PAL JOEY (I COULD WRITE A BOOK)

Of all the kids turning pro in the Oilers system this year, Joey Laleggia is the toughest to project into the organization. His NHL equivalency (82GP, 14-23-37) screams ‘get him into the NHL stat!’ but the competition at his position (offensive defenseman) is severe. He is blocked at the NHL level by Andrej Sekera (complete defender will get PP time) and Justin Schultz (offensive defenseman remains No. 1 option for the position). In Bakersfield, the options include Brad Hunt (impact player at that level) and Jordan Oesterle (emerging talent with obvious skills).

  • Laleggia on the Oilers: “I’ve been told I’m going to fit in pretty well. I think there’s a pretty good opportunity waiting for me when I get there.” Source

The key for Laleggia in year one pro is at-bats, meaning he may spend time in the ECHL. I have him ranked as the No. 12 prospect, so this kind of handling would be unusual. That said, there are too many bodies on defense in Bakersfield, so something will have to give. Hunt and Oesterle will play, as will David Musil, Dillon Simpson and (at least for the beginning of the year) Darnell Nurse and Griffin Reinhart. Stunning quality and depth for the Condors and their fans, but Laleggia is in a tough spot.

On the other hand, it would be ridiculous to turn our backs on the young man’s accomplishments. He was a very famous college prospect and clearly drew attention to his game.

  • Craig Button: “LaLeggia has become a top defenceman for the Pioneers and is one of the best college defencemen in NCAA hockey. He’s very steady, smart, is able to play lots of minutes in important situations and can contribute in multiple areas. He reads the play extremely well, jumps into the attack and generates a lot of opportunities.” Source

The part of his game that gives one pause is defensive. Laleggia’s size and style reminds some of Tyson Barrie and that’s a pretty good hockey player. The defensive side of the game is a major item and he made progress in college.

  • Denver University coach Jim Montgomery: “There’s two ways I think he’s become better. Defensively, he eats people up now with the way he plays his position and uses his legs and stick to defend. The second thing, I’ve just been really amazed by his will to win here, expecially in the last six weeks. He’s raised his mental game and his intensity to another level.” Source

Joey Laleggia leaves college hockey having accomplished everything available. I’m not betting against him long term but do think his first season is going to involve travel. How much travel? We’ll see.

  1. Is he smart enough to play NHL hockey? Yes. Laleggia’s college career saw him quarterback the power play and find ways to become effective defensively despite size issues. He played a lot and played well, implying he’s a thinking man’s hockey player.
  2. Is he strong enough? That will be a question for sure. Laleggia isn’t going to be a complete defenseman but the job requires him to defend sorties and that will be his main chore during the two-year entry level deal.
  3. Is he fast enough? Yes. A big item on the checklist, Laleggia can move. I’m not sure how he would compare to Oesterle or Schultz, but we’ll know by the spring.
  4. What did the scouting reports say about him before draft day? Corey Pronman: Laleggia enters his third draft-eligible season after a very successful first WCHA season where he was named the conference’s Rookie of the Year. He’s a good skater with a great offensive mind who would be a nice shot in the dark pick in the mid-rounds due to his notable offensive upside. He flashes high-end hockey sense with his quick game processing and he’s really effective moving the puck out of his own end and controlling the blue line on the power play. Laleggia has solid puck skills as well, at times showing above average, but he is a much better passer than he is an individual creator. He skates well, moving fluidly in all four directions. His main weakness is his physical game, which is below replacement level. I’ve seen him listed at 5’10″, which is generous in my opinion as he looks pretty small on the ice, and he is not effective at all when he’s engaging. Despite his hockey smarts, I don’t see him as being effective defensively to any notable degree at the pro level.
  5. That last item makes him sound one dimensional. Yes, but that one dimension is a big deal.
  6. Will fans like the player? No. Oilers fans don’t like this player type, going back many years. Joey Laleggia’s high water mark in terms of popularity will come before he plays for Edmonton.
  7. Among the pure offensive defenders, where does he rank on the current depth chart? Justin Schultz has the NHL job and may have it for the rest of the decade and beyond. Brad Hunt and Jordan Oesterle would be the men in front of him in Bakersfield as Laleggia’s career begins.
  8. What are the odds that Joey Laleggia has a career of 100 NHL games or more? It’s honestly too soon to know. Laleggia is a famous prospect as he graduates and the Oilers clearly like him. That only gets you so far, but the young man’s skill is clearly legit. We’ll know more in the spring.

