NO STARS

I’m a big believer in NHL equivalency, if not in the exact number the formula spits out for each player, then the spirit of what it tries to do. Rob Vollman publishes a new set of numbers each year and talks about it annually in his Hockey Abstracts (new one out soon!). For me, it seems there is in fact a line in the sand for offense among forwards. If a player can’t reach it, then there’s not a lot of NHL hope.

NHLE, SUMMER 2015, OILERS FORWARDS

  • There were seven men who reached 25 or more NHLE in the summer of 2015, and five of those men have reached the NHL for a large number of games 2015-2017.
  • Connor McDavid is on another level, and Leon Draisaitl’s total is a strong indicator of future success.
  • Andrew Miller is the first pro player on the list and the Oilers did use him for six games in 2015-16 (0-0-0) before heading back to the minors and posting a strong season (and getting himself ‘loaned’ to Charlotte Checkers).
  • Kyle Platzer was wrapping up his junior career with a monster run for Owen Sound. That performance got him onto the Bakersfield roster fall 2015 but we haven’t heard much since. A player getting massive TOI in junior can sometimes reach heights beyond actual ability.
  • Anton Slepyshev was scoring pretty well in the KHL and his 15-goal campaign earned him a North American contract and the chance to rise to the NHL (which he appears to be doing at this time).
  • Iiro Pakarinen scored well in the AHL and received his first NHL chance. He is now a veteran of 94 NHL games and has a good chance to land with the Oilers this fall.
  • Tyler Pitlick played well enough to post 25 NHLE but the truth is 2014-15 was another injury-plagued season for the rambunctious winger. He did spend some time in the NHL that season.

So is 25 NHLE the line in the sand? Not sure. A lot of it has to do with need and opportunity, slumps and injuries at the big league level. It is interesting though, seeing that 25 NHLE worked summer 2015. One of the men below that 25 NHLE mark did emerge as NHL options in 2015-16. Jujhar Khaira spiked in the following winter and emerged as a bona fide NHL prospect.

NHLE, SUMMER 2016, OILERS FORWARDS

  • Drake Caggiula was a college free-agent signing and towered over other prospect hopeful via NHLE summer 2016. He won an NHL job and kept it all year.
  • Jujhar Khaira spiked again offensively in Bakersfield and made his NHL debut in 2015-16.
  • Tyler Benson was injured in his draft season but the numbers showed promise.
  • Tyler Pitlick had a solid half-season in the AHL but didn’t get into NHL games. Injuries were such a big part of his time in Edmonton.
  • Jesse Puljujarvi played regularly in the Finnish league, posting good numbers. The NHLE on the Sm-Liiga has take a kicking though, so his numbers were shy compared to other high picks in his draft year.
  • Anton Slepyshev and Bogdan Yakimov posted similar numbers in Bakersfield, with Slepyshev making his NHL debut.
  • Tyler Vesel shows up on the radar.

Only one man was 25 NHLE or better in this season, and it got him an NHL contract. Caggiula didn’t spend a day in the minors and part of that came from the quality of competitin available in the system.

NHLE, SUMMER 2017, OILERS FORWARDS

  • Joe Gambardella is 8.5 months older than Jujhar Khaira, that’s an important point to keep in mind when it comes to tracking him. His NHLE is similar to Drake Caggiula’s after his final college season (44 NHLE) and he’s seven months older than Caggiula. Still, Gambardella is a player to watch, especially since his forechecking prowess might be helpful on the Oilers PK.
  • Kailer Yamamoto is a very good prospect, posting a fine NHLE in his draft year. Can he pass Leon’s draft +1 number?
  • Tyler Vesel is a difficult player to project, because he doubled his NCAA point total this past season. He is 4.5 months younger than Gambardella so that’s a positive but there’s not a lot of resume suggesting he’ll be on this list next summer.
  • Jesse Puljujarvi had a difficult year but he did post offense in the AHL. He’s an exciting player and brings real chaos to opposition defenses. If there’s one thing we should be hoping for from the prospect area of the organization, a big step up at the NHL level by JP should top the list.
  • Tyler Benson is a quality prospect and the only worry is injury. It’s a big worry.
  • Jujhar Khaira has done exactly what you hope a third-round pick will do at the pro level, improve each season and emerge as a bona fide option at the end of his entry-level deal.
  • Joey Laleggia is 25, well over one year older than Gambardella and the oldest prospect on this list. Doesn’t matter, his path has had many a winding road and his main skill is scoring goals.

