Thanks to Dirk Hoag of On the Forecheck, we can see how many miles each team will be travelling this coming season. No surprise that the Oilers will be travelling quite a bit given their location in North America and the distance from most NHL cities. And of course, the eastern teams have an easier travel schedule as most of the cities are relatively close to one another along the eastern seaboard.
The Oilers will be travelling an additional 3,804 miles this season compared to the previous year. It's over 9,000 miles above the average among the 30 NHL teams, ranking them second overall. It's a little absurd, but that's just the reality given Edmonton's location and the league's balanced schedule. Here's how much they've traveled historically, and compared to the average.
I included San Jose's mileage as well as they also typically rank near the top of the list every year. And it just so happens that their bench boss over the past seven seasons is now coaching the Oilers. So he might know a thing or two about dealing with rough schedules and still maintaining a high performance level.
Also worth noting here that since the 2009-2010 season, the Sharks have lost only 1,082 man-games to injury, ranking them 23rd in the league. The Oilers, on the other hand, rank 6th over that span having lost 1,721 games (Source: Man Games Lost).
Couple other notes on the Oilers travel schedule:
- The Oilers wil travel over 5,000 miles in the first two weeks of the regular season. Welcome to the NHL Connor!
- The furthest they travel in one trip is from Edmonton to Florida, which is over 2,500 miles.
- In the final 11 games of the season, they travel just over 4,000 miles. There's a four game homestand in there too, so hopefully the Oilers are still in the playoff race around that time.
- The Oilers only play nine back-to-backs, which is down from 11 the season prior. On average, teams play about 13 back-to-back sets. Maybe that's something the Oilers negotiated, who knows.
- Goaltender Cam Talbot will travel 13,288 more miles this year as an Oiler. The Rangers don't travel nearly as often as most NHL teams, so there'll be an adjustment for our new netminder.
So yes, the Oilers travel a lot and will see their total mileage increase this season. But I'm quite confident that McLellan and his coaching staff have some sort of strategy to deal with the travel grind and plan their practices and off-days accordingly.