CONDORS PROJECTED 2015-16

BAKERSFIELD 15-16

 

 

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42 Responses to "PAL JOEY (I COULD WRITE A BOOK)"

  1. bsmart says:

    Good morning LT, thanks as always for the great article to start my day!

  2. Lowetide says:

    bsmart:
    Good morning LT, thanks as always for the great article to start my day!

    Thanks for reading!

  3. frjohnk says:

    Joey showed well at the rookie camp. Really good skater, slick hands.

    He has been a good point producer at each level he has played, I guess we will have to wait and see if his game can make the progression to the AHL and then maybe even the NHL.

    Seems like Torey Krug and Jared Spurgeon would be his comparables if he did ever make it to the NHL as a significant contributer

  4. book¡je says:

    Dear Joey,

    A warm welcome to the Oilers organization! Also, you suck because you are not Jason Smith.

    Regards,
    98% of Oiler ‘fans’

  5. John Chambers says:

    frjohnk,

    I think two years from now we’re talking about Joey Legs possibly cracking the lineup out of camp while Justin Schultz is considering from a handful of cheap show-me contracts.

  6. Soup Fascist says:

    I agree with your comments on Joey Leggs and love this series (though the guy interviewing you always seems to be a bit ….. obtuse). But I digress.

    If LaLeggia is a younger version of Brad Hunt – but with more possible NHL upside, wouldn’t a good organization, intent on developing talent, not pass on a veteran like Hunt to give more “at bats” to LaLeggia and Oesterle ?

    The ECHL is eons from the NHL.

    Let me put this another way. You know what you have in Brad Hunt. You aren’t sure what you have in LaLeggia. The ECHL is not going to help answer that question.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Soup Fascist:
    I agree with your comments on Joey Leggs and love the RE series (though the guy interviewing you always seems to be a bit ….. obtuse). But I digress.

    If LaLeggia is a younger version of Brad Hunt – but with more possible NHL upside, wouldn’t a good organization, intent on developing talent, not pass on a veteran like Hunt to give more “at bats” to LaLeggia and Oesterle ?

    The ECHL is eons from the NHL.

    Let me put this another way. You know what you have in Brad Hunt. You aren’t sure what you have in LaLeggia. The ECHL is not going to help answer that question.

    Agreed on all counts. The Oilers signed Hunt though, so until he’s dealt Laleggia is blocked.

  8. oilersjo says:

    pardon my spelling but Sather always had Roustelienen hanging around,small quick Finn for the cup runs. These small quick defensemen can change the tempo of a game.

  9. John Chambers says:

    Lowetide,

    I’m of the belief that after Christmas Nikitin and Ference’s careers as Oilers will be nearly over, while Nurse and Reinhart get told to buy condos near Ice District.

    At that point the AHL lineup on D looks like:
    Hunt – Musil
    Davidson – Simpson
    Laleggia – Oesterle
    Gernat

    It may seem crowded going in to camp, but a few deletions at the major league level will open up spots in a hurry.

  10. leadfarmer says:

    Schultz may be in his last year with the oil. Hunt will try to crack the lineup elsewhere in a year. Competition will likely decrease in a year

  11. Lowetide says:

    John Chambers: Exactly. I have Laleggia playing about one half the season in Bakersfield, which dovetails nicely with your post.

  12. Pajamah says:

    The only appropriate nickname for this young whippersnapper would be Joey Fingers.

    That is all.

  13. Woodguy says:

    Not sure how well this will format, but I ran the IPP for Schultz, Joey Leggs, Hunt and Oesterle since their draft year. (Oesterle and Hunt didn’t have any stats for their 17 year old years)

    All info courtesy hockeydb.com

    Interesting that Leggs was ahead of Schultz up until their 20 year old year, when Schultz went Nova.

    Note age in every year. Age at this point in a players’ development is very important when comparing players.

