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"A lot of power plays are east-west... We try to play downhill."

There’s a lot that goes into having a great power play.

Obviously having a talented roster helps, but there are also a lot of subtleties that can be coached, which was the topic of Glen Gulutzan’s presentation at our 2020 Virtual Hockey Summit.

Now an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers, Gulutzan has a decade of NHL experience as a head coach with the Dallas Stars (2011-2013) and Calgary Flames (2016-2018), as well as assistant coaching experience with the Vancouver Canucks (2014-16) and the Oilers since 2018.

Gulutzan began his presentation by looking at how the Oilers scored goals with the man advantage in 2018-19, when the team finished ninth in the NHL in power play efficiency.

Edmonton’s 47 power play goals scored as follows:

  • Point shots: 25%
  • Off rush: 19%
  • Low attacks: 19%
  • Flank shots: 15%
  • Road hockey: 13%
  • Seam pass: 4%
  • Faceoffs: 2%

Perhaps the most surprising stat was that just two of the Oilers’ power play goals (4%) came as a result of a seam pass — something that’s especially shocking for a team that boasts the likes of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

“A lot of power plays are east-west, and people like that sauce pass and the seam pass, but we try to stay away from it,” said Gulutzan. “We try to play downhill.”

The Oilers finished with the top power play in the NHL in 2019-20 and are among the league leaders again this season.

Watch Gulutzan’s full 31-minute presentation with a subscription to The Coaches Site.

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