Toni Rajala may well be the top forward prospect in the Oilers organization at this time. In his most recent feat of strength, the young Finn amazed AHL audiences with exceptional skill. How good was he? Outstanding.
In December, I tried an old timey system out in an effort to estimate even strength time on ice for the OKC Barons. The results are here. The idea of the project is to estimate even strength time on ice by:
- counting the EV minutes
- counting the EV goals
- dividing those two numbers to establish the length of time between each even strength time on ice goal
- estimating TOI for specific players by multiplying the above number by the total of EV goals for and against for said player.
The first go round gave interesting results, so I thought it might be worth doing the project again for the Barons’ post-season. Here are the results (781 EV minutes, 77 EV goals, meaning we get 10 minutes of gap for EV goals).
EVEN STRENGTH TOI AND 5X5/60 ESTIMATE, OKC BARONS 2013 PLAYOFFS
|NAME||GP, EV G-A-PTS||TOTAL G||EST TOI||ESTOI/ G||ES 5X5/60|
I think it is best to take these one by one.
- Toni Rajala: This is a very nice hockey player. At even strength he was ripping it up during the post-season and if this TOI total is correct then he and his linemates were creating enormous offensive opportunities. I have Khaira ahead of him on the prospect list, but he’s close to being the best of the bubbling under forwards. Despite size concerns, he may have an NHL future.
- Mark Arcobello: Crazy spring for him, no damn wonder they signed him. The Barons were clocking in at around 3 EV goals per game (!!!!) during the post-season, and the Arcobello-Cornet-Cheechoo line was good for 1 a game. As I mentioned yesterday, far closer to the NHL than he was one year ago.
- Antti Tyrvainen: He enjoyed a hot streak during the playoff run, accounting for his being out of position on this list. The 3 and 4 lines estimates appear low to me, but the top two lines were getting a lot of run (especially during the GR series).
- Josh Green: Veteran helped out during the playoffs, being used in a lesser offensive role but still delivering offense while playing down the depth chart.
- Anton Lander: When he was healthy, Lander delivered on the Nordic Line.
- Teemu Hartikainen: After the events of this past week, there’s perhaps a tendency to ‘look for clues’ in regard to his leaving. There’s not much here, suspect the lack of even strength offense in the NHL was more telling.
- Ben Eager: Posted solid numbers but you’d expect him to be better than 7th among F’s in the AHL.
- Jonathan Cheechoo: Solid but unspectacular offensive total for the veteran.
- CJ Stretch: Did well for the spot he was in.
- Tyler Pitlick: Miles better than the December look, I don’t think we should get too excited (this is an estimate and we don’t have the actual TOI number) but he played in 16 games and did some good things. That’s progress.
- Phil Cornet: Plenty of time with Arco-Cheechoo but he wasn’t pushing the river. I wonder if he returns.
- Andrew Hotham: He had a nice playoff run, the most productive (offensively) of the blue at evens.
- Chris VandeVelde: He’s an extreme defensive center. I don’t know if there’s room for him.
- Martin Marincin: A solid run in the playoffs, but he didn’t get a lot done offensively at evens.
- Randy Jones: Veteran was very effective.
- Brandon Davidson: Emerged this season, actually after Christmas. A nice story.
- Taylor Fedun: Average offense but skated miles. He may get an NHL shot in the fall.
I don’t know that we can take anything away from this and state it as fact, but Rajala’s fine showing (and that of Arcobello) confirms what our eyes saw: the Barons may not have a bunch of high picks posting offense in the AHL, but they do have some kids who’ve come from a long way back hitting big flies with some regularity.
(photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).