ATOI for Oiler Rookies Under MacT

This is Michel Riesen. He represents ‘chapter one’ for Craig MacTavish in terms of rookies who broke into the NHL under his regime.

In a post below, speeds said “They need a ‘Paul Stastny’” in response to my saying that Slava Trukhno might be the next Patrick Thoresen (defined as a guy who comes to camp and shows enough to make the roster as a 4th liner/press box guy).

I don’t think the Oilers are likely to have a Paul Stastny this fall for three reasons: there are no prospects who have a clear edge over the rest of the pack, the organization has a tremendous number of options on the prospect tree right now and finally coach MacT doesn’t hand out playing time to rookies in a way that makes them strong Calder candidates.

If we needed a fourth reason, injuries to Rob Schremp and Ryan O’Marra further cloud the issue in regard to those prospects.

If the Oilers were to have a Paul Stastny, he’d need to play a similar number of minutes in order to have a shot at putting up numbers that get noticed (Stastny played 1490 minutes in his rookie season).

Here’s a list of minutes played in rookie season by Oilers’ kids since MacT took over (forwards only):

  1. Jarret Stoll (03-04) 945:18
  2. Patrick Thoresen (06-07) 776:33
  3. Ales Hemsky (02-03) 712:12
  4. Jason Chimera (02-03) 710:06
  5. Marc Pouliot (06-07) 600:12
  6. Dom Pittis (00-01) 506:13
  7. Brad Winchester (06-07) 476:18
  8. Mike Comrie (00-01) 466:54
  9. Shawn Horcoff (00-01) 452:12
  10. Fernando Pisani (02-03) 375:18
  11. Jean Francois Jacques (06-07) 292:44
  12. Zach Stortini (06-07) 207:27
  13. Brian Swanson (00-01) 174:38
  14. Mike Bishai (03-04) 128:18
  15. Tony Salmlelainen (03-04) 125:27
  16. Michel Riesen (00-01) 118:53
  17. Jani Rita (02-03) 114:26
  18. Kyle Brodziak (05-06) 110:20

I can’t find Rita’s 05-06 season broken down (before the trade) so I used 02-03. I have no idea when he stopped being a rookie (he probably qualified in the “cup of coffee” division).

MacTavish may have to play more young players than usual this fall, but I don’t see a rookie getting 1500 minutes. Even a guy like Nilsson is likely to be in and out of the lineup (and on and off a scoring line) as the season rolls out. A strong start for a Rob Schremp or Andrew Cogliano might mean they receive a callup and Nilsson hits the bench.

Stastny got 300 minutes on the powerplay. Ales Hemsky got half that, Comrie got 85 minutes in 41 games.

I don’t think the Oilers have a Paul Stastny ready to step in, and I don’t think the Oilers would insert him in the lineup and watch what he could do from the get-go. In his first game with the Avs last season, Stastny got 14:50 total icetime and 4 minutes on the powerplay (and was -2).

No Oiler rookie is likely to get that kind of welcome to the NHL this fall. This despite some of the Oilers prospects having similar qualifications. In his final NCAA season, Stastny scored 53 points in 39 games (1.36ppg). In his final NCAA season, Andrew Cogliano scored 50 points in 38 games (1.32ppg).

Stastny played against mid-level competition (365/676) and his linemates most often were Hejduk and McLean (all info courtesy Desdjardins Behind the Net). Could Andrew Cogliano put up 78 points given a similar opportunity?

Well, we don’t know that he would and we can’t say he wouldn’t. What we can say is that we’re not about to find out based on coach MacT’s own track record.

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11 Responses to "ATOI for Oiler Rookies Under MacT"

  1. Black Dog says:

    I guess unless the bottom falls out early due to injuries or just plain ineptitude, you’re right LT.

    But if twenty games in, things are looking really bad already, I’d hope that Some of these guys get some ABS – better Nilsson then Sanderson, for example.

