Data Dump At the Quarter Pole - Part 1: Even Strength
In academia, (for the physical sciences anyway) there are publications known as data dumps. They're frowned upon because they're basically just a collection of data without any real story to tell or any conclusions of note. They manage to get published once in awhile for a number of reasons. Maybe because of a frenzy around a hot topic, like nanotechnology or biofuels, or because the reviewers and editors are asleep at the wheel. Or maybe just because the authors were shrewd at disguising it. Anyway, this is the intarweb so I'm just going to tell you straight out: This is a data dump. I'm going to give you a couple more too. ;)
The Oilers' story at even strength is pretty simple. They haven't been very good and I'm tempted to say it's the goals against and not the goals for. So far I've got them at 37 GF and 38 GA at the quarter mark. In the Oilers' last twelve quarters, they've only had 3 with more 5V5 GA. Meanwhile they've had just four quarters with more 5V5 GF in that time period - streaks to the finish in 02/03 and 03/04, the 2nd quarter last year, and an almost equivalent +38/-39 3rd quarter back in 2002-2003. Given that the team has a shooting deficit of 78 shots in 20 games and Roloson's .922SV% thus far, it's pretty hard to lay the blame anywhere except with the skaters.
The player breakdown looks like this:
Note: This is just 5V5 with no EN GF or GA. Smyth's obviously been the star of the show and he's on pace for a stellar year. Without looking and just going by memory, I'd say his icetime has been pretty difficult among Oiler forwards as well, so the fact that he's getting results in that context means he's my MVP skater. Other positive notables include:
1) Horcoff who was something like +4/-10 after about 12 games, but has finally come around.
2) Bergeron who's getting butter soft minutes but getting results.
3) Staios has very impressive numbers considering the fact that his blueline partner is 20 yrs old and they aren't being sheltered too much.
4) The fourth liners Thoresen and Winchester who have been outstanding bottom sixers IMO.
The negatives are lowlighted by Lupul's astronomical GA rate and Smith's atrocious EV results thus far. Now I suspect that these two things go hand in hand a little bit - Lupul probably drew some tougher assignments early on while Smith was behind him. The thing that's frightening about Smith though are the awful GF numbers. Basically he's got the worst GF rate number out of anyone playing regular minutes and naturally that goes along with the worst ESP/hr number as well. (Actually Smid trumps him by 0.01, but that's just quibbling.) Stoll and Torres have been pretty underwhelming too and it would be nice if the Hemsky/Sykora pair had a better GD at 5V5 than just +1 or +2, especially with the minutes they're playing.
The rates are here:
Smyth's the man here again given the context. You also can't complain about Sykora's production. I've ragged on him a little bit to Dennis, but you just can't argue much with the points. It seems like he's converting all the chances he was probably ringing off the iron or just plain missing the net with last year. Winchester again looks good in all of these rates. Pisani's an interesting case - I'd imagine he's got a higher event rate than we've seen from him in the past. He did start the year with that knee injury though and he's coming up from a bad start that mirrors Horcoff's since they play together a fair amount.
Alright, that's it. The PP is next.