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Oil Spills: Sunday Links - Oh That Defence

All the news that you can use from Edmonton and around the NHL. The Oilers defence could use some changes. The penalty kill has been great. Draft strategies. Should Joe Colborne get a call from the DoPS. And more.

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About the Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers’ defence needs some experimentation - Jonathan Willis -- Cult of Hockey
The Edmonton Oilers are now 10 percent of the way through the 2015-16 NHL season, and that means enough time has gone by to identify some early trends. Team defence hasn’t been good enough, in large part because the crew on the blue line has struggled to get the job done. That suggests it’s time for some experimentation.

Oiler Dmen vs the best opposition forward lines through 8 games. - Woodguy -- becauseOilers
The Oilers are only 8 games into the regular season, but I wanted to have a look at how McLellan and his staff were deploying the defensemen. There has been lots written on TOI for all the Dmen so far this year (Schultz and Gryba getting big minutes is an especially popular topic). I wanted to drill down a little and look at how McLellan was deploying his pairs against the very best of the other team.

McLellan's gamble on McDavid, Yakupov paying off for Oilers - Jonathan Willis -- Sportsnet.ca
With few other options, thanks to a weak roster and injury trouble early, Edmonton Oilers head coach Todd McLellan put the two together, placing them on the same line at even-strength and a short time later reconfiguring the power play so they were on the same unit. The results since have been everything he could have hoped for.

No Time To Think -- Lowetide.ca
Todd McLellan wasn’t pleased with the performance of his team last night, and that’s a good thing. He didn’t name the culprits (although did give a number) and that’s also a good thing.

Oilers penalty kill is No. 1 in the NHL - Jim Matheson -- Edmonton Journal
The Edmonton Oilers penalty killing is No. 1 in the league. They’ve killed off 23 of 25 attempts over seven games, a success rate just ahead of the Montreal Canadiens.

Anders Nilsson misses his chance to keep the heat on Cam Talbot - Jonathan Willis -- OilersNation
On Friday night, Anders Nilsson took a sterling record into a game against the Washington Capitals. He’d been perfect in the preseason and the Oilers’ best player in both of his regular season starts, and was steadily playing his way into competition with Cam Talbot. Then he allowed six goals on 17 shots and became the first pulled goaltender of Todd McLellan’s tenure as coach.

Around the NHL

Revisiting Imbalanced Drafting Strategies -- Hockey Graphs
There has been some great draft work done at our site and elsewhere in the last few years, and one of the findings has been the volatility of drafting defensemen relative to forwards. Couple that with claims that forwards have more of an impact on shot rates than defensemen, and one would be tempted to claim that avoiding defensemen altogether would be a solid draft strategy (though I’ll note that most analysts think this is taking the conclusion too far).

Should Joe Colborne Receive NHL Discipline For His Head Hit On Dyan Larkin -- Winging It In Motown
At the end of the 1st period against the Calgary Flames Friday night, Joe Colborne got pissy about something and decided to crosscheck Dylan Larkin in the head.

Radko Gudas could be suspended for this hit on Rangers' Viktor Stalberg - Broad Street Hockey
Not great.

Canadiens vs Leafs recap: Can't lose for winning - Eyes On The Prize
The Canadiens came home after a short trip to Buffalo looking to set an NHL record for regulation wins to begin a season. The Maple Leafs did their best to prevent that from happening.