I'm looking forward to seeing the additions that MacT brought in action this fall. More specifically I want to see how the additions to the wing, Pouliot and Purcell perform. Both are secondary scorers who may not be an offensive juggernaut every night, but can chip in when needed.
Over the last couple seasons, the Oilers have almost had to completely rely on Hall, Nuge, and Eberle for wins. It's great to have a top line that can perform like this, but as we've seen plenty of times before, if they are kept off the score sheets than it's usually a fairly one sided 60 minutes of hockey. This teams needs these secondary guys to take some of the load off our top guys and force teams to play against more than one line.
I was curious so I looked at all the games from last season to see how many games the Oilers won, where one of Hall RNH and Eberle didn't score. (NOTE: I'm not counting assists by these players, for this blog I wanted to focus only on goals. I did however include overtime loses)
October 22nd - Montreal Canadiens - A 4-3 win with goals from Hemsky, Smid, Petry and Jones
October 27th - LA Kings - A 2-1 OT Lose. Yakupov scored the only Oilers goal.
November 5th - Florida Panthers - Goals by Larsen, Arcobello, and Fedun and a second OT goal from Arco had the Oilers creep out a win. Almost blew this one in the third period.
December 1st - Dallas Stars - A 3-2 win in the shootout with Hemsky and Ference being the only scorers in regulation.
December 27th - Calgary Flames - An after Christmas victory with Ryan Smyth scoring both goals.
January 27th - Vancouver Canucks - Exactly one month later, a hat trick from Perron and a goal from Joensu led the Oil to a 4-2 victory.
February 3rd - Buffalo Sabres - A 3-2 win with two goals from the D in J.Schultz and Petry and a goal from Hendricks
February 6th - New York Rangers - A 2-1 win with Smyth and Yak scoring
March 1st - Calgary Flames - A 2-1 OT lose with Perron being the only goal scorer
March 16th - Carolina Hurricanes - J. Schultz and Hendricks score in a 2-1 win.
April 4th - Phoenix (wasn't Arizona yet) Coyotes - Gagner and Schultz score and Gagner again in the shout out for a 3-2 win.
Aaaaaaand that's it. Looking back, at the measly 29 games won and 9 points acquired in OT loses, our top line did not score in 11 of them. To break that down further, that is 9 games won and 2 OT loses. A couple other notes to consider.
- Ryan Smyth and Ales Hemsky were two of the biggest contributors when the top line wasn't lighting it up. Both players will not be here this season.
- I was almost tempted to include Perron in my contributors originally but that would have left a very small list. The same goes for Hendricks.
- I was honestly surprised not to see Gagner's name pop up more. He truly did have an abysmal season.
So take what you will from this information. The bottom line is it's great to have three players who can contribute and be effective most nights, but if the players around them can't chip in here and there well... there is only so much that can be gained.
Thanks for reading.