Reasonable Expectations for 08-09 (Nilsson)

This is Robert Nilsson with father Kenta after the New York Islanders took him in the first round of the 2003 Entry Draft. We know from stories written since this moment in time that the Oilers were sitting 2 slots below and muttering to themselves. Nilsson was their target, and the target was gone.

Eventually, the Oilers dealt down so NJD could select Zach Parise and others could pick Ryan Getzlaf, Brent Burns, Mike Richards and a bunch of other players who have not only made their way to the majors but had impressive impact on the game as a draft group. If you didn’t get a really good player in the first round of the 2003 Entry Draft, you gave up ground to the competition.

Big time.

Just for fun, let’s list the 2003 picks who have played over 200 NHL games:

  1. Eric Staal 327
  2. Nathan Horton 290
  3. Nikolai Zherdev 283
  4. Dustin Brown 269
  5. Brent Burns 267
  6. Tomas Vanek 245
  7. Zach Parise 244
  8. Dion Phaneuf 243
  9. Milan Michalek 240
  10. Patrice Bergeron 239
  11. Ryan Kesler 238
  12. Brent Seabrook 232
  13. Ryan Suter 229
  14. Jeff Carter 225
  15. Lee Stempniak 219
  16. Ryan Getzlaf 216
  17. Mike Richards 211
  18. Corey Perry 208
  19. Dan Fritsche 206

For Robert Nilson (128) or Marc Pouliot (78) to catch any of these guys is going to take some time. There’s a difference between lagging behind awhile and becoming a complete failure, however. It looks like Kenta’s son is going to have a career and when we look back in a decade this past season would be the turning point. Light went on, good things happened.


Robert Nilsson had some very good EV numbers for the Oilers last season. Very good. Here are the top ten 5×5/60 numbers in the NW division for 07-08:

  1. P. Stastny 3.12
  2. Iginla 2.85
  3. Gaborik 2.77
  4. Horcoff 2.59
  5. Svatos 2.59
  6. Brunette 2.56
  7. Wolski 2.54
  8. Nilsson 2.37
  9. Hemsky 2.36
  10. Demitra 2.34

Nilsson’s PP numbers were the suck last year, which flies in the face of what we know about him. It’s my guess that if he can stay healthy and continue to get quality results against softer opponents (Hemsky and Pisani played the tougher minutes at RW in 07-08) sooner or later he’ll post good PP numbers. Although the laundry list of PP options grew through the offseason, Nilsson’s being left handed and also having some chemistry with Gagner may bode well for him.

On August 9 2007, Craig MacTavish was quoted as saying “I think now we need either one more forward or we need one of our younger guys to develop, whether it’s (Andrew) Cogliano, whether it’s Robert Nilsson, whether it’s Robbie Schremp. It’s too early to put (Sam) Gagner in that list.”

What a difference a year makes to kids. Can Robert Nilsson sustain and improve on this past season? That’s the question.

By The Numbers

  • 07-08 5×5 per 60m: 2.37
  • 07-08 5×4 per 60m: 2.66

My Prediction/Actual Numbers From Last Year

  • Predicted: 82gp, 11-18-29 (.354 per game)
  • Actual: 71gp, 10-31-41 (.577 per game)

My Prediction for this Season

  • 77gp, 17-34-51 (.662 per game)

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14 Responses to "Reasonable Expectations for 08-09 (Nilsson)"

  1. Schitzo says:

    Is Nilsson’s PP time safe this year? Assuming both PP units run two defencemen, and 83 written in stone for the first unit PP, we have all of 10-27-26-12-13-89-34 potentially in the mix for PP time.

    Heck, if Hemsky sees the full 2 minutes, it really starts to limit the time available to others.

    I would think the 2nd unit may very well run 4 forwards. Otherwise, I’d seriously think about cutting Horcoff’s time. They’re going to need him much more badly in other areas.

  2. Schmidty says:

    Nilson, Gags and either Cole or Penner would be my guess for the second unit.

    Nilson has a nice one-timer from the right half boards. I expect to see him patrolling there.

  3. Scott says:

    While I think it would be a pretty good idea to run Hemsky out for somewhere between 1:45 and 2:00 of the PP, I don’t think that there is a reasonable chance of it happening, and it probably isn’t worth considering.

    Two d-men per PP seems like a lock and I really don’t think they would use four forwards on the second unit, since they’d end up with a forward playing D once it goes back to 5v5 too often.

    Judging from last year’s minutes given by MacT as well as past results for the players the four defencemen seem to be a slam dunk: Visnovski, Souray, Grebeshkov, Gilbert.

