ALL DOWN THE LINE

Edmonton Oiler fans have been waiting for big, strong centermen with skill since trading Mark Messier. There have been fleeting solutions, but with the exception of the ill-fated Jason Arnott (a chapter of its own) era its been a long time coming.

The great thing about following each draft is the surprises that follow. Did you know Jujhar Khaira played center? I didn’t, but he’s playing it at Michigan Tech and lately he’s been scoring at a rapid clip. At 6.03, 195 if he can score, play a physical game and win faceoffs? Music!

Lets go back to the draft courtesy Redline Report:

  • Redline Report At Red Line, we believe this kid could be the biggest/best sleeper of the entire draft. Prince George is so far off the beaten path teams don’t even travel there for WHL games, much less BCHL contests, so he gets zero exposure. But this kid is big, mean, aggressive, nasty, and guess what… he can score too. Does the dirty work in the corners, bangs bodies and wins battles, and loves to initiate heavy contact. Powerful stride with great balance and gets leverage on his hits. Has surprisingly soft hands and puck skills with playmaking ability. Creates lots of space for smaller teammates and makes everyone braver. Very raw defensively.

Early in the Michigan Tech season, Khaira wasn’t posting much offensively. No big deal, freshman often get the back seat in terms of playing time. However, this weekend may end up being a turning point for Khaira, as he scored 2 goals and an assist on Friday and added an assist in last night’s game. His season totals are now 10, 2-6-8 and he’s certainly trending.

Note: The Top 20 will begin sometime this week, I’ll spread it out over the period from now until Christmas week and will end it with a complete 1-30 update. Stay tuned.

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27 Responses to "ALL DOWN THE LINE"

  1. Southern Oil says:

    I’m terrible at comps but was recently watching a lot of the old ‘Boys on the Bus’ games vrs. Calgary. Any thoughts how he might compare to Joel Otto? Following the report, I see he is raw defensively but maybe that part of his game can grow over the next few years OR do you see more top 6 potential there? He’ll be interesting to follow for sure though.

  2. PunjabiOil says:

    Probably a long shot to be honest. Needs to clip at 0.7 PPG at the minimum for the full season, and we can talk about the future. Only 12 SOG thus far in the year, and while he’s just getting his feet wet, he’ll need to improve on that.

    Hopefully he realizes the WHL will be his best opportunity to develop into an NHL player and transfers next summer a la Pitlick.

    I’m a proponent of school and education, but not everyone gets the opportunity to become an NHL players. Sometimes, education needs to take a backseat.

    Riley Nash exemplified such.

  3. Lowetide says:

    I don’t think we know yet. Otto didn’t hit college until age 20, so he was an older rookie when he arrived in the NHL. That’s a lot of developmental years, and we won’t really know about Khaira’s ability away from the puck for some time. But I think he’s on a Mich Tech team that is on the way up, so there’ll be plenty of opportunity.

  4. OilTastic says:

    seems to me that whenever big talented centers were available at the draft, the BPA was always a winger or slightly smaller center. in 2009 for example, Peter Holland and Chris Kreider were there, but the Oil took Magnus. in 2010, it was Taylor Hall, listed as a center, he now plays wing. jury’s still out on Pitlick and Martindale. we had no chance to get big center Ryan Johansen or smaller but talented Jeff Skinner. same in 2011, picked talented but lighter RNH but no chance to get bigger centers like Sean Couturier or Mika Zibanejad.

  5. Lowetide says:

    In terms of SOG, I think he played sparingly in some of those games but you’re right he’ll need to shoot more, wish we had his BCJHL totals.

    As for the WHL, he expressed interest but the Oilers (iirc) said they didn’t think it made a difference. We’ll see, sometimes the OK get involved and maybe this player will be an example. Who owns his WHL rights?

  6. PunjabiOil says:

    Everett Silvertips

  7. RexLibris says:

    PunjabiOil,

    Is that the punchline to the joke or the answer to LT’s question?

    Poor Everett, first Peddle, then Seth Jones. If they lose Khaira because the Oilers want him to play for the Oil Kings next year and “massage” a trade between the organizations it would be just another bad blow.

  8. RexLibris says:

    Would anyone here find it interesting if Khaira were put in direct contrast to, oh, I don’t know, let’s say Mark Jankowski?

