OKC RE 13-14: TONI RAJALA

In all the fuss and bother, there was a tremendous season posted by a small Finnish kid we still don’t know much about. He’s a wisp and a wonder. Toni Rajala didn’t get a lot of attention before last season, mostly because there wasn’t much to recommend him. Here’s how I ranked him over the years:

RAJALA’S RANKINGS OVER THE YEARS

  • Summer 2009: #8 Stu MacGregor: “We had him on a good spot on our list. He led the under-18 world championships in scoring. He’s a real competitive guy, maybe size is an issue a little bit, but he plays in the hard areas. He’s a kid with really good speed and hockey sense. I don’t know why he dropped back that far, but we’re pretty happy to get him.”
  • Winter 2009: #16
  • Summer 2010: #20
  • Winter 2010: #25
  • Summer 2011: #23
  • Winter 2011: #26
  • Summer 2012: NR
  • Winter 2012: #26
  • Summer 2013: #9

Rajala’s AHL season in 2012-13 served notice: this is an NHL calibre prospect. There may not be room in Edmonton for him, but Rajala is going to get an NHL shot somewhere unless he stalls offensively or the size bias bites him hard.

BEST POINT-PER-GAME PERFORMANCES BY OILER PROSPECTS IN THE AHL (FORWARDS)

  1. Omark 10-11 (1.11)
  2. Rajala 12-13 (.978)
  3. Schremp 07-08 (.974)
  4. Pouliot 06-07 (.939)
  5. Arcobello 12-13 (.919)
  6. Brodziak 06-07 (.903)
  7. Thoresen 07-08 (.897)
  8. Reddox 10-11 (.892)
  9. Omark 11-12 (.889)

OKC RE 13-14: 60, 22-38-60

  1. What was his RE last year? 25, 3-1-4. The NHLers were coming, remember.
  2. How small is he? Listed at 5.10, 163, so he’s probably 5.07, 155. About Bobby Sheehan, or Robert Nilsson.
  3. What are the most impressive things about his season? His SOG totals were impressive (149 SOG in 46 games) and his boxcars made a lot of noise (17-28-45) too.  Rajala had an excellent season.
  4. And his post season? Even better! 68 SOG in 17 games, 4-12-16. He finished third in playoff shots on goal, and the two players who finished ahead of him did so in 7 more games played. Rajala was a terror in the AHL. He finished in a tie for 6th in post-season AHL scoring.
  5. How well did he score at evens? 46, 12-21-33 (.717). That’s a pretty good number.  The Omark season above had Linus the penis going 28, 9-6-15 (.536).
  6. Is Rajala a better prospect than Omark? Maybe. Rajala posted his 2012-13 season at age 21, Omark was 23 in 2010-11.
  7. Is Rajala bigger than Omark? No.
  8. Does he have a chance to make it? Sure. I think the key will be the “what you leave behind” portion of the MacT mantra. Neal Livingston wrote a nice article this week about it.
  9. Is this just another wild goose chase? Omark was a meteor, arriving at 23 and leaving at 24. Rajala is 22 now, we’re likely to get a longer look at him and he’s likely to improve his overall game in the mean time.
  10. What’s his Vollman NHLE? 82, 14-22-36, the best number on last year’s Barons. Vollman’s minor league study on guys Rajala’s age stated Vollman: “Our study found that particularly high-scoring 19- to 21-year-olds are virtually guaranteed scoring success in the NHL.”
  11. Where does he fit as an Oiler? I don’t think he does, not this year. I have him playing 2 games with the Oilers in the RE. Next season? Maybe. Rajala isn’t 25 or anything and has shown impressively in OKC. If he repeats last season, I don’t know how they can avoid him.
  12. Who was the last Oiler to post close to a ppg in two seasons and still not get the call? Never happened, not that I can recall.

 

(Photo by Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved)

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58 Responses to "OKC RE 13-14: TONI RAJALA"

  1. Brackenburied says:

    The “BEST POINT-PER-GAME PERFORMANCES BY OILER PROSPECTS IN THE AHL” list isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of a long sucessful career. The things I’ve learned from reading your articles is just how hard it is for these prospects to make it to the NHL and how few actually do.

