One of the things most people never figured out about Craig MacTavish is how he handled rookies. Lost in the chorus of “he won’t play Schremp but Petersen’s on the PP!” was the fact that Craig MacTavish gave at-bats to a wide variety of rookies over the years. Many of them were not highly ranked draft picks and several have gone on to successful NHL careers. Today we’ll look at the rookie forwards, with their points-per-game total in rookie seasons.
- Mike Comrie 2.52
- Shawn Horcoff 2.24
- Dom Pittis 1.24
Two of the three forwards have gone on to have NHL careers and Horcoff has been a fine player for the Oilers. 2001-02 saw the Oilers score 205 goals, but rookies Chimera, Swanson and Rita didn’t play enough to be measured in this look-see.
2002-03 (Oilers scored 231 goals)
- Ales Hemsky 2.26
- Fernando Pisani 2.13
- Jason Chimera 1.90
All three have gone on to have NHL careers.
2003-04 (Oilers scored 221 goals)
- Jarret Stoll 1.39
- Mike Bishai 0.98
Stoll has become an NHL regular since his rookie season, Bishai a distant memory. 2005-06 was the year of the Oilers Stanley run, with no rookies getting huge playing time during a season Edmonton scored 256 goals.
- Brad Winchester 1.19
- Marc Pouliot 1.17
- Patrick Thoresen 1.15
- Zach Stortini 0.31
- JF Jacques 0.00
All 5 saw enough playing time to measure. Only Stortini is established as an NHLer but Winchester signed a contract the other day so must be close. Pouliot and Jacques still have a chance and Thoresen is a player looking to get back to the NHL (last I heard).
- Andrew Cogliano 2.37
- Kyle Brodziak 2.08
- Sam Gagner 1.96
Three very nice talents won jobs with MacT this season and one would guess they’ll all play for several seasons moving forward.
2008-09 (Oilers scored 228 goals)
- Liam Reddox 1.43
- Steve MacIntyre 1.43
The Oilers fanbase ranted about Rita and Schremp and others throughout his time here, but MacTavish gave chances to one dimensional kids, to college men who were drafted after everyone went home, to European free agents and enforcers too.
Here are the time-on-ice totals for Oilers rookies under Craig MacTavish.
- Sam Gagner (07-08) 1238:31
- Andrew Cogliano (07-08) 1112:17
- Kyle Brodziak (07-08) 1033:24
- Jarret Stoll (03-04) 945:18
- Patrick Thoresen (06-07) 776:33
- Ales Hemsky (02-03) 712:12
- Jason Chimera (02-03) 710:06
- Marc Pouliot (06-07) 600:12
- Dom Pittis (00-01) 506:13
- Liam Reddox (08-09) 481:39
- Brad Winchester (06-07) 476:18
- Mike Comrie (00-01) 466:54
- Shawn Horcoff (00-01) 452:12
- Fernando Pisani (02-03) 375:18
- Jean Francois Jacques (06-07) 292:44
- Zach Stortini (06-07) 207:27
- Brian Swanson (00-01) 174:38
- Mike Bishai (03-04) 128:18
- Tony Salmlelainen (03-04) 125:27
- Michel Riesen (00-01) 118:53
- Jani Rita (02-03) 114:26
- Steve MacIntyre (08-09) 86:07
I’ll have a look at the defenders in a few days.