OKC RE REVISITED: WINNERS AND LOSERS (FWDS)

Long time readers of this blog will know that I set a ‘line in the sand’–a reasonable expectation–for all Oiler and Baron players at the beginning of the season. This year, the Barons had a lot of movement and that impacted the RE. Who is the big winner? Loser? Here we go.

WINNERS

  • Toni Rajala: RE was 25, 3-1-4 and he delivered 46, 17-28-45, 39 more points than expected. I knew he had talent and felt he would earn some playing time in OKC, but the numbers he posted were sensational. I won’t make that mistake again.
  • Mark Arcobello: RE was 73, 17-23-40 and he scored 74, 22-46-78, 37 more than RE suggested. That’s a crazy season, as Arcobello sliced through Josh Green to gain playing time on the skill lines when the NHLers were there, and slipped onto the top line when Nuge went for shoulder exams and WJ’s. A watershed season, it could result in an NHL career.

THE MIDDLE

  • Phil Cornet: RE was 52, 12-10-22 and he went 46, 15-18-33, 14 more points than projected. I thought he’d get left behind this season and in the first half he played only 8 games. When the lockout ended, he emerged on a skill line and delivered.
  • Chris VandeVelde RE: 50, 4-4-8 Actual: 57, 7-13-20 VV was 11 points better than expected and once again spent some time in the NHL.
  • Teemu Hartikainen RE: 70, 21-22-43 Actual: 47, 14-23-37. Harski completed his entry level contract by going +8 on RE.
  • Ryan Martindale RE: 30, 2-3-5 Actual: 41, 6-8-14. Scored better than expected (+7), perhaps he can build on it.
  • Anton Lander RE: 70, 7-16-23 Actual: 47, 9-11-20. Lander (+5) showed a pulse and once again spent time in the NHL.
  • Tanner House RE: 20, 0-2-2 Actual: 55, 7-2-9. Veteran role player was a little above RE (+3).
  • Antti Tyrvainen RE: 41, 3-3-6 Actual: 32, 3-2-5. Finn delivered at expectations.

IN THE RED

  • Magnus Paajarvi: RE: 76, 22-29-51 Actual: 38, 4-16-20. This is misleading in that he played his AHL season when the lockout was on, so the available skill minutes were being given to skilled NHL players. He was -6 RE.
  • Curtis Hamilton RE: 66, 8-11-19 Actual 61, 5-4-9. Young man is in trouble as a pro player, -9 RE and it appears he’ll play his entire entry level deal under a cloud of injury of underperformance.
  • Josh Green: RE: 70, 17-31-48 Actual 49, 9-15-24. Veteran suffered injury problems but was well below expectations.
  • Tyler Pitlick RE: 72, 16-26-42 Actual: 44, 3-7-10. His last good offensive season (Medicine Hat, 20+ EV goals) is a distant bell now, he was -16 RE and would need a quality season in 13-14 to establish himself as a legit prospect. Had a healthy late season run and playoff, perhaps showing some promise for next season.

The Oilers have a 4th rounder and a free agent signing in the ‘winners’ category and a first rounder plus two seconds ‘in the red.’ I expect the development template to shift next season, we’ll see if they get different results.

The RE review for last season is here and here. Photo courtesy Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved.

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39 Responses to "OKC RE REVISITED: WINNERS AND LOSERS (FWDS)"

  1. Racki says:

    “The Oilers have a 4th rounder and a free agent signing in the ‘winners’ category and a first rounder plus two seconds ‘in the red.’ I expect the development template to shift next season, we’ll see if they get different results.”

    What a troublesome comment. I wonder if Magnificent Stu and his group are not so magnificent, or if it’s just the case of “every team has some busts”. I had bought into the hype around Hamilton and Pitlick a few years ago, and now that’s been crushed. Disappointing. I am hoping that MacT finds a new home for them this off-season.

  2. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I’ll be curious if the “in the red” folks get the push over the “winners” next year in OKC.

    I’m worried MacT’s “change things in OKC” might mean: “don’t embarrass our 1st and 2nd rounders” by awarding TOI by actual performance…

    The Arco signing probably means my concerns aren’t founded.