  2. Lowetide says:

    True. The only one who made it is the one who:

    1. Embraced a secondary, or checking role
    2. Became good at it.

    I still remember Pouliot balking at the idea of becoming a Carbonneau type. Lordy.

  3. G Money says:

    Ummm, #5 – “Linus the penis”?

    I half expected the answer to #7 to be “That’s a rather personal question, don’t you think?”

  4. Bar_Qu says:

    G Money:
    Ummm, #5 – “Linus the penis”?

    I half expected the answer to #7 to be “That’s a rather personal question, don’t you think?”

    Or, “don’t be a dick”

  5. Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons says:

    G Money,

    or, “He has Linus Envy”

  6. G Money says:

    On a note completely unrelated to either Omark’s or Rajala’s penis, I just read an article about cliche movie posters. One of the sections relates to the use of the dominant colours blue and orange. To this the article has to say:

    “The two colors together represent hot and cold, implying explosive action and excitement and a balance of good and evil.”

    Is that a fair description of RE for the Oilers this season?

    Link: http://whatculture.com/film/10-movie-poster-cliches-were-all-tired-of.php/2#4ZOhslKtsMyrWS9I.99

  7. supernova says:

    “Is Rajala a better prospect than Omark? Maybe. Rajala posted his 2012-13 season at age 21, Omark was 23 in 2010-11.”

    If Rajala doesn’t have the ego problems of Omark than this answer is probably a yes.

    I think Omark was jettisoned more for attitude than for skill, if he was a high skilled small player with a different attitude they probably would have found a place in a trade or tried harder to find a different landing spot.

    to be clear I kind of liked Omark’s attitude but the Hockey world is a old boys club and they prefer that it doesn’t get disrupted.

    So if Rajala is close to the same skill level but keeps hit attitude in check I think his chances are far greater.

  8. Lowetide says:

    Omark had a team best CorsiON as a rookie, and his 5×5/60 (1.78) was tied for 4th on the club (tied with Taylor Hall). His problems were:

    1. He arrived as part of an insanely deep rookie crop (Hall Eberle MPS Omark)
    2. He didn’t have a lot of chem early on
    3. He is small
    4. Losing teams turn over roster spots

    If he’d gone back to OKC and forced the issue I expect Omark would be in Florida now and the Oilers would have had an extra 3rd rd at the 2013 entry draft.

  9. speeds says:

    Lowetide,

    Estimating injuries is always tricky business, but if EDM’s lost a top 7 winger or two to injury, and is having trouble scoring goals,both potentially “reasonable” possibilities, not sure I’d be surprised if Rajala posts more than 2 games.

  10. Kitchener says:

    Martin St. Louis: 5’8″ 180lbs. Reigning Art Ross Champ.

    Not saying Rajala’s in the same league, but little guys who play well can earn ice time too. St. Louis played parts of 3 seasons in the AHL before his first full NHL season at age 25. It took 2 more years until he hit 70 points.

    I’d be shocked if Rajala won the Art Ross in 16 years, but wouldn’t be remotely surprised if he gets 5-10 games in Edmonton this year.

  11. supernova says:

    Lowetide:
    Omark had a team best CorsiON as a rookie, and his 5×5/60 (1.78) was tied for 4th on the club (tied with Taylor Hall). His problems were:

    1. He arrived as part of an insanely deep rookie crop (Hall Eberle MPS Omark)
    2. He didn’t have a lot of chem early on
    3. He is small
    4. Losing teams turn over roster spots

    If he’d gone back to OKC and forced the issue I expect Omark would be in Florida now and the Oilers would have had an extra 3rd rd at the 2013 entry draft.

    so why didn’t he go back to OKC? (i know you don’t know but…)

    that’s where my comments on attitude are based upon reports when he was sent down, his twitter and his lack of signing his tender.

  12. Lowetide says:

    SN: Oh, I think there’s some confidence there, but I also think he’s probably getting bad advice. I don’t know the situation directly, but have observed in the past that NHL teams don’t like to be manipulated and called out. Omark has tweeted about “the two” letting him go, and this past summer there was all kinds of info about him ending up with another NHL team.

