Archive for the ‘Edmonton Oilers’ Category

Perennial All-Star and 30-goal scorer, or a more common first-second line platoon player: Which is more likely?

The Edmonton Oilers are betting against the market when it comes to Jordan Eberle.

It’s not that Eberle is a one-hit wonder or he’s going to bust out of Edmonton, it’s that no player is as good as an outlier season early in their hockey career.

His new contract isn’t horrible. It’s a decent-enough term and you’ll guarantee that Eberle’s costs won’t raise as he goes through his prime years. It’s manageable, and the Oilers don’t already have any anchor contracts. Once 2015 rolls around, they’ve commit just $12M. Half of that to Taylor Hall, half of that to Eberle.

But they team will need to find some creative ways to use their resources. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, Sam Gagner, Justin Schultz and Jeff Petry, all presumable key players on an Oilers club going forward, need to get paid between then. The NHL will have a lower salary cap next season, but that won’t be the test for the Oilers. It will be the years ahead when the Oilers have to fit those guys under a figure that will be lower than the $70.3M salary cap they face today.

This requires making the right bets.

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There are probably some perfectly legitimate reasons to be fearful of Taylor Hall’s development, and they’ll probably be discussed in certain detail (hey, here we are now).

The thing that particularly worries me about Hall is that he’s already missed 37 games due to various injuries in his young career; his ankle, shoulder and head have all suffered at one point or another. Does that make his contract extension all the more risky?

It probably won’t take much to convince readers that Hall is the superior player on the Edmonton Oilers. Hall scores at a higher rate and generates more pucks towards the net than Jordan Eberle, the other star forward in Edmonton up for contract renegotiation. These are their base statistics pro-rated over 82 games assuming 16:30 of ice time per game:

 

Goals Shots Sh%
Taylor Hall 28.9 2.83 12.5%
Jordan Eberle 27.1 2.15 15.4%

Hall scores a little bit more, doesn’t need an absurd shooting percentage to do it, (forwards who have shot between 15-16% in their first two years tend to lose a couple of percentage points) and generates nearly a full shot more. The Oilers also do much better at even strength in generating and preventing scoring chances when Hall is on the ice.

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There’s always been something that bugged me about hockey.

No, it isn’t the appropriate split of hockey-related revenue between the NHL and NHLPA, it’s something far more general and less specific to the actual problems facing the National Hockey League.

It’s the assist. I never really “got” the assist. Sure, I’ve used assists, and by proxy, points, as a marker for a hockey player’s offensive talent, but it seems rather simplistic and arbitrary. Why “two” assists? At what point did the hockey establishment decide that “two” passes before a goal was a perfectly acceptable way of conveying participation in the play?

A lot of television analysts, a lot of whom would probably shy away from the use of modern analytical tools such as Corsi or TOIQualComp, use numbers quite often in their assessment of players. It was a big thing this week when Taylor Hall got his contract extension, analysts were using Jordan Eberle’s point totals to argue that he ought to get a similar deal.

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The Edmonton Oilers are a franchise keen on keeping traditions in tact no matter how recent. You’ll note that each of the last first overall picks the franchise has had — Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, for those of you with short memories — have missed significant portions of time due to injury in their brief careers.

Enter Nail Yakupov.
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From The Man himself comes news out of Edmonton today:

That takes Taylor Hall until the year 2020, when he’ll become a an unrestricted free agent. I assume by then he’ll be working a hovercar into his next deal.

The cap hit is fairly difficult to judge right now based on a couple factors: Read the rest of this entry »

I want to step away from lockout or contract talk and simply discuss a concept in hockey I like.

When analyzing teams throughout the season, I often like to look at “goal differential” rather than points pace. I think the quality of a team is reflected in how many goals they score, and how many they give up. Over a large span of games, the amount of goals and goals given up can predict how many wins a team will earn.

This is mostly a baseball concept, but it has been applied to other sports. Primarily basketball, but the MLB.com standings page will allow you to look at predicted wins and losses based on the formula, which is as follows:

In baseball, they score runs. In hockey, you score goals (unless you’re Scott Gomez. Hey ho!). Using the same formula, let’s look at, say, the Anaheim Ducks over the last three seasons. They’ve won 128 out of 246 games, for a winning percentage of .520. They’ve doing this scoring 722 goals including shootout wins, and allowing 724 including shootout losses.

722 ^ 2 / ( ( 722 ^ 2 ) + ( 724 ^ 2 ) ) = .499

So it isn’t too far off. A winning percentage of .499 would equal roughly 123 wins, which is just five below the predicted total.

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