RE 15-16 MARK LETESTU: SIDE OF THE ROAD

by Lowetide

Mark Letestu is the latest example of a major problem that riddles the Edmonton Oilers. Hired for a role he had performed previously in the NHL (4C and some special teams time), he in fact was asked to take on more chores early and often. So, when we look back on his year with Edmonton, perhaps blame for shortcomings lie not with the player, but with the makeup of the roster and an extreme lack of established quality and depth. (Side of the Road)

MARK LETESTU 14-15

  • 5×5 points per 60: 1.22 (8th among regular forwards)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 2.26 (8th among regular forwards)
  • Qual Comp: 12th toughest competition among regulars (fourth line)
  • Qual Team: 12th best competition among regulars (fourth line)
  • Corsi for 5×5 %: 42.6%
  • Corsi for 5×5 % REL: -16.4
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 63/11.1%
  • Boxcars: 54GP, 7-6-13

MARK LETESTU 15-16

  • 5×5 points per 60: 0.61 (No. 14 among regular forwards)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 4.11 (No. 5 among regular forwards)
  • Corsi for 5×5 %: 45.1
  • Qual Comp: 12th toughest competition among regulars (fourth line)
  • Qual Team: 11th best competition among regulars (fourth line)
  • Corsi for 5×5 % REL: -10.6
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 107/9.3
  • Boxcars: 82GP, 10-15-25

WAR ON ICE

war on ice sledgehammer

RE 15-16: 71GP, 10-12-22 .310

ACTUAL 15-16: 82GP, 10-15-25 .305

  1. Explain his season. First, I need to tell you I have deliberately stayed away from other takes on this player (and others in the RE series) because it is impossible to stay away from influence.
  2. Who cares? Well, it is important, because if I end up repeating something Jon or Sunil or Bruce or Ryan or Alex or Jon or Darcy said, there will be no way to credit (which you should do). So, you have to trust I am on the honor system.
  3. Losing me here. Very boring. Yawn. Boo! You suck! I am usually far ahead of these cats, but they all got the jump on me this year.
  4. Explain his season. Two parts, really. At even strength, he and his linemates didn’t piss a drop offensively. Now, that isn’t criminal when you are playing 4line, but Letestu played 885 5×5 minutes and scored 4 goals. That is poor.
  5. Who did he play with? Most common wingers were Lauri Korpikoski and Matt Hendricks.
  6. Useless! Well, as a 4line trio I can get behind a veteran group (although Korpikoski really struggled). I would be fine with a 4line that featured Letestu and say Iiro Pakarinen next season.
  7. Did they play together this year? Just a couple hours, 45.5 Corsi for 5×5 percentage.
  8. Did his career numbers spike in any area? Two short-handed goals, nine power-play assists, 51.3 in the dot on over 1,000 sorties, 68 hits, 33 blocks, lots of areas—mostly due to all that playing time I would expect.
  9. So, not a complete failure? Not at all. Look, he did not score well and should not be a 3C solution for a team that still wants some offense from their third forward trio. And he should have scored, because mostly he faced the softer opposition. That said, he won lots of faceoffs, was one of the better PK men, and he did play well with the man advantage.
  10. I noticed that, 4.11/60 is a decent number. I think it would have been better if Letestu was a little more skilled.
  11. You are an absolute dink. No, seriously. I noticed this year he had some insane looks in the high slot, but could not cash them. If you run a better Letestu in that role, those great chances become goals.
  12. McDavid or Nuge are better? No, that’s the thing. It sets up for a righty.
  13. What are you talking about? Seriously. I think the Oil set up a brilliant PP that works perfectly if they have a RHC in the high slot to tip or shoot the puck as it comes through his area. I wish I had saved an example, but I saw it more than a dozen times. Oilers need that player next year.
  14. Good grief. Stick to the slide rule. Hey, I am never going to be a coach, but the reason I noticed it was the blasted thing worked like a damn. Pass comes in from the LH QB on the right side and can go through to LW or Letestu tips/shoots it on net. He scored 4.11 per 60 and botched that play many times. Seriously, he could have easily scored 15 goals.
  15. Whatever. I am serious.
  16. Next RE, maybe put the Elmer’s on a high shelf. Look, I think Mark Letestu is fine as a 4C, and I am onboard with him returning. He played almost 200 PK minutes and was more efficient than all Cs not named Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in that area.
  17. But no to the power play? I can even get behind Letestu getting some PP time, but even with the 4.11/60 number, for me a more skilled RHC might get this team another six goals.
  18. Where would you have him opening night? Just like my RE from last summer, 4C with Hendricks and a winger like Pakarinen.
  19. You would seriously bring back all these forwards? Korkiposki aside, yes.
  20. You are absolutely insane. They suck. You blow. Look, the Oilers finally have the centers in place to be dominant, but they lack experience. Letestu is a nice 4C option who can move up as needed, even play wing. That is a player you can use.
  21. So you are fine with his insane contract. $1.8 million for a utility center may be $500,000 too dear, but the Oilers have overpaid for free agents forever. Call it the cost of doing business from the dark end of the street. It will get easier, just offer a wing spot on 97’s line.
  22. Why this song? Mostly because of the feel of the song. The title fits this kind of player, and I bet he knows exactly how firm a grasp he has on an NHL job. I also bet he appreciates it every minute. That’s what this song means to me, knowing what you have and knowing its value without having to look for confirmation and approval. There is a strength in that, and my goodness what a beautiful song.
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Mr DeBakey

