Two months ago, in a quest to determine just how bad the Oilers special teams were, I created a simple but useful metric:
If we had a simple metric to apply to special teams, we could get a sense of just how much of an impact special teams can have on a season. Since the league average for power play success percentage plus penalty kill success percentage is 100, why not add the two and use it as a baseline for measuring special teams efficiency? Though the tendency to regress toward the mean may be somewhat less strong (but then again, maybe not!), it may still be useful as an evaluation tool. In this case, we'll call the combined number Special Teams Efficiency, or STE.
Since writing that article, it's been nothing but sunshine, lollipops and rainbows in Edmonton as the Oilers have raised their STE from 83.31 up to 86.80. It's been an astounding climb from 30th place to 30th place. The Oilers trail 29th place Toronto by 6.79 percentage points, so barring a miracle of immaculate proportions, the Oilers will finish last overall in STE in the league.
The gap between 29th and 30th is larger than the gap between any three other spots in the list, so it follows that the Oilers STE might be one of historically bad proportions. After the jump is a list of the all-time worst special teams in the NHL since Original Six expansion.
There you have it. The Edmonton Oilers have the worst special teams in the NHL since the 1982-1983 Detroit Red Wings. In the Ducks game thread, I mentioned the final penalty kill having some historical significance -- by killing that penalty, the Oilers vaulted over the Islanders and out of the bottom five. Even though the OIlers are just playing out the string, fans have something to track -- can the Oilers stay out of the bottom five all-time? Except for Detroit, the teams they've managed to put behind them with their post-December rally were all expansion teams and except for the North Stars, the teams directly in front of them were expansion teams.