The players who are certain to play in the NHL this coming season? Puljujarvi and Khaira and Gambardella could get there is he smokes California. Yamamoto may wow training camp and it’s not impossible for him to see nine games (I am not projecting it). My takeaway from this three year look is this: Oilers need more men who are NHL-ready and waiting in Bakersfield. They need some Rem Murray! That’s why Caggiula and Gambardella were signed.

PROJECTED CONDORS 2017-18

  • Peter Chiarelli added only Joe Gambardella (so far) among college free-agent forwards this year, instead choosing to be very aggressive in AHL free agency.
  • My RE has Gambardella and Joey Laleggia playing some NHL games this coming season, both men appearing on the RE list above (along with Puljujarvi).
  • I also have Chiarelli UFA signings Ty Rattie, Mitch Callahan and Brad Malone playing NHL games this coming year. Those games should be going to Marco Roy, Bogdan Yakimov, Kyle Platzer and Greg Chase, but the 2013 draft (so far) brought only Darnell Nurse and Anton Slepyshev.
  • The defense RE begins next week and should be a lot of fun!

CONDORS FORWARDS WHO ARE IN MY RE 2017-18

  1. LC Brad Malone 20, 1-1-2
  2. R Ty Rattie 6, 1-1-2
  3. R Mitch Callahan 6, 0-1-1
  4. L Joey Laleggia 4, 0-0-0
  5. LC Joe Gambardella 4, 0-0-0

The player I think could emerge as a substantial addition during that unusual free agent period is Ty Rattie. He’s coming from way back but the Oilers need scoring on RW. Rattie is a name to keep in mind.

LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE

A busy Friday morning as we get ready for the long weekend! 10 this morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:

  • Steve Lansky, BigMouth Sports. We’ll chat about Connor McDavid’s next step, the Jays and how Steve spent his summer vacation.
  • Jeff Krushell, Krush Performance. Jeff will drop by to talk pennant race, football players contemplating retirement, making sure injuries are properly diagnosed and recovery/rehab timeline is followed.
  • Matt Iwanyk, TSN1260. Is the Eskimos-TiCats game tonight a worry or will Edmonton mop the floor with them?
  • Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst. We’ll talk about WJSS and Kailer Yamamoto’s performance.

10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.

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43 Responses to "NO STARS"

  1. stush18 says:

    *SPAM*

    Just like to give a shoutout to my hometown Macklin this weekend. It’s the 25th anniversary of the World Bunnock Championship, and even the weather isn’t going to keep us down.

    If you haven’t got a thing to do this weekend, swing on down to the lake and catch the game of bones in action. It’s an absolute blast and well worth the trip!

    Sorry LT, gotta get my small town mentions in!

    *END SPAM*

  2. stush18 says:

    In other notes, I really thought miller had an outside shot of playing in the top nine as a scoring forward, kind of like arcobello.

    He was def faster than arco ever was, and I though he had a nifty set of mitts.

  3. OriginalPouzar says:

    I’m interested to see what Joey G. does at camp.

    I have him and Joey L. as long shots with shots at making the roster.

  4. Lowetide says:

    Stush: No worries. 🙂 My Mom was born in Freemont and grew up in Neilburg. I think that’s pretty close to you.

  5. Clay says:

    I’m in “light a candle” mode for Benson. He seems like such a legitimate talent, we just can’t see through the injuries yet. But if it breaks right (horrible word choice), he may be able to play a huge role in the top 6 at some point.

  6. dustrock says:

    Is there a problem with the college equivalencies when The Drake has basically #1 overall draft pick not named Connor McDavid as his NHL comps?

    Same thing with Gambardella. I get that he’s older and has years on someone like Yamamoto but it just seems too high. Ditto Andrew Miller as well.

  7. Lowetide says:

    dustrock:
    Is there a problem with the college equivalencies when The Drake has basically #1 overall draft pick not named Connor McDavid as his NHL comps?

    Same thing with Gambardella.I get that he’s older and has years on someone like Yamamoto but it just seems too high.Ditto Andrew Miller as well.

    They are older so that has to be taken into consideration and of course they are getting prime playing time.

  8. M00se1978 says:

    I just have a feeling about Gambardella. I can see him break camp with the team in the Iiro role.

    This coming from someone who hasn’t watched one minute of him play.

  9. stush18 says:

    Lowetide:
    Stush: No worries. My Mom was born in Freemont and grew up in Neilburg. I think that’s pretty close to you.

