This morning, I think we should establish reasonable expectations for Jesse Puljujarvi. He is 18 (birthday May 7) and coming off brilliant tournaments against kids his own age, plus a season as a regular in the Finnish pro league (Sm-Liiga). I think, going in, that the Oilers should bring him to camp as a probable NHL option, but with the Sm-Liiga or AHL as possibilities—even for 20 games. How does JP compare to other Finnish youngsters after their 17-year old seasons? Below are points-per-game totals in the Sm-Liiga at 17, plus totals in the year following:
- Mikael Granlund: 17 (.930) 18 (.923 Sm-Liiga)
- Aleksander Barkov: 17 (.906) 18 (.444 NHL)
- Joel Armia: 17 (.604) 18 (.704 Sm-Liiga)
- Jesse Puljujarvi: 17 (.560)
- Teuvo Teravainen: 17 (.450) 18 (.705 Sm-Liiga)
I understand this is over many years and certainly without TOI we are miles from really knowing. That said the Sm-Liiga is tellings us Puljujarvu is not Barkov offensively, and Barkov had 24 points in 54 games as a rookie. Counting on Puljujarvi as a significant offensive player next season is risky, in my opinion. He may develop that way, but counting on him in a season Peter Chiarelli needs to go well? He might be productive on a third line that sees the soft parade—say, with Leon and Maroon—but a feature role on the McDavid line feels extremely early from here.
WHO RUNS WITH MCDAVID-LUCIC?
Milan Lucic differs in many ways from Taylor Hall, and one of those differences is shots on goal. Lucic shot 124 times in 81 games (1.53 per game) and at even strength 5.09 shots per 60. His playing style helps in the offensive zone, but he is not the dominant shooter on his line. The fabulous blog The Energy Line (Corey Sznajder) tracked some playoff games by the Kings and produced a wonderful graph to show Lucic as primarily a passer:
- Quoting the blog: The different types of players are a little easier to spot here with Versteeg, Kopitar & Lucic opting to pass more than shoot while Toffoli, Brown, Gaborik, Shore, King and Carter are at the other end of the spectrum. The other thing that sticks out is that the Kings forwards seemed to have more of a shoot-first mentality compared to Sharks, whose top forwards seemed to pass more often. I’m not sure what the reasoning behind that is or if it’s significant, but it’s an odd quirk here. The separation between the Kings three main passers and the rest of the forwards is a bit alarming, though. Source
I think that points us to the need for a shooter on RW. Who are the best shooters for Edmonton? Well, let’s look at two categories: shots per 60 and attempted shots per game (via hockey-reference):
Shots per game
- Jesse Puljujarvi 3.06 (49 in 16—Sm-Liiga)*
- Eberle 2.51 (173 in 69)
- Maroon 2.44 (39 in 16)
- Yakupov 2.12 (127 in 60)
- Draisaitl 1.85 (133 in 72)
- Pakarinen 1.21 (76 in 63)
- Kassian 1.17 (42 in 36)
Attempted shots per game
- Eberle 4.29 (296 in 69)
- Yakupov 3.67 (220 in 60)
- Maroon 3.56 (57 in 16)
- Draisaitl 2.97 (214 in 72)
- Pakarinen 2.22 (140 in 63)
- Kassian 2.14 (77 in 36)
*Puljujarvi numbers based on October 22, 2015 article by Mike Morreale, detailing 49 shots in 16 games—14:38 per night. Source
Puljujarvi is so young, I would hope the Oilers put him in a protected role, as mentioned above. Based on anecdotal evidence—Revolved also supplied us with info that (among other things) tells us JP delivered 6.93 equal-strength shots per 60—he could be a marksman for a scoring line. The question is when? I hope the Oilers don’t push him. Based on the numbers above, I think Nail Yakupov may have a seam here, even a little one, to get a push this fall.
Jordan Oesterle photo by Rob Ferguson
HOW MANY ROOKIES
I imagine the Oilers will see several rookies play a substantial amount this year.
- R Jesse Puljujarvi. I think there is a good chance he plays the entire season, and he could be in contention for the ROY. Everything would have to break right for him.
- LD Jordan Oesterle. He is mobile and can play RH side. I fully understand the value of L-R, but with the Leftorium as a major part of the blue, lefties are going to dominate the roster. Oesterle is an emerging player.
- L Drake Caggiula. He starts in Bakersfield but gets a chance after Christmas is my guess. Injuries dictate opportunities, but with his offense, they are going to want to have a look at him in the NHL.
- G Laurent Brossoit. He played 300 minutes a year ago, too small a sample size to judge anything. Minor league numbers have been getting better, suspect he will play enough to qualify this as his rookie season.
- C Jujhar Khaira. He will probably be an early callup, although the Nuge rumors have him in play as 4C if it comes to that (McDavid, Leon, Letestu, Lander-Khaira), so making the team as an extra forward is possible. The offense likely limits his role, but he appears to be close to NHL-ready.
- R Anton Slepyshev. He has NHL size and speed, and more offense was expected from him. No matter, year one NA and sometimes that has an impact. He probably needs to light it up in Bakersfield during the fall to get a look.
- LD David Musil. He will be an option for 7D and his time is now. I can see the Oilers running him out there for 45 games this season with an eye to the expansion draft.
- R Tyler Pitlick. Does he still qualify as a rookie? I don’t think he does, but will include him here. Pitlick has a chance to play in the NHL this season, but needs to stay healthy.
- Bogdan Yakimov. Nuge’s possible exit brings all kinds of names into play, and if the team struggles at C with RNH gone (they will) we could see all manner of options attempted. Don’t believe me? Hey, this team recalled Sebastien Bisaillon—don’t tell me calling up Yakimov is impossible!
Sources tell Bleacher Report Tyson Barrie likely heading to arbitration with Avalanche. Long-term deal looking like distant prospect
— Adrian Dater (@adater) July 1, 2016
There are reasons to believe there is a deal here, with Nuge and Barrie the prominent names. Could this deal get bigger? We wait, but today might get interesting.
A great new resource for you to bookmark: Hockey Relativity. Scoring rates and estimated scoring rates allow us a very interesting view into these young prospects. Among the interesting items: Bear (1.32) and Jones (1.28) are basically equal at even-strength offense. WheatnOil wrote about this, and a reflection of that 2015 draft’s quality. Also, Tyler Benson is No. 1 among 17 year old WHL forwards in points per 60—we talked about this too, but nice to get a confirm from another source. The IPP category is revealing as well. Also discussed, and now confirmed, Markus Niemelainen is a more productive player offensively than Logan Stanley. Of course, this doesn’t address the defensive side of these prospects but it is interesting.