  3. Lowetide says:

    The concern for me is that the prospects didn’t push their way through this past season. In year one, we could talk about injuries and lack of TOI but this season–in the fall–coach Nelson talked about Pitlick specifically and was quoted about his being on a skill line.

    He played there but didn’t get any results. And in fairness to Nelson, the blue post (coming today) will feature the exact opposite from the 2010 draft: a guy who arrived and then delivered.

    I doubt the ’2nd rd push’ will make much of a difference, but we’ll see.

  4. RexLibris says:

    I’ve always held to a one-out-of-three kind of approach to depth prospect emergence. While I prefer to group them into similar position, age and role, if we took the 2010 2nd rounders as a cohort of three, I think this holds true.

    Marincin looks like a developing NHL player.

    Pitlick may have some NHL time, but strikes me as perilously close to falling into the Josh Green category of careers.

    Hamilton, on the other hand, is making J.F. Jacques look like a draft day success.

    It is hardly scientific, and cannot be applied to every franchise (Anaheim and Tampa Bay are at the extremes on either side), but for the sake of the Oilers, I’ve found it helpful.

  5. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide,

    Lowetide: He played there but didn’t get any results. And in fairness to Nelson, the blue post (coming today) will feature the exact opposite from the 2010 draft: a guy who arrived and then delivered.
    I doubt the ’2nd rd push’ will make much of a difference, but we’ll see.

    This.

    my concern is they won’t make much of a difference again (let’s hope the opposite is true!!) but that Nelson will be given marching orders to ride them beyond reason despite results.

  6. jp says:

    It’s a shame. Pitlick and Hamilton should be pushing for full time NHL employment around now. Some young 3rd/4th line prospects forcing their way onto the team sure would be useful on a team looking to overhaul its bottom 6.

  7. murphy says:

    Off topic, would anyone do eberle, musil and cornet for the panthers 2nd overall pick? Would the panthers do it? Eberle is an elite top liner. At 2nd overall oil get either an elite d man or C.

  8. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Interesting series of tweets from BM:

    Weird things you learn when doing NHL draft research: Seth Jones, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting, had 48 “CSB game reports” filed on him.

    Nate MacKinnon, No. 2 on CSB, had 78 “game reports” filed on him. And MacKinnon played 17 fewer reg season games. Surprised at gap of 30.

    For those asking, CSB is NHL Central Scouting Bureau and a game report is the # of times a CSB scout filed an official scouting report.

  9. slopitch says:

    Did the same guy who made the “street cred” logo make the “nerd life” logo? I thought LT was getting nation ads for a second there lol

    I think the onus is on the player to earn playing time. Its on the player at every stage of their career. As many of us can probably vouch for, if your not good enough you don’t make AAA, WHL or get drafted. If Tyler Pitlick received 90s more per game of PP TOI and a couple more important draws per game does he really improve that much faster? I doubt it. Draft number means very little 2 years later. I do think you can give highly projected players more video time, or coaching attention off ice but its still up to the player to put in the hard work and improve their own game.

  10. RexLibris says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    How many of the CSB reports were logged late last season when the hype about Crosby-lite was circulating? The timing of the reports is what I would wonder about. MacKinnon has been on the radar slightly longer, and whereas it would seem a better apporach of due diligence to fully check out a defenseman like Jones given the history of blueline busts at the draft, there may be a lot of people trying to tease out the inner-workings of MacKinnon’s game.

  11. RexLibris says:

    slopitch:
    Did the same guy who made the “street cred” logo make the “nerd life” logo? I thought LT was getting nation ads for a second there lol

    I think the onus is on the player to earn playing time.Its on the player at every stage of their career.As many of us can probably vouch for, if your not good enough you don’t make AAA, WHL or get drafted. If Tyler Pitlick received 90s more per game of PP TOI and a couple more important draws per game does he really improve that much faster?I doubt it.Draft number means very little 2 years later.I do think you can give highly projected players more video time, or coaching attention off ice but its still up to the player to put in the hard work and improve their own game.

    Unless your name is Taylor Hall and Lindy Ruff is your coach. ;-)

  12. RexLibris says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Just checked up on the comments from the last article.