    ;-)

  9. gd says:

    I see a lot of green arrows for Khaira;

    -The fact that he moved up to the first line after a two week break, tells me he impressed the coaches with his practice ethic. He took almost 40% of the team’s faceoffs this weekend, so I think he was playing in all situations. He is definitely the youngest guy on the team and might be the youngest guy in WCHA.

    -If he can become a Gaustad/Zajac like Centre, to replace Horcoff in two years, that would be in my mind the perfect fit to a RNH/Gagner top two. In fact he tracks Zajac’s career pretty closely. If I did my math right, Zajac wasn’t drafted until his 19 year, so at this point Khaira is actually ahead of him.

    -I think NCAA might be the better route for a big guy, as he might be better off playing 21 & 22 year old Dmen, than the younger guys in the WHL (see Brule). I believe the WCHA has the best track record of turning out NHL players in the NCAA (U of Minnesota has at least 15 drafted guys on their roster) and playing on a middle of the pack team seems to have allowed him to move up the ranks quicker than he would have at a team like Minnesota.

    Plus he looks big on the ice. Any kind of scoring he can show in the next two years, puts him in the high probability prospect category.

  10. spoiler says:

    LT

    Any chance we can have a summary post of where all the prospects are in terms of league, GP, G-A-P before we embark on the month long ranking journey? Sort of where the horses stand at the quarter pole type thing? Including the Jrs, the E, the A, the K, the NCAA, the W…

    It’s been so ad hoc with everyone playing all over hell and hades that it’s tough to see the whole picture. And, if you’re up for it, I think a pole marker would be handy.

  11. Bar_Qu says:

    quote cite=”comment-192950″>

    PunjabiOil:
    Probably a long shot to be honest.Needs to clip at 0.7 PPG at the minimum for the full season, and we can talk about the future.Only 12 SOG thus far in the year, and while he’s just getting his feet wet, he’ll need to improve on that.

    Hopefully he realizes the WHL will be his best opportunity to develop into an NHL player and transfers next summer a la Pitlick.

    I’m a proponent of school and education, but not everyone gets the opportunity to become an NHL players.Sometimes, education needs to take a backseat.

    Riley Nash exemplified such.

    This is always the wrong attitude, especially for someone drafted as late as Khaira was. If hockey gets him a degree then he has covered his draft bet, NHL be damned. If he gets his degree, learns the game & plays some for the Oilers so much the better. If the WHL actually provided some future benefit to the kid then I’d be in favor of him switching, but i think he’s smart to learn his craft the way he is.

  12. Lowetide says:

    spoiler: I could, but Seachd does it every year at hfboards. Updated this morning. Whatta guy!

    http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=1257183

  13. gogliano says:

    I agree with Bar Qu, I’d be going for the degree. He is also getting a degree that will net him real cash — he’s in engineering IIRC. Though the flipside of that is that it’ll eat up more of his time than your typical sports major.

    I really liked this pick and these are great early results. Coach is already starting to trust him and he is still very raw and young (August 13th birthday, he just turned 18!). Playing center in one of the best NCAA divisions isn’t easy so those points are earned in full.

    I’m rooting for him.

  14. gogliano says:

    Lowetide:
    spoiler: I could, but Seachd does it every year at hfboards. Updated this morning. Whatta guy!

    http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=1257183

    Those Schultz numbers are insane.

  15. spoiler says:

    Lowetide:
    spoiler: I could, but Seachd does it every year at hfboards. Updated this morning. Whatta guy!

    http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/showthread.php?t=1257183

    Awesome, thanks! Only time I’m ever at HF is to read Luedeke, so had no idea.

  16. Lowetide says:

    Yeah, I don’t go there anymore except for Seachd updates. Good people I’m sure, but there’s not enough time in the day.

  17. jp says:

    Lowetide: f

    Damn it! I spend a good chunk of my afternoon yesterday looking all that info up! Was going to post it shortly. Good to know where else to find it though for next time!

  18. Lowetide says:

    jp: lol. I should post it on the side. The guy’s been doing it for over decade iirc and updates it all the time. Terrific source.

