When it comes to the Edmonton Oilers power play, the big question is, “Can they do it again?”
In 2019/20, the Oilers converted 29.5% of their man advantages. That’s the fourth-best season on the power play since the league started keeping the stat in 1977/78.
So they’re not going to make history again, are they?
Well, they very well might.
Looking at some of the other power plays that were around 30% in a season, you can see that that those teams were able to repeat their success:
Montreal Canadiens: 1977/78 31.9%
Montreal Canadiens: 1978/79 28.3%
Montreal Canadiens: 1979/80 29.1%
New York Islanders: 1977/78 31.4%
New York Islanders: 1978/79 31.2%
New York Islanders:1979/80 23.4% (drop off here)
New York Islanders: 1980/81 29.3%
New York Islanders: 1981/82 27.8%
Tyson Barrie, the new addition to the team who will take over for the injured Oscar Klefbom on the point, thinks it’s reasonable to have high expectations.
“Absolutely,” said Barrie. “You mention the Big Three (Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins). Those guys obviously did a great job last year and are outstanding players.”
Saturday’s practice featured extensive power play work. Alex Chiasson joined Barrie, Draisaitl, McDavid, and Nugent-Hopkins on the first unit. Sometimes the only thing that slows down the down is their unselfishness. At times, they can look like they’re trying to pass the puck into the net instead of firing away.
“I can guarantee you there are conversations about that every time we go into a game or a power play meeting,” said head coach Dave Tippett. “I think that’s one thing that Tyson Barrie will help with. He has a little more shot mentality. But there are different scenarios depending on how the other team operates, time in the game, trying to get momentum back.”
“I’m going to have to take my shots to loosen things up for them,” explained Barrie. “With those three, you let the creativity flow and let them do their thing.”
Winger James Neal practiced for the first time on Saturday. However, Tippett said he’ll be unfit to play in the season opener on Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks. Catch the game on 630 CHED with the Face-off Show at 6 p.m. The game will start at 8 p.m.