    NOTE: This is all situations IPP, which isn’t as predictive as 5v5 IPP, but I can’t find 5v5 NCAA or BCHL numbers.

    AGE YEAR LEAGUE IPP

    SCHULTZ
    17 2007-2008 BCHL 0.191
    18 2008-2009 BCHL 0.278
    19 2009-2010 NCAA 0.129
    20 2010-2011 NCAA 0.364
    21 2011-2012 NCAA 0.419

    LALEGGIA
    17 2009-2010 BCHL 0.254
    18 2010-2011 BCHL 0.390
    19 2011-2012 NCAA 0.273
    20 2012-2013 NCAA 0.221
    21 2013-2014 NCAA 0.253
    22 2014-2015 NCAA 0.330

    HUNT
    18 2006-2007 BCHL 0.146
    19 2007-2008 BCHL 0.243
    20 2008-2009 NCAA 0.302
    21 2009-2010 NCAA 0.258
    22 2010-2011 NCAA 0.236
    23 2011-2012 NCAA 0.257

    OESTERLE
    18 2010-2011 USHL 0.085
    19 2011-2012 NCAA 0.070
    20 2012-2013 NCAA 0.103
    21 2013-2014 NCAA 0.178

    I don’t have a pile of historical NCAA IPP numbers post draft for anyone so this lacks some context, but its interesting to look at.

    Does anyone know how many of Oesterle’s points were 5v4 last year for OKC?

    The only thing I can see is Hunt getting 8 5v4 goals and Oesterle having 1.

    Hunt and Joey Leggs rate very similarly via this metric.

  14. Lowetide says:

    WG: Oesterle EV 14-15 OKC 65GP, 6-12-18.
    Oesterle PP 14-15 OKC 65GP, 1-5-6
    Oesterle PK 14-15 OKC 65GP, 1-0-1

  15. Woodguy says:

    frjohnk,

    Seems like Torey Krug and Jared Spurgeon would be his comparables if he did ever make it to the NHL as a significant contributer

    Spurgeon went through the WHL (Spokane) while Krug would more of a direct comparable since he was NCAA.

    Krug and Spurgeon’s IPPs. (note: I’ve been a huge Spurgeon fan for a few years.) GOOD EDMITTEN KID WHO PLAYS BIG AND EVERYTHINK LIKE THAT!! *THUMBS UP*

    KRUG
    17 2008-2009 USHL 0.219
    18 2009-2010 NCAA 0.183
    19 2010-2011 NCAA 0.286
    20 2011-2012 NCAA 0.306

    Krug and Hunt look to be a level above Joey Leggs. BOS was smart to sign him and yank him out of school.

    Maybe MacT is right and Hunt just needs some NHL at bats?

    SPURGEON
    17 2007-2008 WHL 0.182
    18 2008-2009 WHL 0.230
    19 2009-2010 WHL 0.285

    Colton Tuebert draft year IPP 0.119 – drafted 13th overall Because Moar Big
    Jared Spurgeon draft year IP 0.182 – drafted 156th overall Because Small

    Tuebert NHL gp – 24
    Spurgeon NHL gp – 295 and counting.

    IPP isn’t the be-all-end-all crystal ball, but from what I’ve seen it predicts NHL gp much better than draft order.

  16. Pouzar says:

    AA is eons away from the Majors as well. But it’s the level where most blue chip prospects reside at any one time. We need to remove the stigma that the ECHL is for bums and make it a major development tool. Like LT says, at bats are important.

  17. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide:
    WG: Oesterle EV 14-15 OKC 65GP, 6-12-18.
    Oesterle PP 14-15 OKC 65GP, 1-5-6
    Oesterle PK 14-15 OKC 65GP, 1-0-1

    Thank’s LT.

    Do you have Hunt’s too?

    Where did you get them? (so I don’t have to bug you)

  18. fifthcartel says:

    It’s a little disappointing how Edmonton has so few defense prospects with significant offensive upside. It’s pretty much Laleggia and who else? Nurse could, he progressed pretty well offensively throughout junior, but I’m unsure how much of offense he’ll carry to the NHL.

