There is much disagreement about Mark Letestu after his first Oilers season. Some believe he brings so little offense that he is badly deployed above the 4line, while others think he isn’t much use on the power play. This blog’s author liked his season, but the power-play minutes may not return in year two. (Woodstock)
MARK LETESTU 15-16
- 5×5 points per 60: 0.61 (No. 14 among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 4.11 (No. 5 among regular forwards)
- Corsi for 5×5 %: 45.1
- Qual Comp: 12th toughest competition among regulars (fourth line)
- Qual Team: 11th best competition among regulars (fourth line)
- Corsi for 5×5 % REL: -10.6
- Shots on goal/percentage: 107/9.3
- Boxcars: 82GP, 10-15-25
RE 16-17: 73GP, 8-12-20 .274
- Why are people divided on his season? Because there are two distinct stories.
- What are they? At even strength, he and his linemates didn’t piss a drop offensively. He posted a 0.61 5×5 points-per-60 total and that is very poor.
- How poor? The 0.61 total ranked him No. 359 (of 378 total) among forwards who played 400 or more minutes at 5×5. This was the end of the line. All the shortstops outhit him, even the punch and Judy’s. He did not get a great zone-start advantage, in fact (as the Vollman shows) it was quite the opposite. Other Oilers centers have performed far worse in the same situation.
- Who scored at the same rate? Tanner Glass outscored him, that Bellemare guy in Philly, Pierre Bouchard.
- That last one was made up. Correct. Pierre Bouchard once used his face to stop Stan Jonathan’s fists, but that was a long time ago.
- Who did he play with 5×5? Mostly Lauri Korpikoski and Matt Hendricks. The Oilers 4line was not strong a year ago, suspect we may see Letestu with two different linemates this fall.
- Who? Well, I would guess the team starts with Matt Hendricks and Iiro Pakarinen, but we might see Pakarinen move to LW and Kassian play RH side if Jesse Puljujarvi works out and Nail Yakupov can hang on to a top 9F job this season.
- Is Letestu in danger of losing his job? Oh no, I don’t think so. He is the one guy on the 4line who should stay. He can penalty kill, is good in the FO circle (51.3), so no doubt in my mind he can play for the Oilers when they have success.
- Bottom line? This isn’t criminal when you are playing 4line, but Letestu played 885 5×5 minutes and scored 4 goals. That is poor.
- Was there a good side? The power play was very good. Letestu posted 4.11/60 at 5×4 and that is a solid total. Among forwards, Letestu ranked No. 79 in the discipline among forwards who played 100 or more minutes.
- That is good. You bet, he is a very good option. I do think he may play less this year, though.
- On the power play? Yes.
- Why? I think Puljujarvi might get a push on the 5×4, and that may mean the top centers will be Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl.
- Meaning? Letestu plays more 4×5 and less with the man advantage. Basically, I think the Finn rookie could replace his minutes.
- At center? No, I think JP would play wing but could set up high slot as Letestu did a year ago. You don’t need to play center to make that play. It is toward the middle of the ice, high slot, and a shorter pass for McDavid to make (or Nuge) from the RH boards.
- Why replace him? Well, I think Woodcroft (or whomever) found a really cool seam in there were a RH shot could get good looks high slot, but Letestu just isn’t a strong enough offensive option. Conceivably, Puljujarvi might be the superior option immediately.
- Do you like Letestu as a player? Quite a lot. I know there are observers and bloggers and writers who don’t think much of him, but I value what he brings.
- Letestu, Fayne, quite a group of players you like that everyone else cannot stand. Yes. We can call them the Horcoff five.
- Who would be his ideal linemates? Benoit Pouliot and 2006 Radek Dvorak. That line could really do a number on opposition teams.
- That isn’t reasonable, though. Sure. Reasonable? Probably Hendricks and Kassian.
- What would be an unusual 4line that might work? I would pick Jujhar Khaira and someone like Taylor Beck as unusual but possibly effective.
- Will he play in a playoff game with the Oilers? Yes.
- When? Soon.
- WHEN???? He has two years left on his deal, that should be enough to get Edmonton into the playoffs.
- Why this song? It is a song about a journey toward something very good, possibly ideal. Maybe the dream is too much, too out of reach. It does not make the journey any less important, or any easier to travel.