The Edmonton Oilers had a slow start to the season, but started to gain momentum after their big win against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 24. Thereafter, they had a successful road trip, winning three in a row to close off October with a 6-3 record. With that in mind, let’s recap ten significant Oilers stats from the month of October.
0 Goals for Kailer Yamamoto
Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto hasn’t yet scored a goal this season in the eight games he’s played. Other notable players haven’t found the back of the net either, like Warren Foegele, Derek Ryan, or Devin Shore, but Yamamoto’s inability to score is concerning because he primarily plays in the top six.
If we look at the forwards he’s played the most minutes with this season, Evander Kane (92:49), Leon Draisaitl (50:49), and Connor McDavid (47:42), you’d expect him to be scoring in bunches, yet within his first eight games, he’s either missed on his grade-A scoring chances or bobbled the puck on a few occasions.
Yet, the feisty winger has had some good moments, like when he picked off Jonathan Toews’ pass with 40 seconds left in the game and helped set up Draisaitl’s game-winner against the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 27. At the same time, he has a history of starting slow— last season he scored only two goals in the first 10 games and ended the campaign with 20. Still, there’s no need to panic yet, as the Oilers are still 6-3, but it will be a bonus once he starts scoring.
2 Hat Tricks for McDavid in the First Month
Connor McDavid has always been a “pass first” player, yet this season he hasn’t shied away from shooting the puck. The Oilers’ captain has nine goals this season, which currently leads the NHL, and only nine games in, he already has two hat tricks.
The first hat trick came on opening night Oct. 12 against the Vancouver Canucks, and his second was in a 6-5 win over the Blackhawks on Oct. 27. McDavid’s career average shooting percentage is 15%; however, this season he’s scoring at a 30% clip. This might be the season that he finally adds the Rocket Richard Trophy to his list of accomplishments.
Stuart Skinner’s .955 Save Percentage
The 23-year-old goaltender, Stuart Skinner, is having a fine start to the season. In four games, he’s posted a 1.59 goals-against-average (GAA), which at the time of this writing is second best in the NHL, and has also posted an astounding .955 save percentage (SV%), which currently leads the league.
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Most recently, he was impressive in his start in the Battle of Alberta on Oct. 29. He turned away 40 of 42 shots in the 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Hockey Night in Canada. In the process, his 40 saves put him in a tie for second place in franchise history for most saves in an Oilers’ road win over the Flames. It’s too soon to talk of a goalie controversy for the Oilers, but as The Hockey Writers’ Rob Couch states, if he continues this upward trajectory, the stable Skinner could take over the number-one goaltender job sooner than expected.
Jack Campbell’s .888 Save Percentage
When the Oilers signed Jack Campbell to a five-year deal in the offseason, they knew they weren’t getting an elite goaltender, but they knew they were getting a player that was going to be able to keep them in the fight. He currently sits with a .888 SV% and 3.89 GAA, and to an outside observer, it might seem like he’s not living up to expectations.
Yet, that’s not the case. Aside from the game against the Flames on Oct. 15 when he was pulled after giving up four goals, he’s given his team a puncher’s chance to win each game. Campbell has also given the Oilers stability in net and has had to make numerous saves off grade-A chances. A memorable sequence was against the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 20 when Evan Bouchard gave away the puck and Campbell shut the door with a sprawling save, making three stops on the play alone. Although his statistics aren’t Vezina Trophy candidate worthy at the moment, he’s kept his team in the fight through the first month of the season. All in all, Oilers fans should rejoice that both Campbell and Skinner’s play is allowing the team to win.
4:34 Minute Shift for Draisaitl
The average NHL shift length is around 44 seconds, but against the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 27, Draisaitl played a staggering 4:34 shift in the second period.
Justin Faulk tripped Draisaitl close to the 11-minute mark of the second period and was given a penalty. The Oilers had a hard time setting up in the Blues zone for most of the power play but had a flurry of chances near the tail end of the penalty, where Jordan Billington made numerous stops. Thereafter, the play went into the Oilers’ zone for over a minute and the Blues poured on the pressure but were unable to score, causing Draisaitl to be hemmed in his zone. If he could’ve changed safely, he would’ve. Still, props to the big centerman for gutting out a 4:34-minute long shift. As a comparison, teammate Shore, played 7:28 the entire game.