    The Oilers seem to have an abundance of two-way or ‘defensive’ defensemen in the system, and I’m hoping to see more picks like Ethan Bear, as you could probably include him in the ‘offensive potential’ group.

  19. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy: Thank’s LT.

    Do you have Hunt’s too?

    Where did you get them? (so I don’t have to bug you)

    Brad Hunt’s last two seasons are here:

    http://lowetide.ca/2015/08/16/the-hunter-or-the-hunted/

    I count them. 🙂 The AHL site gives you the goals (PP, PK) on this page

    http://theahl.com/stats/statdisplay.php?type=skaters&team_id=383&season_id=48&tournament_id=0&leagueId=4&division_id=-1&confId=0

    and then PP

    http://theahl.com/stats/statdisplay.php?type=records&subType=3&season_id=48&tournament_id=0&leagueId=4&division_id=-1&confId=0

    and PK assists

    http://theahl.com/stats/statdisplay.php?type=records&subType=13&season_id=48&tournament_id=0&leagueId=4&division_id=-1&confId=0

    I usually have them, so don’t hesitate to ask because it’s a big pain in the ass but if they’re already done I’ll know where they are (depending on who you’re looking for).

  20. Woodguy says:

    Maybe MacT is right and Hunt just needs some NHL at bats?

    One of the reasons we were up in arms over Hunt getting to play at the beginning of the year was that it was at the expense of one of our favourites in Marincin.

    We were also pissed off that Eakins/MacT didn’t seem to think that the games at the beginning of the year counted in the standings and they weren’t icing their best Dcorps as we saw it.

    I wonder if Hunt deserves another chance in the right spot?

    Check out Hunt in relation to others below.

    The sample size is super-duper small, but interesting if its indicative….

    Schultz
    130min w/ Hunt 51.1%CF – 58.9%OZS
    726min w/ Klefbom 51.4%CF – 65.4%OZS

    Ference
    Player TOI CF% OZone%
    PETRY 694 46% 38.5
    SCHULTZ 154 42.4% 53.4
    FAYNE 83 44.5% 28.9
    AULIE 68 39% 52.4
    OESTERLE 57 48.6% 66.7
    MARINCIN 28 43.4% 22.2
    HUNT 23 40.5% 12.5
    NIKITIN 19 55.3% 77.8
    KLEFBOM 18 42.2% 57.1

    Ference really brings the pain eh?

    Eakins didn’t do Hunt any favours by playing him 23 minutes with 12%(!!!) OZS.

    I wonder if Hunt was given Krug’s TOI if he would have made BOS?

    Super small sample, but its not awful.

    Hunt needs an expansion draft.

    Or his agent to call Don Maloney.

  21. Woodguy says:

    Lowetide,

    Thanks Al!

  22. John Chambers says:

    Lowetide:
    John Chambers: Exactly. I have Laleggia playing about one half the season in Bakersfield, which dovetails nicely with your post.

    It’s not hard to get excited about what the defense might look like from 2017 onward with a top-5 that looks like:

    Sekara – Reinhart
    Nurse – Klefbom
    X – Fayne

    While X could easily be Musil, Davidson, Oesterle, or Lalleggia. The average cost per defensemen, even while Nurse, Reinhart, and Klefbom are on second contracts will be approx $3M, meaning it will be highly cost efficient.

    Looking at it this way it’s easy to see why Chiarelli is and should be showing restraint. For that reason I doubt we see a Bouwmeester or Seabrook type addition. My guess is that Schultz gets canned within the next twelve months and all replacements occur internally.

  23. godot10 says:

    Woodguy:
    Maybe MacT is right and Hunt just needs some NHL at bats?

    Hunt is a poor skater and an average passer. He is a barely mediocre defender at the AHL level. All he has is a shot. At the AHL level, they had to pair him with the strongest defender in Davidson. Without a strong defending partner, even at the AHL level, he is basically inadequate at even strength.

    Hunt is an elite power play specialist at the AHL level. That is ALL he is. Nothing more.

    Hunt falls into the Robert Nilsson class of MacT obliviousness to the obvious.

    The Nilsson blunder cost the OIlers the loss of Glencross.

    The Hunt blunder cost the Oilers the loss of Marincin.

