PLUG AND PLAY?

Is there a player at No. 4 overall who could make the Oilers this fall? For most of us, the idea of Patrik Laine or Jesse Puljujarvi making the club this fall was at least something worth discussing. When Edmonton lost at the lottery—sliding down to No. 4—most of us (certainly me) thought that was all she wrote for a draft pick who could play in 2016-17.

What about Matt Tkachuk? Could he be NHL-ready? Tkachuk sometimes gets called a power forward, but after seeing him a bit with the London Knights I think he might better be described as a big skill winger with the ability to agitate. He is not a fast train, but he can skate well enough and is highly skilled.

The major worry for me in regard to Tkachuk is all of those extra minutes the London Knights gift their best players—and Tkachuk’s power-play numbers skewing his actual value. Recently, I looked at even-strength totals among some of the OHL’s best forwards, placing those numbers in points-per-game format:

  1. L Matthew Tkachuk, London Knights (OHL): 1.10
  2. R Alex DeBrincat, Erie Otters (OHL): 1.06
  3. R Alexander Nylander, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): 0.807
  4. C Logan Brown, Windsor Spitfires (OHL): 0.763
  5. C Michael McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): 0.737

Interesting results, I think it might be expected that Brown and McLeod were off the pace, but Nylander’s positioning does strike me as interesting. Alex DeBrincat (5.07, 160) is a pure offensive player—someone is about to score a smaller Eberle, who was 5.10, 175 on his draft day—and then the top name, Tkachuk. Remember this is 5×5, so although extra time-on-ice per game would skew things, he would likely rank No. 1 or No. 2 on this list no matter.

The website OHL.Prospect.com offers us a glimpse into time-on-ice estimates and their regular-season numbers came as quite a surprise to me. Same players, ranked by TOI per-game (even strength):

  1. R Alex DeBrincat, Erie Otters (OHL): 18:27
  2. C Michael McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): 17:18
  3. R Alexander Nylander, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): 16:54
  4. L Matthew Tkachuk, London Knights (OHL): 15:39
  5. C Logan Brown, Windsor Spitfires (OHL): 15:11

Remember, these are estimates so beware of running into the streets with this information. It merely gives us a guide to what might be happening based on scoring events. This runs contrary to what might be reasonable, would love to have independent information. One thought: Maybe Tkachuk’s evens totals are lower because of his massive time-on-ice with the man advantage. Either way, his estimated even-strength per 60 minutes spikes like mad:

  1. L Matthew Tkachuk, London Knights (OHL): 4.24
  2. R Alex DeBrincat, Erie Otters (OHL): 3.47
  3. R Alexander Nylander, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): 2.86
  4. C Logan Brown, Windsor Spitfires (OHL): 2.72
  5. C Michael McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): 2.56

Information originally posted here. My own belief is the TOI is probably low for Tkachuk, but there is also very little doubt he is a bona fide offensive prospect. If an NHL team values Tkachuk, Dubois or Clayton Keller, will they trade up to No. 4 in order to get him? And, if the Oilers believe Tkachuk is close, possibly ready for this fall, should they consider trading a position player from the roster to address D—and use the pick?

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32 Responses to "PLUG AND PLAY?"

  1. LadiesloveSmid says:

    On Weber/Josi defensive discussion, are we just looking at CA/60? HDSCA numbers are near atop the league along with Vlasic.

  2. Gret99zky says:

    Plug & Play? God, I hope not.

    I’d rather see the rookies develop in the developmental leagues. Not the bigs.

    Tired of watching rookies drown in the deep end.

    Edit: Not to mention burning a year off the ELC. Jeesh.

  3. Ducey says:

    The problem is not that a guy like Tkachuk will not score. Its that he won’t be able to play defense.

    See every Oiler rookie for the last 7 years.

    Marinate them until they can put up good offensive numbers while backchecking and achieving their coverage assignments.

  4. Skeeziks says:

    It would appear that I am a contrarian.

    I would love to see the Oilers draft Chychrun in the #4 spot. He appears to have the breadth of skill, vision, skating ability and devotion to fitness that is required to become a top tier #1 D Man.

    As for the issue of handedness, I am becoming very leery of group think. It seems to be splitting hairs when you have to have L/R in every pairing. A good hockey player is a good hockey player and they can and will adjust.