    Question: why would the Oilers do that? Let him go so he can play against them? They’ll want compensation I’d bet, this is a business.

    Omark has either ignored advice, gotten bad advice, or both.

  13. G Money says:

    You know, it amazes me that Omark still generates the chatter that he does. Yeah, he’s a talented kid with size concerns. And was probably badly served by the Oilers and his own advisors. BUT – no matter what, he ain’t gonna crack our top 6 and I don’t see a fit on the bottom 6, so I think LT is right – the best outcome is a trade, and hope to get a 3rd round pick for him.

    That means all the chatter about Omark ultimately boils down to talking about a player we don’t know yet who has a 25% or less chance of being a player for this team 5 years from now.

    As for Rajala, similar issues – talented, no question, but size of even greater concern. Don’t see him cracking the top 6, but don’t see a fit on the bottom 6.

    But should he get a chance at training camp to force his way into the conversation? Of course he should. To not give him the chance would be stupid. I don’t think its likely he’ll find a spot other than as a callup, but I’ll be cheering for him the whole way.

  14. Lowetide says:

    G Money: But that’s the thing–these guys are all also-rans until one of them rips off 1,000 games and helps you win a Stanley. I’m not smart enough to know if Rajala is the guy or Omark is the guy, or if either is the guy, but I do know this: Rajala’s the guy Edmonton has their eye on.

  15. LMHF#1 says:

    G Money:
    Omark

    I don’t see a fit on the bottom 6,

    Rajala

    don’t see a fit on the bottom 6.

    This kind of thinking gets you a terrible hockey team.

    It also gets Rob Zamuner on the Olympic team. It has no place in the discussion of who makes the team.

    TAKE

    THE

    BEST

    PLAYERS.

  16. supernova says:

    Lowetide:
    SN: Oh, I think there’s some confidence there, but I also think he’s probably getting bad advice. I don’t know the situation directly, but have observed in the past that NHL teams don’t like to be manipulated and called out. Omark has tweeted about “the two” letting him go, and this past summer there was all kinds of info about him ending up with another NHL team.

    Question: why would the Oilers do that? Let him go so he can play against them? They’ll want compensation I’d bet, this is a business.

    Omark has either ignored advice, gotten bad advice, or both.

    I agree completely.

    I wonder if the conversations go something like this.

    Omark; I know I am more skilled, and can produce more than X and he is playing a regular shift on the Oil, but they keep sending me down
    Agent/Handler; Well, we can force their hand by not signing the tender and lighting up europe, and you can earn more right now (so can I), then the other teams that LOVE you will offer the Oilers a decent trade.

    In reality the Oilers and the Rest of the League sees leaving “the system” (NHL/AHL) as a confidence brash guy not wanting to earn his time.

    No offers come in, and now they Oilers and Omark are painted into a corner, either he signs his tender and comes back with his tail between his legs or eventually hits UFA and signs elsewhere.

  17. Hammers says:

    A couple of things . I think he is a LH shot on the RW .Do we know if he can play both wings ?? . If he can, he maybe the player who Replaces a top 6 forward in 2014-15 . By the end of this upcoming season McT is going to want to position himself to move up and one of the (what’s thought to be ) untouchables may get traded for that final piece . . This kid plays 70-80 games this year, posting the same numbers and he can’t be overlooked .

  18. Hammers says:

    Kitchener:
    Martin St. Louis:5’8″180lbs.Reigning Art Ross Champ.

    Not saying Rajala’s in the same league, but little guys who play well can earn ice time too. St. Louis played parts of 3 seasons in the AHL before his first full NHL season at age 25.It took 2 more years until he hit 70 points.

    I’d be shocked if Rajala won the Art Ross in 16 years, but wouldn’t be remotely surprised if he gets 5-10 games in Edmonton this year.

    Don’t forget Fluery . More than 1 small player has made it over the years . If the kid proves himself he becomes hard to ignore .

  19. "Steve Smith" says:

    G Money: I don’t see a fit on the bottom 6

    Really? I see nothing but room on our bottom six. Boyd Gordon, Ales Hemsky, and room, room, room.