Who did he play with? Most common wingers were Lauri Korpikoski and Matt Hendricks.

When talking about solutions for potential Cap issues, the $6mm tied up in this bad line would be an excellent place to start.

Centre of attention

Mr DeBakey:
Who did he play with? Most common wingers were Lauri Korpikoski and Matt Hendricks.

When talking about solutions for potential Cap issues, the $6mm tied up in this bad line would be an excellent place to start.

Point made. But the point LT was trying to make is that the easiest and smartest way to tackle that problem line is Korpikoski first.

Hendricks probably leaves next deadline if the Oilers are not making the playoffs. Korpi is the real issue.

Agreed on the original point though, 6 million is far to much for a 4th line.

Khaira-Letestu-Pakarinenen is much cheaper and could be just as effective IMO.

Centre of attention

Lowetide: I would buy out Korps and trade Hendricks before moving Letestu.

Yes. Indeed. Beat me to it.

leadfarmer

I would also move on from Matt Hendricks. I really like the player but looks like he is slowing down and he will be 35 by the time next season starts. Some team may give you something decent in return as he is a well respected leader. Korpse needs to go. Pak man can come to camp and see if he cant keep his job.

square_wheels

That Czikas hit on Condra is everything I hate about the lack of respect in the game now. Fast or slow, players don’t respect each other.

Czikas cant hit a player that vulnerable, Condra’s playoff’s are over. possibly even his career. He was wobbled very bad.

No penalty, no response. Czikas should have his teeth punched out for that hit, but because Bettman wants to sell the sport as non-violent, someone will just have to destroy his ACL instead.

Horrible.

stush18

leadfarmer:
I would also move on from Matt Hendricks.I really like the player but looks like he is slowing down and he will be 35 by the time next season starts.Some team may give you something decent in return as he is a well respected leader.Korpse needs to go.Pak man can come to camp and see if he cant keep his job.

How much value lies in a physical leader though? Like is the 800,000 you save on his contract really going to be the difference between us being successful next year?

I understand it’s not quantifiable really, but when Hendricks gets a burr in his side, he starts ploughing through the other team, and driving all play towards the net. The rest of the team plays with more of an edge when his line has a big grinding shift in the other end.

I know there is no math behind it, but I’ve played hockey so I see the value in it. Those hits, blocked shots, and backchecks should help a team hold onto momentum if the players are engaged.

Centre of attention

2016/2017 blue sky roster:

Maroon-McDavid-Laine <—Laine scores 30 goals as a rookie

Hall-Nuge-Draisaitl <— Bonafide second line

Pouliot-Shaw-Kassian <— Most annoying/skilled 3rd line in the west?

Khaira-Letestu-Pakarinen <— Letestu and assorted call ups

Klefbom-Demers <— Even Strength minute munchers
Sekera-Vatanen <— Special teams push
Davidson-Gryba <— PK work / clean up
Pardy <— Place holder to keep kids on farm

Expensive third forward line, but this is a playoff team for sure. Only trades that need to be made is dumping Korpikoski, Fayne and trading Eberle for Vatanen while also aquiring Shaw. This also assumes we win a lottery pick. If they don't, I suspect they retain Eberle and parlay the pick into some D help.

