Edmonton Oilers Stock Report: Wins continue to pile up for the Oilers

Leon Draisaitl #29, Edmonton Oilers Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Leon Draisaitl #29, Edmonton Oilers Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Edmonton Oilers season so far has been near perfection. Even as the team suffered its first loss of the season to the Flyers, they bounced back with a pair of victories to improve to 7-1-0 on the year.

We still have yet to see this team face any real adversity so far, which is what I am really waiting for. I want to see the mental fortitude of this team get tested because make no mistake, the playoffs will certainly test it.

But for now, we get to evaluate another strong week from the Edmonton Oilers.

Trending up: Leon Draisaitl 

Six points in the past three games including a four-point night against the Seattle Kraken on Monday. Leon Draisaitl has been doing Leon Draisaitl things lately. He’s now up to 17 points in eight games this season, and he and teammate Connor McDavid sit atop the league in that category.

The crazy part is Draisaitl has done this whilst only receiving 47.92 percent of offensive zone starts. For comparison, Alex Ovechkin, who is currently second in points behind Draisaitl and McDavid, is getting 87.5 percent of offensive zone starts (Data courtesy of Natural Stat Trick)

Obviously, like McDavid, the 71 goal, 174 point pace will regress. But like I said last week with regards to McDavid, would anybody be shocked by a 50 goal, 120 point season at this point?

Trending down: Devin Shore

If you are familiar with advanced analytics, you might want to prepare yourself. In three games this past week, Devin Shore had a 34.78 Corsi for percentage, a 25.52 expected goals percentage, and a 27.67 high danger chances for percentage.

He got absolutely caved in at even strength this past week, and that is why he averaged just 6:43 per game. He was a complete non-option, that cannot continue under any circumstance.

Trending up: Mikko Koskinen

Last week I gave props to Koskinen for playing well in Mike Smith’s absence, he has since played an additional three games. While he had a subpar game against the Flyers, he has been outstanding overall this season. On the season he currently has a 2.22 goals-against average, and a .933 save percentage. And in just this previous week’s three games, he had a 2.33 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. And that is with a game in which he allowed four goals, he has been truly amazing so far.

After such a poor season last year, many criticized the idea of bringing back the same goaltending tandem. However, so far Koskinen has bounced back in a big way, hopefully, this would allow the Oilers to have a reliable tandem that so many teams seem to be itching for.

Trending down: Keith-Ceci pairing

On the bright side, Keith scored his first as an Oiler against the Kraken on Monday. The pair also outscored their opponents two to one at five-on-five. The downside is this pairing was not good this week in terms of the chances they allowed. Dave Tippett gave praise to them after Monday’s win, but the numbers would disagree with the Oilers bench boss.

First, let us start with Cody Ceci, when he was on the ice the Oilers had just a 41.86 Corsi for percentage, a 34.84 expected goals percentage, and 27.78 high danger chances for percentage. When Ceci was on the ice the Oilers gave up 13 high danger chances, the most of any Oiler this past week.

Now let us shift to his partner in crime, Keith was slightly better than Ceci, but not by much. 46.43 Corsi for percentage, 43.48 expected goals percentage, and a 30.77 high danger chances for percentage (just a reminder, all these numbers are five-on-five stats).

No one is expecting this pairing to be anything spectacular, but they need to step it up a little bit going forward. The Oilers have been riding high thanks to their offensive firepower, but the defensive side still needs to be cleaned up a bit.

Ultimately, the Edmonton Oilers have been about as good as anyone could have asked for so far this season. So a bad week from their second pairing or their fourth-line center means relatively little in the grand scheme of things. However, Edmonton as a team still has not been that good at five-on-five, they have been middle of the pack. Yes, the team is winning, but that has been more a product of talent bailing the team out of poor situations, not a good structure. That is why I nitpick the way that I do, because these are the areas the Oilers need to improve if they want to find postseason success.

The point is, what happens if the scorching hot powerplay cools off for a few weeks? What happens if the Oilers’ second-ranked penalty kill suddenly gets beat a few times? So far, this Oilers team has been one that plays decent at even strength and rides insanely dominant special teams to wins. I want to see the Oilers prove to me, and everyone else that they don’t need special teams to win games, that they could win a tightly contested game where the referees put the whistles away. Those are the trials the Oilers will have to be able to pass if they want long-term success.

This week Edmonton has another three games, a pair at home and then they start a five-game road trip next Tuesday in Detroit. So, until next week, let’s go Oilers.