In 2007-08, the Edmonton Oilers had two rookie forwards they liked in offensive roles: Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner. Lacking clear alternatives, the Oilers gave a lot of powerplay time to the kids.
388 minutes, or about 16% of their total (2,400) minutes as rookies were spent on the PP. What did they do with those minutes? Gagner gobbled up the most time (221 and a half) and went 4-12-16. This represented a 4.33/60 minutes number on the PP. The point total (16) was fully 32.6% of his overall offense. Cogliano went 1-6-7 in 166.5 minutes, or 2.52/60 on the PP. Cogs’ point total was only 15.6% of his overall offense.
The Edmonton Oilers 10-11 have a unique problem. Fully four of their rookies will probably earn powerplay time (based on roster makeup and organizational mission statement) this season, an enormous and frankly impossible total. When predicting their boxcars this season, powerplay time is an extreme wild card.
- Boxcars: 49gp, 12-17-29 (all numbers SEL)
- Shots: 160
- Plus Minus: +14
- What do these numbers tell us? He had a good season in a solid pro league. Although Hall and Eberle are more well known to North American fans, this player has a wealth of pro experience. That’s the number one tell from these numbers. He also takes a large number of shots (3.26 per game); if he managed that in a full NHL season, we’d be looking at 267 shots (well clear of Penner’s team leading 203). I believe he’ll be as much a shooter as Chipper Jones, if that helps.
- How could these numbers be better? He seems to be a streaky bugger offensively. I nicked him a bit for that, I think the Oilers will have little hesitation to let some of these kids view a game or three from the gondola. The plus minus implies he might have some special skills as a 2-way player, but betting against that (gifted offensive players are rarely aware of what is happening at the other end as they enter pro) is probably a good idea. I think his SEL experience will be beneficial but fully expect the whistle to blow at training camp several times to go over positioning (again) for specific situations. All young players do this, well maybe not Craig Ramsay as a rookie but he had Roger Neilson nattering in his ear before turning pro.
- What will we notice about him? Foot speed and size. He’s listed as 6.01, 201 and that makes him bigger than the other three prospects (Hall: 6.01, 185; Jordan Eberle: 5.10, 174; Linus Omark 5,09, 170). I don’t know that he has much idea about how to use his size, but this is a marathon and not a sprint. He’s going to learn this stuff if he’s as good as advertised.
- Anything else? His age. I’ve read a few placed where people talk about him being more mature than some of the other kids coming to camp. He might be physically bigger, but MPS was born just 7 months before Taylor Hall. In terms of maturity, I think they’re going to be pretty close. The good indicator re: age is that the kid has done a lot before age 20 than tells us he can compete against men.
- What are his Desjardins NHLE’s? 16-22-38. That puts him behind Hall and Eberle, but only by a few points. I don’t think we can really give anyone a clear edge without all of the time on ice totals.
- Will he be a complete player? This is probably going to be the Achilles for Edmonton’s rookie forward prospects. All are wingers–the hockey equivalent of LW or 1B–but there are things that might make one a better penalty killer or another a better option for an energy 4th line. I suspect Eberle and Omark to be the better options for the forseeable future, but it is a guess.
- How much PP do you see him getting? Less than Gagner did, that’s for damn sure. Maybe Cogliano’s total plus a little bit?
- How many of the points below are PP points? 12.
- Why are these projections so low? Remember when Pisani rode shotgun for Stoll and Torres? Nice veteran presence, a guy who did subtle but important things to send the play in the right direction. If you could name the fellow who will play “Pisani” to one of these rookies, then I’ll start feeling better about their rookie totals. As it is, some of these estimates will be too high.
- But you agree that Pääjärvi will be the first or second of the group sent down? No. I think Omark is the first one off the island, followed by Eberle. The two speed demons stay.
Prediction for 2010-11: 66gp, 12-18-30
More OOH’s and AAH’s than GF, but he’s a player