    The forwards should (and probably will) be Hemsky, Gagner, Horcoff, Penner, Nilsson and Cole. The only other guys that took any minutes last year that are still here were Cogliano and Pisani. They’ll fill in for any injuries or ineffectiveness but I couldn’t imagine a scenario where either of them takes minutes away from the other six until the above guys have failed.

  4. David says:

    Lowetide, thank you for doing what you do. Having such high-quality work to read every day is really wonderful.

  5. spOILer says:

    After reading another one of your fine posts LT, I’d say my only nitpick is that I expect Nilsson’s assist totals to rise a little more dramatically, especially if there’s a Cole or Penner on his line.

    I’d like to use Hemsky as a comp if I may, as the two have some similarities of play, if not necessarily the same upside.

    Hemsky at 22 went .951 ppg with better linemates and 1st PP time. In his next year he went .828 over 64 gp, playing much of it injured with other injured and no Smytty after the deadline. This year he returned to .959.

    Judging by this, is it fair to say that other than the addition of a better goal-scorer and more quality PP time, Nilsson should plateau somewhat?

    I don’t know, but I doubt it. I think Hemsky took it up a notch against tougher comp this year and appears to be rounding the corner into the home stretch of his potential. Last year was injury wasteland.

    Nilsson will likely get another chance to beat up on softies, AND gain a better goal-scorer. This happened to Hemsky too between his 2nd and 3rd NHL years, and he pretty much doubled his PPG. But of course, there was that year in Pardibuce in between.

    Kind of like Nilsson’s year of exile in the AHL between his first and second years?

    A little too optimistic to expect Nilsson to hit the mid 900s in ppg next year. He won’t have enough total TOI or 1st PP TOI for starters.

    But add a Penner or Cole, let them have at the soft parade, and a significant jump by Nilsson is possible, say somewhere in the .7 to .75 range.

    I’m going to go with 15-43-58 in 77 gp for .75ppg if he gets Cole as his RW and another minute or so of cake ice time (13:55 TOI/gm last year). I think given those assists, he should be able to take it up a notch. I hope.

  6. Big T says:

    Man, 2003 is a dark spot on the Prendergast drafting regime. Lets hope Row-bear and Poo start really seeing the ball well this season.


  7. rickibear says:

    Big T: Dark Spot? What?

    2003 nhl Draft Edmonton

    1 22 22 EDM(from STL) Marc-Antoine Pouliot

    2 21 51 EDM Colin McDonald

    2 38 68 EDM(from N.J) J-F Jacques

    3 4 72 EDM Mishail Joukov

    3 26 94 EDM(from VAN) Zachery Stortini

    5 11 147 EDM (from MTL) Kalle Olsson

    5 18 154 EDM David Rohlfs

    6 17 184 EDM Dragan Umicevic

    7 17 214 EDM Kyle Brodziak

    7 18 215 EDM Mathieu Roy

    8 19 248 EDM Josef Hrabal

    9 17 278 EDM Troy Bodie

    Pouliot, Jacques, Storitini, Brodziak, Roy, Hrabal


  8. Schitzo says:

    rickibear: The 2003 draft was like going to a party full of drunk supermodels and at the end of the night going home with the cute girl serving drinks.

    I mean, yeah, we got some action. But goddamn, look at the chicks our buddies hooked up with.

  9. goldenchild says:

    schitzo The 2003 draft was like going to a party full of drunk supermodels and at the end of the night going home with the cute girl serving drinks.

    I mean, yeah, we got some action. But goddamn, look at the chicks our buddies hooked up with.

    Best Analagy ever!

  10. Doogie2K says:

    Bleh. Forget the supermodels. The cute girl serving drinks is less likely to have something.

  11. Schitzo says:

    Dammit Doogie, I laughed out loud and now have to explain to my wife why the phrase “Kyle Brodziak: Will not give you the clap” is so funny.

  12. Kish says:

    schitzo, I’m not really liking the analogy. It’s pretty sexist and jokes about date rape.
    (sighs, shrugs shoulders)

  13. Dennis says:

    Along with 13, here’s a guy who’s numbers are hard to peg because you just don’t know how much PP time he’s going to get.

    I think the first PP unit will be 83/89 plus 26 or 27 and Vishnovsky/Souray on the blueline.

    So, just how much time will 12 see on the PP and who’ll be with him? Probably 13 and one of 26/27 and 37/77 on the blueline; that unit won’t likely see enough time to really pump a guy’s numbers.

  14. Doogie2K says:

    Dammit Doogie, I laughed out loud and now have to explain to my wife why the phrase “Kyle Brodziak: Will not give you the clap” is so funny.

    You’re welcome. I, in turn, may have to “borrow” your summation at some point in the future. =)

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