NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the Edmonton Oilers.
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1. Koskinen even-strength save percentage
Goalie Mikko Koskinen, who had an NHL career-high 25 wins last season after playing the previous five seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League, had every opportunity to make an impact as the Oilers’ clear-cut No. 1 option by starting 51 games. If Edmonton corrects its defensive numbers, it could drastically improve Koskinen’s even-strength save percentage (.913), which was second to last among goalies to play at least 55 games. The Oilers signed goalie Mike Smith, who will compete with Koskinen for playing time, on July 1.
Video: Top 10 saves of 2018-19: Koskinen
2. Goals against
Edmonton was tied with the New Jersey Devils for the sixth-most goals allowed (271) last season and its penalty kill was second worst in the NHL (74.8 percent) behind the Chicago Blackhawks (72.7). The Oilers averaged 9:11 penalty minutes per game, which was sixth highest in the NHL. Coach Dave Tippett, who was hired May 28, will try to correct these defensive liabilities. Tippett has been known for his defense-first systems, but it’s worth noting the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes allowed the 13th most goals in the NHL (1,728) when he was coach from 2009-17. The Oilers likely will need significant improvement from individual players rather than just the coaching staff.
Video: 31 in 31: Edmonton Oilers 2019-20 season preview
3. Power-play points
Edmonton’s power play ranked ninth in the NHL last season (21.2 percent). Center Connor McDavid and forward Leon Draisaitl were big contributors, combining for 62 power-play points. Draisaitl, with 16 power-play goals, was tied for sixth in the NHL, and McDavid, with 24 power-play assists, was tied for seventh. That success is even more impressive considering McDavid’s average of 3:25 per game on the power play was tied for 28th in the NHL, and Draisaitl’s 3:21 was tied for 34th. Tippett may want to explore increasing their ice time on special teams.
Video: Top five plays of 2018-19: Draisaitl