    I’m not crying too many tears over O’Mark (he’s a marginal NHL player), but it’s not like we’re so flush with NHL forwards that we couldn’t give him another shot.

  20. supernova says:

    “Bob Stauffer ‏@Bob_Stauffer 1m

    The #Oilers have placed Toni Rajala on unconditional waivers
    Collapse

    this comes from out of no where.

  21. fifthcartel says:

    Well, there goes Rajala?

    Bob Stauffer ‏@Bob_Stauffer 2m

    The #Oilers have placed Toni Rajala on unconditional waivers

  22. G Money says:

    Lowetide: But that’s the thing–these guys are all also-rans until one of them rips off 1,000 games and helps you win a Stanley.

    LMHF#1: This kind of thinking gets you a terrible hockey team.

    Just so its clear – I am not closing the door on Rajala. I’m all for giving him a chance. Because of his style of play and skill level, I don’t think he’ll make it (as I said, won’t crack the top 6, doesn’t appear to have the two-way game needed for a good bottom 6). That’s not close-mindedness, that’s just an expectation based on the similar results of thousands of similar players in similar situations.

    Everyone points to Martin St. Louis, but he’s the example precisely because he’s so rare.

    The idea that you simply “take the best players” is an oversimplification – by that measure, you would never draft a goalie since they are almost never the best players. At some point you do have to take position into account.

    But hey – if he forces his way onto the roster, top 6 OR bottom 6, I’ll be cheering for him.

  23. regwald says:

    fifthcartel:
    Well, there goes Rajala?

    Bob Stauffer ‏@Bob_Stauffer 2m

    The #Oilers have placed Toni Rajala on unconditional waivers

    Bob Stauffer ‏@Bob_Stauffer 9s

    When a player is placed on unconditional waivers it means that he will be bought out…

  24. TeeVee says:

    Looks like our little Rajala has been waived. WTF is going on around here lol?

  25. LMHF#1 says:

    fifthcartel:
    Well, there goes Rajala?

    Bob Stauffer ‏@Bob_Stauffer 2m

    The #Oilers have placed Toni Rajala on unconditional waivers

    WHAT?!?!?!

  26. "Steve Smith" says:

    They’re obviously making room for O’Mark.

  27. Truth Movement says:

    Woof, Lowetide, this is some incredibly bad timing with this post.

  28. LMHF#1 says:

    G Money:

    The idea that you simply “take the best players” is an oversimplification

    If that is not your starting position, you will make horrendous decisions.

    “my peg doesn’t fit…better light it on fire…”

    The story of nearly every successful bottom sixer you’d actually want on your team is that of an offensively effective “square peg” sanding his game down to fit. Pisani and countless others are great examples. They were not Travis Ewanyk before they made the NHL.

  29. Hammers says:

    I don’t get it Mr. Mctavish . An explanation would help .

  30. supernova says:

    this is unreal timing.

    I had just commented about Rajala keeping his attitude in check.

    I am not saying he has a attitude problem, he is probably just home sick.

    Don’t understand why they would put him on unconditional waivers and not retain his rights.

  31. justDOit says:

    He probably wants to go ride a Yak-42 and make a few million doing it.

    Didn’t Rajala already take a leave of absence from NA once before?

  32. Магия¹º says:

    Not a chance he goes past Snow. MacT might be playing Chess. But Snow is playing Gin Rummy. He’s making one long meld from the cast off pile.

    LT, if there is a propsect you want gone now is the time to post about them being the 1st call up.

  33. TheOtherJohn says:

    Yeah, I noticed how Garth Snow is a terrible GM (with a playoff team mind you) and MacT is Sam Pollock. Don’t you have to wait to see the team play before you reach that conclusion?

  34. denny33 says:

    Tough for Omark and Rajala to crack the bottom 6 last year ….when Belanger, Mike Brown and Ben Eager were ripping it up.

    LIke somone else said, outside of Boyd Gordon -who is offensively challanged – the idea there can be no room for Omark or Rajala is ludicrous.

    Eric Belanger played on our team for TWO YEARS!.

