The Edmonton Oilers aren’t going to rest on their laurels when it comes to their power play. The top team in the NHL last season when it came to the man advantage, it’s easy to get complacent when you have Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and when you’ve added a piece like Tyson Barrie to the mix. Some NHL teams would rather focus on other areas that could need more work, knowing the goals will come regardless.
Instead, the Oilers plan to maintain their powerhouse advantage by making improvements in an area where they are already extremely proficient. Head coach Dave Tippett focused all of Saturday’s skate at camp on special teams, specifically how they’d assemble their power play this season. James Neal was back with the team, but needs some time to catch up after being off the ice for over a month and the lines got different looks. Tippett discussed his plans with the media when the on-ice session was over.
Asked if he focuses on certain elements, looking for the team to shoot more, he noted that in practice, there’s a bit more of a tendency not to shoot because it would set the team back if someone got hurt blocking a shot. That said, the team’s focus, especially with Barrie running things, will be to shoot more. He explained:
“I can guarantee you that there’s conversations about that every time we have a power play meeting or go into game. That’s the one thing I think Tyson Barrie will help with, he’s got a little more shot mentality.”
He noted the ability to get shots on net and then open things up from the results of those shots on net is something he and his team talks about all the time.
Different Scenarios Will Mean Different Approaches
One thing Tippett pointed out was that their power play will offer different looks depending on what the opposition is doing. This season, as the Oilers play teams nine and ten times each, that’s an extremely critical planning element that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Team defenses will learn to adapt to the power play the more they see the setup. As such, it becomes imperative the Oilers have different looks and strategies. “There’s a lot of factors that go into how our power play operates,” he said.
In Other Oilers News
During the next couple of days, waivers and roster movements will take place a lot for NHL teams and the Oilers are no exception. They have assigned forward Cooper Marody, defenceman Markus Niemelainen & goalie Stuart Skinner to the Bakersfield Condors. Forwards Adam Cracknell and Seth Griffith have been placed on waivers for the purpose of assignment to Bakersfield.
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