  19. jp says:

    Lowetide,

    Hehe, I’ve been looking that stuff up about once a month for years now. Searchd doesn’t have +/- or SOG, but that’s not so important. If only I had all that time back! :)

  20. spoiler says:

    Lowetide:
    Yeah, I don’t go there anymore except for Seachd updates. Good people I’m sure, but there’s not enough time in the day.

    LT, maybe I can return the favour then with this from Kirk.

    More goodies if you click thru on his profile and look at his recent posts. Handy stuff with Woodlief not writing for USA Today thus far.

  21. godot10 says:

    PunjabiOil:
    Probably a long shot to be honest.Needs to clip at 0.7 PPG at the minimum for the full season, and we can talk about the future.Only 12 SOG thus far in the year, and while he’s just getting his feet wet, he’ll need to improve on that.

    Hopefully he realizes the WHL will be his best opportunity to develop into an NHL player and transfers next summer a la Pitlick.

    I’m a proponent of school and education, but not everyone gets the opportunity to become an NHL players.Sometimes, education needs to take a backseat.

    Riley Nash exemplified such.

    I disagree with this. If you are not an elite junior hockey prospect, then hockey and a college degree and a more normal social environment is a better route than playing junior hockey, if you have the option. It is a credit to the Oilers that they did not discourage Khaira from going to college.

    Craig Simpson sent his kid to college.

  22. godot10 says:

    The CHL also reneges on their tuition promise if a graduating CHL player signs any sort of minor professional contract.

    The CHL basically disallows a player from pursuing a dual path. Which is why if one has the option for the dual path that US college hockey offers, that is the better option for a non-elite prospect.

  23. Lowetide says:

    spoiler: Cool. Luedeke is a favorite of mine, but I hadn’t caught up to that thread. Excellent!

    Ricky Ray will be at the Grey Cup. Not sour grapes, but should should we. Thanks tillman!

  24. RexLibris says:

    Lowetide,

    I’ll be cheering for him. It sucks, but we’ve seen this act before (star traded from EDM) and I’ve had time to heal. I cheered for Messier, MacTavish and company in ’94, and if Calgary is on the other end, I can sure as heck find it in myself to pull for the double-blue for one day.

  25. fuzzy muppet says:

    Twitter is abuzz:

    Klembom may need season ending surgery. SHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEIT

  26. Lowetide says:

    Frack. Frack frack frack. Frack.

  27. rickithebear says:

    in a .19NHL EQ. he projected to .75PPG. thought of him for Moroz spot.

    moves up to a .45NHL EQ league and projects to .75PPG

    Dif you guys go to game logs Michigan techs web site?

    http://www.michigantechhuskies.com/sports/mice/2012-13/players/jujharkhaira7hzq?view=gamelog

    when he got his points and with who is very telling.

    http://www.michigantechhuskies.com/sports/mice/2012-13/teams/michigantech?sort=p&view=lineup&pos=sk&r=0
    game misconduct 8 min in to game

    He played with: Petan, D.johnstone, B. Pietila in GM 2, 3, 8,9,10
    5GM 2G 5A 7P 1.4PPG +1 9Sh last 3 G
    He played with Furme, Kero, Gould, Gordic in GM 4,5,6,7
    4GM 0G 1A 1P .25PPG -1 3SH

    D. Johnstone with Jujhar 5GM 1G 7A 8P 1.6PPG +1 12SH
    without 5GM 0G 0A 0P -4 14SH

    A. petan with Jujhar 5GM 4G 4A 8P 1.6PPG +2 14SH
    without 5GM 0G 2A 2P .4PPG -2 9SH

    U19 in his production range NCAA.
    11-12 Gaudreau; Peca
    10-11 Schwartz, Tynan; Zucker
    09-10 D,amigo; Pirri
    08-09 Schroeder; Stepan
    07-08 JVR; Turris; C. Wilson
    06-07 Toews; Okposo; Galliardi
    05-06 Kessel
    03-04 Hensick; Stafford

    1.4PPG at this age 18 gets you Schwartz, Schroeder, Toews, Kessel.
    1.0 to .8 gets you the rest.

    Had this sitting here since A.M.
    Collected the oldest boy who went to visit 14 cousins in NB with his mom.
    Saw GD’s comments.
    this fits minimum expectations. 6’3″ 195LB and 3 months into 18YR.

    But if he is 1.3 to 1.5 PPG the rest of the season. Jesus!

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