    It is an EXATREMELY low bar to hit to play on the OIlers 3rd or 4th lines……

    Fortunately, the Oilers have taken care of both Omark and now Rajala so we can really fill those 3rd and 4th lines again this year…

  35. G Money says:

    LMHF#1: The story of nearly every successful bottom sixer you’d actually want on your team is that of an offensively effective “square peg” sanding his game down to fit. Pisani and countless others are great examples. They were not Travis Ewanyk before they made the NHL.

    Not sure your examples support your point.

    By simple recollection (if I have time, I’ll pull actual data), most of the good players on 3/4 lines are typically offensive players in junior (or similar developmental leagues) whose offense didn’t translate to the pros. The ones who then found sandpaper stuck around (Pisani, Marchant, Moreau, Grier, the list is endless), and the ones who didn’t (MAP) departed.

    [This speaks to the dumbosity of drafting big players without talent for your 3/4 lines, and if this is your point, then we are in agreement].

    But I can recall few examples of players who had offensive success at the AHL level, couldn’t translate that to the NHL, and then found sandpaper enough to stick around in the bottom 6. I’m sure there are some, but can recall few. What I can recall is the JFJ’s and Schremps of the world – top 6 in the AHL, but couldn’t make it top 6 in the NHL and so now they’re out of pro NA hockey altogether.

    My bet is that Rajala follows that pattern. I hope it’s not the case, I hope he makes it, but I won’t bet that way. If you had to bet real money, I’m guessing you wouldn’t either.

    Or I guess I should say, I bet that Rajala would have followed that pattern if he weren’t placed on waivers – which let me emphasize, I had nothing to do with.

  36. Магия¹º says:

    TheOtherJohn:
    Yeah, I noticed how Garth Snow is a terrible GM (with a playoff team mind you) and MacT is Sam Pollock. Don’t you have to wait to see the team play before you reach that conclusion?

    Check the batteries on your irony detector. Snow has done great stuff with the waiver pile.

  37. Магия¹º says:

    Dellow’s pointed out that the move down to 48 has opened the way for that big 1 for 3 trade that LT ~dreams~ about.

  38. supernova says:

    Well, I guess I have been arguing for more playing time for the Ewanyks, Kessys, Pitlicks, etc.

    The guys i think are Oilers 3rd & 4 th line prospects, but i didnt want that on the back of ditching skilled draft picks like Rajala.

    I wonder if Harti, Omark, and Rajala leaving make the scouting staff nervous about scandinavian countries.

  39. Магия¹º says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    They’re obviously making room for O’Mark.

    Lowetide: Omark has either ignored advice, gotten bad advice, or both.

    Dellow just offered up some good advice to Linus and Stauffer offered up a very interesting. So tell me there’s still a chance that MacT just clear the deck to do something bold… inconceivable!

  40. "Steve Smith" says:

    In other news, I haven’t yet seen it mentioned that Grabovski signed for one year with the Caps – $3 million.

  41. jimmers2 says:

    G Money: But I can recall few examples of players who had offensive success at the AHL level, couldn’t translate that to the NHL, and then found sandpaper enough to stick around in the bottom 6. I’m sure there are some, but can recall few. What I can recall is the JFJ’s and Schremps of the world – top 6 in the AHL, but couldn’t make it top 6 in the NHL and so now they’re out of pro NA hockey altogether.

    After thinking about this for a few seconds, I could come up with the names of several ex-Oilers who were good to excellent offensive players on the farm and who survived in the NHL by adapting (in addition to those LT noted above):

    Shaun van Allen
    Todd Marchant
    Mark Lamb
    Tyler Wright
    Jason Chimera
    Dean McCammond
    Kirk Maltby

    These kinds of players do exist and you don’t need so many successes to fill out the bottom six if players are healthy, effective and cost-effective. I think that thing to note here is that the Oilers haven’t seen such a player really succeeding in quite a long while (since Pisani/Brodziak and (ahem) Reddox/Thoresen?), and have graduated very few important players at all from their own system. I’d guess that it points to a systemic and crippling problem in player development.

  42. LMHF#1 says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    In other news, I haven’t yet seen it mentioned that Grabovski signed for one year with the Caps – $3 million.

    I was busy trying to forget how much money we’re paying Boyd Gordon, and that Grabovski would only take 5 million over multiple years and won’t play outside a top 6…

    This is not a good couple days.