    It is. We used to play them in hockey growing up. Typical small rink with unreal butgers

  10. leadfarmer says:

    dustrock:
    Is there a problem with the college equivalencies when The Drake has basically #1 overall draft pick not named Connor McDavid as his NHL comps?

    Same thing with Gambardella.I get that he’s older and has years on someone like Yamamoto but it just seems too high.Ditto Andrew Miller as well.

    Any forward still in college after sophomore year has issues and even if they post crooked numbers they are very unlikely to bat higher than 3rd line.

  11. Ducey says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    I’m interested to see what Joey G. does at camp.

    I have him and Joey L. as long shots with shots at making the roster.

    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/concreteblonde/joey.html

  12. jp says:

    LT, Vessel had nice numbers in his draft year in the USHL (granted as a 20 year old).

    That’s some history of posting offense. I suspect if he has a ppg year in college he’ll get a contract. Seems to play a 2-way game as well, no?

  13. Ducey says:

    leadfarmer: Any forward still in college after sophomore year has issues and even if they post crooked numbers they are very unlikely to bat higher than 3rd line.

    Blake Wheeler – 3 yrs of college, 11th in NHL scoring

  14. dustrock says:

    leadfarmer: Any forward still in college after sophomore year has issues and even if they post crooked numbers they are very unlikely to bat higher than 3rd line.

    Right, that’s my issue with the NHLEs for college players. You look like Gambardella is going to be more impressive than Yamamoto, and I find that hard to believe.

    The Drake had a crazy high number and for most of the year, looked like he should probably be in the AHL, though playing center likely was part of it.

  15. Doug McLachlan says:

    Lowetide: They are older so that has to be taken into consideration and of course they are getting prime playing time.

    In Vollman’s last book he discusses how NHLe needs to adjust for age. A ppg 17 year old in the OHL could be a star, a ppg overager in the OHL may never get a cup of coffee.

  16. Doug McLachlan says:

    For NCAA the adjustment for age needs to occur but also for college league – big differences in quality of competition.

  17. leadfarmer says:

    Ducey: Blake Wheeler – 3 yrs of college, 11th in NHL scoring

    So the one outlier you found is also a guy that was picked 5th Overall. Great. Given that he didn’t break 50 pts until post draft season 8 I don’t know what you can make of his equivalencies. Also he did have issues early in his career

  18. OmJo says:

    Clay:
    I’m in “light a candle” mode for Benson.He seems like such a legitimate talent, we just can’t see through the injuries yet.But if it breaks right (horrible word choice), he may be able to play a huge role in the top 6 at some point.

    Pitlick 2.0? With more upside.

  19. Thinker says:

    I don’t think NHLe should incorporate age. That is a different statistic altogether. The point of NHLe is to predict what a player will do in the subsequent year only. The problem I have with NHLe is that it is highly skewed towards higher end players since they are the ones transitioning straight to the league. IMO there should be a cutoff (say 1.5ppg for junior players) so players are divided into bins, and the regression fits better. Gambardella and Caggiula’s NHLe’s are being driven up by Eichel and Johnny(spits). Most players in the Caggiula range aren’t scoring 40pts in the NHL the following year.

  20. leadfarmer says:

    OmJo: Pitlick 2.0? With more upside.

    More injury upside. Need someone to fill in the perpetual IR reserve spot

  21. Ducey says:

    leadfarmer: So the one outlier you found is also a guy that was picked 5th Overall.Great.Given that he didn’t break 50 pts until post draft season 8 I don’t know what you can make of his equivalencies.Also he did have issues early in his career

    TJ Oshie – 3 yrs
    Connon Sheary 3 years – 53 pts in 61 games last year
    Brian Gionta 4 yrs
    Martin St Louis 4 yrs
    Drew Stafford 3 yrs
    Eric Cole 3 yrs
    Kris Kunitz 4 yrs
    David Backes 3 yrs
    Mike Cammalleri 3 yrs
    Patrick Eaves 3 yrs
    RJ UMberger 3 yrs
    Justin Abdelkater 3 yrs

    If Gambo turns into any of those players, the Oilers will have done well.

  22. Thinker says:

    leadfarmer: More injury upside.Need someone to fill in the perpetual IR reserve spot

    Or he plays the next 20 years without injuries. Who knows?

