As Dallas Eakins said during his bit on TSN Analytics, the Oilers improved in some categories during his short tenure. As you can see in the graph above, possession numbers have improved drastically and looking over the short term, Todd Nelson has already improved based off of what Eakins already had going this year.
Last season's 46 CF/60 ranked 27th in the league, while our 53 CF/60 this season ranks 22nd; Just looking at the increase in CF/60 shows the team is beginning to trend upward.
Prior to last nights abysmal loss to the Maple Leafs, and after Todd Nelson went solo behind the bench on December 30th, 2014, the Oilers have seen a resurgence and have boasted a 7-7-2 record. Prorated over an 82 game season, the Edmonton Oilers would have a 36-36-10 record giving us 82 points. It's still not enough to make the playoffs in a stacked Western Conference, but the last time the Oilers had over 80 points in a season was the 2008-2009 season where the Oilers put up 85 points finishing 11th in the Western Conference.
Domenic Galamini pointed out that teams with a Score-Adjusted Corsi For greater than 53% have a 92% chance of making the playoffs. This is a target that internally, the Oilers need to be looking to hit.
Edit: As Bituman pointed out, 92% of teams that have a Corsi between 53% and 54.9% make the playoffs.
Score-adjusted Corsi% and Playoff Berth% from 2007-08 to 2013-14... pic.twitter.com/op314ovhGT— Domenic Galamini (@MimicoHero) February 4, 2015
What's to come
While the Oilers are still in a terrible position in the standings, we need to remember that this offseason is going to be critical in improving the team as a whole. I hope that management is able to improve off of some of the moves that have been made last off season and during this season.
Two UFA players that we brought in during this season, Derek Roy and Rob Klinkhammer, have come into Edmonton and done a great job in contributing to this team. Derek Roy was an upgrade over top of the young Leon Draisaitl and Marc Arcobello, and Rob Klinkhammer was able to solidify the fourth line which had seen a few guys slide in and out.
While it seems more and more like Jeff Petry will be shipped out of Edmonton, his value is still yet to be determined. I would like to see a deal made where we are able to bring back a late first. Teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues and Montreal Canadiens could have interest in the 27-year old.
However, I still think the Oilers should be resigning him, rather than trading him.
Quietly, Anton Lander has been one of the better Oilers over the past 16 games. Despite having over 100 career NHL games played, Lander has actually doubled his career point totals since being recalled in December. Lander has done lots of things right and has looked very good in his latest tenure. The time Lander has spent down in Oklahoma City has clearly benefited him, and he is doing some really good things.
In 16 games, he is averaging 2.3 Points/60, as well as a 53.7 CF/60. Despite the small sample size, it is great to see him getting a legitimate chance and succeeding. His time spent wearing the 'C' in OKC has only helped him too. I think it's reasonable to say that his success can be accredited to The Nelson Factor.
Like Lander, Oscar Klefbom is playing pretty swede under Todd Nelson. Last season was his first year playing a pro-style game where he saw great success in stints with the Oilers and the Barons.
@okcbarons head coach Todd Nelson on Oscar Klefbom's game: "Defensively, he's a horse."— Chris Wescott (@TheChrisWescott) November 6, 2014
And a horse he is. Klefbom is playing 18 TOI/Gm with a 53.8 CF/60. These numbers are comparable to the likes of Norris trophy candidate Mark Giordano, Mike Green, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Johnny Oduya, just to name a few.
It is great to see Klefbom come in and play so steady. Using Domenic Galamini's HERO Chart, it makes it more evident Oscar Klefbom is transitioning very well to the NHL. That too comes from his experience with Todd Nelson in OKC.
Shirt c/o Neal Livingston.
Iiro Pakarinen is another European player in Edmonton's system that has shown great strides. In his first 39 games of North American hockey, Pakarinen has scored 17 goals and 11 assists for 28 points. Hockey's Future has a great description of the type of player he is:
Pakarinen plays like a demon in tight spots, and his stick handling ability and skating agility compares favorably to any of the top young players in Finland. Rather than focus on artistic playmaking, however, Pakarinen prefers the physical elements of the game. Offensively, he does have a hard, accurate shot which suggests he could be a dangerous sniper. While his physical style explains his pedestrian offensive numbers, that abrasiveness has gained him both attention and notoriety from scouts. As coaches and scouts will tell you, it's easier to tone down a player who is too aggressive than it is to try and instill competitiveness.
Going into next season, look for Pakarinen to get a shot at making the Oilers roster.
Statistics and Graphs c/o War on ice.