Nash’s Season

Riley Nash (#14 in red) is my pick for the top prospect in the Oilers organization. He’s slightly ahead of Jordan Eberle (extremely valuable because he’s a shooter) and Theo Peckham (who has a nice range of skills and matches perfectly specific organizational needs).

I believe he’s had a nice season and progress has been made. Let’s look at the numbers, understanding his season isn’t over yet.

The Boxcars: 32gp, 12-21-33, +8 and 26pims. This compares to last season: 36gp, 12-20-32 +5 and 28pims.

Slight improvement. Fair?

I have some secondary numbers for Nash from this season (btw, he was named 1st-Team All- ECAC the other day). He has taken 91 shots in 32 games, 2.84 per game. His faceoff percentage (I’m missing 4 games so this isn’t the exact number) is just shy of 50% (49.4). The shot total is interesting. We’ve always been told that Nash has a nice range of skills and a shots-per-game number of 2.84 is pretty good for a guy with a reputation of being more playmaker than scorer.

Lots to like, I still think he’s number one. I do wonder about Peckham, though. When all is said and done he might be the best player in the system at this time.

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29 Responses to "Nash’s Season"

  1. Scott says:

    I’ve been pretty down on Nash because of his decision to stay at Cornell and then some of Prendergast’s comments earlier in the year but his numbers do look good to this point in the season and if I remember right, his splits are also very good.

    I think that if you’re going to have a discussion about other contenders that Omark should at least be in the conversation. Size is admittedly an issue, but it’s also an issue for Eberle. I think that there is a case to be made that Omark is further along than Eberle as a prospect at this time and might be inclined to put him at number two.

  2. Yeti says:

    Thanks, LT, once again for the continuing updates on prospects.

    I’m wondering – has there been any evidence that staying in college for several years is actually detrimental to a prospect? I guess that depends somewhat on the school in question, but surely the college system has produced some very nice players who have completed their degrees. To put it another way, is Nash criticised for staying in school a year to long, or just that he stayed in the wrong school?

  3. gogliano says:

    It would be tough to measure, as you’d have an “endogeneity” problem: do prospects benefit from leaving school early, or do the better prospects leave school early because they are the better prospects?

    In any event, has Nash given a reason why he would prefer to stay at Cornell? I’m not sure that a young man who wants to take advantage of an Ivy league education is such a bad thing, if you are thinking of the long terms demands of professional sports (a hard worker is a hard worker). But if he wants to stick around because it is a fun ride, that obviously changes the equation.

  4. Black Gold says:

    Off topic:
    Feels strange cheering for calgary and anaheim regulation wins tonight.

  5. godot10 says:

    Nash has something most other hockey prospects don’t have. He has a choice about his future. One cannot force that choice. If you force it, you might ruin him has a prospect, because he won’t necessarily be committed to hockey at that point. Let him choose hockey when he is ready to choose hockey.

    With Horcoff, Gagner, and Cogliano, the Oilers have not need to hurry Nash along.

  6. Dennis says:

    I wonder what Hitler would have to say about the state of the Oilers minor league system; the Falcons in general.

    I can just imagine him taking off his glasses when he was told about Schremp’s progess..

  7. Black Gold says:

    Or chorney..
    “Sir, Chorney is a -25 against the ahl softs”

    Haha.
    I just downloaded that movie, think i’ll give it a watch after the cgy game and the nash game.
    Anyone watched it?

  8. Quinn says:

    LT,

    that the way it is

  9. HBomb says:

    Wow, Calgary up by one late, CHEESY too-many-men call on the Flames….anyone willing to bet against Dallas tying this thing up?

  10. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    godot10 said…

    With Horcoff, Gagner, and Cogliano, the Oilers have not need to hurry Nash along.

    Unless they want to win a Cup in this generation.

  11. godot10 says:

    //With Horcoff, Gagner, and Cogliano, the Oilers have not need to hurry Nash along.
    Unless they want to win a Cup in this generation.//

    Nash is a Horcoff replacement. We don’t need him for 4 years or so.

    Horcoff, Gagner, Cogliano, and a veteran shutdown centre is what is required for the near to medium term future.

    We want to stop developing everybody at the same time. Omark and Eberle are next in line. Nash only has to be ready by the time Horcoff’s NMC has expired.