10 Penalties in a Game for the Oilers
The Oilers and Blackhawks played an entertaining game on Oct. 27. Edmonton pulled off a 6-5 win when Draisaitl scored his fourth goal of the season with close to 40 seconds left in the game. Yet, what stood out most was the number of penalties called by the officials.
The Oilers were given 10 penalties in the game, which was the 33rd time in franchise history that Edmonton was short handed 10 times in a game, with the last occurring in February 2010. Here’s another fun fact, the most the Oilers have been shorthanded in a game was 12, which happened in the 2005-06 season.
26 Shots in a Period for the Oilers
The Oilers were losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 on Oct. 24. Edmonton was badly outplayed in the first period and it seemed like they were on the verge of losing their second consecutive game. Yet, at just over three minutes into the second period, they flipped a switch and went supernova. McDavid was on a two-on-one with Yamamoto, the captain made the pass and in the process was taken down by Penguins’ defenseman Jeff Petry, causing McDavid to crash into the goal post.
Everyone in Rogers Place held their breath as McDavid went into the dressing room, and instead of packing it in, the captain’s teammates rose to the occasion. The Oilers scored on the ensuing powerplay and peppered Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry with 26 shots in the middle frame alone. McDavid returned eventually, but the 26 shots in the middle frame set a franchise record for the most shots on goal in a period. It was quite the feat, considering the firepower the Oilers had in the 80s with Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, and company.
200 Career Goals for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is in his 11th season with the Oilers and he’s currently the longest-serving member. The former first-overall pick was once touted as a franchise centerman, but at this point in his career, he’s best served as a winger in the top six and a special teams ace.
The Burnaby, BC native scored his 200th career goal on Oct. 26 against the St. Louis Blues and he did so in dramatic fashion. The Blues and Oilers were tied at one in the third period, and he scored the eventual game-winner at the 13:44 mark. Nugent-Hopkins became the ninth Oiler in franchise history to reach the 200-goal plateau.
Assist Number 460 Was Significant for McDavid
The Oilers lost to the Buffalo Sabres 4-2 on Oct. 18; however, McDavid recorded his sixth point of the season, which happened to be his 460th career assist. In the process, he tied Paul Coffey for the fifth most assists in Oilers history. He surpassed the former Norris Trophy winner just two nights later when he scored a goal and added three more assists.
McDavid currently has 467 career assists. He only needs 22 more to surpass Glen Anderson’s 489 helpers, which would put him in fourth place on the all-time Oilers’ list. After that, he’ll need “only” 597 more to catch up with Gretzky in first place.
631 NHL Points for Draisaitl Tied Ryan Smyth
It’s hard to believe that Draisaitl is already in his ninth NHL season and he’s not showing any signs of slowing down. He’s already considered one of the all-time Oilers’ greats, and he’s rocketing up the all-time Oilers’ points list at the same time.
With his game-winning goal on his 27th birthday against the Blackhawks on Oct. 27, he recorded his 631st point. At the time, he tied Ryan Smyth for the seventh spot on the all-time Oilers’ points list, yet only two days later, he recorded another assist and took over the sixth spot. Interestingly, Draisaitl achieved the feat in 566 games, whereas Smyth did it in 971. A difference of 405 games, which is truly remarkable.
The Oilers closed off October by winning all three games on their short road trip. They have a three-game homestand up next, with games against the Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, and Dallas Stars. They have a busy schedule in November, playing 14 games in total, so stay tuned next month for another list of 10 significant Oilers stats.
He’s the first ever Ultimate MVP fan of the NHL as declared by Upperdeck – He’s been featured on CBC Radio providing hockey analysis for the Edmonton Oilers – He’s a freelance writer and Edmonton Oilers’ Sportswriter for the Hockey Writers.