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Things to Consider Before Splitting up the Second Line

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Edmonton Oilers at Anaheim Ducks Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The line of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Milan Lucic is taking some heat because of their lack of production, especially at even-strength (5v5). Over the nine games this post-season, Lucic and Eberle each have an assist, while Nugent-Hopkins has not registered any points at even-strength. As a trio, their on-ice goal-share is 25%, as they’ve been on the ice for one goal-for and three goals against. But before splitting them up, there are a couple things to consider.

  1. The trio have played the most minutes together this post-season for the Oilers (85.37 minutes) and have often been out against the other team’s top lines.
  2. In the previous series, they played the most minutes against Pavelski and Thornton. Currently, they’re playing the majority of their minutes against Ryan Getzlaf.
  3. There have been 45 different line combinations across the league this post-season that have played at least 30 minutes together. Among the 45, the trio rank 7th in terms of adjusted Corsi For% and Fenwick For%. They rank 13th when it comes to Expected Goals.
Metric (5v5) Share Rank
Corsi For% 58.40% 7th
Fenwick For% 59.08% 7th
Expected Goals For% 55.83% 13th

4. The underlying numbers they have posted together in the playoffs are consistent with their numbers from the regular season. Over 330 minutes, the second most on the Oilers, they finished the year with a goal-share of 50.0%.

5. The Oilers as a team have the following numbers this post-season: Corsi For% - 49.92%, Fenwick For% - 47.55% , Expected Goals For% - 48.06% , Goals For% - 42.86% (12 goals for, 16 goals against). The club overall is a better team when RNH, Eberle and Lucic are on the ice together. Their relative-to-team stats are solid.

Lucic-RNH-Eberle 85.37 57.65 58.47 55.13 1-3
Maroon-McDavid-Draisaitl 57.60 48.82 41.38 43.53 4-2
Caggiula-McDavid-Draisaitl 33.15 58.23 54.55 66.22 1-0
Caggiula-Letestu-Kassian 44.64 40.00 39.39 37.35 0-1
Pouliot-Desharnais-Slepyshev 46.43 46.51 50.00 53.82 2-0

6. When RNH, Eberle and Lucic are on the ice together, the team has a penalty differential of +4, which is the best differential among the 45 different line combinations. The team has drawn 5, Eberle himself has drawn 3, and taken 1. Only three line combinations have not been on the ice for a penalty against their team. The Oilers powerplay is good and needs to get as many opportunities as possible.

7. This line is above average when it comes to generating shot attempts and unblocked shot attempts (per 60), ranking 13th among the different line combinations this post-season.

8. This line is above average when it comes to suppressing shot attempts and unblocked shot attempts (per 60), ranking near the top 10.

9. RNH, Eberle and Lucic finished the season with a shooting percentage of 6.13%. They’re currently at 2.13%.

Data: Corsica Hockey, Natural Stat Trick