Dubnyk, the Veterans, Gagner and Recent Trends

A look behind the numbers of some of the Oilers' recent games.

The last two weeks have been like a sine wave for the Edmonton Oilers. They clipped the Sharks in the shootout and ran off four more games with points before falling back to earth at the hands of the Maple Leafs and Red Wings. Though Sam Gagner's 8-point night received all of the media attention (rightfully so) it was Devan Dubnyk who was responsible for the Oilers' streak.

Dubnyk almost single-handedly won the first three games of the points streak when he faced 110 shots and turned away 105 of them.


Saves Shots Sv. Pct.
San Jose 44 45 0.978
Vancouver 30 32 0.938
Colorado 31 33 0.939
Chicago 43 47 0.915
Detroit 35 39 0.897
Total
183 196 0.934

Dubnyk played the best stretch of hockey of his NHL career, posting a .934 save percentage for the entirety of the points streak and a .955 combined save percentage against the Sharks, Canucks and Avalanche.

Dubnyk wasn't the only one who posted interesting numbers, however.

Prior to their unification against Chicago, Taylor Hall - Sam Gagner - Jordan Eberle put a combined 312 shots on goal for on the season.

Player Shots S/G
Gagner 80 1.9
Eberle 106 2.4
Hall 126 3.2

On a per game basis with those shot rates, only Taylor Hall has a chance to become a 30-goal scorer if we assume that these skilled players will shoot somewhere between 8% and 12%. The trio would expect to combine for somewhere between 50 and 75 goals for an 82 game season.

The Chicago game changed everything. Since then, the trio has 43 shots on goal.

Player Shots S/G
Gagner 17 4.3
Eberle 11 2.8
Hall 15 3.8

On a per game basis with those shot rates, both Gagner and Hall have a chance to become 30-goal scorers if we assume that these skilled players will shoot somewhere between 8% and 12%. The trio would expect to combine for somewhere between 70 and 105 goals for an 82 game season. If these shot rates are sustainable is a completely different question.

One other item of interest is zonestarts. While Oilers' fans everywhere trash the veterans on this team and call for even more younger players as they celebrate the "new" Sam Gagner, they overlook how integral those veterans are to the young gunz!1 success. Over the last 7 games, starting with the shootout win over San Jose, the veterans are being asked to climb a mountain:

Player DZ Faceoffs NZ Faceoffs OZ Faceoffs OZ Start %
Shawn Horcoff 42 48 19 0.311
Ryan Smyth 42 38 19 0.311
Ales Hemsky 38 46 21 0.356

While the gunz!1 are getting the easier job:

Player DZ Faceoffs NZ Faceoffs OZ Faceoffs OZ Start %
Jordan Eberle 29 37 40 0.580
Sam Gagner 30 38 39 0.565
Taylor Hall 41 41 33 0.446

It's trendy to trash Hemsky and Horcoff and call out Smyth for "coasting", but in reality, the three veterans have been tasked with tilting the ice in the right direction while the younger players are making the most of their zonestarts.

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