    You and I agree on Lindholm. I’m terrified of seeing this organization go down the Joe Hulbig-Eric Daze-Brad Isbister road again, lusting for size instead of overall ability.

  13. wheatnoil says:

    RexLibris:
    I’ve always held to a one-out-of-three kind of approach to depth prospect emergence. While I prefer to group them into similar position, age and role, if we took the 2010 2nd rounders as a cohort of three, I think this holds true.

    Marincin looks like a developing NHL player.

    Pitlick may have some NHL time, but strikes me as perilously close to falling into the Josh Green category of careers.

    Hamilton, on the other hand, is making J.F. Jacques look like a draft day success.

    It is hardly scientific, and cannot be applied to every franchise (Anaheim and Tampa Bay are at the extremes on either side), but for the sake of the Oilers, I’ve found it helpful.

    This.

    There are innumerable things that can side-track a player’s career. “Drafted above his true potential ability” is only one of them… that implies he never had the potential to begin with. Injuries, difficulty transitioning to adult life, booze, dumb luck, and so much more that can sidetrack any young man in any career. We expect some to fall away. This is why you need both quantity and quality and you can never pencil a draftee into the starting line-up two or three years down the road (unless you want to pencil three different players into one slot and hope one sticks).

  14. "Steve Smith" says:

    murphy,

    With Eberle’s contract, that becomes non-insane. The problem from the Oilers’ perspective is that it pushes the window back, especially if that second is used for a defenceman. The Oilers are really at the point at which they need to add NHL players, not subtract them, which is in part why I’m kind of surprised at how many people seem to be on board with jettisoning Hemsy and Horcoff as a first principle (i.e. without knowing the return, including the use of the resulting cap space).

  15. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    RexLibris:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    How many of the CSB reports were logged late last season when the hype about Crosby-lite was circulating? The timing of the reports is what I would wonder about. MacKinnon has been on the radar slightly longer, and whereas it would seem a better apporach of due diligence to fully check out a defenseman like Jones given the history of blueline busts at the draft, there may be a lot of people trying to tease out the inner-workings of MacKinnon’s game.

    I’m guessing playing on the same team as Druin has a lot to do with the difference too… kill two birds with one stone.

    I don’t doubt factors like that — are there players of interest on both teams playing tonight? — impact scouting visits a lot.

    RexLibris: Brad Isbister

    Went to school with his sister briefly. Never met him. One of those guys that never seemed to put it together.

  16. treevojo says:

    The biggest mistake Hamilton made was having such a fantastic post draft year. With his regular season play and great play at the world juniors he set expectations from the oilers following that he hasn’t come close to. Had he of had an injury plagued season like the one before and the couple following that year we could just chalk it up to a draft pick wasted by injury. It’s that post draft year that has everyone wondering what happened to that player. Looks as though that year will be the highlight of his career. Still a pretty cool highlight that most would be delighted with.

  17. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    “Steve Smith”: which is in part why I’m kind of surprised at how many people seem to be on board with jettisoning Hemsy and Horcoff as a first principle (i.e. without knowing the return, including the use of the resulting cap space).

    Count me as one who hopes they both stay, but is willing to let them go if MacT can actually find a money saving lateral move, or improvement.

  18. jp says:

    murphy:
    Off topic, would anyone do eberle, musil and cornet for the panthers 2nd overall pick? Would the panthers do it? Eberle is an elite top liner. At 2nd overall oil get either an elite d man or C.

    I’d do that trade. MacKinnon or Jones for Eberle (with the big contract), Musil (may have a career, but will never play above 3rd pairing) and Cornet (= nothing). For sure the #2 will be behind Eberle developmentally, but that player will play in the NHL next year, and should be an impact player pretty soon. And the #2 has a very good chance of being > than Eberle in 2-3 yrs. I’d make that bet, plus it clears an extra few million in cap space.

    Hall-RNH-Eberle
    Paajarvi-Gagner-Yakupov
    vs
    Hall-RNH-Yakupov
    Paajarvi-MacKinnon-Gagner

  19. slopitch says:

    murphy,

    I think you’d have to make that trade. Id explore a package for Letang or Tytuin first though.

