The Edmonton Oilers are coming off what can only be described as an incredibly disappointing campaign during the 2017 - 2018 National Hockey League regular season. In spite of what has to be viewed a as a largely failed season Oilers management made the decision to make very few changes during the offseason and have decided instead to give their core roster of players a second chance at living up to the lofty expectations laid out before them.
Having confidence in your players is all well and good of course and general manager Peter Chiarelli doesn't exactly have a great deal of choice when it comes to some of the disastrous move he has made during his tenure as Oilers GM. One need look no further at the contract handed out to veteran NHL bruiser Milan Lucic, a deal that quickly began to look like one of the worst contracts in the league soon after it was signed. In spite of that however the Oilers have put out a decent product on the ice to start the 2018 - 2019 NHL regular season but a closer look at the data indicates that may be largely due to only one player.
In spite of a strong start in the preseason the Oilers came out and laid a stinker in their season opener against former Oilers forward Taylor Hall and his New Jersey Devils. The Oilers were beaten soundly by the Devils and following the game Sportsnet's Dimitri Filipovic decided he would take took a closer look at exactly why the Devils seemed to be in control for the majority of the game. What Filipovic discovered was that the team saw a significant decline in performance the moment that superstar forward Connor McDavid stepped off the ice, and if this is a trend that will continue moving forward it likely means big trouble for the Oilers.
When analyzing the 30:49 seconds of ice time the Oilers had at 5v5 with McDavid off the ice Filipovic came up with some rather damning numbers regarding how badly the Oilers were dominated without their captain. First when it comes to just raw goals the Oilers managed to produced a grand total of 0 goals with McDavid off the ice at 5v5, meanwhile the Devils were able to produce 3 goals in that same stretch of time. That alone looks bad but it could have in theory just been some lucky bounces for the Devils, but again the statistics would point you to the fact that this is not the case at all.
when it comes to shots generated by each time while McDavid was off the ice at 5v5, the Oilers were outshot by nearly a 2:1 margin with Edmonton picking up just 18 shots to the 30 of New Jersey over the same stretch of time. When it comes to scoring chances the numbers got even worst with the Devils generating nearly four time as many chances, the Oilers had just 4 compared to New Jersey's 15. Worst of all however was the high quality scoring chances, this time the Devils managed to record 6, that's 6 times more than the single high quality scoring chance that was generated by the Oilers over the same stretch of play.
It's only one game of data, but it already looks very ugly for the Oilers moving forward.