    And then there is the trading of Pitkanen blunder, which led to the loss of Stoll and Greene, and created the gaping hole and centre and on the blue and the blunder of the Souray signing.

  24. Lowetide says:

    I don’t think there’s much doubt about Hunt being able to help the PP and there’s a chance McLellan finds a way. Wrote a little about it here.

    Brad Hunt is pure madness offensively in the AHL. It’s clear he belongs in a higher league but the question is, which one? He’s an adventure defensively but the offensive potential is exceptional. His NHLE for his AHL career so far is 82GP, 9-20-29 . That’s very good for a defenseman and this year he was scoring at even strength too. Brad Hunt is an elite-level offensive talent in the AHL, I’m comfortable with stating it as fact. It doesn’t mean he’s going to be an NHL player, though. I don’t think he makes the grade because of his inability to skate and be effective defensively. The one thing that could happen? Hunt grabs the No. 8 and final defensive spot over Brandon Davidson or other and is used as a specialty player on the 5×4. I think it highly unlikely and have not projected NHL numbers for Hunt this season. I don’t believe he’ll be in the organization in 2016-17.

    http://lowetide.ca/2015/08/16/the-hunter-or-the-hunted/

  25. godot10 says:

    Lowetide:
    I don’t think there’s much doubt about Hunt being able to help the PP and there’s a chance McLellan finds a way. Wrote a little about it here.

    But he didn’t help the NHL power play at all when he was here last year, because at the NHL level he is not a good enough skater or passer to get the puck up the ice even with the man advantage.

    The NHL power play was horrid when Hunt was on the ice.

  26. Lowetide says:

    godot10: But he didn’t help the NHL power play at all when he was here last year, because at the NHL level he is not a good enough skater or passer to get the puck up the ice even with the man advantage.

    The NHL power play was horrid when Hunt was on the ice.

    Meh. Sample size, my friend. He needed more at-bats to prove/disprove.

  27. Lowetide says:

    Among my guests today on SSE at noon? Travis Yost, we’ll discuss his interesting article last week on Justin Schultz.

  28. RexLibris says:

    For approximately 3 and a half hours this evening I will become a token Saskatchewan fan.

    Ahem…go riders.

    Also, Higgins fired in Montreal. By all accounts he is one of the nicest men you’ll meet and a smart football man, but I have never felt he was a very strong coach.

    Curious as to why nobody has looked at hiring Lapolice.

  29. Woodguy says:

    godot10,

    Lowetide,

    Skating is uber-important in the NHL.

    Might be the type of guy to play until he’s 35 in various Euro leagues.

  30. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide:
    Among my guests today on SSE at noon? Travis Yost, we’ll discuss his interesting article last week on Justin Schultz.

    I’ve been reading Yost for years going back to his Senators days on Hockeybuzz.

    He should have honorary Oilers fan-ship due to his interest in the team and vocal support of Ales Hemsky when nobody outside yeg held that opinion.

  31. Pouzar says:

    F6ck Hunt. We got Leggs and Westerle.

  32. stush18 says:

    Lowetide: Meh. Sample size, my friend. He needed more at-bats to prove/disprove.

    Not to mention the powerplay was horrawful with Eakins. If we had seen hunt at the NHL level when Nelson was coach, he might have been able to make a more lasting impression.

  33. speeds says:

    How often did McLellan play 7D in SJ?

    Maybe he’d look at retaining a D to play some PP minutes to give Sekera/Schultz extra ES minutes/competition for PP ice?

    Bob Stauffer has mused about EDM maybe dressing Gazdic a bit more this year, while double shifting some F’s through the 4th line, but maybe they do that while dressing a 7th D?

  34. godot10 says:

    stush18: Not to mention the powerplay was horrawful with Eakins. If we had seen hunt at the NHL level when Nelson was coach, he might have been able to make a more lasting impression.

    If Nelson thought he could help, don’t you think that Hunt would have been called up. Hunt Is NOT an NHL defensemen. He is not really even an AHL defensemen at even strength unless he is being carried by the best defender as his partner.

    Nelson brought Lander and Marincin up. And then Davidson and Musil. And not Hunt. And Nelson was motivated to get results, and MacT was desparate to get out of the basement.