  20. dessert1111 says:

    In general I think too much significance is attached to draft number after a player turns professional. I don’t really care if it’s Rajala and Arcobello or Hamilton and Pitlick performing well, as long as some players are succeeding.

    Of course you can say lower rounds don’t have the same ceiling, but once a player turns pro I am much more interested in what the player proves rather than potential. You have to show something at some point, right?

    I think Pitlick has had a fair shake. He has been given offensive opportunities and time and time again he does not show enough in skill minutes at the AHL level. So Nelson has him on a grinding line and he does okay. I think it makes more sense to put him in a role at the AHL level that, if everything goes right, he’ll play at the NHL level, which is a grinder.

    Give higher pedigree players a bit of a push at the beginning, sure. If they can’t work for it and make it happen with their opportunities it’s a shame, but that’s what happens more often than not, so I don’t think we can be too disappointed in those 2nd rounders not making the grade. We should be happy that lower-pedigree prospects (and the other 2nd rounder Marincin) are picking up the slack.

  21. spoiler says:

    RexLibris:

    Just checked up on the comments from the last article.

    You and I agree on Lindholm. I’m terrified of seeing this organization go down the Joe Hulbig-Eric Daze-Brad Isbister road again, lusting for size instead of overall ability.

    One of these things is not like the others:

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=14474

    Career ended by 3 herniated discs, but I’d say he covered his 4th round draft spot. Not to mention he was known more for his hands than his size. Bad example methinks.

  22. Bank Shot says:

    The Oilers haven’t produced an NHL regular (who played a regular shift this last season) from the 3rd round or beyond since Brodziak in 2003.

    The list of teams that are in that group with the Oilers:
    Carolina
    Florida
    Philadelphia
    Tampa
    Atlanta/Winnipeg

    Not exactly the who’s who of well managed clubs. Philly is the only team that has had any sustained success in the last 5-6 years. I’m willing to bet the Oilers scouting budget dwarves that of the other clubs besides Philly. Pretty poor results based on money spent, and the enormous amount of picks the Oilers have had in the past decade.

    MacGregor has been with the Oilers in a scouting role since 2000. The gem in his crown (Eberle) was supposedly pushed for hard by Davis who has since passed away. Does that bode well? besides promoting MacGregor it doesn’t seem like the Oilers have made any major changes to the scouting staff.

    It appears that it needs a substantial makeover.

  23. slopitch says:

    “Steve Smith”,

    FWIW, I heard that even though the players loved Kruger the room was shambles. The losing streak created a gap between the kids and the vets. Quite honestly, Horcoff has been the captain of a pretty bad team for quite some time. IMO Horcoff, while overpaid, is a very useful player who is intelligent and analyzes the game well. Hes also a good leader and captain but I think MacT explained it quite well. There comes a time when you lose for so long, that you lose confidence in your message and its not as well received. How many times can you say to the team “we’re still in this, we gotta play 100% tonight” when you have no chance before you get sick of saying it. Losing sucks. I don’t think you can blame either side, it was bound to happen.

  24. fifthcartel says:

    For how little Hamilton/Pitlick have produced, how many minutes did they get playing a role other than on the 3rd and 4th lines? I know Pitlick had a shot at it, but if they’re only playing minutes in a limited role in the bottom 6 they won’t producing big numbers, right?

    Maybe MacT wants them in more prominent roles rather than the Josh Greens of the AHL.

  25. lance says:

    murphy,

    Not sure the Oil are in a position to trade first line talent for anything but NHL proven players. Maybe Drouin can play without MacKinnon, maybe not. Eberle for Bogo might fly. Certainly not for a d prospect age 18.

  26. Wolfie says:

    slopitch:
    Did the same guy who made the “street cred” logo make the “nerd life” logo? I thought LT was getting nation ads for a second there lol

    I think the onus is on the player to earn playing time.Its on the player at every stage of their career.As many of us can probably vouch for, if your not good enough you don’t make AAA, WHL or get drafted. If Tyler Pitlick received 90s more per game of PP TOI and a couple more important draws per game does he really improve that much faster?I doubt it.Draft number means very little 2 years later.I do think you can give highly projected players more video time, or coaching attention off ice but its still up to the player to put in the hard work and improve their own game.

