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By The Scoring Chances, The Oilers Are Worse This Year

Though there is much to look forward to this season, the Edmonton Oilers have been leaking like a sieve at even strength.  Evidence of this can be found the scoring chances posted for the current season versus the 2009-2010 season.  Dennis King tracked chances over the course of both seasons, so we've got a consistent set of eyes on the team throughout both seasons.

A quick look at the chances averages broken down by positional grouping shows how far play has fallen off compared to last season.

EV Chances/15 2009-2010 2011-2011
Fwd Avg -0.886 -1.18
Def Avg -0.94 -1.209


Last season's numbers were set without Ales Hemsky for sixty games and with a better, though continually injured, blueline.  After the jump, some individual comparisons.

On the whole, the forwards are worse thus far.  Only Shawn Horcoff (.143) and Dustin Penner (.387) are in the black and Ales Hemsky is even.  Last season, the only two regular forwards in the black were Penner (.490) and Robert Nilsson (.144).  Ales Hemsky and Ryan Stone had a positive differential, though were limited in games played.  Last season, the only defenseman in the black was Lubomir Visnovsky (.131), this season, there are no regular defensemen with a positive differential, in fact, none are even close.  Ryan Whitney (-.851) has a narrow lead over Tom Gilbert (-.898) for the best among the blueliners. 

Penner's numbers are consistent with last year's numbers when he spent some time with Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky and carried Gilbert Brule and Andrew Cogliano late in the season. But Penner is doing things a bit differently this season. 


EV Chances/15 2009-2010 2011-2011
Chances For 5.508 4.644
Chances Against 5.018 4.257


While his differential has remained consistent, both his chances for and against are down by a similar rate - he's been more of a low event player, though he's still second on the Oilers behind Jordan Eberle in chances for.

Gagner's numbers have fallen off as Renney has had he and Hemsky face tough minutes through the first quarter of the season without a tough minutes left wing.  With Penner once anchoring Cogliano and Brule, Gagner's numbers have fallen off.


EV Chances/15 2009-2010 2011-2011
Chances For 4.846 4.171
Chances Against 4.955 4.940


His defensive numbers have remained remarkably consistent, but his offense has fallen off by a bit.  His overall rate has fallen from (-.109) to (-.769).

One final interesting player is Andrew Cogliano.  Cogliano's rate is doubly bad this season.  Below are his numbers:

EV Chances/15 2009-2010 2011-2011
Chances For 4.303 3.947
Chances Against 5.083 5.378


His overall differential has fallen from (-.781) to (-1.431) and both his offense and his defense are off. However, a look at his numbers with and without Penner shows how much playing without Penner affects Cogliano's game.

10-11 ES Chances CF CA %
With Penner 51 57 47.2
W/O Penner 40 67 37.3


Cogliano is still not coming close to holding his own as a center without Penner.


Lastly, though he's gone, Shawn Horcoff has had one heck of a rebound season.  Playing babysitter to Eberle and Taylor Hall hasn't been nearly as difficult as imagined and, in fact, those three are keeping breakeven within their sights.  Horcoff's numbers:

EV Chances/15 2009-2010 2011-2011
Chances For 4.139 4.621
Chances Against 5.572 4.478


He's managed to trim a full chance against / 15 from his numbers and he's increased his offense by a half of a chance for.  His overall number has gone from a brutal (-1.433) all of the way up to .143 per 15 minutes.  Now that he's on the shelf for an extended period, Eberle and Hall may find themselves in some difficulty, especially in the defensive end.