A fifth of the way there

Updated: January 11, 2018 at 1:23 am by Zach Laing

My favourite stats website is back up and running and in doing some looking around, a few stats have caught my eye.

We are now 1/5th of the way through this NHL season and I thought it would be a good time to take a look at what some of the statistics are saying about the Oilers. For those who track these often, some of this may not be of any surprise to you. For those who don’t, there might be some information that surprises you about this team.

For the record, these stats are only on players that have played in over 50 minutes for the Oilers this season. It doesn’t affect things too much, but it pulls Mark Fayne, Brandon Davidson, and Taylor Beck out of the picture, as they have only played under 8:04 per game. Stats are from stats.hockeyanalysis.com.

At five-on-five, there were a number of things that jumped out. First off, through his first seven NHL games and first 100 minutes of 5v5TOI, Matthew Benning is a 55.7 CF% player and also leads in CF%Rel. He is third on the team. The case of Benning is a curious one, as some couldn’t quite figure out why he was still up in Edmonton when he had the opportunity to get significant ice time in Bakersfield.

Give the Oilers coaching staff credit, though, as they saw something in him that others weren’t able to. By eye, he does everything right: he is smart with the puck and does great work in positioning himself when feeling pressure from forecheckers. 

Like Benning, Tyler Pitlick is another player who has made strides both on the ice and in the numbers as well. Pitlick has put up 2.33 P/60, which is good enough for second on the team. He sits with a GF% of 50, as well as a lowly CF% of 44. 

Pitlick has obviously done well in terms of individual point production, but has struggled in shot/goal differential. Pitlick’s WOWY shows that he has suffered from playing with his most common linemates, Mark Letestu and Anton Lander. 


After playing together for the first time last night, Pitlick did very well playing with McDavid and Maroon. I would be interested to see if this is a line that sees some more ice-time. Historically, Jordan Eberle has played better with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Benoit Pouliot, and it’s a line that has seen a lot of ice time together in the past. 

It has been quite some time since the Oilers were truly even an average NHL team. Right now, they are just that. 

Oilers at 5v5, 2016-2017, 775:34 TOI:

  • CF% – 50.4 – 12th in the NHL 
  • GF% – 50.0 – 14th in the NHL
  • SF% – 51.0 – 10th in the NHL
  • PDO – 99.7 – 14th in the NHL
Oilers at 5v5, 2015-2016, 3912:44 TOI:

  • CF% – 48.8 – 19th in the NHL
  • GF% – 44.3 – 29th in the NHL
  • SF% – 48.5 – 23rd in the NHL
  • PDO – 98.7 – 28th in the NHL
We are only 1/5th of the way into the season, but there are some good trends. Many around the NHL believe that American Thanksgiving is the marker for what your team will most likely look like for the remainder of the season. The Oilers are still six games away from that day, and face the Ducks, Kings, Stars, and Avalanche on the road, as well as the Blackhawks at home in the mean time. Those will be tough games. 

The early start has shown some good trends for players, and the team as a whole. Guys like Benning and Pitlick have especially impressed early; both players have done lots to show that they deserve to play in the lineup and it will be interesting to see how the lineups change as players begin returning from injury.

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