  23. Ducey says:

    Thinker:
    I don’t think NHLe should incorporate age. That is a different statistic altogether. The point of NHLe is to predict what a player will do in the subsequent year only. The problem I have with NHLe is that it is highly skewed towards higher end players since they are the ones transitioning straight to the league. IMO there should be a cutoff (say 1.5ppg for junior players) so players are divided into bins, and the regression fits better. Gambardella and Caggiula’s NHLe’s are being driven up by Eichel and Johnny(spits). Most players in the Caggiula range aren’t scoring 40pts in the NHL the following year.

    My problem is that the player gets a ton of PP time in he junior (or wherever) and then when they get to the NHL, they get little to none. An even strength NHLE would be more useful as very few players are going to walk right into the #1 power play for their team.

  24. Soup Fascist says:

    stush18:
    *SPAM*

    Just like to give a shoutout to my hometown Macklin this weekend. It’s the 25th anniversary of the World Bunnock Championship, and even the weather isn’t going to keep us down.

    If you haven’t got a thing to do this weekend, swing on down to the lake and catch the game of bones in action. It’s an absolute blast and well worth the trip!

    Sorry LT, gotta get my small town mentions in!

    *END SPAM*

    Have they done anything to spruce up the world’s largest bannock / tourist info center? Last time I passed through Macklin – eons ago – I was struck by how much it was shaped like an anatomically correct feminine torso.

    Not sure if it was intentional or not, but it was a conversation starter.

  25. leadfarmer says:

    Ducey: TJ Oshie – 3 yrs
    Connon Sheary3 years – 53 pts in 61 games last year
    Brian Gionta 4 yrs
    Martin St Louis 4 yrs
    Drew Stafford 3 yrs
    Eric Cole 3 yrs
    Kris Kunitz 4 yrs
    David Backes 3 yrs
    Mike Cammalleri 3 yrs
    Patrick Eaves 3 yrs
    RJ UMberger 3 yrs
    Justin Abdelkater 3 yrs

    If Gambo turns into any of those players, the Oilers will have done well.

    So like I said. Very unlikely to bat above 3rd line

  26. Mesmer says:

    stush18,

    If I do make it I’ll have to buy you a beer. Just because you’re a fellow LT reader. That alone makes you beerworthy. I grew up just across the border and remember all the Saskatchewan arenas: Macklin. Nielburg, Unity, Kerrobert etc. Too many tough days. Why’d those Saskatchewan farmboys have to be so huge. 6’2″ by the age of 12, at least according to my shellshocked memory

  27. OriginalPouzar says:

    Pretty much every single one of those players listed have been top 6 forwards in the NHL.

  28. Ducey says:

    leadfarmer: So like I said.Very unlikely to bat above 3rd line

    All of those guys have played 1st or second line at some point of their careers.

    Marty St Louis won the Art Ross twice.

  29. Thinker says:

    Ducey: My problem is that the player gets a ton of PP time in he junior (or wherever) and then when they get to the NHL, they get little to none. An even strength NHLE would be more useful as very few players are going to walk right into the #1 power play for their team.

    That gets thrown out a lot, and I agree to an extent, but a guy putting up 1st overall pick level NHLe should be finding some powerplay time. If a guy is only getting 25nhle, he should be in a lower bin, because he is a plug who will probably never be on an nhl pp.

    If players were being compared to players of similar skill level, then powerplay time would be factored into the equivalency. The problem is you are assuming a linear relationship between leagues, when it isn’t. You can’t simply make a regression off the top 1% of players and trickle it down to everybody else. That is why NHLe fails in many leagues, particularily those that are two or more steps from the bigs.

  30. jtblack says:

    LT: is Connor McDavid the highest RE that you have seen in the last decade?

  31. Lowetide says:

    jtblack:
    LT: is Connor McDavid the highest RE that you have seen in the last decade?

    Yes for sure.

  32. linkfromhyrule says:

    I think JP would perform well on the 2nd PP unit in the Letestu spot, provided he can one-time the puck. Seems like that unit could really use a scoring threat.

    I was going to post some statistics to show the discrepancy in production between the PP1 and PP2, but I don’t know where to find the stats anymore.. (if PuckIQ does this, I haven’t figured out how to do it)

    Where is everyone getting their stats from now?

    I see NHL.com is still a dumpster fire, which now doesn’t even load for me. TSN loads an enlightening blank page. I’m not really sure where else to look. Not that I should be doing this at work anyway, but that’s another matter….