    While the onus maybe on the player to earn a spot, politics play a huge part in hockey all through the amateur rank up to the pros. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen and experienced it first hand at AAA and junior levels.

    You can bet it plays a part even at the AHL/NHL levels as well although probably substantially less. You can bet a high draft pick isn’t going to get cut even if he’s outperformed by a walk-on. If both happen to make the team it takes that much more for the walk-on to get past the high pick. The pick will be given the job and has essentially has to lose his spot. The walk-on has to out significantly out perform that pick on a regular basis and likely won’t see the prime ice or teammates to do it.

    Next season is a huge one for Hamilton and Pitlick. The politics of them being a 2nd round pick has kept them in the organization so far(along with CBA entry level contracts). They will be given the chance to shine even if they really haven’t done anything at the pro level to deserve it. If they fail they won’t be retained but that walk-on will probably be passed over again because there’s always a shiny new thing walking in the door…

  27. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Draft pedigree means more kicks at the can. People don’t want to believe they and more broadly the culture they are part of made a mistake.

    Cam Barket comes to mind.

  28. TheOtherJohn says:

    If we are moving Eberle I would want a young 1st pairing D I’d try for OEL. Don’t expect they’d want to trade him but lots of D depth, little scoring

    Superb player

  29. carefreephil says:

    I don’t know if you guys saw this quote from Jim Matheson already:

    “That leaves, Jones and Barkov as targets. MacTavish is likely holding out hope that Ottawa 67s centre Sean Monahan could be there at No. 7, but Calgary at No. 6 needs a centre more than the Oilers do. If he could get Carolina’s No. 5 pick, he could take Monahan there but I think MacTavish is aiming higher.”

    Here’s the link – http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/06/21/should-craig-mactavish-go-all-in-to-get-the-no-2-or-no-3-pick-in-the-draft/

    Very interesting.

  30. godot10 says:

    It is a little early to write Pitlick off, although the warning lights are blinking.

    He had a rough rookie year in the AHL. In his 2nd year, he was pushed down the roster because the NHL guys were there, and then he got hurt. He played a lot better when he got back.

    It is all in Pitlick’s head. He was a first round faller (like Brandon Saad the following year). It comes down to whether he really wants it or not, and we get to find that out next year.

    I wonder if the Oilers would have gone Marincin/Toffoli instead of Pitlick/Marincin if Pitlick hadn’t been a first round faller. From Oil Change, we know Plan A was Marincin as the #31, but Pitlick fell and they had a discussion about plan B.

    A lot of the Oilogosphere wanted the Oilers to draft Pitlick when he began falling.

  31. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    godot10:
    It is a little early to write Pitlick off, although the warning lights are blinking.

    He had a rough rookie year in the AHL.In his 2nd year, he was pushed down the roster because the NHL guys were there, and then he got hurt.He played a lot better when he got back.

    It is all in Pitlick’s head.He was a first round faller (like Brandon Saad the following year). It comes down to whether he really wants it or not, and we get to find that out next year.

    I wonder if the Oilers would have gone Marincin/Toffoli instead of Pitlick/Marincin if Pitlick hadn’t been a first round faller.From Oil Change, we know Plan A was Marincin as the #31, but Pitlick fell and they had a discussion about plan B.

    A lot of the Oilogosphere wanted the Oilers to draft Pitlick when he began falling.

    I think a guy like Pitlick would have benefited from some cherry minutes in the ECHL this year. I think the players and the team undervalue having 3 leagues at their disposal for development purposes… whatever stigma there is should be ignored in favor of getting results.

  32. prairieschooner says:

    I feel queasy every time I read about trading Eberle.
    We have a guy with a fairly healthy few years in the NHL under his belt
    He puts up points like few others in Oiler silks.
    Had he not had a broken finger it is entirely possible the Oil would have made the play offs.
    Most of all there is something un Canadian about trading a World Juniors legend.
    TSN goal of the year for I think his first NHL goal
    It is wrong I tell you!
    All wrong!

  33. prairieschooner says:

    If MAc T goes all in to get the number 2 in the draft will he receive a starter?

