#4 – Face-offs
Currently, the Oilers as a team are ranked 3rd in the league with a face-off winning percentage of 56.8%. This was supposed to be one of their many Achilles heal this year with the lack of depth at centre when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sam Gagner were both out of the lineup. But that has not been the case and in at least a couple of plays so far this year, winning the draw has led to an Oilers goal.
Not surprisingly Boyd Gordon leads the way at over 62%. This was one of the main reasons the Oilers signed Gordon as a free-agent this past off-season and so far he has lived up to the expectations and not just in the faceoff department.
Following Gordon are Mark Arcobello with a percentage of 56.9% and when you consider he won just 38% of his draws in the pre-season this is a remarkable turn around. Whether or not this stat alone will be enough to keep Arcobello in the lineup when Sam Gagner does return remains to be seen but for the time being, he’s contributing to the team by winning more draws than he’s losing.
Winning the face-offs may not have directly led to victories for the Oilers yet, but it is another positive for this team to build on. If they can continue to win more draws than they lose, the scoring chances will continue to present themselves which could help turn a game around.