  12. Icecastles says:

    And Calgary wins in regulations! That’s two games in hand on Dallas with a point up in the standings. If edmonton makes it into the playoffs, it will truly the most drunken stumble across the finish line ever.

  13. jon k says:

    Though there isn’t an organizational need to rush Nash to the NHL, I think there is definitely a developmental need to get him to the AHL, RFN

    Overall though I think he’s had a nice year, though his numbers this year suggest his offense in the NHL is going to be more middling than mighty.

    I’d put him above Eberle to be sure, and despite me being a Petry booster since the beginning he has to get a bit knicked for this year, loathe as I am to admit it.

    Peckham has always been a favorite of mine given that he’s a good combination of grit, motivation, and hockey sense.

    I think there’s an argument to be made that these four players form a cluster at the top of the organization’s prospect pool, and regardless of the order you put them in they are a fairly close close cluster.

  14. Fake Craig McTavish says:

    godot10 said…

    Horcoff, Gagner, Cogliano, and a veteran shutdown centre is what is required for the near to medium term future.

    We want to stop developing everybody at the same time. Omark and Eberle are next in line. Nash only has to be ready by the time Horcoff’s NMC has expired.

    Required to do what?

    The veteran shutdown centre is already on the team and Gagner likely won’t be ready to get a promotion while Hemsky’s contract exists and Horcoff’s contract will be an impediment there.

    If the near to medium future is 5 years or more, you may be right but that’s an awful long time while other teams are bringing in better reinforcements.

    This team, at centre, has put all it’s eggs in the Horcoff/Gagner basket and there are many better baskets out there.

  15. oilerdago says:

    Great read as always LT. Interesting comments about Peckham possibly being the best in the system.

    I wonder how much it is him stepping up vs. a lot of players graduating last year.

    Godot: I think you have the best take on all of this. Part of the issue is we’re developing too many young kids at the same time.

    It’s great for the future, but hard on the present. It would be nice if next year, all we were developing were Peckham.

    If Omark or Eberle are ready, then great but my sense is next year is when Cogs and Gagner take significant steps forward in terms of boxcars and Brodziak becomes the 3rd line checking center on a permanent basis and Smid could step into a top 4 if they have to move one of Grebs/Gilbert to fit everyone under the cap.

    Where Nilsson and Pouliot fit is anyone’s guess.

  16. B.C.B. says:

    I personally hope the Nash stays in Cornell. I rather see a bright young kid get a great university education and possible make the NHL a couple years later, then have him play a few years in the bottom six and be done with hockey without any other options.

    Plus, the longer he stays the longer we don’t have him against the salary cap or taking up a contract slot.

  17. reijo29 says:

    - Nash better not be 4 years away. 6 years from draft to NHL ready. No way.
    - Cogs time at Center is limited unless Adam Oates is one of the new coaches. And in that case say hello to Todd Marchant Jr. (with Hands).
    - Gagner is probably only a year, Max. 2 years away from being the 1st line center.
    - In the final 4 years of Horcoff’s contract I hope he slowly moves down the depth chart. (2 more yrs Max – 1st line, 2 years in 2nd line/tough mins, last 2 yrs on another team or maybe 3rd line).

  18. doritogrande says:

    Intangebles aside, if scoring barely over a point per game equates to first-team all star for a league, you’ve hit your developmental peak for said league. I hope they get the Ginger playing some tougher competition next season. To be honest, if it takes signing big brother Brendon to a contract in Springfield, I’d make that commitment.

    I don’t think he’s our best prospect because I don’t see him topping out beyond a second-line player. I like our two big defensemen for the pick of the litter. Both Jeff Petry and Alex Plante have the physical tools to be top-pairing guys if they reach their potential.

    I base a prospect’s worth to an organization on potential until they’re old enough to play professional hockey. Once they take the step to playing for money, they better be able to transform that potential into product or they drop from the prospect rankings faster than you can say “Rob Schremp”.

  19. doritogrande says:

    - In the final 4 years of Horcoff’s contract I hope he slowly moves down the depth chart. (2 more yrs Max – 1st line, 2 years in 2nd line/tough mins, last 2 yrs on another team or maybe 3rd line).

    That’s not too positive a picture you’re painting. I like mine better:

    When it has been determined that Horcoff no longer drives the bus on the top offensive line (most definitely later than the two years you suggest), let him play his way towards the defensive master of the game, while still enjoying some good linemates (read: NO MOREAUS).