  34. slopitch says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Wolfie,

    I agree that draft pedigree and politics will give a player more opportunity or more “kicks at the can”. I’m just not sure if those are worth a ton or in the long run, a player who developed would have developed regardless of preferential treatment. Are you saying If MacT woulda given Robbie Schremp a full year of 20 min/game in the NHL then he would have developed properly? I dont think thats the case. But I do think a year training with better players is worth something. Given a limited window of opportunity many prospects face, I suppose a case can be made but I think its fairly marginal. Yes you get more chances but eventually the coach will play the best option available regardless of draft position.

  35. godot10 says:

    Monahan would likely have been the 2nd OV last year. Why would you trade an established 1st line player in Eberle signed to a reasonable contract (see Semin, Perry) long term for a pig-in-a-poke at #2, when one already has Nugent-Hopkins, and Monahan is a almost a sure pig-in-a-poke as MacKinnon.

    The Oilers might have to move to #5 to get Monahan. That kind of move is justifiable since one won’t have to subtract a legit first line player to get him, like one would for MacKinnon.

    Bergeron and Krejci. Nugent-Hopkins and Monahan is plenty good enough, particularly when you also have Eberle, Hall, and Yakupov.

    A 2-sigma centre prospect above the average draftable centre is as good a bet as the foolish pursuit of a 3-sigma centre prospect. A threshold test is better than a perfection test. Monahan passes all high thresholds. It is foolhardy to search for perfection.

  36. "Steve Smith" says:

    slopitch,

    There may well be something to that, and maybe Horcoff needs a change, or maybe the Oilers need a new captain, or whatever. But the Oilers are short on NHL centres, and Horcoff is an NHL centre. I don’t think he’s going to stop being an NHL centre simply because he’s demoralized from all the losing.

    I’m okay with getting rid of him if there’s a plan to do something with his cap space that will make the Oilers better (possibly, as Rom suggested above, getting an equally good but lower paid NHL centre, and using the difference to improve the defence, for example), and there very well may be such a plan. But the number of people who are okay with getting rid of him first and worrying about how to replace him second puzzles me.

  37. Wolfie says:

    slopitch:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Wolfie,

    I agree that draft pedigree and politics will give a player more opportunity or more “kicks at the can”.I’m just not sure if those are worth a ton or in the long run, a player who developed would have developed regardless of preferential treatment.Are you saying If MacT woulda given Robbie Schremp a full year of 20 min/game in the NHL then he would have developed properly?I dont think thats the case.But I do think a year training with better players is worth something.Given a limited window of opportunity many prospects face, I suppose a case can be made but I think its fairly marginal.Yes you get more chances but eventually the coach will play the best option available regardless of draft position.

    Well, I’m pretty confident politics in minor hockey has caused numerous kids to quit or not get the opportunity to showcase their stuff. Lots of talent has slipped through the cracks. We’ve all witnessed the high draft pick get second chances despite lack of ability(Barker, Daigle). However, the NHL is a what have you done for me lately league. Eventually, if you don’t produce you find yourself out of the league.

  38. RexLibris says:

    spoiler: One of these things is not like the others:

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=14474

    Career ended by 3 herniated discs, but I’d say he covered his 4th round draft spot. Not to mention he was known more for his hands than his size. Bad example methinks.

    During Daze’s time in Chicago there were constant rumours about the Oilers trying to acquire him, even when he was clearly in decline. They were enamoured with his size. His back did eventually force retirement, but you see this sort of thing with some organizations where they’ll just key in on a player or player-type.

  39. Magnus says:

    Reviewing the results of drafting for the past few years, I think the “Magnificent” moniker should be bestowed on Frankie Musil, Pelle Eklund and Robert Nordmark..

    Magnus Paajarvi, Johan Motin, Teemu Hartikainen, Anton Lander, Toni Rajala, Martin Marincin, Kristians Pelss, Oscar Klefbom, Martin Gernat, Frans Tuohimaa and Erik Gustafsson have all been picks under their watch as European scouts. Frankly, excluding the 1st overall picks, they’ve been blowing MacGregor and the rest of the North American scouts out of the water in terms of quality prospects delivered.

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