No matter what Peter Chiarelli does at the deadline, there are going to be reinforcements arriving soon. The infirmary will have two fewer occupants in the coming days.
- Edmonton Oilers: Coach McLellan says d-men Kris Russell & Darnell Nurse are both likely to be available to the
#Oilers on this road trip. Source
We will no doubt spend the next two weeks arguing about who goes where, but eight defenders for the playoffs—and Mark Fayne below—is a vast improvement over previous seasons.
SUGGESTED TOP EIGHT USAGE
I very much doubt we see that set, but for me Sekera-Benning is a really good pairing despite the inexperience of Benning. I also prefer splitting up the young players and this does it well. Thoughts?
JESSE PULJUJARVI COMPARABLE UPDATE
Jesse Puljujarvi gets another game with the Bakersfield Condors tonight, and I continue to wonder about his handling. This is important stuff, and so despite the fact I have hammered on this subject at length, it is going to come back time and again until it makes sense to me.
Jesse Puljujarvi is not playing with center Anton Lander at even strength, and he is not playing heavy minutes overall. Consider the estimates for playing time compared to my comp (Mikko Rantanen) in their AHL seasons. Rantanen’s numbers come from 2015-16 San Antonio Rampage, JP from the Condors this year. Notice especially the Estimated time on ice (all disciplines):
The boxcars clearly favor Rantanen (this is in all disciplines, evens, power play, penalty kill) but the TOI estimates suggest a major skew. The gap in estimated minutes from AHL stats is jaw dropping, and I am genuinely curious (if true) about why Peter Chiarelli would choose to play his phenom so little (compared to Rantanen’s handling by the Colorado organization).
- Peter Chiarelli on Jesse Puljujarvi: “I was down there a couple weeks ago and watched two games. He is getting a lot of touches and you could see his confidence is coming back. The defensive side of his game is getting better, and he’s made a lot of progress down there and he’s playing a lot of minutes. He’s going to be in the conversation come the deadline. He’s a dangerous player down there. He was far and above the most dangerous player I saw in both the games down there.”
Based on these comments from Mr. Chiarelli, we would have to assume one of two things:
- Puljujarvi playing secondary minutes is exactly where he should be at this time.
- These TOI estimates are badly out of time with reality.
The AHL time-on-ice numbers are not publicly available, making these kinds of comparisons very difficult. I have seen a few of JPs AHL games and would estimate he is in the 15-17 minute range, with Taylor Beck getting well over 20 minutes per game. If we assume Peter Chiarelli saw the same games, then the handling of JP (second-line minutes with a lesser center) must be the preferred usage at this time. Interesting to compare his deployment with what Colorado apparently did with Rantanen, but we are early days and things may change.
One thing that we should monitor, and it has nothing to do with linemates or time on ice estimates: Shooting percentage. A 12 percent success rate in the AHL makes Puljujarvi a poor comparable to Rantanen in this area. Early days, but the canvas is on the easel and the image is coming into view. We wait.