Saturday, January 24, 2009

Scoring Chances - Games 21-30

This is the third ten game segment of Oilers scoring chances, as tracked by Dennis here. I think it's interesting to break things up into smaller portions because it enables us to see how certain coaching decisions immediately impact the team, as well as how a prospect might be able to establish himself on the team with strong play early. We saw in the previous segment that MacTavish tends to have quite a bit of time for some things that have worked in the past (the 24-43 pairing) in spite of the "blender" reputation. The first two segments of this exercise are here and here.

(For those unfamiliar with the metric a player is awarded a chance any time someone on the ice has a chance to score. He is awarded with a “chance for” if someone on his team has a chance and awarded with a “chance against” if someone on the opposing team has a chance to score. The results are broken down into three game states, EV (even strength), PP (Power Play) and SH (Short-Handed). The players are all organized according to their jersey numbers.)

Games Twenty-One Through Thirty, November 26 to December 17
Missing Game 22 at St.Louis

Nilsson misses games 24 to 27 and Gagner misses games 25 and 26, both due to injury. Both Nilsson (in three games) and Gagner (in four) go 15/11 at EV after their injuries. They may have been a blessing in disguise since the ten to fifteen previous games had been a big struggle for both of them. Their absence also gives a chance for some other forwards to get into the lineup. Brule and Sestito both only get a cup of coffee and are sent back down. Schremp's numbers get killed by his 0/5 against the Sharks and he's sent packing after one more game. Reddox continues his break-even play and at this stage he's breaking even after twelve games, establishing a small track record of success.

Staios and Smid provide a good third pairing once MacT finally gets away from the 24-43 combination in game 25. Smid's totals as a forward are 2 GP and 2/3 at EV. Strudwick's moves to forward for 4GP and 2/5 at EV. 24 also leads the team in a nice return to respectability in this segment on the PK, though it's possible that the biggest difference here is simply fewer penalties to kill.

Both on the PP and at EV the 27-10-83 line does very well. Given the results it's hard to figure why MacT ever takes 27 off the first PP unit. I'd guess that the only reason is to reward or punish his effort level because it sure isn't a problem with the long-term results when he's out there.

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