It’s getting to the point where it almost feels bad to make fun of the Edmonton Oilers.
After a 2016-17 season in which the Oilers climbed back into the playoffs for the first time since 2005-06, their disappointing start to 2017-18 is worth ridiculing. We’ve already talked about how their poor start isn’t surprising and we’ve highlighted some of their worst moments, including this rough own goal.
However, one area that deserves more attention is the team’s ineffective penalty kill. Ineffective may not be a strong enough word to describe what’s happening in Edmonton considering their poor play on the PK is reaching historic levels.
Prior to any action on Saturday, the Oilers rank 31st in the NHL with a 71.4 percent success rate on the penalty kill. That’s a significant drop compared to their fairly average penalty kill from last season that was successful at a 80.1 percent clip and ranked 17th.
Historically, the Oilers are in some unique territory. Brace yourselves, Oilers fans. The stat below is ugly.
Since 1979/1980 there has been 994 individual team seasons. Of those 994 teams, the 2017 #Oilers PK (71.4%) ranks 990th. Not since the 1986 Red Wings (71%) has a team been worse. The PK is literally killing their season.
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) December 1, 2017
Ranking 990th out of 994 teams since the 1979-80 season shows the penalty kill this year is playing a big role in derailing the Oilers’ season. That being said, fixing the PK is only one major area the team needs to address. The power play is clicking along at a 17.6 percent rate, ranking 19th. Offensively, they rank 24th with an average of 2.73 goals per contest. The Oilers need help on both sides of the puck, but fans aren’t surprised that once again the team needs help defensively.
The Oilers have a long laundry list of issues they need to fix or they risk falling further into some unwanted historical categories.