    He’d be our own Sergei Fedorov.

  20. reijo29 says:

    I live in Calgary and I watch Plante & the Hitmen a lot and I hate to say that I think there is little to no chance he will be a Top 2 guy.
    I would say his ceiling is a bigger Jason Smith and the floor is likely a grittier Jason Strudwick.
    He still can't skate that well and he is the 3rd or 4th D man here despite being the only 1st Round Pick.
    I'm hopeful and fairly confident he will be an NHL Player but he is several years (3-4) away and likely a 4-6 D man not a 1-3.

  21. R3dm3n8c3 says:

    It would be tough to measure, as you’d have an “endogeneity” problem: do prospects benefit from leaving school early, or do the better prospects leave school early because they are the better prospects?

    Are you an economist by chance?

  22. HBomb says:


    The veteran shutdown centre is already on the team and Gagner likely won’t be ready to get a promotion while Hemsky’s contract exists and Horcoff’s contract will be an impediment there.

    Veteran shutdown centre, eh? We don’t have one of those.

    What we do have is a veteran power-vs-power centre who is very effective in that role (as evidenced by the significant outscoring success of the combination of Penner-Horcoff-Hemsky against the opposition’s best). If we actually had this shutdown center for the 3rd line that you speak of FCM, the team would be better off, not having to run out Shawn Horcoff for double-duty night after night.

    The “plan” should be to have Horcoff/Gagner as the 1/2 centres (mileage varies depending on if Hemsky plays with Gagner to try and “kill the soft” or if they go with Horcoff/Hemsky power vs power) with a solid 3C giving the team necessary depth.

    As Gagner gets better, this team gets better. Having Horcoff as the other center in the top six helps matters – it’s not an impediment, as you suggest.

    The other issue in play here – Cogliano needs to be converted to RW, and soon. The sooner this team admits that they can succeed with both him and Gagner on the roster, but not with both as centers (frankly, any of Cogliano/Gagner/Horcoff on the 3rd line is a waste, and beyond that, Cogliano is probably better suited for the wing anyways), the better off they are.

  23. Coach pb9617 says:

    Like DG, I’ve got Nash behind Petry, but not Plante. Every report I’ve read says that Plante can’t skate.

  24. Smarmy Boss says:

    Since we’re talking prospects. I’d like to talk up one of the boys that flies under the radar.

    As you may or may not know. Milan Kytnar had a fantastic season with the Saskatoon Blades this season.

    Under Lorne Molleken’s tutelage he has really blossomed as a prospect.

    65gp 27g 37a 64p +15. Had he not went to the WJC he would have been right with his linemate Derek Hulak as the team’s top scorer.

    At the awards banquet he won the hardest working player award and the Brian Skrudland Award as the best defensive forward.

    My only beef with him is he tends to take a lot of hooking penalties. (Think Horcoff back in the day)

    That’s nitpicking though. I think the Oilers might have a diamond in the rough with this kid.

    Looking forward. I hope Oiler scouts had a good look at Burke Gallimore. A local boy that was named the Blades rookie of the year. He would be a nice selection around the 3rd round.

  25. Dennis says:

    HB: Not sure who wrote it – pretty sure it was a Journal blurb – but yesterday it was in print that the Oil see 13 as a Marchant type.

    That means more growing pains next season for all of us.

  26. HBomb says:

    Dennis: Given his skill-set, they are both long-and-short selling Cogliano by comparing him to Marchant.

    Why not view him as a Martin St. Louis?

  27. dawgbone says:

    Cornell came back from a 3-1 3rd period deficit to beat Princeton 4-3 in 2OT.

    I missed the 2 Cornell goals (flipping between that game and the Oilers game), but Nash generated about 5 or 6 really good chances in OT before Colin Greening snapped home the winner.

    He has a really good knack of swooping in on the forecheck and taking the puck away. Being the C, he’s usually the 1F high, so he’ll be outside the zone, then he just sort of comes down and attacks the puck carrier and causes him all sorts of trouble. Deceptively quick player.

    The game was on the NHL network, and they usually replay these things over the next 24 hours or so.

  28. dawgbone says:

    Cornell plays Yale in the ECAC final today, it’s on the NHL network again (7pm EST I think).

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