A look at 20 numbers, that help to summarise the Edmonton Oilers and their below par 7-12-1 record to begin the 2023-24 regular season.
What’s in a number? This can be open to debate, but for the Oilers, the NHL and professional spots in general, numbers and statistics are a pivotal part of games.
There is a saying that statistics can be manipulated to support any argument. However, they can still help in shedding light and driving narratives for a lot of situations.
In this respect, how have numbers and statistics impacted the Oilers’ 7-12-1 start to the season? Here are 20 which help explain the team’s record through their first 20 games of the 2023-24 campaign:
N.B. All statistics up to and including Nov. 27.
Goals, goals, goals
12 – How many goals Zach Hyman has to lead the Oilers, which is also three behind the NHL’s top spot. Last season saw him score a career-high 36, so theoretically at least, he’s on course to set a new personal best in 2023-24.
6 – The number of power play goals scored by Leon Draisaitl, pacing the Oilers and one behind the NHL lead. Earlier this season he surpassed Glenn Anderson and Ryan Smyth (both 126), for the most power play goals in franchise history.
3.30 – With their recent scoring barrage, the Oilers are now tied 13th for average goals per game in the NHL. Last season they led the league, with an average of 3.96 goals per contest.
3 – The Oilers are tied ninth for shorthanded goals so far this season in the NHL. Last season they lead the way, with 18 shorthanded goals.
25.7 – This is how productive the Oilers’ power play has been in 2023-24, currently sitting in sixth place among all teams. Last season saw them set an NHL record, with a phenomenal productivity rate of 32.4 percent.
33.1 – For all their early struggles this season, the Oilers still rank fourth overall for average shots per game on goal. This alludes to the team also not having their fair share of good fortune thus far.
.877 – Highlighting the Oilers’ defensive issues, this is the second worst team save percentage in the NHL. While not particularly impressive per se, last season they ranked 16th overall with a .903 save percentage, which made all the difference in their winning rate.
3.70 – Further shedding light on the Oilers’ problems at their own end of the ice, is the league’s third worst goals against average. As with the save percentage, last season they were average but still better, ranking 17th in allowing 3.12 goals per contest.
77.2 – The Oilers have improved their penalty kill play of late, but still only rank 20th overall. This is the exact same position they finished in last season, with a penalty kill success rate of 77.0 percent.
28.7 – A further reason for concern with the overall defensive issues, is they actually allow the seventh fewest shots on goals per game. In other words, they allow their opponents to be far too efficient when they do create opportunities.
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Production or lack thereof
28 – This is how many points Draisaitl has, to lead the Oilers. For all the talk of questions about his play and attitude this season, he is still tied ninth in the NHL overall, eight behind the Nikita Kuchervo’s league-leading 36 points.
-10 – It’s been a tough season for Warren Foegele, highlighted by having the worst plus/minus rating on the team. If nothing else at least he has produced some offence, with his eight points (three goals and five assists) in 20 games tied for seventh most on the Oilers.
+2 – At the other end of the spectrum is Adam Erne, who leads the team in plus/minus rating. However, he is also effectively at the opposite end to Foegele in terms of individual productivity with just one assist in 11 games, tied for second fewest on the Oilers.
22:35 – Darnell Nurse has certainly had his issues this season — specifically defensively — but he still leads the Oilers in average ice time. His career high came in 2020-21, when he had an average ice time of 25:38 per game.
8 – This is how many assists Connor McDavid has had in his last two games, with him finally looking more like his old self. The eight assists contributed towards him being named the NHL’s first star, for the week ending Nov. 26.
1 – This is how many points Connor Brown has so far this season in 14 games, disappointing for the Oilers’ main offseason forward signing. This has led to concern he still hasn’t recovered from the anterior cruciate ligament injury, which limited him to four games last season.
40 – Renowned for his physical approach to the game, Evander Kane leads the Oilers in penalty minutes. Last season he was third on the team with 53 penalty minutes, despite his wrist injury limiting him to literally half a season with 41 regular season games.
33.3 – James Hamblin almost doubles second place on the Oilers (Hyman at 18.8), with his shooting percentage so far on the season, achieved in 10 games. Interestingly, he played 10 games all of last season, but finished with 0.0 shooting percentage.
50 – The Oilers are the definition of average in respect of their 50.0 team face-off win percentage, which is tied 18th in the NHL. Last season they finished 15th, with a 50.8 face-off win percentage.
4 – This is how many wins Kris Knoblauch has in his first seven games as Oilers coach. For the sake of comparison, Jay Woodcroft managed three wins in his 13 games (3-9-1 overall), before he was fired.
Overall, there are a lot of interesting numbers and statistics, which help explain why the Oilers are 7-12-1 through 20 games. These figures will be interesting to keep an eye on during the next 20 games, as fans wait to find out if their team can return to their previous status as genuine contenders for the playoffs and more.