  33. Pretendergast says:

    Edmonton Oilers‏Verified account
    @EdmontonOilers

    #Oilers hire Vaclav Burda as Director of European Scouting, reporting to Director of Player Personnel Bob Green: https://www.nhl.com/oilers/news/oilers-hire-vaclav-burda/c-290597146

    Neat, Ottawa has done pretty well with the Euros I believe, interesting add.

  34. Bank Shot says:

    Lowetide: Why do you hate Caggiula? 🙂

  35. Ducey says:

    Pretendergast:
    Edmonton Oilers‏Verified account
    @EdmontonOilers

    #Oilers hire Vaclav Burda as Director of European Scouting, reporting to Director of Player Personnel Bob Green: https://www.nhl.com/oilers/news/oilers-hire-vaclav-burda/c-290597146

    Neat, Ottawa has done pretty well with the Euros I believe, interesting add.

    I am not seeing it. They took Zibanejad but he was was a top 10 pick, and Kalsson who was 15th. I don’t know that they have unearthed any gems in rounds 2+ have they? I admit I don’t follow the Sens.

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/draft/teams/dr00007328.html

  36. Thinker says:

    Ducey,

    Silvrberg, and Dahlen looks pretty good. Hard to evaluate scouts though.

  37. Woodguy v2.0 says:

    linkfromhyrule:
    I think JP would perform well on the 2nd PP unit in the Letestu spot, provided he can one-time the puck. Seems like that unit could really use a scoring threat.

    I was going to post some statistics to show the discrepancy in production between the PP1 and PP2, but I don’t know where to find the stats anymore.. (if PuckIQ does this, I haven’t figured out how to do it)

    Where is everyone getting their stats from now?

    I see NHL.com is still a dumpster fire, which now doesn’t even load for me. TSN loads an enlightening blank page. I’m not really sure where else to look. Not that I should be doing this at work anyway, but that’s another matter….

    Naturalstattrick.com is the best place for PP info now.

    PP1 was one of the best in the NHL.

    PP2 was actually above average in terms of goals/60.

    Tough to compare to PP1 when its killing it.

  38. jeetz says:

    linkfromhyrule,

    Our PP2 could definitely use a boost. I haven’t checked any stats but I’m guessing they average around 45 sec a PP

  39. Lowetide says:

    Bank Shot:
    Lowetide: Why do you hate Caggiula? 🙂

    Sideburns!

  40. jp says:

    Woodguy v2.0: Naturalstattrick.com is the best place for PP info now.

    PP1 was one of the best in the NHL.

    PP2 was actually above average in terms of goals/60.

    Tough to compare to PP1 when its killing it.

    Above average for PP2s? Or above average for all PPs?

    Above average period ought to be pretty damn fine for a PP2, no?

  41. godot10 says:

    dustrock:
    Is there a problem with the college equivalencies when The Drake has basically #1 overall draft pick not named Connor McDavid as his NHL comps?

    Same thing with Gambardella.I get that he’s older and has years on someone like Yamamoto but it just seems too high.Ditto Andrew Miller as well.

    Caggiula’s college numbers were juiced by playing with two highly regarded 1st round NHL draft picks in Boeser and Schmaltz.

    See Patrick Maroon. See Rob Brown. See Blair MacDonald. See Warren Young. See Conor Sheary.

    i.e. Caggiula is not a driver, but he probably can complement and finish if he is playing with drivers. He can probably play with skilled players and do okay, but don’t expect much of anything out of him if you play him with mediocre players.

  42. godot10 says:

    Ducey: Blake Wheeler – 3 yrs of college, 11th in NHL scoring

    But he stayed in college so he could escape his draft team, and sign as a college UFA.

  43. Munny says:

    stush18:
    *SPAM*

    Just like to give a shoutout to my hometown Macklin this weekend. It’s the 25th anniversary of the World Bunnock Championship, and even the weather isn’t going to keep us down.

    If you haven’t got a thing to do this weekend, swing on down to the lake and catch the game of bones in action. It’s an absolute blast and well worth the trip!

    Sorry LT, gotta get my small town mentions in!

    *END SPAM*

    Macklin! The town where everybody has the same last name, lol.

    Must be some “Who’s yer Mudder and yer Fodder?” goin on there, sheerly for identification purposes.

    I have been to the aforementioned lake, but not for the aforementioned tournament, and have only one thing to say if you’re goin to Macklin…

    Take two livers. Maybe a third for backup.

    I have never not had a great time in that burg.

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