    AHL power play specialist.

    The Oilers don’t have time for experimentation with out-of-left-field moonshot D like Hunt at the NHL level anymore. Hunt has an NHL shot with marginal AHL defending skils.

    Neither Nelson or Fleming ever paired him with an inexperienced AHL D, except perhaps with Laleggia a bit at the end of last season, and it was a disaster at even strength.

    Musil was fed the rookies. Davidson, the best defender, had to babysit Hunt.

    P.S. If a damn shot is needed on the powerplay, Nail Yakupov is sitting on the bench. He can probably defend as well as Hunt does too. No need to waste a spot on Hunt.

  35. rickithebear says:

    “Defensively, he eats people up now with the way he plays his position and uses his legs and stick to defend. ”

    This is what great net presence players do. offensively and Defensively.

    Watch landers battle with Chara last year. Those 2 players hurt each other.

    If Laleggia can be a 2nd/3rd comp D that can out leg and stick a player with OG leverage , He will be a great asset and draft steal.

  36. rickithebear says:

    Hunt: last year 11gm 15.17 HSCA/60 best of the oilers last year.

    This surprised me!

  37. UnjustEnrichment says:

    Lowetide,

    Have to disagree, Lowetide. You appear oblivious to Hunt’s obvious weaknesses. No spot should be reserved for Hunt in Bakersfield. Laleggia should get ice time in Bakersfield before Hunt does. Laleggia has the speed that Hunt lacks, and from all reports, Laleggia has some potential to learn defense. This is a no-brainer. Hunt could be in the press-box some where, but I wouldn’t give him a prominent role on the Oilers or the Condors.

  38. AsiaOil says:

    Exactly – and this is where a guy like Joey Legs may have a shot – on that 3rd pair with a strong defensive guy like Fayne plus PP time. That Niki and Ference are gone next year is a given – but Shultz is on real thin ice given his age and salary. Based on how Klef, GR and Nurse develop this year – we can be patient next summer and grow internally or try package Shultz for an upgrade.

    John Chambers: It’s not hard to get excited about what the defense might look like from 2017 onward with a top-5 that looks like:

    Sekara – Reinhart
    Nurse – Klefbom
    X – Fayne

    While X could easily be Musil, Davidson, Oesterle, or Lalleggia. The average cost per defensemen, even while Nurse, Reinhart, and Klefbom are on second contracts will be approx $3M, meaning it will be highly cost efficient.

    Looking at it this way it’s easy to see why Chiarelli is and should be showing restraint. For that reason I doubt we see a Bouwmeester or Seabrook type addition. My guess is that Schultz gets canned within the next twelve months and all replacements occur internally.

  39. G Money says:

    rickithebear: Hunt: last year 11gm 15.17 HSCA/60 best of the oilers last year.

    Studies on the statistical validity of Corsi indicate that, at the team level, Corsi just begins to provide high informational value at 10 games, and does not truly provide predictive value until 20+ games.

    Scoring chances are a smaller sample statistic than Corsi, so expect it to take longer. Call it 30 games to give a bit of cushion.

    High danger scoring chances are yet again a smaller sample statistic than regular scoring chances, so expect it to take longer still. Call it 40 games to give a bit of cushion.

    The statistical validity of all shot metrics at the player level is more restricted still, so you need yet more sample size. For HSCA, I’d suggest you’d want to add another 50% – so call it 60 games.

    Just as a bit of a WGA, I’d say that’s where HSCA will *start* to give you some reasonably valid results.

    The information content of HSCA after 11 games is so thin, no result should be considered surprising, because you’re still mostly assessing noise.

  40. JD¡™ David O'Connor's Reel says:

    Woodguy: GOOD EDMITTEN KID WHO PLAYS BIG AND EVERYTHINK LIKE THAT!! *THUMBS UP*

    Today only – Cherry Wood!

  41. Pajamah says:

    JD¡™ David O’Connor’s Reel: Today only – Cherry Wood!

    No Sap.

  42. Lowetide says:

    UnjustEnrichment:
    Lowetide,

    Have to disagree, Lowetide. You appear oblivious to Hunt’s obvious weaknesses.

    that’s just like me, too. Tsk tsk.

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