I have a very good memory. At the 2003 draft, TSN analyst Pierre Maguire criticized the Islanders and Mike Milbury for not taking Parise ahead of Nilsson, ranting like a rabid dog and making little sense. Among the things Maguire railed about was Nilsson’s lack of size (Nilsson was the same height, 10 pounds lighter on draft day). Eventually Parise fell to Edmonton’s pick and they dealt it to NJD in exchange for the two picks that became Pouliot and Jacques.
Since then I’ve followed Parise V Pouliot and Parise V Nilsson closely and frankly cheered for Nilsson even when he wasn’t an Oiler. Although Kenta’s son isn’t my ideal player-type as a fan there’s something very galling about watching a mid-40s man ripping a 17-year old on the biggest day of his life because an NHL organization liked him better. I keep thinking Maguire will “get it” one day, but each year he slams kids taken earlier than his favorites and although it might make for interesting television (I’ll debate you on that one if you wish) it is most certainly bad form.
Anyway, 05-06 was our first chance to compare Parise and Nilsson and it went like this:
- Parise 81gp, 14-18-32 .395 V Nilsson 53gp, 6-14-20 .377
- Parise EV/60: 1.46 V Nilsson EV/60: 1.56
- Parise PP/60: 3.35 V Nilsson PP/60: 3.37
This season we can take an even more detailed look:
- Parise 72gp, 30-31-61 .847 V Nilsson 64gp, 10-27-37 .578
- Parise EV/60: 2.00 V Nilsson EV/60: 2.39
- Parise PP/60: 4.09 V Nilsson PP/60: 2.52
Nilsson plays the third toughest competition amongst Oiler RW’s according to Desjardins, and he plays with the second best linemates. At 5×5 he’s been on for 35GF and 28GA.
Parise plays about the same level of competition as Nilsson, and he plays with the second best linemates too. It seems as though both coaches are trying to get a second scoring line from youth based on a quick glance at NJD roster makeup (please correct me if I’m wrong, haven’t seen them much). At 5×5 he’s been on for 46GF and 31GA.
Parise spends 20% of his overall icetime on the PP (263 total minutes). He leads the Devils in PP time-on-ice. Nilsson is spending about 16.5% of his overall icetime on the PP (146 minutes). He ranks 7th in terms of Oilers PP TOI performers, which is skewed a bit because Stoll plays the point most often.
Parise is having a very nice plus minus (+21) season, leading Devils forwards in that category. Nilsson also has a nice plus minus (+6) relative to team, leading Oilers players in that category.