On the Oilers Eleventh Day of Christmas...

In this continued series on what is on my Christmas list for this years Oilers team, we take a look at Day 11. On the 11th Day of Christmas, my Oilers gave to me...

11 more faceoff wins per player on the Oilers roster who has taken more than 100 faceoffs this season.

Right now, the Oilers sit a horrid 28 out of 30 NHL teams in faceoff percentage this year. There is evidence in this still young season, that lost faceoffs have directly resulted in losses for the team and cost the Oilers crucial points in what is always a tight Western Conference.

If the players who take the majority of the faceoffs on this team (we'll count for the purpose of this example only those who've taken over 100 this season), won only 11 more faceoffs each, the Oilers would vault from 28th to ironically 11th place in the league at 50.9%.

What sounds like a small number, if done by only 7 players would make such a big difference the results would be amazing.

If Horcoff would have won 233 out of 456 instead of 222, Gagner would have won 171 out of 325 instead of 160, and Penner 114 out of 215 taken instead of 103; all three of those players would then sit over 50% for a faceoff percentage joining only Gilbert Brule who is currently winning more draws than he's losing.

While it still wouldn't put players like Patrick O'Sullivan and Andrew Cogliano over the 50% mark, it would make their percentages more respectable than the 39.1% and 39.6% they sit at respectively.

11 more faceoffs per forward who takes a lot of draws would make Edmonton a more confident team in their own zone. They'd feel the confidence to take control over a forward who faces them in the dot and effectively clear the zone. In the offensive zone, especially on the powerplay, it would give Edmonton literally an extra few seconds to a minute every game of opportune scoring chances.

For Shawn Horcoff, it would mean less double shifting, less pressure on his injured shoulder, and more opportunities for offense. He needs those opportunities if he's ever going to live up to his whopping contract that fans just won't let him live down. They don't notice how much he brings without big offensive stats, so for a player like Horcoff 50 points a season is crucial.

At his current pace, Horcoff is set for 19 goals, 16 assists and a total of 36 points. Not nearly good enough for a player making his kind of money and not currently at 50% on the dot. His maintaining a solid 20 minutes of ice-time every game, just won't be enough to justify what he makes in a salary cap NHL.

11 more faceoffs in this example would likely have given the Edmonton Oilers two more points this season, which would place them in tie for 10th in the West. If we really examine it, who knows, we might find 4 possible missed points thanks to faceoffs, which would place Edmonton inside the playoff picture looking out, instead of from the outside looking in.


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