PICK POCKET

  • NHL Hall-of-Fame defender Brad Park: ”(Rick Middleton) could pick your pocket defensively. Offensively, he could turn you inside out.”

I talked about this a little while ago, but wanted to revisit this issue with a tweak. Although we don’t have Jesse Puljujarvi’s offensive outer marker, I am fairly certain we can assert he has the natural tools to be a fine defensive forward. JP is a natural, he already tidies up in the neutral zone and tracks down errant passes. Some players have a sixth sense (Rick Middleton did, fellow Finn Jere Lehtinen too) and I believe Puljujarvi has that gear.

When we last discussed this area, I projected Puljujarvi as being less offensive than I originally thought, but a more impressive two-way type. In retrospect, I framed the issue incorrectly. Allow me to rephrase: While we suss out the offense (I believe you will agree we don’t yet know), it seems we are in fact dealing with a more complete player than first thought.

For those who do not remember Lehtinen, he was an excellent two-way player who was a key part of a line with Mike Modano and Brett Hull of the Dallas Stars in that franchise’s golden era. He scored 20 or more goals seven times, twice reaching 30. Lehtinen also won three Selke Awards as the NHL’s top defensive forward.

  • Gerry Fleming: ‘He is a young guy learning the North American game. We are giving him a ton of ice time. He is playing first unit power play, hit the post twice last night, he is creating offense. There are definitely areas of his game that he needs to improve on and he needs to learn about. It’s not only shooting the puck more, it is getting it off his stick quickly when he does have that opportunity—not allowing goaltenders to set. He has a quick, sneaky release.’ Source

JESSE PULJUJARVI 2016-17, EDMONTON

  • 5×5 points per 60: 1.45 (No. 6 among regular forwards)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 2.66 (one point in 22 minutes)
  • Corsi for 5×5 %: 53.2
  • Corsi for 5×5 % REL: 1.1 (No. 5 among regular forwards)
  • Dangerous Fenwick (all opponents) for 5×5%: 49.7
  • Most Common Linemates: Leon Draisaitl, Patrick Maroon, Connor McDavid, Benoit Pouliot
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 41/2.4
  • Boxcars: 28GP, 1-7-8
  • Information via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com, WoodMoney and hockey-reference.

I spoke to Simon Boisvert on the Lowdown today, he mentioned JP is playing well in Bakersfield. Simon mentioned moving the puck by pass as something Puljujarvi needs to do more down there, but also mentioned the quality of his linemates may dictate more solo activity. From what I have observed in Bakersfield, Puljujarvi is getting that release tightened nicely and gaining a lot of confidence. If his scoring rate in the NHL had been 10 percent (with his shot, that is likely), Puljujarvi would have scored four goals in those 28 games with Edmonton.

I remain uncertain about his offense, but the overall quality of his play has me really enthused about this player. Whenever we discuss any prospect, I like to go back to the draft day scouting report (and value Red Line above all).

  • Red Line Report: Big horse looks and plays like a Mats Sundin clone. Has the four S’s: size, skills, skating, shot. Has all the tools to be a dominant power forward who combines top-notch skills with brute force. Terrific size/strength and is impossible to move off the puck — uses wide stance and is hard on his stick. Comes alive whenever the puck is nearby. Wants to make plays. Dynamic skater accelerates in a few strides and has excellent speed. Uses long reach and soft hands to beat “D” off the rush. Dangerous every shift. Excellent puck control, often impossible to contain. Receives tough passes without slowing down. Drives the net and protects the puck well. Has good hands in close with vision and playmaking skills. Responsible two-way player has good defensive awareness. Played the playoffs and U-18 Championships with a knee injury that required surgery after the season. Source

Yes. We are seeing the responsible Puljujarvi, even at the NHL level. Getting that dynamic offense and confident, rambunctious power style into his game is the next step. Edmonton may be able to trade themselves an outstanding power winger at the deadline, for the price of a plane ticket. We wait.

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54 Responses to "PICK POCKET"

  1. Ducey says:

    Friedman mentioned that DET is trying to move Tomas Jurco.

    Don’t know much about him. He shoots left but plays RW. decent size. Looks like one of those guys who can skate.

