Oilers at Hawks, G12 ’10-’11

It is extremely rare for an Edmonton Oiler rookie to break into the NHL’s top 10 in rookie scoring.

Since 1997 there have been only three players do turn the trick:  Ales Hemsky tied for 7th, 2002-03; Sam Gagner finished 5th in 2007-08 and Andrew Cogliano was 6th in rookie scoring same year.

It’s early and you never want to project rookies too far out, but there’s a chance the Oilers will have three of the really good rookie scorers in the NHL this year. You know the names, but it’s interesting to note that Eberle (tied for 2nd) and Hall and Pääjärvi (tied for 6th) are getting a real push from the organization in terms of opportunity.

Here are the icetime leaders (forwards) so far this season among NHL rookies at even-strength (TOI per game):

  1. Taylor Hall 13:57
  2. Jordan Eberle 13:48
  3. Magnus Pääjärvi 13:44
  4. Jeff Skinner 13:29
  5. Michael Grabner 13:02

Skinner leads in rookie scoring and would appear to be the chief competition for the Oiler trio (along with Tyler Ennis. That guy is wicked). Of course, the Capitals have a goalie who is threatening to run away with the Calder race so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Here are the PP leaders among rookies (TOI per game):

  1. Jeff Skinner 3:13
  2. Andre Loktionov 3:04
  3. Jordan Eberle 2:49
  4. Logan Couture 2:30
  5. Tyler Ennis 2:26

Pääjärvi ranks 17th in this category. He’s tied for 3rd in EV scoring (5 points) and Eberle is tied for 1st in SH points (2, both goals). Some other notes:

  • Hall leads the league’s rookies in missed shots (he’s got a dynamite release and should have a bigger impact when he finds the range) with 19.
  • Hall also leads rookie forwards in giveaways, with both Pääjärvi and Eberle close behind him.
  • Eberle is second in takeaways.
  • Pääjärvi is 6th in the NHL (among rookies) in shots with 29. The other two kids trail by 5.
  • Their shooting percentages are interesting: Eberle (16.7); Hall (12.5); Pääjärvi (6.9)

I don’t have much to say about the game. Edmonton seems to play a more organized style when on the road, and Chicago is still in their Stanley haze. The defense is becoming a larger story (in a bad way) as the season rolls along, and I understand the Coen brothers are working up a script based on the penalty-kill. There is reportedly a title, but Intolerable Cruelty has already been taken and it sure as hell isn’t True Grit, so we’ll have to wait for news. I suggest Dummkopf.

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