The Edmonton Oilers have had the best power play in the NHL two years running, but it’s even better this year.
Here are four reasons that help explain this year’s increased success:
1. More Grade A shots. It’s generating a significantly higher rate of Grade A shots and goals, which is why its efficiency rate so far this year is 35.9 per cent, an in increase over 27.6 per cent in 2020-21 and 29.5% in 2019-20.
Last year the Oil’s power play generated 1.24 Grade A shots on net per two minute power play. This year, it’s conjuring up a remarkable 1.6 Grade A shots per two minutes.
It’s not puck luck driving the great results, it’s an astonishing ability to gain the zone, work as one, and manufacture Grade A shots.
2. More skill net front . Alex Chiasson was outstanding screening and jamming the goalie during his days on the Oilers power play, and James Neal had good hands in that role, but their replacements, newcomer Zach Hyman and Jesse Puljujarvi, have more skill shooting and passing the puck.
In just 21 games this year, they have eight power play points between them. In 56 games last year, Chiasson and Neal combined for only ten. Hyman and Puljujavi are also getting off a higher rate of Grade A shots on net than did Chiasson and Neal combined. This is giving the Oilers power play a better net front weapon that the opposition can’t overlook.
3. Connor McDavid is getting more Grade A shots. In 2020-21, McDavid fired 33 Grade A shots in 235 power play minutes, 0.28 per two minutes of power play time. This year, he’s already fired 19 Grade A shots in 78 minutes, 0.49 per two. That’s a marked increase for McDavid, with some of those Grade A chances coming from his newly-minuted one-timer blast.
With McDavid more of a threat to launch a dangerous shot himself, teams have to come at him, opening up space for other shooters like Leon Draisaitl, who is also getting off a slightly higher rate of Grade A shots this year on the power play.
4. Familiarity. Last year was Tyson Barrie’s first on the power play, haven come in to take over from former quarterback Oscar Klefbom. Klefbom was a left shot and more of a pass first player. It took some time for Barrie to sync up with his new power play mates, in particular with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who had to adjust his behind-the-back passing angle. Now this group knows Barrie and he knows them.
At the Cult
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