    Don’t forget – get good players, keep good players.

  5. Centre of attention says:

    Rondo:
    Decent review of Tkachuk. I’m a PLD fan.

    http://hockeyprophets.com/index.php/recent-analysis/153-matt-tkachuk-deserves-more-credit

    I enjoy that site quite a bit, thank you for sharing. Just spent the better part of an hour scrollin’ threw there. Some good insight into Tkachuks assist production. I liked the video link they provided too.

    Lowetide: And, if the Oilers believe Tkachuk is close, possibly ready for this fall, should they consider trading a position player from the roster to address D—and use the pick?

    So your saying you want to trade Hall. :p Just teasing haha.

    But really, if the Oilers trade Pouliot (they probably will) Tkachuk has a job to apply for even if Hall stays. (he probably will) Maroon is not a sure bet to stick in the top 6 either.

    In my opinion they should keep calm and trade down, grab Sergachev (send him back to junior!!) and possibly another late first rounder or early second rounder to get ANOTHER prospect.

    I want to get the system boiling over with talent, that way when you get to the point where you have to start shipping out the 6 million guys due to actual cap hell you have kids on value contracts just roaring to go.

    Having lots of quality prospects makes the whole idea of trading a Hall type much more palatable down the road as well. When you look down the depth chart and poor Drake Cagguila is the next batter up you have to pause for a second, no?

    *edit* Alternatively, you can also start packaging together those prospects to bring in established NHL talent. Its never bad to have lots of prospects is what I’m saying.

  6. GCW_69 says:

    Tkachuk seems like more of a play maker than a goal scorer. The Oilers, especially if they are considering trading Eberle, need trigger men. PLD seems a better fit in that regard.

  7. Water Fire says:

    Skeeziks:
    It would appear that I am a contrarian.

    I would love to see the Oilers draft Chychrun in the #4 spot. He appears to have the breadth of skill, vision, skating ability and devotion to fitness that is required to become a top tier #1 D Man.

    As for the issue of handedness, I am becoming very leery of group think. It seems to be splitting hairs when you have to have L/R in every pairing. A good hockey player is a good hockey player and they can and will adjust.

    Don’t forget – get good players, keep good players.

    Yes get good players but you also want to play them to their strengths. There isn’t much between teams now. Handedness especially for defense matters. It isn’t a deal breaker but as WG has mentioned with such aggressive forechecking that extra couple of seconds to see the ice and also protecting the puck matters

  8. treevojo says:

    Hello Mr. Lowetide

    I am an everyday reader but extremely infrequent poster here but I posted this in the last thread and

    received zero responses so I thought I would give it a shot again in this thread. Turns out to be more

    relevant as well. If you could give me your thoughts it would be greatly appreciated. Personally I

    haven’t seen enough of strome or tkachuk to have an opinion either way.

    “I’m just wondering what your guys thoughts would be about trading #4 overall with the Arizona coyotes for last years #3 overall Dylan strome. Coyotes get to draft tkachuk. Mcdavid gets his best friend. Oilers get a replacement center for the eventual nuge for a rhd trade. Would oilers do it? Would coyotes do it? Would you do it?”

  9. Jaxon says:

    There is absolutely no way Tkachuk is only playing 15:39 on the top line in the OGLETHORPE and one of the top power plays. Dominant lines are upward of 20 minutes. I love that my phone auto corrected OHL to Oglethorpe so I’m just going to leave it there out of respect for Slapshot. That completely skews his already Gagner-Kane-esque inflated points per minute by a whopping 33%. Remember that he also had the highest 2nd assists in the OGLETHORPE by a wide margin meaning for many points he just had to feed one of his linemates and they did the rest. I’m not saying he’s not a great hockey player because, clearly, he is. But if Dubois is close and Dubois was 20 points ahead of his next teammate one of them is getting zoomed and one of them is the zoomer. I’d pick the big fast zoomer over the slower zoomed.

