Yesterday, I looked at individual point percentage - a calculation of the number of times an individual player gets a point (either a goal or an assist) relative to the number of total goals scored while he's on the ice - for all of the forwards in the NHL who managed to play at least fifty games in each of the last four seasons. I'm sure that I don't need to tell you that that leaves the Oilers' best forward over that time period on the outside looking in. After the jump, we'll look at how Ales Hemsky and the other men who have suited up for the Oilers did while plying their trade for our hometown team.
We'll be looking strictly at what Edmonton's forwards have done five-on-five here, and the result will hopefully give us a better idea of which guys are handling the puck a lot in the offensive zone and helping to create goals (thanks JaredL!). The league average for forwards is somewhere between 69.5% to 70.0%. The raw data all comes from Gabriel Dejardins' behindthenet.ca, and while there are some split seasons - which means that a few players (Dustin Penner, Ryan Jones, Patrick O`Sullivan) have some of their time in some other cities included in the data - this is mostly a look at just what these guys have achieved in Edmonton (minimum 20 total events):
Before reading on, I suggest clicking on that chart to make it a bit bigger so that you can have a good look at the numbers. You'll recall that yesterday I talked a bit about Linus Omark (who just barely makes the cut) and Colin Fraser (who was only on the ice for twelve goals-for last season, so isn't listed above), so I won't rehash that here other than to say even though Omark's number is going to fall over time, he's a tremendously creative guy who loves to have the puck on his stick in the offensive zone, so that number makes sense. That Magnus Paajarvi spent so much time playing with Omark might also help to explain why is down near the bottom with guys like J-F Jacques, Ethan Moreau, and Zack Stortini.
You can also see something of a pattern with what the Oilers do contract-wise in some of these numbers. Ryan Jones, Gilbert Brule, Robert Nilsson, and Shawn Horcoff all got fat new contracts after seasons that overshot their overall performance (i.e. "lucky" seasons), while guys like Jarret Stoll and Raffi Torres were both sent packing after dismal years by this measure.
But what this is really about is the Oilers' best players. Ales Hemsky's 82.6% is an elite number that puts him right next to some of the best players in the game. When he's on the ice with the puck in the offensive zone, it's usually on his stick, and his success by other measures (excepting health) suggests that he's one of the premier forwards in the game at even strength.
The other pairing that demands attention is Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall, who played together for much of the year. Eberle's number is outstanding, while Hall's is right around average. If I had to guess, I'd say that that result is likely to flip as time. Still, it's a surprising result, and gives me a(nother) good reason to watch how those two work with one another in the offensive zone. It might just be that Hall was unlucky, but it could also be that Eberle is the player handling the puck more frequently on that line. Should be fun to see, and preseason is less than a month away!