  43. linkfromhyrule says:

    They placed Rajala on waivers? WTF?!

    You can’t tell me there wasn’t about 10 other players who could have been bought out before a PPG player in Rajala should have been to free up space for a trade. This, at first look, is far and away the dumbest move by macT so far.

    I cannot WAIT to hear the explanation on this one…

  44. commonfan14 says:

    So this guy has developed along what you’d have to consider a best-case scenario curve over the last 4 years and now they’re cutting him loose? Shows a pretty serious disconnect between current management and the scouting staff.

    Between this and the Bob Green hiring, I expect we’ll see a “Sail on, MBS” post in the not too distant future.

  45. russ99 says:

    Hammers,

    It’s obvious, we’re purging the team of any European forwards not named Yakupov. (half-kidding)

    Maybe Gernat and Marincin should be looking over their shoulders.

  46. Jon K says:

    Well, the rational part of me says that Rajala was always a longshot to be an impact player in the NHL, even after his breakout season last year.

    The panicky part of me hopes that this isn’t our equivalent of Calgary letting Marty St. Louis walk after signing him as a free agent.

    Blargh!

    Furthermore, in the absence of anything definitive at this point, I speculate that he gave the Oilers notice that he would refuse to report to the Barons this season.

  47. Colonel Obvious says:

    Lowetide:
    SN: Oh, I think there’s some confidence there, but I also think he’s probably getting bad advice. I don’t know the situation directly, but have observed in the past that NHL teams don’t like to be manipulated and called out. Omark has tweeted about “the two” letting him go, and this past summer there was all kinds of info about him ending up with another NHL team.

    Question: why would the Oilers do that? Let him go so he can play against them? They’ll want compensation I’d bet, this is a business.

    Omark has either ignored advice, gotten bad advice, or both.

    What you’ve left out of your narrative is that at the end of the long, slow, death march to the Yakupov pick Omark was a healthy scratch the whole end of the season. Game after game he was in the press box doing nothing while the Oilers iced scrubs up and down their lineup. At that point, for whatever reason, it was obvious that the Omark was finished with the Oilers.

    Given their contempt for him, what was he supposed to do. It was the summer of the lockout. He could accept their qualifying offer but that would have meant being buried in the minors behind Hall and company once again. No chance to put up numbers under those circumstances.

    Or he could do what he did. Go to Europe. Get paid.. Lead league in scoring.

    In my opinion Omark has done everything he could. He has the misfortune to have developed a reputation and teams in the NHL have no hesitation to blackball players that don’t fit their understanding of character. See Hainsey and Campoli.

    That’s the story. Omark got a bad rep and the old boys in the league, from the head offices to the referees (have you ever seen anyone get so few calls while getting called for so many ticky tack penalties) ran him out of the league. Simple.

  48. Kitchener says:

    Similar feelings to learning Rieder had been traded:
    – “What?”
    – “WHAT??”
    – “Why? huh? That makes no sense!”
    – (time passes)
    – …a slow realization that, other than low-grade asset management, this won’t make a hill of beans difference to the Oilers win:loss ratio over the next 10 years.

    Too bad – Rajala was a helluva fun story.

  49. Factotum says:

    @Supernova: It’s a small point and a very common mistake, but Finland is not a Scandinavian country. Your post gave me an idea, though. Clearing out the Finns can only mean one thing: Patrick Thoresen is coming back!

  50. FastOil says:

    Kitchener:
    Martin St. Louis:5’8″180lbs.Reigning Art Ross Champ.

    Not saying Rajala’s in the same league, but little guys who play well can earn ice time too. St. Louis played parts of 3 seasons in the AHL before his first full NHL season at age 25.It took 2 more years until he hit 70 points.

    I’d be shocked if Rajala won the Art Ross in 16 years, but wouldn’t be remotely surprised if he gets 5-10 games in Edmonton this year.

    The problem for Rajala is that there is a very big difference in St Louis’ size and his. St Louis is short but at the bottom end of smaller players in weight at 180 (excepting a couple), built like a tank, really strong. Rajala is a very talented player but is teenager sized. Even if he deserves it he likely won’t get a shot.