    Did well in limited games in the minors a few years ago (32 in 32 AHL games) but otherwise looks shy offensively and does not appear to have a lot of grittensity. Another MPS, or someone the Oilers should take on as a reclamation project?

  2. Alpine says:

    Ducey,

    He’s okay, but you might as well just stick with Slepyshev at this point. Don’t think there’s much distance between the two and Slepy is younger.

  3. fifthcartel says:

    I think the Oilers acquire Curtis Lazar before the deadline.

  4. Younger Oil says:

    fifthcartel:
    I think the Oilers acquire Curtis Lazar before the deadline.

    That is a very interesting idea.

    I have no idea what the cost would be. Former first round pick, but only one point in 25 games this year.

    One of our B-tier prospect LHD (Musil, Simpson, Oesterle) and a 3rd would probably be the most I would offer. Throw in the rights to Yakimov too maybe.

    They’d probably want Slepyshev I would guess, which is a non-starter for me.

  5. elgruntus says:

    Perhaps JP becomes the mythical Pisani type?

  6. Ben says:

    Aquiring Curtis Stafford from OTT SENS is absolutely something K. Lowe and the legendary Oilers’ Brass should be are looking at – hes a great kid #McSnoop

  7. Westchester Oil says:

    Thanks for another excellent post, LT. Let’s hope JP progresses as nicely as Draisaitl has.

    By the way, I’m not sure if this was discussed in last night’s comments, but Tkachuk’s slew – foot of Marincin at the end of last night’s flames-Leafs game was disgusting. I hope that bugger gets what he deserves.

  8. Spoils says:

    hindsight is 20 20.

    if we had NOT traded Dubnyk or Schultz for the proverbial bag o pucks.
    if we had traded Nail earlier or the 2012 #1 pick.

    I tend to think this team needs a shoot first player. Could we trade Pulj + a prospect and/or pick for a young proven shoot first player?

    i get the logic of “not trading until you know what you have” but I’d like to put forward that there is a sweet spot where WE have a better idea of what we have than other teams. In this instance shouldn’t we be interested in trading to cash on the information asymmetry?

    when you factor this with the idea that we could use a shoot first more than a pass first player like Puljajarvi…

  9. Silver Streak says:

    re: Tkachuks slew foot on Marincin…..exactly the same filthy move that put Davidson out for 6 or so weeks earlier this season……the word should be out by now, and he will get his and I hope its soon.

  10. hunter1909 says:

    Calgary Flames: Playing hockey, 1973 Detroit Red Wings style.

  11. marchmentsknee says:

    I’m watching the SJ vs WPG game. My 2011 draft do-over has Scheifele over RNH. I wish the oil could make that trade straight up.

  12. Lowetide says:

    hunter1909:
    Calgary Flames: Playing hockey, 1973 Detroit Red Wings style.

    Bill Hogaboam may be going to the All-Star game!

  13. hunter1909 says:

    I’m sure Flames have a chance, only down 3-0 halfway in the 2nd period.

    Bwahahahahahahaha

    If they were any more listless I’d think I was back at Graceland.

  14. hunter1909 says:

    Watching the Calgary Montreal game, I’ll say this for Dallas Eakins:

    He’s got better hair than the Calgary Eakins 2.0 current Flames coach, lol.

  15. frjohnk says:

    hunter1909:
    I’m sure Flames have a chance, only down 3-0 halfway in the 2nd period.

    Bwahahahahahahaha

    If they were any more listless I’d think I was back at Graceland.

    Out shooting the Habs 21-10. Losing 3-0. Flames goaltenders have allowed 17 goals in last 10.5 periods.

    Hope they do nothing to change it as I believe Flames goaltending is just fine. 🤘🤘

  16. hunter1909 says:

    Lowetide: Bill Hogaboam may be going to the All-Star game!

    Bill Hogaboam might be joining up in the third period to help play for Calgary tonight. Worst 5 on 3 since MacT’s golden Hemsky/Smyths of no Rob Schremp. : p

  17. oscarmike says:

    marchmentsknee:
    I’m watching the SJ vs WPG game. My 2011 draft do-over has Scheifele over RNH. I wish the oil could make that trade straight up.

    Scheifele had experience player like Ladd, Little, and Wheeler to learn from and Nuge didn’t.
    Scheifele also had Buff to cover him.

