An analytical overview of the Edmonton Oilers

We’re just one day away from Alberta’s first playoff battle that province has seen in 20 years.

But today we’re going to look at some underlying numbers from both teams and how they impact the series.

The Edmonton Oilers have been a completely different team under Jay Woodcroft, so what we’re going to do is look at the underlying regular season numbers for both teams between Feb. 10 and the end of the season. Although we could get a larger sample size going back to the beginning of the year, the numbers would be heavily skewed.

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Under Woodcroft, the Oilers saw massive improvements in their game across all three areas of the ice and that showed in the Oilers’ underlying numbers as well. The following numbers all come to 5×5, where the majority of the game is played.

WL, points % (rank) HR % GF-GA, GF% xGF% Chances of scoring % High Danger Score Chance % PDO
Lubricators 26-9-3, .724 (3rd) 52.63 (8th) 93-73, 56.02 (5th) 54.17 (6th) 50.64 (14th) 55.79 (6th) 101.1 (7th)
flames 26-8-5, .731 (2nd) 55.64 (3rd) 99-68, 59.28 (2nd) 52.60 (10th) 54.29 (6th) 54.22 (8th) 1.015 (6ht)

It’s hard to find a real advantage, analytically speaking, in favor of the Oilers. That’s not to say the Oilers are a bad team, far from it, in fact. The Oilers had a massive turnaround in their season under Woodcroft, especially at 5×5.

That played a big part in their late-season success, as well as their ability to come out of their seven-game set against the Los Angeles Kings. Come this round, it’s going to be tight. And I mean really tight.

On the season at 5×5 when adjusting score and venue, the Oilers controlled just 42.6% of shot attempts, 41.31% of scoring chances, 36.86% of goals scored and only 42.3% of expected goals. Things are not going well in this aspect. But when we look at larger samples over the past few years, the Oilers have shown they can handle this Calgary Flames team that largely looks the same, despite the coaching change.

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The truth is, the playoffs are totally different. Edmonton didn’t struggle against LA as much as they did against Calgary in the regular season, but you could see how the Oilers raised their game in the playoffs, and I wouldn’t expect anything less of them raising their game so considerable against Calgary.

In the end, it’s a series in my eyes that could very well be determined by the goalkeeper. Tomorrow, we’ll look at each team’s lineup and pairing performance.


Zach Laing is the News Director and Senior Columnist for the Nation Network. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaingor attached by email to [email protected]