FanPost

Number That May Only Interest Me:  -75

-75

 

The Edmonton Oilers have scored 190 goals and given up 265 goals for a goal differential of -75, last in the league.  In 2009-2010, the Oilers scored 214 goals and surrendered 284 goals for a differential of  -70, last in the league.  

In his preseason prediction post, Scott crunched the numbers and predicted the Oilers would finish 30th in the NHL, but had some confidence in their growth as a team.  He thought they'd improve by 17 goals to a differential of -60:

#30 - Edmonton Oilers (5th in the Northwest, 15th in the Western Conference) - I should be clear and say that no team is actually likely to finish in last place.  Someone is bound to get a slew of injuries, or a long run of bad luck and finish below the Oilers, but on paper, this team is one of the worst in the league.  This isn't last year's team healthy again.  There's no Sheldon Souray, no Denis Grebeshkov, no Lubomir Visnovsky, and no veterans up front other than the big three.  The goaltending is already bad, and will almost certainly get worse if and when Khabibulin goes down to injury; the defenders are all being asked to play a bigger role than they've been capable of; and there are three raw rookies in the top nine, with nothing for NHL-level support behind them if they struggle.  Goal differential prediction: -60 (Change from 2009-10: +17)

Without a five goal blowout of the Avalanche there will be no improvement.

One positive in all of this is the play of Devan Dubnyk.  In 35 appearances, he posted a .916 save percentage and generally been a stellar presence in net, something the Oilers haven't had since Dwayne Roloson left town.  Unfortunately, Dubnyk's play was matched by Nikolai Khabibulin's terrible season.  Khbibulin posted a save percentage of .891, ranking 45th of 47 qualifying goaltenders.  If the Oilers starter / #1 goaltender could have delievered just league-average goaltending, a .910 save percentage, in his 46 appearances, the Oilers' goals against would have been reduced by 26 for the season.  190 goals for and 239 goals against, a -49 goal differential, ranks 28th in the league this year.  Improvement!

Alas, Khabibulin has two years left on his contract and turned 38 in January.  Barring a management decision to cut ties with the netminder, the Oilers' goal differential is in trouble for the next two years.

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