Out: Gordon (2 games), Pouliot, Joensuu, Marincin, & Nikitin (thankfully).
In: Gazdic, Pinizzotto, Aulie, and Klefbom (thankfully).
As much as some fans like the toughness of Gazdic and Pinizotto, they are significant possession liabilities. Gazdic's Corsi% and Relative Corsi%: 44.6% & - 6%. Pinizotto's respective Corsi metrics: 42.4% & -10%. Not a very wise coaching decision, if you ask me, no matter how many guys these two put at risk for developing a degenerative brain disease.
I'm also becoming more convinced (thanks to a new Jonathan Willis' analysis) that the Oilers goal-tending is indeed a problem. The team's shot suppression has improved from all shooting locations, yet the opposing teams' shooting% from all locations are above league average. Sure, you could argue that screens by opponents are contributing this higher scoring rate, and that the defense has to do a better job of clearing the net, but all goalies have to work around screens.
Looking at the rest of the league, 4 teams moved up 4 places: Winnipeg (3), Detroit (10), Carolina (13), and Florida (15). Aside from Edmonton, other teams that have dropped significantly are Vancouver, who dropped 5 places to 14th and Toronto, who dropped 4 places to 27th.
The top 4 teams changed slightly. Minnesota and Chicago switched places, and Winnipeg surged ahead of the New York Islanders, which displaced San Jose to 5th place.
1. Minnesota (If the Wild's PP was top 10, they would easily be the most dominant possession team. It is currently 18th.)
2. Chicago (The Blackhawks' even-strength defense is a weak point; ranked 10th. Their shot suppression is not as good as last season. Not terrible, mind you, still better than 20 other teams.)
3. Winnipeg (The Jets are quickly losing their underdog status in my books. What's helped them break into the top 3? A #1 ranked PK.)
4. NY Islanders (The Isles continue to have a very strong even-strength offense, which is 3rd, but only a satisfactory defense at 12th. What's really hurting them is their special teams with a 17th ranked PP and 26th ranked PK.)
I urge readers not to be overly results-focused with how Minnesota and Winnipeg are doing in the standings. These teams are much better than their win/loss records indicate.
Data courtesy of puckalytics.com & war-on-ice.com.