After yesterday’s pseudo-debacle, Todd McLellan mentioned that he would be meeting with ‘four or five’ individuals to have one-on-one meetings to discuss their effort (or lack thereof) in last night’s game.
Many have lauded this approach – in a public forum like the post-game press conference, you call out the team, but not individuals by name. Deal with those behind closed doors. That’s the professional approach.
So who’s he meeting with today?
Certainly, the speculation is widespread. I’ve heard some even suggest that Hall or Sekera might be in that group – which I find ludicrous.
This is the perfect opportunity to take the visual impressions of last nights game, roll in the fancystats, and use that to make an educated guess as to our group of four or five miscreants.
Let’s start with the defensemen.
Personally, the numbers from last night are pretty stark, and point at an ‘obvious’ four candidates.
Here are the numbers for the primary defensive pairs from last night (these are my numbers posted last night, calculated from data scraped from the NHL website):
A little explanation is in order for two of the numbers. DFF is my ‘danger adjusted fenwick’, which adjusts unblocked shot attempts by their shot type and distance. In essence, it’s a % number that’s like a blended version of war-on-ice’s high/medium/low danger scoring chances.
I also included OZS%3 (which uses all three zones to calculate zone starts, rather than just the more common two) to show that the baseline number of 66.7% for Sekera/Fayne is misleading – the pairing was not particularly ZS sheltered in comparison to the other two because the NZ starts dominated everyone’s numbers.
In that context, these numbers are pretty clear. We had one (very) effective D pairing, and two that didn’t just get their heads kicked in, they were completely decapitated – and then the other team took turns doing scatological things with what remained.
Out of those bottom four defensemen:
Gryba’s individual numbers (43 CF, 42 DF) vs Klef (46 CF, 32 DF) and Schultz (40 and 28) and Ference (36 and 34) suggest he’s not the problem. His EVTOI probably reflects that. He needs to play less, but the other guys were so bad, they didn’t give TMc much of a choice. Gryba’s not the solution, but he’s not the problem.
As far as the sitdowns this morning go, I’m not sure why you bother to sit with Ference – what are you going to say? It’s not an effort thing with him. What’s the point of saying “You can’t play this game anymore?” That was obvious two years ago.
Jonathan Willis gave Klef and Schultz 1’s in his Cult of Hockey player grades, and I have to say, the numbers 100% back him up.
As far as defensemen go, it’s Klefbom and Schultz in the meetings, all the way.
On the forward front, two names stand out: Korpikoski and Purcell. Again, I’m using even strength CF% and DFF% as my measures of overall balance of play. Here’s your bottom six forwards by CF%:
Korpi was utterly destroyed in his 11:23 of EV time.
Purcell was nearly utterly destroyed in his 13:14 of EV time. The only thing saving him is how utterly terrible Korpi was by comparison.
From two veteran players, one of them highly paid, those kind of results are beyond horrible.
Especially Korpikoski. If you want to get on Chia’s case, I can tell you right now – there is little evidence to defend the Korpikoski signing.
Next after that, McDavid (CF 48, DF 37) and Lander (46, 37) did not look good in terms of trading dangerous chances. But both young guys brought credible efforts on the night. McDavid contributed in a major way on the score sheet, and Lander’s numbers are bad partly because he spent a ton of time with Korpikoski and Purcell. He was fine away from those two sinkholes. Doubt if either is in the coaches hot seat this morning any more so than the rest of the team.
Note that on this particular front, my numbers and Willis’ ratings partially disagree – he gave Korpi a well-deserved 2 (should have been a ‘1’ in my opinion), but gave Purcell a 5. Considering he’s a veteran player, was the most o-zone sheltered of the bunch, and got unbelievably torched in terms of dangerous chances, I just can’t agree.
So by the numbers, there’s your obvious forward meetings: Korpikoski and Purcell.
Lastly, TMc last night specifically mentioned a player who went 18 minutes without a shot on net or a hit. Who fits?
Oilers without a credited hit last night: Sekera, Lander, McDavid, Schultz, Klefbom, Nuge.
Oilers without a credited SOG attempt last night: Gazdic, Letestu (Klefbom had one blocked shot attempt)
Oilers without a SOG (i.e. not including misses and blocks) last night: Sekera, Yak, Gazdic, Korpi, Letestu, Klefbom.
Oscar’s a young player so I hope he’s not getting too much crap from TMc – bad nights are part of the process for a young player – but TMc’s comments about that soft mystery player don’t add to my list of four. I hope young Dreamy had pleasant dreams, because he probably isn’t having a pleasant morning.