Edmonton Oilers: Boyd Gordon and His Linemates Own the Defensive Zone

November 16th, 2014 by Sean Tierney Leave a reply »

Edmonton Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins is taking the idea of defined roles to a whole new level.

So far this season, Eakins is working hard to play his players in tightly managed situations. Eakins has shielded his younger, offensively gifted stars from the hard work of playing defense in the defensive zone, relying instead on veteran players to own the defensive zone.

For defense-minded skaters such as Boyd Gordon, Eakins' strategy has led to an NHL-leading 70.2 percent defensive zone faceoff (DFZO) rate. Unsurprisingly, Gordon also leads the NHL in total defensive zone starts with 165.

Seventeen games into the 2014-15 NHL season, those figures are staggering.

For all of his work starting in the defensive zone, Gordon has a meager 7.7 percent offensive zone starts rate, which is third lowest in the NHL.

Talk about a defined role.

As per Bruce McCurdy at the Edmonton Journal:

Eakins is one of the NHL’s leading proponents of deploying his players based on where the puck is about to be dropped, relying heavily on his most experienced pivot, Boyd Gordon, to do ...

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