NHL equivalencies are the handiwork of Gabriel Desjardins and give us a ‘line in the sand’ when estimating future boxcar numbers. This isn’t a ‘tool’ so much as a ‘toy’—a fun way to estimate offensive talent for players who don’t have an established level of ability in the NHL. Let’s go back a few years and see how the toy has projected some Oilers from the current team (and recent past).
NHLE’S OVER TIME
Here are some recent Oilers, their final season outside the NHL, followed by their rookie seasons in the show.
- Taylor Hall 82GP, 17-29-46NHLE (Actual 65GP, 22-20-42) .561 versus .646 (point per game)
- Jordan Eberle 82GP, 22-24-46NHLE (Actual 69GP, 18-25-43) .561 versus .623 (point per game)
- Anton Lander 82GP, 14-28-42 NHLE (Actual 38GP, 6-14-20) .512 versus .526 point per game) (AHL-to-NHL)
- Nail Yakupov 82GP, 18-22-40NHLE (Actual 48GP, 17-14-31) .487 versus .645 (point per game)
- RNH 82GP, 11-27-38NHLE (Actual 62GP, 18-34-52) .463 versus .839 (point per game)
Since the 2008 draft, these five men have posted quality NHLE’s and then moved up to the NHL and succeeded the following season. Their NHLE’s ranged from 38 to 46 points and their NHL point totals were actually superior the following year (while being basicall in the range—the Nuge was a freak). In those years there were plenty of promising players who didn’t make the grade despite solid NHLE totals—like Curtis Hamilton (33 NHLE points in his final junior season), Teemu Hartikainen (30 NHLE points in his first OKC season), Tyler Pitlick (27 NHLE points in his WHL season).
40 points would be a nice line in the sand for a future NHL player. One final note: We don’t have time on ice. That’s a big missing piece to the puzzle.
THE 2015 COMPLETE OILERS NHLE LIST (FORWARDS)
- C Connor McDavid 82GP, 23-40-63
- C Leon Draisaitl 82GP, 15-26-41
- R Andrew Miller 82GP, 15-20-35
- C-R Kyle Platzer 82GP, 12-17-29
- L Anton Slepyshev 82GP, 17-11-28
- R Iiro Pakarinen 82GP, 16-11-27
- C-R Greg Chase 82GP, 8-16-24
- R Tyler Pitlick 82GP, 8-16-24
- C Bogdan Yakimov 82GP, 10-13-23
- L Ryan Hamilton 82GP, 11-12-23
- F Tyler Vesel 82GP, 7-13-20
- L Josh Winquist 82GP, 8-11-19
- L Kale Kessy 82GP, 8-8-16
- L Evan Campbell 82GP, 7-8-15
- F Kellen Jones 82GP, 4-7-11
- L Aidan Muir 82GP, 4-6-10
- C Jujhar Khaira 82GP, 4-5-9
- C Connor Jones 82GP, 4-5-9
- R John McCarron 82GP, 3-5-8
- L Mitch Moroz 82GP, 3-3-6
Connor McDavid is in a world of his own according to NHLE, his 63 points towers over Hall, Eberle and the rest. He is, based on the part of his career we can see (and project), a special talent. Young Draisaitl repeats his draft season (40 points) one year on and his numbers suggest a very productive NHL forward when he arrives—and it could be soon. Andrew Miller had a quality season and should be considered a real NHL option for 2015-16.
After that, we have a large group (Platzer, Slepyshev, Pakarinen, Chase, Pitlick, Yakimov) who could push into the area where future NHL players roam, but they’ll need to spike offensively in the coming season. It’s also true that we sometimes see a period of transition from junior to pro, so players like Platzer and Chase may have a difficult time reaching this year’s number due to TOI and an increase in qual comp.
It’s an excellent list at the top, trading all of those draft picks means Edmonton doesn’t have a bunch of scoring wingers pushing the likes of Hall, Pouliot, Eberle and Yakupov at the NHL level. That’s fine, because they’re all young (or in their prime) but if Edmonton needs to trade from depth there’s not a large amount bubbling under (Slepyshev, Miller, Pakarinen, Chase) for the team. Don’t overlook Josh Winquist by the way, he’s tracking well and will hopefully get a full AHL season in 2015-16.
- Joey Laleggia 82GP, 14-23-37
- Brad Hunt 82GP, 11-19-30
- Darnell Nurse 82GP, 7-16-23
- Griffin Reinhart 82GP, 6-11-17
- Jordan Oesterle 82GP, 5-12-17
- Ethan Bear 82GP, 5-9-14
- Ben Betker 82GP, 2-10-12
- Dillon Simpson 82GP, 2-9-11
- David Musil 82GP, 1-7-8
- Martin Gernat 82GP, 1-7-8
- Brandon Davidson 82GP, 3-4-7
- William Lagesson 82GP, 1-6-7
- Caleb Jones 82GP, 2-5-7
- Ziyat Paigin 82GP, 2-2-4
Laleggia’s numbers are just too good to ignore. We shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves here, but if he has a strong season in Bakersfield I think he’s going to get a look. When we examine prospects, it’s always good to value the unique ones, the ones who tower over the rest in some way. Laleggia is such a player, or NHLE is telling us he is.
Brad Hunt is an impact player in the AHL and may get another chance under McLellan. His offensive prowess from the blue line is truly exceptional and he was re-signed for a reason. Nurse shows well here, that’s a good season for a two-way defenseman who has tremendous defensive value. Reinhart’s numbers are reflective of his player-type, much like Nurse the big part of his game is defensive, and he’s not going to post the same point totals as Nurse during their careers (unless he gets power-play time).
Oesterle is a fast player with real skill and his defensive reputation isn’t as dire as Hunt’s, so that’s a player we should watch closely this year.
The rest of the men are developing and we should expect to see improvement year over year. Many of these chaps aren’t going to deliver big offense, so this look is highly unfair and punitive. Brandon Davidson’s offense isn’t going to get him to the NHL, but he can move the puck effectively and has learned his lessons in the AHL. He could absolutely emerge from this group as an NHL regular in the next season or two. Also, Ben Betker is a mountain of a man who can skate—remember what we talked about in regard to unique—and he’s going to make the NHL for sure if he continues to develop.
A quick note on Martin Gernat. He’s buried so far down the line no one can see him under the overgrowth, but he was a prospect of some quality not long ago and may still emerge. I don’t think it’ll be as an Oilers defenseman, though.