Edmonton Oilers: Why Can’t Tobias Reider Score?

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 06: Edmonton Oilers right wing Tobias Rieder (22) skates in the first period of the regular season NHL game between the Edmonton Oilers and Tampa Bay Lightning on November 06, 2018 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 06: Edmonton Oilers right wing Tobias Rieder (22) skates in the first period of the regular season NHL game between the Edmonton Oilers and Tampa Bay Lightning on November 06, 2018 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Edmonton Oilers forward Tobias Rieder has played 42 games so far this season. He has nine assists and 0 goals. Why?

Tobias Rieder signed a one year deal in the summer of 2018 with a 2 million AAV with the Edmonton Oilers. Unfortunately, things have not gone overly well in the city that drafted him. Rieder, for whatever reason, has not been able to make any impact on the Edmonton Oilers roster. This is extremely troubling as Edmonton’s desperate need for scoring wingers has been exacerbated by players like Rieder not succeeding.

It’s not often that a man that consistently nets 12-15 goals a season to have none by game 42.

How Do His Stats With The Edmonton Oilers Measure Up?

The first question I ask myself is, how is Rieder producing as supposed to his career average? Looking at points or plus-minus isn’t going to help as those are easy places to see Rieder’s struggles. The bigger question for me is how his possession stats have been affected by this season.

As you can see, this season is not too far from his career averages. While his first two seasons saw him post close to or over 50% in both Fenwick and Corsi for percentages, following that he’s hovered around 45% for both. Not good ratings at all for what he was supposed to bring to the table. Furthermore and more importantly his relative stats have once again worsened this season.

His Corsi for REL percentage has steadily declined from 0.5, to -2.9, and finally -3.3 this year. Not good. His Fenwick for REL percentage has in turn gone from 1.4, to -2.4, to -2.8, also not good. It’s glaringly apparent that since 16/17 Rieder’s stats have worsened and he has turned into a player that negatively affects his teammates. Speaking of teammates, Is there something to be said for the frequency of new line-mates Rieder has had.


Is Rieder’s success, or lack thereof, due in part to the quality of his linemates?  Well yes and no.

It’s tough to speak to the quality of Rieder’s line-mates as there have been so many this year. Throughout this season Rieder has played minutes with…

Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Alex Chiasson, Jesse Puljujarvi, Jujhar Khaira, Ryan Strome, Drake Cagguila, Ryan Spooner, Ty Rattie, Kailer Yamamoto, Colby Cave, and Kyle Brodziak. These are some of the unique line combos Rieder has been a part of this season:

(play this song while reading out the list, it makes it way more entertaining)

Rieder-Draisaitl-Chiasson           Rieder-RNH-Chiasson            Rieder-Brodziak-Rattie

Rieder-Brodziak-Kassian             Rieder-RNH-Rattie                 Rieder-McDavid-Chiasson

Rieder-Khaira-Kassian                 Spooner-Draisaitl-Rieder      Rieder-Brodziak-Puljujarvi

Rieder-RNH-Puljujarvi                 Cagguila-Draisaitl-Rieder      Cagguila-Strome-Rieder

Khaira-Brodziak-Rieder               Cagguila-Spooner-Rieder      Cagguila-Mcdavid-Rieder

Rieder-Draisaitl-Puljujarvi          Rieder-Draisaitl-Kassian        Rieder-Strome-Yamamoto

That’s a lot of different line combos in 39 games, That’s not even close to all of them. That is 18 combos of 77 that Rieder has been a part of this season. Don’t believe me? Here’s the original link from DobberSports. Apparently, some of those are repeats of the same combo, but the point remains that switching up players line-mates 77 different times in a season is a recipe for failure.

While he has played with our top forwards the time spent with them has been few and far between. At even strength, his two most common line combinations are with Chiasson and Draisaitl and with Brodziak and Kassian. That’s a big jump in quality from the top 6 to the fourth line.

The only thing consistent with the way Rieder has been deployed is the inconsistency that plagues him. Does it prove that he’s a good player being undermined by his lack of consistent line-mates, no? It’s a possible factor in his struggles though.

More from Oil On Whyte

Is Tobias Rieder Salvageable

Is there a player in Tobias Rieder? Well I certainly think so, but I also don’t think it’s in Edmonton, let me explain.

Rieder, much like Spooner is not a player that can play in a line and be asked to drive scoring or possession. He may have been at one time, but he has shown clearly that he is no longer capable of doing so. What he is is a one-dimensional player that without proper cover cannot be a helpful asset. Rieder would do much better as a third complementary piece to a top 9 line.

If a team could provide that cover for Rieder, he could become a value contract going forward in another organization. In Edmonton however, the current roster is constructed as such that they cannot offer said cover to any player. If I were Keith Gretzky I’d be shopping for him as hard as I could, attempting to get a 5th round pick or better.

The Wrap

Unfortunately for both team and player, the Tobias Rieder experiment failed in Edmonton. While the 2 million AAV might scare some teams, his RFA status might be enough to keep enough teams interested in acquiring him. I see no reason statistically to keep Rieder on this team. Hopefully, management agrees come deadline day.