2013-14, Edmonton Oiler Scoring Predictions: I was looking into getting tickets for this weekend’s Edmonton Oil Kings Preseason Invitational tournament in St. Albert when it occurred to me hockey season is finally upon us. I have had an extremely busy summer with both work and home and somehow the reality that summer was almost over had escaped my perception. I have attended at least a game of every Oil Kings Preseason Invitational in the past and it has become a late summer ritual.
Another late summer ritual has been attempting to predict scoring for the Edmonton Oilers for the new season. It started in 2007 when I would circulate my predictions amongst friends and continued when the 1st iteration of Oilers Addict launched in 2010. I have used the same basic method over the years, with a few refinements. The basic methodology is:
* I look at the Point-Per-Game average for each roster player over the past three seasons. I only use a three season sample as, in my view, it gives a better indication of where the player is in terms of production right now and helps to identify trends. In the case of young players where they haven’t played three NHL seasons, I look at any NHL production and their most recent production in lower leagues.
* I also use a comparable player. Using these comparisons doesn’t mean that I feel, for example, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jonathan Toews are similar players in terms of their style or their development. What is comparable is that they are both centres who were drafted in similar positions (1st & 3rd overall) to Western Conference teams. I use these comparable players as a sort of ‘check’ on my predictions (i.e. what is reasonable). I have found that they use of comparable players help tame the fan and introduce some reason.
* Finally, I look at where the player projects to play within the Oilers lineup. For example, while Ryan Smyth may be a sentimental favourite with fans, it is unlikely he’ll be an everyday player this season or see anytime on a line above the third. Some have suggested he may be a fit on the 2nd powerplay unit, but even so it is very likely his production continues to drop.
The Oilers Current Roster’s Three Year Scoring Window (click on chart for larger image)
The Oilers Recent (3 year) NHL Point-Per-Game Average and Comparable Players
2013-2014 Edmonton Oiler Scoring Predictions
Some Notes on My Predictions
- Nugent-Hopkins – I’ve suggested that RNH will score at just below a point-per-game pace (0.89). This is well above his average from last season (0.60), which was hopefully hampered by injury, and above his pace from his rookie season (0.84). While I used Toews as a comparable (due to his draft position only), Toews scores at a Point-Per-Game pace on a very deep Stanley Cup winning team. It is possible RNH will get there as the Oilers develop, but the team around him is still too weak to reasonably expect him to challenge the Western Conference’s best this season. In addition, he will miss the pre-season and possibly the Oilers first few games. This may lead to a slow start as he gets his hockey legs under him.
- Acton/Lander/4th Line C- Depending on which blogs or news sources you read/listen to, you’ve either heard that Anton Lander or Wil Acton will be the team’s 4th line centre this season. I believe both will get time, but after listening to Bob Stauffer pump the tires of Wil Acton over the summer, I can’t really argue with a team employee who undoubtably has some insider information.
- Jordan Eberle- Has averaged 0.90 PPG over his NHL career and I am predicting a Point-Per-Game pace (almost, 0.98). Could he be over a Point-Per-Game guy? Sure and it wouldn’t surprise me. However, I feel that my prediction is reasonable based on his career so far.
- Nail Yakupov- I think some fans feel Yakupov will go ‘Stamkos’ this season. However, he’ll be playing with Sam Gagner and not Marty St. Louis. I believe Yakupov will be a 30 goal threat this season (just under) and a 40+ goal threat sometime in the future.
- Justin Schultz- Can he maintain a 0.56 PPG average for a full 82 games? It is unlikely, however, he will have a decent offensive season and emerge as one of the better offensive options from the blue line in the NHL.
- Taylor Hall- Probably my biggest reach for these predictions. However, he is on the verge of a breakout year (which last season would have been had it been a full season) and he will be in sight of 40 goals. The biggest issue is how many games can he play? Injuries are a factor.
- Defence- With Mactavish bringing in a number of new defencemen who are all very similar in terms of style and what we can statistically expect (Belov, Grebeshkov, Larsen), I had to try and predict who would actually play. Larsen was a ‘must take back’ in the Horcoff trade and I don’t see him paying significant time with the Oilers. One of Belov or Grebeshkov will, unless Klefbom has a fantastic camp and pushes both of them out. I didn’t rank Klefbom as their isn’t much to go on (injured all of last season) and I feel he’ll spend most of the season in OKC. The logjam on defence makes the Grebeshkov signing even more infuriating as that money could have been used on a one year deal for a live NHL centreman.
Until next time,
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