The Edmonton Oilers have struggled in the last dozen games on the attack, this after pretty much killing it for the first 30 games of the 2020-21 season.
In the last 12 games, the squad is down seven shots per game, five Grade A chances per game, and half a goal per game.
This drop in production generally coincides with Oilers coach Dave Tippett going to Plan B to rev up his attack and win games, reuniting Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid on the same line at even strength.
But even McDavid and Draisaitl have seen their scoring drop off in the past dozen games. A move that was designed to elevate their games has failed to do so.
In their first 30 games, Draisaitl averaged 1.5 points per game, McDavid 1.73. In their last dozen, Draisaitl is at 1.33 per game, McDavid at 1.44 per game.
Across the board we see a major drop in the rate of Grade A scoring chance shots from almost all the key Oilers forwards in the past dozen games.
Here are is the drop in Grade A shots for each key forward, comparing their first 30 games to their last 12 games:
- McDavid: 2.2 per game to 1.7, down 0.5 Grade A shots per game
- Draisaitl: 1.6 to 1.0, down 0.6 per game
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: 1.5 to 0.6, down 0.9 per game
- Jesse Puljujarvi: 1.2 to 1.0, down 0.2 per game
- Kailer Yamamoto: 1.1 to 0.5 per game, down 0.6 per game
- Alex Chiasson: 1.1 to 0.4 per game, down 0.7 per game
- Dominik Kahun: 0.8 to 0.3, down 0.5 per game
- Zack Kassian: 0.7 to 0.1, down 0.6 per game
- Jujhar Khaira: 0.7 to 0.0, down 0.7 per game
- Tyler Ennis: 0.8 to 0.9, up 0.1 per game
- Josh Archibald, 0.5 to 0.6 per game
Ennis and Archibald are the only forwards to see a slight increase in their rate of Grade A chances. Everyone else has dropped, many of them off a cliff.
What do do?
Plan A was to try out the lines of RNH, McDavid and a winger, first Zack Kassian, then Jesse Puljujarvi, and Kahun, Draisaitl and Yamamoto Plan A worked for awhile, but it stopped working, so Tippett went to his Plan B, which was to reunite Draisaitl and McDavid. We see the results of that, though it’s fair to say that the Oil may have also hit a natural lull in the season, based on a rough schedule. But the schedule is going to stay rough. It’s not going to get better. Can the Oilers?
My suggestion is to go to Plan C, which should be reuniting the proven line of Draisaitl, RNH (when he’s healthy) and Yamamoto, while also recalling Tyler Benson and/or Cooper Marody from Bakersfield and trying them on the wing with McDavid. My own pick would be a recall of Benson. With RNH hurting, I’m not sure why the recall didn’t happen a week ago.