FanPost

Another Look at Eakins vs Nelson

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Bituman's "Scoring Chances & Goal Differential 2005-present" inspired me to take another look at Eakins vs Nelson. One of the things that stood out to me early in Nelson's tenure was the difference in Time On Ice with the Lead vs under Eakins. So, I decided to add to the discussion with the following, leveraging Puck on Net's Even Strength Corsi data.

First, I looked at time on ice by situation for each coach:

Time on Ice by Situation in Percent

Down 2+

Down 1

Tied

Up 1

Up 2+

Total

NHL AVG

13%

18%

39%

18%

13%

100%

Nelson

16%

19%

39%

20%

6%

100%

Eakins

24%

22%

39%

12%

3%

100%

Nelson (difference to NHL AVG)

+3%

+2%

0%

+2%

-7%

Eakins (difference to NHL AVG)

+11%

+4%

+1%

-5%

-10%

What we can see is two interesting items emerge. Under Eakins, the Oilers spent 15% more of their even strength time trailing, where as under Nelson this has dropped to 5%. Still below average, but trending the right way. We also see that time tied is pretty much bang on league average for both coaches, so obviously Nelson's teams are playing closer to the league average in time with the lead.

I also looked at situational Corsi.

CF% by situation

Down 2+

Down 1

Tied

Up 1

Up 2+

NHL AVG

57.70

55.00

49.90

44.90

42.60

Nelson

53.00

52.90

43.90

43.10

41.10

Eakins

54.70

53.60

51.20

39.90

36.30

Nelson (difference to Eakins)

- 1.70

- 0.70

- 7.30

+ 3.20

+ 4.80

Nelson (difference to NHL AVG)

- 4.70

- 2.10

- 6.00

- 1.80

- 1.50

Eakins (difference to NHL AVG)

- 3.00

- 1.40

+ 1.30

- 5.00

- 6.30

There is very little difference between Eakins' Oilers when trailing vs Nelson's Oilers when trailing. Both are below league average.

With the lead, Nelson not only has the lead more often, but his team, despite the recent losing streak, does a much better job of playing with the lead than the team did under Eakins. Nelson, however, is not delivering league average results for Corsi share with the lead. But, at least he can see it, whereas Eakins rarely had the lead, and didn't know what to do with it when he had it.

However, when tied, by far the largest situation from a TOI percent perspective, Eakins team was slightly above league average, whereas Nelson's team is getting absolutely killed. This trend emerged early and I thought Nelson would figure it out, but so far he hasn't. Given teams play 39% of their even strength ice time tied, by far the largest situation by percent, you cannot spend it getting killed on the shot clock and expect long term success.

Based on this, I really don't know what to think about Nelson. Trailing and leading he looks like an improvement on Eakins in aggregate. But the Corsi percentage when tied is deeply concerning.

If anyone has any theories on why the Nelson Oilers are sagging badly when tied, I would love to hear them. I imagine sans Petry, this is only going to get worse.