rough start but the underlying numbers indicate that they’re actually playing pretty good hockey and could be fighting for a playoff spot in April.
UPDATE: The NHL has ruled that the entry level contract that the Oilers have signed with Tkachev is ineligible due to the fact that he did not play a full season in the North America last season. Tkachev will re-enter the draft next season because Oilers.
The Oilers have signed Vladdy Hockey to a 3 year entry level contract this morning. The move will most likely turn alot of heads because of Tkachev’s size (he’s reportedly only 141 lbs) but I’m thrilled they could add such a skilled player to the system for nothing but money. Tkachev has had a great pre-season run with the Oilers and has certainly earned the 3 year deal which will likely keep the player in the system for the next 5 seasons as he is eligible to return to Jr for 2 more years.
Of course many will point out that Tkachev is a long shot to ever make the NHL because of his size alone and to be honest I completely agree. He’ll definitely need to beef up if he ever stands a chance to play in the NHL but I love that the Oilers are giving him the opportunity. He certainly adds a lot of skill to the system and even if he never plays an NHL game there is value having him play along side other prospects to help their game. The fact that Bogdam Yakimov is in the conversation to make the team out of camp this season has a lot to due with having Tkachev on his wing for a large portion of the camp.
Tkachev will receive $550k in year 1, $575k in year 2, and $600k in year 3 along with a $55k signing bonus each season.
This is a great day for the Oilers and a great day for Vladdy Hockey!
The Oilers have a huge whole in their center depth and Leon Draisaitl has a real shot at making the team this upcoming season. Before the draft I posted the last 20 3rd overall picks in the draft to get an idea of what we could expect of the Oilers pick this year and I thought it would be interesting to see how long it took those players to be NHL’rs.
The table below shows the number of games played by the past 20 3rd overall picks in the first 3 years after they are drafted.
In 20 years only 3 players have played a full season in the year they were picked 3rd overall, and 5 played half a season. The other 12 either didn’t play at all or had a real small sip. Based on history I think we can expect Draisaitl to return to Jr this season but should be worried if he doesn’t make the team in the 2015/16 season.
As per the Oilers official twitter:
The Mark Fayne deal is 4yrs $14M with a cap hit of 3.5M and the Benoit Pouliot deal is 5 yrs $20M with a cap hit of $4M.
I’m quite happy with these signings, we know that the Oilers have to offer either more money or more term to convince a UFA to come to Edmonton. Its nice to see the team get a couple of guys who have good possession numbers.
The Edmonton Oilers have traded 24yr old center Sam Gagner to the Tampa Bay Lightning for 28yr old winger Teddy Purcell. Gagner never seemed to improve in Edmonton from his rookie season way back in the 07/08 season where had a career high 49 points as an 18yr old. He’s never been able to get to the next level offensively or play the strong 2-way game that the Oilers desperately need and this past season the majority of the fan base in Edmonton turned on the young center, and apparently so has Craig Mactavish. In Gagner’s 7 seasons with the Oilers he has played under 5 different head coaches which I’m sure had a substantial impact on his development, I’m eager to see how he performs in a more structured situation in Arizona.
Thats right Arizona! Soon after the trade to Tampa, the lightning traded Gagner and BJ Crombeen to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a 6th rd draft pick. The Lightning also retained 1/3 of Gagners salary in the deal. This is the new NHL where GM’s are willing to trade good players on bad contracts for very little return so that they can make cap room for UFA hunting.
This new NHL is very interesting for a team like the Oilers who have about $20M in cap space available before signing Jeff Petry and Justin Shultz, they’re is a great position to make deal similar to what the Coyotes did to acquire Gagner and Crombeen. Take the Boston Bruins for example who have under 6M in cap space to resign RFA’s Tory Krug and Matt Bartkowski and replace the offense of Jerome Iginla, they would love to rid themselves of Chris Kelly’s $3M cap hit. Does a trade sending Chris Kelly and Jonny Boychuk (3.367M cap hit) to the Oilers in exchange for a pick and prospect make sense for both sides? Boston would clear up 6.3M in cap space while the Oilers would add a good top 4 right handed defenseman and a 4th line center to a team that desperately needs these types of players. Of course Boychuk and Kelly would need to waive no trade clauses to make the deal happen but this is the type of deal MacT needs to be looking for to improve the team.
The Oilers signed defenceman Nikita Nikitin this morning to a 2yr contract at 4.5M per year. The dollars are a tad high for a guy who played 3rd pairing minutes last year in Columbus but the Oilers had to pay for that short term. I’m sure Nikitin was probably looking for a 4-6 year term in the 3.5M to 4M range but the Oilers were looking to add a bridge player to give Nurse 2 more seasons to develop before making the jump to the NHL.
Nikitin looks like a good candidate to play along side Justin Shultz which should make a solid 2nd pairing playing some sheltered minutes. He’s a real NHL defenceman with experience who has shown success in the past playing against tough competition and he’s only 28yrs old. He really does fill a hole on the team and will push Nurse back to Jr this year.
A pretty big overpayment at 4.5M per season and even though the Oilers do have the cap room to sign the deal I worry about how this contract will affect the negotiations with Petry and Shultz or another UFA defenceman (Stralman).
On the bright side Nikitin should slot in on the 2nd pairing and only makes $900k more than the Oilers were paying Nick Shultz last season.
We know that if the Oilers don’t trade the 3rd overall pick they’ll take one of Ekblad, Draisaitl, Bennet or Reinhart, but what can we expect from these kids? Below is a list of the past 20 3rd overall picks:
While there are a couple of misses in there its pretty clear that we can expect a real solid NHL player and have a chance at landing a legit superstar. Just keep your fingers crossed that the Oilers end up with a Jonathan Toews and not a Cam Barker!
This is truly good news. Scrivens has improved each year he’s played in the NHL and in his time with the Oilers he’s proved that his numbers in LA are no fluke. Since the Oilers acquired Scrivens from LA for a third-round draft pick he has posted a .940 save percentage and a 2.15 goals against average in seven games.
The deal will pay Scrivens 2.3 million per season and give him the opportunity to prove that he has the stuff to be an NHL starter.
The problem though that the Oilers face is that they really do need to bring in another goal tender who can push Scrivens and challenge for that number one job. I’ve been impressed with Bryzgalov’s play lately and wouldn’t be surprised or upset for that matter if the Oilers also signed the veteran to an extension.
In other new Mark Arcobello has been named player of the week in the AHL and I think we can expect to see him in an Oilers uniform very shortly. There could be 2 or 3 forwards moved out of town in the next couple of days which will give Arcobello a huge opportunity to stick in the NHL.
Craig Mactavish and the Edmonton Oilers made a couple of moves on friday in an attempt to improve the team. First the Oilers traded stay at home Defensmen Ladi Smid and AHL goalie Olivier Roy to the Calgary Flames for goalie prospect Laurent Brossoit and C Roman Horak. Mactavish followed up the trade with the UFA signing of goalie Ilya Bryzgalov to a 1yr 1.75M contract. Continue reading