Last season the Edmonton Oilers had a very high number of minutes devoted to rookies. The total number of rookies (14) and their minutes (listed below) is extremely unlikely to be duplicated again this season just because it was a perfect storm of injuries pretty much throughout the roster.
The blueline especially will have a much reduced TOI total, and I don’t think there will be two rookies who get the total minutes Thoresen and Pouliot got up front either.
Add in the fact that some of the newcomers, while not established in the NHL are not rookies, and the Oilers are going to be sending the Schremp’s and the Cogliano’s and the Trukhno’s to the farm until injuries hit.
Here’s a list, by position, of minutes played 06-07 with rookies in bold:
- Jason Smith (1733)
- Ladislav Smid (1481)
- Matt Greene (1373)
- Steve Staios (1240)
- MA Bergeron (939-est)
- Daniel Tjarnqvist (840)
- Jan Hedja (795)
- Danny Syvret (295)
- Tom Gilbert (241)
- Mathieu Roy (226)
- Bryan Young (151)
- Sebastian Bisaillon (28)
That’s 3,217 minutes devoted to rookies, and let’s be honest Matt Greene barely missed the rookie qualification a year ago. Here’s the trend under MacT:
- 00-01: 7 (Chris Hajt only rookie)
- 01-02: 30 (Pisa only rookie)
- 02-03: 991 (Semenov top rookie)
- 03-04: 973 (Bergeron top rookie)
- 05-06: 439 (Greene top rookie)
- 06-07: 3,217 (Smid top rookie)
Tom Gilbert would be the obvious option for minutes, but he’s behind at least 7 guys as we speak. Unlikely (unless there’s a trade or an early season ending injury) any rookie defender gets more playing time than 500 minutes in 07-08.
- Shawn Horcoff (1666)
- Marty Reasoner (999)
- Jarret Stoll (928)
- Marc Pouliot (600)
- Petr Nedved (591)
- Kyle Brodziak (103)
- Rob Schremp (14)
- Petr Sykora (1366)
- Raffi Torres (1174)
- Ryan Smyth (1068-est)
- Patrick Thoresen (776)
- JFJ Jacques (293)
- Ethan Moreau (106)
- Robert Nilsson (69)
- Alexei Mikhnov (14)
- Fernando Pisani (1301)
- Joffrey Lupul (1263)
- Ales Hemsky (1087)
- Toby Petersen (875)
- Brad Winchester (476)
- Zack Stortini (276)
Thoresen, Pouliot and Winchester were the guys who got significant minutes, but Jacques and Stortini also got extended looks this past season. Here’s the year-by-year under MacT:
- 00-01: 1,726 (Dominic Pittis top rookie)
- 01-02: 126 (Brian Swanson top rookie)
- 02-03: 1,943 (Ales Hemsky top rookie)
- 03-04: 1,269 (Jarret Stoll top rookie)
- 05-06: 341 (Winchester top rookie)
- 06-07: 2,552 (Thoresen top rookie)
With the top 12 forwards close to wrapped up (Horcoff, Stoll, Reasoner, Pouliot at center, Penner, Torres, Moreau and Nilsson at LW, and then Hemsky, Pisani, Thoresen and Sanderson on right wing) there’s room for a Brodziak type and then they’ll probably bring in a Petersen/Pittis/Swanson type for the 14F slot.
Oilers have a bunch of rookie forwards knocking at the door. These kids will have to push out ineffective veterans (Reasoner, Sanderson), count on injuries (they always happen but not to the degree of a year ago), shoot lights out in camp (Thoresen did exactly that a year ago) or rip up the AHL and get an early recall.
The road blocks being created for Oiler rookies is encouraging. The Oilers need to have as many NHL players as possible from the beginning of the year with this roster. Rob Schremp may be an NHL player, but breaking him in with this bunch might be impossible to watch.
4:36pm NOTE: Did the math on this just now (I forgot MA Bergeron on D) and the Oilers had a tremendous number of minutes devoted to rookies. I’m counting Hejda as a rookie even though he falls through the cracks, but then again Greene was basically a rookie too.
Either way, rookie D played 3,217 of the 9,342 minutes (estimated) Oilers defenders played this season. That’s 34%. Incredible.