  10. David says:

    Jaxon:
    There is absolutely no way Tkachuk is only playing 15:39 on the top line in the OGLETHORPE and one of the top power plays. Dominant lines are upward of 20 minutes. I love that my phone auto corrected OHL to Oglethorpe so I’m just going to leave it there out of respect for Slapshot. That completely skews his already Gagner-Kane-esque inflated points per minute by a whopping 33%. Remember that he also had the highest 2nd assists in the OGLETHORPE by a wide margin meaning for many points he just had to feed one of his linemates and they did the rest. I’m not saying he’s not a great hockey player because, clearly, he is.But if Dubois is close and Dubois was 20 points ahead of his next teammate one of them is getting zoomed and one of them is the zoomer. I’d pick the big fast zoomer over the slower zoomed.

    The 15:39 was even strength minutes.

    read the article Rondo posted

    http://hockeyprophets.com/index.php/recent-analysis/153-matt-tkachuk-deserves-more-credit

  11. Doug McLachlan says:

    Tkachuk is the top prospect from the top prospect league, the OHL.

    Over the last decade the biggest flop as top OHL prospect has been Yakupov – who was the rookie goal scoring leader.

    I prefer that the Oilers trade down and take one of the defensemen but don’t sell Tkachuk short.

    If I am not mistaken, not only does he excel with Marner in London but didn’t he also play with Matthews at the USDP?

    What would Toronto offer to pick 1 and 4?

  12. Lowetide says:

    treevojo:
    Hello Mr. Lowetide

    I am an everyday reader but extremely infrequent poster here but I posted this in the last thread and

    received zero responses so I thought I would give it a shot again in this thread. Turns out to be more

    relevant as well. If you could give me your thoughts it would be greatly appreciated.Personally I

    haven’t seen enough of strome or tkachuk to have an opinion either way.

    “I’m just wondering what your guys thoughts would be about trading #4 overall with the Arizona coyotes for last years #3 overall Dylan strome. Coyotes get to draft tkachuk. Mcdavid gets his best friend. Oilers get a replacement center for the eventual nuge for a rhd trade. Would oilers do it?Would coyotes do it?Would you do it?”

    I really like Strome a lot and of course he had another strong year. I would have to think about it, but do like the idea of getting a prospect who has an extra year under his belt. Intriguing.

  13. godot10 says:

    treevojo:
    Hello Mr. Lowetide

    I am an everyday reader but extremely infrequent poster here but I posted this in the last thread and

    received zero responses so I thought I would give it a shot again in this thread. Turns out to be more

    relevant as well. If you could give me your thoughts it would be greatly appreciated.Personally I

    haven’t seen enough of strome or tkachuk to have an opinion either way.

    “I’m just wondering what your guys thoughts would be about trading #4 overall with the Arizona coyotes for last years #3 overall Dylan strome. Coyotes get to draft tkachuk. Mcdavid gets his best friend. Oilers get a replacement center for the eventual nuge for a rhd trade. Would oilers do it?Would coyotes do it?Would you do it?”

    Arizona has been looking for a big centre forever, and centre is a position of need, not wing. They finally have one in Strome. Tkachuk is a winger only. And they have Domi and Duclair has young stud left wingers.

    I don’t think an analytics GM gives a damn about place of birth.

    And wouldn’t it be the Oilers that would have to add. Strome is a centre, and a #3OV, one year closer to the NHL. Strome would have been the #1OV if not for two generational talents. The Oilers would be offering a #4OV, a year further away from the NHL. Logic would suggest that the Oilers would have to add not Arizona.

  14. godot10 says:

    In this version of Taylor/Tyler, I’m for Pierre over Matt. Take the centre, who is a better skater, with a better shot, and over half a year younger.

  15. David says:

    I am a Tkachuk fan (not as much as Nylander) but I want to rail against some of the common attacks on Tkachuk.

    Blanket statements are no good… Usually… Aw whatever, yes sometimes three ‘great’ players on a line is actually two gat players and one being zoomed but sometimes it’s three great players. Look at when the Oilers were rolling Hall-Nuge-Ebs. Yes yes Hall pushes the river but in this instance I think it would be wrong to pick any one of those three and discredit them because they play with the other two. Only the most elite in the game can actually play with anyone and get it done. The rest need good teammates. Is Tkachuk benefiting from playing with great players? Yes. Are they benefiting from playing with him? Yes.

    I don’t like the idea of throwing out secondary assists. You simply can’t look at just one players secondary assists or even two (Tkachuk and Dubois for ex.) secondary assists have “inflated”, if you will, everyone’s numbers for all time. Our entire framework of boxcars, what are good totals, etc. has been built with secondary assists in the system.