    Until that time comes though MacT will go with the vets because, well, generally that’s how you win.

  2. jon says:

    Well the thing with Stastny is that in many ways he was a rookie from the “perfect storm” category. He’s a two-way player, he was 21/22 for his rookie campaign, he’s got enough size to handle himself, he played for a team that was expected to rebuild, he played under the guidance of Joe Sakic, and he probably has that intangible quality of being suited to the “pro game.”

    If we had Paul Stastny last year as a rookie, I think MacT would be giving him the minutes because he was thriving out there. Do we have any players who roughly match his profile for this year? Not likely. Though, Nilsson is a full 11 months older than Stastny so if he isn’t showing us something this year we should begin to be worried in a specific way about 1/3 of the Smyth return.

    It’s also interesting to note that Cogliano put up very similar numbers to Stastny in college while being two years younger.

  3. Lowetide says:

    bdhs: It could happen, but someone would have to emerge early from the pack. The Oilers have so many guys who grade out at a similar number that giving them 100 at bats is probably the only way to get clearance one over another.

    Maybe a platoon at 2line LW?

  4. Lowetide says:

    jon: Cogliano has a rep of being a solid two way player, in fact I have not read more about “aggressive forechecking” about a young player in years.

    Stastny was 20 when his rookie season began, turning 21 in Dec (so by NHL rules he’s 20 as a rookie). Also, he’s 18 months older than Cogliano so their final college seasons were at 19 even though there was 6 months difference in age for that specific season.

    Clear as mud. Lordy. Please disregard if your head begins to hurt, the heat may be taking me now. :-)

  5. jon says:

    Ouch, just goes to show it’s best not to try and write immediately after waking from a night at an open bar. :)

  6. Bank Shot says:

    Cogliano’s college team was alot more stacked then Stastny’s so it is kind of hard to compare. Stastny had Matt Carle.

    Cogliano had scoring sensations Hensick, and Jack Johnson on his team as well as 5 or so other drafted players.

  7. Mr DeBakey says:

    Last Season
    Lupul was given 1000, JFJ 287
    ES minutes

    Surely Trukhno, Cogliano, or Nillson could use up some of those minutes,
    and be no worse at it then their predecessors.

    I think it was here last winter someone wondered what Mikhnov would have done if given Lupul’s minutes.

  8. Asiaoil says:

    I think Nilssen is a guy who can slide in at LW along with Sanderson on a protected line with Hemsky. Both guys can skate with Hemmer. I actually like the idea of a Sanderson MAP and Hemmer line that gets soft ES minutes and beats up on the wek sisters.

  9. SweatyO says:

    I actually like the idea of a Sanderson MAP and Hemmer line that gets soft ES minutes and beats up on the wek sisters.

    I don’t like the idea of any of Nilsson, Pouliot, or Sanderson with Hemsky. We need to do better than that to play with 83. No questions asked.

    All of Sanderson, Pouliot and Nilsson have their place and role. But none of those places and roles involve playing with the Oilers “ace” forward.

    In other words….Lowe has a lot of work to do.

  10. Dennis says:

    Yeah, Hemsky’s skilled but I don’t think he’s to the point where he can carry passengers. There’s one school of thought where you have 14-10-83 playing the tough min and looking to come out on top and then there’s the other school that Lowe applied to where you don’t give Hemsky the tough matchups but you do give him Nylander and hope he can run wild.

    Given what we’re likely to ice come Oct and given what we’re paying Hemsky, I’d try and get full value and go 14 or 34 plus 10/83 and give them the hard matchups and then give Hemsky the keys to the PP.

  11. Black Dog says:

    IF we had someone to play with Hemsky (nylander, Sykora) then you let him take the soft minutes but this team is so thin up front what the hell do you do? Play him with Stoll and a kid? Or Stoll and Torres? And Horcoff plays with Moreau and Pisani?

    Too thin – he’s going to get keyed on – may as well have him play with Horcoff and see if he can make some hay.

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