  18. hunter1909 says:

    frjohnk: I believe Flames goaltending is just fine.

    Draisraitl or Bennet?

    McDavid or Johnny Hockey?

    Lucic+Nurse+Larsson+Kassian+Maroon etc vs ??

    McLellan+Chiarelli(who appear to know something about assembling playoff hockey teams) vs Eakins 2.0

    They(Flames)’re history until 2020 at the earliest.

  19. frjohnk says:

    hunter1909: Draisraitl or Bennet?

    McDavid or Johnny Hockey?

    Lucic+Nurse+Larsson+Kassian+Maroon etc vs ??

    McLellan+Chiarelli(who appear to know something about assembling playoff hockey teams) vs Eakins 2.0

    They(Flames)’re history until 2020 at the earliest.

    Drai has passed Bennett like a house on the side of the road. And the road is the autobahn.

    McDavid and it’s not even close. And Johnny is a very good player.

    Their top 3 D are probably better than our top 3, but the gap isn’t much. We have better D depth though.

    As for their goaltending, it’s been Scrivens/Gus like as of late.

    I only cheer for two teams.

    Oilers and any team that plays against the Flames.

    It’s been a great week.

    Go Habs.
    *I hate the Habs*
    Go Habs

  20. Pescador says:

    hunter1909:
    I’m sure Flames have a chance, only down 3-0 halfway in the 2nd period.

    Bwahahahahahahaha

    FRJOHNK listed the recent save % for both of Cgy’s netminders in last nights thread and it was not pretty.
    Mr Ricki Bear, The.
    Using some shot data that he has been manually tracking (where do you find the time?) he made the case that bad HD defending is to blame for the piss poor SV%
    Bad goalering, worse defending they are in a world of hurt ATM.
    Could not be happening to a nicer fan base, so what a 6th round pick enough for Versteeg?

  21. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Man I like Puljujarvi more than most people it seems

    think he can be just as good as Draisaitl, if not better. Where were they both at 18? Drai stll in PA, even

  22. hunter1909 says:

    Was not once there was a top 2 draft pick named Jacques Richard; He basically had 1 great move from junior that worked good in his rookie year but after that the rest of the opposition caught up and he was toast?

    Gudreau, 28 home goal suck with 12 away goals wow this is a strange outlier.

    @Woodguy: 28/12 ratio home+away goals appears strange. How does Gudreau stand up to the math?

  23. hunter1909 says:

    LadiesloveSmid:
    Man I like Puljujarvi more than most people it seems

    think he can be just as good as Draisaitl, if not better. Where were they both at 18? Drai stll in PA, even

    He’s always looked great, but needs a half season seasoning in the AHL. When he returns before the playoffs, with Nurse … Wow!

  24. flyfish1168 says:

    Phlegms getting whooped ass again. I just don’t want them to loss to often. Finishing around 17th over all is perfect.

  25. hunter1909 says:

    4-0!

    Habs always seem to have a player bumping Johnny Hockey.

    Serves them right for being a 1 scoring(home only) sensation team.

  26. hunter1909 says:

    flyfish1168:
    Phlegms getting whooped ass again. I just don’t want them to loss to often. Finishing around 17th over all is perfect.

    LOL they’re still in playoff position.

  27. hunter1909 says:

    Glad Habs don’t play in the West.

    Oilers need to meet those downward trending teams, like the Ducks.

  28. LadiesloveSmid says:

    hunter1909: LOL they’re still in playoff position.

    Kings and canucks both a point back with 2 in hand. Blues and preds both ahead with games in hand.

  29. Pescador says:

    Pescador: FRJOHNK listed the recent save % for both of Cgy’s netminders in last nights thread and it was not pretty.
    Mr Ricki Bear, The.
    Using some shot data that he has been manually tracking (where do you find the time?) he made the case that bad HD defending is to blame for the piss poor SV%
    Bad goalering, worse defending they are in a world of hurt ATM.
    Could not be happening to a nicer fan base, so what a 6th round pick enough for Versteeg?

    They can’t score either

  30. Pescador says:

    frjohnk: Drai has passed Bennett like a house on the side of the road. Amen- looks of people fretting over Drai vs Bennett iirc

    Their top 3 D are probably better than our top 3, but the gap isn’t much. We have better D depth though.