    More to the point since when are goals isolated from all other events? Everyone here has been clamouring for defensemen who can make breakout passes. Because that is key to offence. Get the puck up to the forwards. But those passes will often be secondary assists or not register at all. Did they have no bearing on the goal then? Two players cycle the puck in the corner each passing to the other a couple of times then one passes it across to a player who scores. Would that play still have happened without the other player cycling? No the other team would have shut it down.

    Lastly “all the extra time” Tkachuk gets. Yes he gets a lot of powerplay time (where he cleans up… hmm, the Oilers powerplay has struggled for awhile… Not that that’s bothered anyone) but time alone is irrelevant. Time simply displays productivity. What matters is what gets done per unit of time. Perhaps Tkachuks estimate is off, it might not be, or if it is it probably is close. Even if you want to ding his estimated TOI a little he is still crushing it in the time he is given.

    And if he’s playing SO MUCH wouldn’t that negatively? Since that much ice time would fatigue him? Or maybe he’s got super endurance, in which case that’s a plus.

  16. Jaxon says:

    David: The 15:39 was even strength minutes.

    read the article Rondo posted

    http://hockeyprophets.com/index.php/recent-analysis/153-matt-tkachuk-deserves-more-credit

    Sorry, my bad. I read “The website OHL.Prospect.com offers us a glimpse into time-on-ice estimates and their regular-season numbers came as quite a surprise to me. Same players, ranked by total per-game:”

    To me, “total per-game”, meant total ice time, not just even strength, so that threw me off and onto my rant. that occurred to me, but I re-read it and it still seemed to confirm that it was total ice time including PP and SH. Still glad I posted, though, just to discover the OGLETHORPE bias of my phone.

  17. Jaxon says:

    godot10:
    In this version of Taylor/Tyler, I’m for Pierre over Matt.Take the centre, who is a better skater, with a better shot, and over half a year younger.

    Absolutely. And the player you are absolutely sure is not being pumped up by his linemates as he is 20 points ahead of his next teammate. I also hope they keep Pouliot if they draft Dubois. A former 4th overall french speaking big fast forward to help him adjust to life in the NHL and knows the hard work it takes to make it even when you’re drafted 4th overall just behind the phenoms of your day.

  18. JimmyV1965 says:

    treevojo:
    Hello Mr. Lowetide

    I am an everyday reader but extremely infrequent poster here but I posted this in the last thread and

    received zero responses so I thought I would give it a shot again in this thread. Turns out to be more

    relevant as well. If you could give me your thoughts it would be greatly appreciated.Personally I

    haven’t seen enough of strome or tkachuk to have an opinion either way.

    “I’m just wondering what your guys thoughts would be about trading #4 overall with the Arizona coyotes for last years #3 overall Dylan strome. Coyotes get to draft tkachuk. Mcdavid gets his best friend. Oilers get a replacement center for the eventual nuge for a rhd trade. Would oilers do it?Would coyotes do it?Would you do it?”

    Couldn’t hurt to ask. See how much they really want a local boy.

  19. MrEd says:

    Good grief what a start to this series. Calllahan (facing suspension), Bishop and Johnson injured.

    Suddenly I’m hoping Stamkos comes back and Vas can keep the gate.

    I picked the Pens.

  20. Lowetide says:

    MrEd:
    Good grief what a start to this series. Calllahan (facing suspension), Bishop and Johnson injured.

    Suddenly I’m hoping Stamkos comes back and Vas can keep the gate.

    I picked the Pens.

    This series appears to be trying to injure itself.

  21. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Doug McLachlan,

    I’m with you, though I flip flop on my opinion every day.

    I’d like to see a trade down, maybe add and pick up an effective Dman then take Chychrun

  22. treevojo says:

    Lowetide,

    Thanks for the reply. Godot seems to think the oilers would have to add because strome was drafted #3 after mcdavid and eichel. I am sure there is an argument that can be made to say he would be drafted #4 this year behind Mathews and the fins. I guess it comes down to where the organizations rank these prospects.

  23. OTO says:

    Solid trade right here

    Eberle and 4th overall to nashville
    Josi and Tommy Wilson to edm

  24. treevojo says:

    godot10,

    Does this mean by your logic that Toronto should consider trading the 1st overall pick of Mathews to the coyotes for strome and coyotes 1st pick this year?

