Photos courtesy of Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved. I hope the Barons get done with Ohio teams soon, I’m running out of songs!
Mid-week game this week, and for Oiler fans a chance to see if the current scoring leaders (Schultz, Hartikainen, Marincin, Martindale) can stay ahead of the more gifted offensive players (Nuge, Eberle).
And maybe that’s not completely correct. Maybe Justin Schultz belongs on a higher rung. In Elliott Friedman’s 30 thoughts this week, he writes the following:
- Oklahoma City tracks individual player plus/minus for scoring chances. “After Friday night’s game [a 5-2 win over San Antonio], assistant coaches Gerry Fleming and Rocky Thompson said Justin was a plus-10,” head coach Todd Nelson said. “Then they said, ‘We’ve never seen that before.’ I haven’t either.”
From what I’ve seen of Schultz he’d fit right into the 80′s Oilers. Slicing into the offensive zone–even on a penalty kill–and pressuring the other side consistently. He has the wheels to do it at the AHL level, will he also PK in the NHL?
I mentioned this last night, but will reiterate: there’s a very good chance Schultz plays in all three disciplines, as early as this season. He’s going to get EV playing time–probably with a veteran like Schultz the elder–and PP would seem to be guaranteed based on performance. If they add PK minutes Schultz could be a 22-24 minutes defender as a rookie.
And for those worrying about his defensive acumen, Friedman quotes the coach.
- Todd Nelson: “He’s a quick learner. In our exhibition games he got caught up ice a couple of times. I only had to explain to him once that if he does that he has to be the first guy to get back. He adjusted… Very high hockey IQ.”
Hartikainen got his shot early on with the skilled kids, but I also think he should be getting credit for posting EV numbers with different linemates. The big Finn seems to be moving around the lineup and is having success, and this after a somewhat invisible performance in game one.
It’ll be interesting to see how Magnum PS does tonight and the rest of the AHL/lockout period. His North American career has been one of great success as a rookie followed by significant difficulty in season two.
If another coach–Nelson, and then another–Krueger–pass him by, then does the story stop being about Renney losing him and more about where he fits?
I think it does. A lot riding on this fall in OKC.
Updated 515p: via Eric Rodgers tweets
- D-Pairs: Schultz/Marincin, Davidson/Teubert, Ringwald/Fedun. Yann Danis in net
- Hartikainen-RNH-Eberle, Paajarvi-Martindale-Arcobello, Tyrvainen-Lander-Hamilton, Byers-VandeVelde-Pitlick