The Oilers had an okay October. This may be strange to say for a team that went 4-8-0 to start the season, but there is sometimes more than meets the eye. One item to take into consideration is quality of competition as a tough schedule can make a team look worse than they actually appear. Therefore, is that what happened to the Oilers in the month of October? If it did, what should Oilers fans have expected from the team, in terms of points, to consider it an average rate of success? To delve into this I wanted to look at the records of the teams the Oilers played in October, less the games played against the Oilers. The results are:
The Oilers really did go through murderer’s row to start the season. If we add together the totals for the opposing teams for the 12 games, (St. Louis and Calgary were counted twice due to the Oilers playing them twice) the combined record is 69-35-12 (0.647). Therefore, assuming that the teams the Oilers faced have had an average difficulty of schedule, than one would expect that if the Oilers were an average team they would have a 0.353 record (1 – 0.647). Therefore, with a record of 0.333 to start the season, the Oilers are exactly where you would an expect an average team to fair.
There is however an area of concern with the Oilers and once again it is the defensive side of the puck that is the problem. When we look at the goals scored by the Oiler’s opponents, they have 332 goals over the course of 116 games. This means that an average team should give up 34 goals in 12 games. The Oilers however have given up 39 goals, which is 15% more than expected from an average team. Fixing this problem will be the key to the Oilers future success, however getting there will not be an easy one for either Peter Chiarelli or Todd McLellan.
The offense however has had average results, which is better than what we could say last season. Against such tough competition an average team would have been expected to have 32 goals through the month of October, which is what the Connor McDavid led Oilers have done.
With October now done and the month of November just under way, what should Oilers fans expect from the team this month. If we look at the teams on the docket, there records for the month of October are:
With the opponents .522 record, the Oilers are facing a much easier schedule in October than they did in November, so Oilers fans should expect better results. If the Oilers do post an average result that means the Oilers should have 12 points in 13 games this month. Therefore, based on these numbers, my prediction for November is 5W-6L-2OT. For goals for and against, if we predict the Oilers will score at an average rate and be scored upon at 15% above average, they will have 32 GF and 33 GA. This would leave the Oilers with 9W-14L-2OT for 20 points in 25 games to start the season. Through the first 25 games last season the Oilers had 16 points so this would be a 25% improvement. While it is not the gigantic leap some Oilers fans are hoping for, if the team plays close to .500 hockey for the month of November, consider it a success.
THE BETTMAN POINT
In my initial prediction I did not account for the Bettman point, as in the month of October, there was 359 points in 326 games, which is 1.10 Pts/Game. Therefore, an average team would have put up a record of 0.453 (1.10 – 0.647) rather than 0.353. However, we do not expect the Oilers to be an average team, but rather a .500 team that falls 10 points behind the playoff pack. Therefore, I will set my expectations for the Oilers to be 90% of the average, which means a successful record in October is actually 0.408 or 10 points. A loss to the Flames was the only item separating the Oilers from considering October to be a successful month.
Therefore, in recalculating my predictions for November, an average team would have a record of 0.578 (1.10 – 0.522) which is 15 points in 13 games. If we expect the Oilers are to produce at 90% of that level, than we would expect a record of 0.520, which is 13.5 points in 13 games. Therefore, my original prediction of 12 points in 13 games is slightly to low and I will bump it up to a .500 record for November with the Oilers going 6W-6L-1T.