    Is it not possible to trade these guys for anything – minor league players or whatever? With Moffie they have let two talented players go for nothing. Maybe nobody wanted them but you’d think skill has some value.

  51. Professor Q says:

    I just wonder what all this cleaning up will lead to…I think as Oilers fans we are both used to and not used to it.

  52. justDOit says:

    Kitchener:
    Similar feelings to learning Rieder had been traded:– “What?”– “WHAT??”– “Why? huh? That makes no sense!”– (time passes)– …a slow realization that, other than low-grade asset management, this won’t make a hill of beans difference to the Oilers win:loss ratio over the next 10 years.

    Too bad – Rajala was a helluva fun story.

    The major difference between those two situations is, that the Oilers got a return on Reider – nothing for Rajala. I would figure that a PPG AHL player should be able to garner at least something in return, or would justify retaining his rights while loaning him to a European team. Cutting him loose just doesn’t make sense, unless McCurdy’s take is correct – that MacT is weeding out ‘the complainers’…

    TR: “Mr. GM, uh… Sir, am I going to be riding a bus for $60k per year very much longer… sir?”

    CM: “Are you complaining?”

  53. DeadmanWaking says:

    The NHL’s magic glass slipper would comfortably enshroud Old Mother Hubbard’s over-stuffed boot with room to spare.

    However–as we all know–you can’t judge a brittle stiletto by OMH’s slipper envy, you’ve just got to persist in serving every unlikely hottie a misty bowl of cafe au lait with an invitation to wiggle her toes inside the yawning, refractive carapace, even if you have to prop her up on a phone book to look her in the eye while you explain “not both feet at once, dear, either foot will do”.

    The thing with magic slippers is that you never know. Engraved on the underside: Size Magic 12. The merry town has a pool going for the most likely to be the least suspected. There’s always a great collective gasp when the consensus incumbent MLLS is abruptly unseated even before her moment du joe runs out of steam. For this one, we didn’t even warm the saucer. That’s just not right.

    Or so it seems. Most of us have never tried perching on a phone book for three long years, especially when the pages are stuffed with Ben Eager’s shattered church bells and sharp splinters of Fedun’s former femur.

    The old goats who run this league should try it sometime, if they want to keep the mitey magic on this side of the pond. What is it about old guys in charge that they get such a bone for sclerosis? I guess at a certain point in life it becomes hard to see the magic in shrinkage divination.

    My, Andronious, you’re a big one! Boy or girl?
    [Coy look.]
    Never mind. Does it fit? How does it feel?
    Seems to. Kinda tight, though. Can’t feel my toes.
    Your toes don’t matter. Wiggle your thumb.
    [Gorilla-sized hairy thumb moves enough to touch adjacent finger tips.]
    OMG! It moved! Looook at that range! Someone hand Andro- … Andrea- … Andreas! a stick and get him out there.

    Nothing gives them the chills like a hunk of muscle with bound feet. You can never have enough geisha gorilla on any team.

    [Lotus foot was actually a Chinese custom, banned by the Japanese who had their own plans for their Taiwanese territory, but we'll ignore that because the letters line up.]

  54. G Money says:

    jimmers2: Shaun van Allen
    Todd Marchant
    Mark Lamb
    Tyler Wright
    Jason Chimera
    Dean McCammond
    Kirk Maltby

    The problem with your list is that it doesn’t really support an argument for Rajala as a bottom 6 player. Let’s look at some details:

    Shaun Van Allen – it’s true that SVA was a huge scorer on the farm and his offense didn’t translate and that he then found work as a bottom 6 player. The difference is that he’s also 6’1, 210 lbs, so it wasn’t exactly a stretch to ‘find sandpaper’ to be a good 3/4 line player, and not a real good analogue for Rajala.

    Marchant – played 11 games on the farm before moving to the NHL for 4 games. He did play the next year on the farm, but that was the lockout year, and his offense did indeed translate reasonably well (47 in 38 became 27 in 45). Such an interesting player – world-class speed and peewee-class hands.

    Lamb – this might be the closest analogue you’ll find to Rajala – small gifted offensive player who found work as a role player in the NHL. The difference is that it took him FIVE seasons in the AHL before he established himself as an NHL player.

