#16 Prospect: Toni Rajala

Current Rank: #16
Summer 2009: #8

Rajala’s fall on this list (like Plante’s) is more about other players having good seasons than a step backward for the young Finn.

Rajala had a nice resume on draft day. Redline Report: “may be tiny and mostly a perimeter player, but his ultra high skill level and goal scoring prowess simply can’t be ignored.”

I suggested during the summer that he might be a more skilled version of Tony Salmelainen. I thought it might be interesting to see what Rajala looks like stacked up against a bunch of past and future Oilers prospects when run through Desjardins’ NHLE (per 82gp) at the same age (18).

  1. Sam Gagner (actual) 13-36-49
  2. Jarret Stoll 16-26-42
  3. Ales Hemsky 12-30-42
  4. Paarjavi-Svensson 19-22-41
  5. Trukhno 11-27-38
  6. Schremp 16-20-36
  7. Mike Comrie 15-20-35
  8. Pouliot 14-18-32
  9. Eberle 14-16-30
  10. Reddox 13-17-30
  11. Nash 11-19-30
  12. Cornet 11-17-28
  13. Rajala 12-14-26
  14. Cogliano 10-14-24
  15. Matt Lombardi 9-12-21
  16. Hartikainen 15-5-20

I’m not certain what it means but at the very least we can say with authority that Rajala’s offense is below elite level for an Oiler 18-year old. Stu MacGregor: “He led the U-18 world championships in scoring. He’s a real competitive guy, maybe size is an issue a little bit but he plays in the hard areas. He’s a kid with really good speed and hockey sense.”

One item with regard to Rajala that should be mentioned is his knee injury during a scrimmage in August. I’m not certain it’ll have any long term impact on his career but it did shorten his training camp and may have something to do with his performance this year. Either way, if Rajala is going to have an NHL career he’ll need to put up more offense based on his ranking above.

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