ANAHEIM CA - NOVEMBER 21: (L-R) Ales Hemsky #83 Sam Gagner #89 and Dustin Penner #27 of the Edmonton Oilers celebrate Gagner's second period goal against the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center on November 21 2010 in Anaheim California. The Oilers defeated the Ducks 4-2. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
We've been through segments and WOWYs, the power play and the penalty kill, and learned a lot and uncovered some interesting nuggets of information. To explore the scoring chances a bit further, I'm lifting a concept from Neil at Russian Machine Never Breaks: scoring chances by line combination.
As always, thanks to Dennis King at MC79hockey for recording all of this information.
TCF = season total even strength chances for; TCA = season total even strength chances against; CH% = scoring chance percentage
- In 2009-2010, Dustin Penner, Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky posted a CH% of 56.1% after the failed J.F. Jacques experiment and before Hemsky's injuries ended his season in November. This year as Tom Renney struggled to find consistent lines, Penner-Gagner-Hemsky posted a chance percentage of 60.3%, marking them as the most successful line by the chances metric.
- Injuries doomed the team's second-most successful regular line, Taylor Hall, Shawn Horcoff and Jordan Eberle. When they were together, they posted 57.6%, meaning the top two lines were solid when healthy and together.
- My favorite line combination is J.F. Jacques, Colin Fraser, and Zack Stortini. Even though it was extremely limited viewing, the line posted 57.6%, or 34 percentage points higher than Ryan Jones, Fraser and Stortini and 42 percentage points higher than Jacques, Fraser and Jones. It's interesting that after all of these years, it's not their own play that sent away Jacques and Stortini - it's that of Ryan Jones. Stortini has to be extremely frustrated by this.
- Sort the table by "C". Note Gagner's percentages when he's on the ice with a pair of competent linemates. He might not be able to carry a line on his own, but he's certainly not holding back better players. His chance percentage when on the ice with Penner/Hall and Hemsky is better than that of Henrik Sedin's percentage against the Oilers over the last two seasons. His chance percentage with competent players is better than that of the league MVP against the worst team in the league. There's a real player there, he's just not capable of carrying a line on his own. Yet. He's only 22, give it time.
- Keep the sort on the "C" because there's another revelation in here. Andrew Cogliano's percentages with consistent linemates isn't terrible, and at times looks okay. He was saddled with Ethan Moreau for two years and was saddled with a number of randoms last season. I still believe the organization needs to accept that he's never going to be a center and come to an agreement to move him to wing, but there is a glimmer of hope in these numbers.
- Now sort the table by "RW" and look at the three Jordan Eberle rows. We saw Eberle's without Hall numbers and given the above information, there is no way that Tom Renney should separate the two next season. Hall had success no matter the linemates, but Eberle was somewhat dependent on Hall.
- Although the horse has already left the barn, to Sweden in fact, Liam Reddox did just fine against lower competition with talented players. He's going to find his way back into the NHL at some point.
- Three of the top four combos have a common player, Dustin Penner. Five of the top eight combos have a common player - Taylor Hall. The Oilers had actualy NHL depth at LW, at least at the top of the roster last season.