  25. G Money says:

    *** SIDETRACK WARNING *** This interview on the future of AI is with Murray Campbell, one of the better known CompSci folks in the field of AI from the U of A. He was a little before my time, but some of my instructors went through undergrad with him.

    http://time.com/4281476/ibm-artificial-intelligence-watson-2016/?xid=fbshare

  26. DRFNsuperstar says:

    Weird fact, Jason Demers was drafted in the 7th round in the same year Eberle was taken in the 1st.

  27. Mr DeBakey says:

    What about Matt Tkachuk? Could he be NHL-ready?

    Teenagers on an NHL roster are a strong indicator of incompetent management.

    Have a great day!

  28. BONVIE says:

    OTO:
    Solid trade right here

    Eberle and 4th overall to nashville
    Josiand Tommy Wilson to edm

    If your talking Colin Wilson this would be a steal. I dont think Josi would be available now that they moved Jones unless the Preds coveted a young Dman like Nurse that they thought they could mentor under Weber.

  29. Jaxon says:

    Mr DeBakey,

    I don’t think history agrees with your statement. Of the last 40 top 4 draft picks, only 4 have not made the NHL roster as teenagers: Thomas Hickey (#4 in ’07), James Van Riemsdyk (#2 in ’07), Alex Pietrangelo (#4 in ’08), and Griffin Reinhart (#4, in ’12). Van Riesmdyk probably had more to do with being drafted out of High School hockey system and then getting 2 more years of college before he was ready to make the jump. 22 of the last 40 top 4 picks made the roster at 18 years old and 12 more made the roster at 19 years old. 2 more may make their rosters this seaons as 19 year olds (Marner & Strome) to bring it to 36 of 40. Plus they’re cheap, they’ll become the future elite players, they are under contractual control for a long time and they won’t be exposed to the expansion draft. That is why it is very very rare for draft day deals to be made these days.

  30. rickithebear says:

    Mr DeBakey:
    What about Matt Tkachuk? Could he be NHL-ready?

    Teenagers on an NHL roster are a strong indicator of incompetent management.

    Have a great day!

    Talon, -. Kane (19), Toews (19) CHI
    C. Patrick -> Crosby(18)
    Lombardi SJ -> Marleau (19)
    Lowe EDM -> Gagner (18)
    Tambo EDM -> Hall (19), MPS (19), RNH (18), Yakupov (19)
    MacT EDM -> Draisatl (19)
    CHiarelli BOS -> Kessel (18), lucic (19),Sequin (18), Hamilton (19), Pastrnak, (18)
    Chiarelli EDM -> Mcdavid (18)

    Bloody Awful!

    You need Veteran’s to keep players off a team.
    the oiler did not have that for the #1 under tambo and macT.
    If a team has depth problems go back 10 years in the draft Period!

    Speaking of veteran’s:
    driving back from the plant.
    i listened to Gregor talking to Button.
    Re Faulk, Vatanen, Barrie.

    they need Veteran protection.
    suck at facing higher comp.
    Barrie sucks at D.
    Faulk has chance at good D.
    Vatanen he would take of the group. hands down
    good at all aspects of the game.
    would not be concerned about size cause of how he defends and processes the puck.
    Top 40 HSCA D Hmmmmmm!

    First time I heard technical specifics out of Button’s mouth on radio.

  31. Hockey Prophets says:

    Hi, everyone. I’m Brian, creator of Hockey Prophets and the guy who wrote the article linked above. I just wanted to chime in quickly to say, first, thanks for reading, and second, there is no support for the idea that Tkachuk is riding the coattails of his linemates.

    Here is the key to Tkachuk: when he has the puck, it is usually deep in the offensive zone and he attracts a ton of attention. I have seen him dragged down to one knee with a defender hanging on his back, control the puck with one hand, shrug off the defender and get back to his skates to find Marner or Dvorak. He rarely loses a puck battle, and what he does so well is read the play and know where his outlet is even under tremdous pressure. If you read the article at Hockey Prophets, make sure to click the link that leads to the full descriptions of all of Tkachuk’s secondary assists from the regular season (I describe 38 of the 41) and you’ll see that he is a talented, smart workhorse who is going to be a great NHL player.

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