There are a lot of moving parts to any NHL team’s collective “game,” as any coach could tell you, and as Edmonton Oilers head man Ralph Krueger did on Tuesday in overview fashion.

Asked about that elusive team identity, Krueger spoke about five players being connected in both directions on the ice, about predictable habits with and without the puck, about unleashing a unified attack, about work ethic, consistent gapping (space between forwards and defencemen), and effective use of speed.

“But that speed has to be felt defensively as well as offensively, otherwise it will not be a winning speed,” Krueger noted.

Overall, Krueger said: “We’re much, much closer to being the team we want to be, but we all knew this was going to be a process.”

That it is, especially with a team of young players not necessarily hard-wired to fuss over gapping, precise positioning and the various other elements Krueger checked off.

Two Oilers whose NHL careers have been rooted in structure are Nick Schultz, who spent a decade with the system-fixated Minnesota Wild, and Mark Fistric, who developed his game with the Dallas Stars.

These are two stay-at-home defencemen whose work habits and ethic are designed precisely for the tight games the Oilers will find themselves playing from now to the end of this truncated season as teams jockey for a playoff spot.

What the likes of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi and Justin Schultz are processing on the fly, Schultz and Fistric have embedded in their hockey DNA.

Schultz can see the Oilers’ attention to detail improving.