    Mr. Bear had a different take about Cgy’s D core in last nights thread just one or 2 posts, you should check it out, he used his own shot data.
    I’m such a Homer that anything negative posted about the Flames looks legit to me.

  31. frjohnk says:

    Pescador: Mr. Bear had a different take about Cgy’s D core in last nights thread just one or 2 posts, you should check it out, he used his own shot data.
    I’m such a Homer that anything negative posted about the Flames looks legit to me.

    If Ricki starts using something other than even strength goals against when evaluating Dmen I’ll pay attention.

  32. OF17 says:

    My view of Puljujarvi this year was a RW Nuge. Highly skilled, slippery on his skates, slick hands, and with a defensive conscience you don’t find often. The comparison doesn’t work on a few levels. Puljujarvi seems faster than Nuge and certainly has a better shot, but out of everyone else on the roster, Nuge is the guy Jesse most reminds me of. And that’s a good thing.

    Maroon-McDavid-Puljujarvi
    Lucic-Draisaitl-???
    Pouliot-Nuge-???

    There’s most of a top nine for 17/18 that would *not* be fun to play against.

  33. Younger Oil says:

    LadiesloveSmid:
    Man I like Puljujarvi more than most people it seems

    think he can be just as good as Draisaitl, if not better. Where were they both at 18? Drai stll in PA, even

    I agree. I haven’t been blown away by him at all, but I felt the same about Draisaitl in his first half season audition.

    Puljujarvi: 28GP, 1-7-8

    Draisaitl: 38GP, 2-7-9

    I’m expecting big things from Jesse in the future, but he needs that time to develop. Probably had barely played on North American ice prior to this season as well.

  34. frjohnk says:

    Pescador: Mr. Bear had a different take about Cgy’s D core in last nights thread just one or 2 posts, you should check it out, he used his own shot data.
    I’m such a Homer that anything negative posted about the Flames looks legit to me.

    Mike Kelly‏ @MikeKellyNHL
    Flames did a good job of keeping Habs from getting shots on goal from the middle…..but, Carey Price is good.

  35. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Younger Oil: I agree. I haven’t been blown away by him at all, but I felt the same about Draisaitl in his first half season audition.

    Puljujarvi: 28GP, 1-7-8

    Draisaitl: 38GP, 2-7-9

    I’m expecting big things from Jesse in the future, but he needs that time to develop. Probably had barely played on North American ice prior to this season as well.

    scoring notably better at ES than Draisaitl did, just didn’t really get the best shot. Him and 97 scored like mad men together.

    I think he could put up 40+P next season

  36. GMB3 says:

    I wonder how concerned people were about Joe Thornton in his rookie year? I wonder if people were livid that a first overall only had what, 9 points in 55 games?

    Don’t sell JP’s offense too short already

  37. Professor Q says:

    GMB3:
    I wonder how concerned people were about Joe Thornton in his rookie year? I wonder if people were livid that a first overall only had what, 9 points in 55 games?

    Don’t sell JP’s offense too short already

    Especially as he’s only 18.

  38. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Nice post, LT. I have mentioned the Lehtinen comparison several times, too. I really like JP’s upside but I see a better shot than Lehtinen had. I see a 30-30 upside with great defensive awareness. In a way I wish we could fast forward 3 years and see him with McDavid in their primes, but I am enjoying the ride on the way up too much to want to actually skip ahead.

  39. Lowetide says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    Nice post, LT. I have mentioned the Lehtinen comparison several times, too. I really like JP’s upside but I see a better shot than Lehtinen had. I see a 30-30 upside with great defensive awareness. In a way I wish we could fast forward 3 years and see him with McDavid in their primes, but I am enjoying the ride on the way up too much to want to actually skip ahead.

    I remember someone mentioned him, actually dmd Bruce McCurdy to ask him because wasn’t sure who had dropped his name. Good comp!

  40. RJ2016 says:

    I mostly read this site; rarely post.

    But the comments on JP strike me as bizarre. JP and 99.9% of prospects drafted need development time before they start making their mark. The Oil’s template of throwing them in the deep end along before they are ready doesn’t work. JP will be part of the core in two years, in the same way that Drai is now. Book it.