    Wright – was not a big scorer in the AHL (best season was 41 in 65). He was a role player in the AHL and he was a role player in the NHL.

    Chimera – Like SVA, the 6′ 2″ 216 lbs Chimera is not a real good analogue for a player like Rajala finding work as a role player.

    McCammond – only played 28 games (21 pts) in the AHL before jumping to the NHL. Not a good analogue for Rajala, as he was mostly a top 6 player in Edmonton (and I think for most of his career). Did play in the AHL again during the lockout.

    Maltby – was a role player in the AHL who was a role player in the NHL. Also 6′ 200lbs.

  55. nycoil says:

    Disappointing we didn’t even give him a look at training camp this year. I don’t know if the Oilers are still trying to emulate the Detroit model of management under MacT or if that was only a Tambellini era mantra, but it seems to me one glaring difference is the buy-in Detroit gets from their prospects in terms of their minor league development paths. Detroit takes their time with their European players and keep them in Grand Rapids, with occasional looks at the NHL to keep the carrot in front of them, and they all buy in and stay, and turn into good bottom six NHL players by age 25, and perhaps move up the pecking order soon after if they have the skill. Edmonton seems to manage to give these kids little hope and we wind up with a steady exodus of talent leaving for Europe while the likes of Smithson, Brown, Hordichuk and Belanger clog our bottom lines offering neither outperformance nor any future upside.
    Yes, Rajala is small, as is Omark, but you can’t replace skill. MacT is emphasizing skill at the draft and we are giving away skill in Rieder, Rajala, Hartikainen. Is Joensuu really that much better than Hartikainen? Would love some of MacT’s early summer transparency with respect to what he is doing on this one. At some point, reputations become something like reality (remember edmonton’s inability to land “big fish”), and I worry about the minor league development reputation, as well as treatment of second tier European players. Honestly, who can we give the minor leagues credit for in developing among players knocking on the NHL door? I don’t see an AHL success story left in the bunch. Appalling . And Tambellini was given much credit for turning that aspect around.

  56. supernova says:

    Factotum:
    @Supernova:It’s a small point and a very common mistake, but Finland is not a Scandinavian country.Your post gave me an idea, though.Clearing out the Finns can only mean one thing:Patrick Thoresen is coming back!

    You are right, I thought of using Nordic countries.

    but good on you.

  57. supernova says:

    Colonel Obvious: What you’ve left out of your narrative is that at the end of the long, slow, death march to the Yakupov pick Omark was a healthy scratch the whole end of the season.Game after game he was in the press box doing nothing while the Oilers iced scrubs up and down their lineup.At that point, for whatever reason, it was obvious that the Omark was finished with the Oilers.

    Given their contempt for him, what was he supposed to do.It was the summer of the lockout.He could accept their qualifying offer but that would have meant being buried in the minors behind Hall and company once again.No chance to put up numbers under those circumstances.

    Or he could do what he did.Go to Europe.Get paid..Lead league in scoring.

    In my opinion Omark has done everything he could.He has the misfortune to have developed a reputation and teams in the NHL have no hesitation to blackball players that don’t fit their understanding of character.See Hainsey and Campoli.

    That’s the story.Omark got a bad rep and the old boys in the league, from the head offices to the referees (have you ever seen anyone get so few calls while getting called for so many ticky tack penalties) ran him out of the league.Simple.

    I agree with you. I might have sounded like I was slagging Omark, I was merely meaning to state that “the system” bucked him and he bucked “the system”.

    We don’t know what happened behind the scenes (dammit Oil Change where were you on that one)

    Very rarely do brash, confident players ever shoot to the top in Hockey.

    I personally think hockey could use alot more of this.

    We need more Roenick, and Hull type personalities to shine. even on the ice.

    Whether we love these guys or not, i think they help the game more than hurt the game.

  58. Zipdot says:

    Dad Gum, what the heck happened here!?

    Man alive…… Well… See ya later, Rajalagator….

    Un-damn-believable. Agreed, we have no interesting players left on the farm. Zero. This is an outrage. WHY DOES OUR FARM SUCK SO BAD????

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