  41. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Lowetide,

    Just a quick look but here
    http://lowetide.ca/2017/01/01/new-day-dawning/#comment-598003

    Here’s hoping. The nice thing is that the Oilers have a good enough team finally to slow play their top prospects. Something that was missing for years. JP is right there with Leon for me in terms of “untouchable” status.

  42. Pescador says:

    frjohnk: Mike Kelly‏ @MikeKellyNHL
    Flames did a good job of keeping Habs from getting shots on goal from the middle…..but, Carey Price is good.

    Carey Price was good against the Flames tonight, last night & Saturday night.
    I know your not defending them per say, but my point was their goal tending is letting them down big time (as per you) , Ricki said it’s not only the Keepers but also sloppy defending. ( closed hole shots anyone?)
    I’m saying I hope it’s both because fuck those guys. Cool?

  43. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    RJ2016:
    I mostly read this site; rarely post.

    But the comments on JP strike me as bizarre. JP and 99.9% of prospects drafted need development time before they start making their mark. The Oil’s template of throwing them in the deep end along before they are ready doesn’t work. JP will be part of the core in two years, in the same way that Drai is now. Book it.

    Post more often!

  44. Professor Q says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

    With the German Sundin, too!

  45. Pescador says:

    Ricki’s post last night; I thought it was good, but what do I know?
    You might want to chart the shots on giordano and hamilton,s side.
    Avg high danger shot goes in 5 times more than the average perimeter shot.
    Take ((hd shots faced x 5) + (ld shots x 1))/goals allowed.
    The average used to be 19.5 ld sh and 10 .5 hd shots = 72 as an average game.
    72/1 = 72
    72/1.5 = 48.7
    72/2 = 36
    72/2.5 = 29
    72/3 = 24
    72/3.5 = 20.6
    72/4 = 18
    You can establish a ga performance.
    An ott goalie earlier this year faced a hd- ld totaling 142 and gave up 4 goals.
    142/4 = 35.5. Equivalent to (((36-35.5)/7) x .5) + 2.00 = 2.03 ga game.
    Elliot has not been as bad as you think!
    Last year Giordano single handedly cost a career top 12 hd save goalie his nhl career.
    He is at it again!

  46. bendelson says:

    Ducey,

    Jurco skates well, has a good release and can play a reasonable 200 ft game…
    Unfortunately, he also has ongoing health issues (the back, I believe) that have significantly limited his development.

  47. fifthcartel says:

    If Jurco was right handed I think he’d be a really good candidate. Unsure if they have interest in a LH RW.

  48. JDï™ says:

    Not sure what is worse – that Dallas didn’t score on this, or that Korpse is on the ice in OT:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoZX-2F97iA

  49. geowal says:

    Gulutzan’s interview post Flames game was thoroughly entertaining. Looks flustered

  50. JDï™ says:

    geowal,

    Did he mention any players by name, as the reason they lost?

  51. geowal says:

    JDï™,

    No, said were “pathetic, pathetic, pathetic, no bite, no bite, we crumple, we just crumple top to bottom ((he was repeating himself a lot, almost sounded like he was talking to himself).
    Said top guys didn’t do anything, gotta man up, we’re out of playoffs.

    It actually was very reminiscent of an Eakins interview during the Nadir.

  52. JDï™ says:

    geowal,

    And they were doing so well for a while there. They put up some really good numbers over quite a stretch and then the goalering cratered and they stopped scoring.

    To have the bench boss reacting like this can’t help. After all the X’s and O’s are figured out, coaching is still really difficult. It’s like 50% strategy, 50% management, and 50% psychology.

  53. Professor Q says:

    fifthcartel:
    If Jurco was right handed I think he’d be a really good candidate. Unsure if they have interest in a LH RW.

    Tarasenko? 😉

  54. SwedishPoster says:

    Jesse is still very much a kid, I’d argue he already has NHL ability but not yet the maturity, physically or mentally to be quite NHL ready. I’m not sure he’ll arrive big time as soon as next season but who knows what a summer of growing can do, once he grows into his body look out. No doubt in my mind he’s a high end player in the making question is how soon and how high. Crazy set of skills.

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