Lots of assumption here, but pretty much every player added has been attached to Edmonton in some way.

Thoughts? Additions? Subtractions? I'll be posting this again in September and we can see how close of a match this roster is for sh*ts & giggles. I'd guess its pretty damn close to what Peters white board looks like. [erasable marker remember]

*edit* Yak is an after thought, it has come to this. Sail on, Sarnia Sting Sniper…

stush18

square_wheels:
That Czikas hit on Condra is everything I hate about the lack of respect in the game now. Fast or slow, players don’t respect each other.

Czikas cant hit a player that vulnerable, Condra’s playoff’s are over. possibly even his career. He was wobbled very bad.

No penalty, no response. Czikas should have his teeth punched out for that hit, but because Bettman wants to sell the sport as non-violent, someone will just have to destroy his ACL instead.

Horrible.

I don’t agree with the instagator penatly, and I think cizikas should have to fight for that hit.

But it was a clean hit. Condra knew he had a man on him. You don’t open up five feet from the boards. Condra should have grabbed the puck, carried it behind the net, and attempted to move it before he was plastered with a less dangerous hit. But he felt the pressure, bailed out on a play, and payed the consequences.

stush18

Centre of attention,

Small nitpick, but I think if laine plays with mcdavid, then pouliot will play left side. Otherwise that line doesn’t have enough speed to keep up with mcdavid. Also I think klefbom and vatanen would play together, as both would likely be our powerplay dmen. After the powerplay sekera and demers (vets) take on the toughs.

square_wheels

stush18,

It was barely a hit, essentially a shove on a player turning backwards. All the leagues I’ve played in, made that same defensive play hundreds of times…you’re right, the smart play is turn behind the net.

However, you hit someone on my team like that, I’m making you swallow teeth.

Teeth are easy to fix (but pricey), heads rattled like that………sometimes you’re never the same.

Johnny skid

Letestu on the forth line is ok I guess….letestu on the power-play no thank you. I hope the coach got that out of his playbook.

stush18

square_wheels:
stush18,

It was barely a hit, essentially a shove on a player turning backwards. All the leagues I’ve played in, made that same defensive play hundreds of times…you’re right, the smart play is turn behind the net.

However, you hit someone on my team like that, I’m making you swallow teeth.

Teeth are easy to fix (but pricey), heads rattled like that………sometimes you’re never the same.

Agreed. Someone should be able to jump in and knock his teeth in. He should have to answer for it. But as a player, I would have made that hit, and in fact I do make those hits. I might be a dick, but there is no remorse or let up in the play. You don’t make that hit, your ass is glued to the bench.

AsiaOil

Centre of attention,

I would change only slightly – assuming we pick #2

Hall-Nuge-Draisaitl <— Bonafide top line
Maroon-McDavid-Laine <— protected 2nd line
Pouliot-Shaw-Kassian <— Yak traded for Shaw
Hendricks-Letestu/Lander-Khaira/Slepy <— C/RW rotates i the PB

Klefbom-Hamonic <— Nurse traded for Hamonic
Sekera-Vatanen <— Eberle for Vatanen
Davidson-Fayne-Reinhart

Professor Q

stush18: Agreed. Someone should be able to jump in and knock his teeth in. He should have to answer for it. But as a player, I would have made that hit, and in fact I do make those hits. I might be a dick, but there is no remorse or let up in the play. You don’t make that hit, your ass is glued to the bench.

And that’s what’s wrong with hockey culture. Not sorry to say that.

leadfarmer

Lowetide: I sincerely hope you aren’t on the receiving end of a hit like that one. Eventually, someone will get hurt badly and they will bring charging back into the game. Crazy they ever got rid of it.

One thing the commentators like Cherry keep saying is that Condra should not have done that so close to the boards. Anyone with eyes can see that Condra landed on the ice, not the boards.

Charging. Just two minutes but it is a start.

When the NHL gets sued for concussions and not adequately protecting their players these hits on a defenseless player and “blowing up” an opponent and the league’s complete lack of response extending into the present will be front and center in the lawsuit and the league will pay dearly for it.

Centre of attention

stush18:
Centre of attention,

Small nitpick, but I think if laine plays with mcdavid, then pouliot will play left side. Otherwise that line doesn’t have enough speed to keep up with mcdavid. Also I think klefbom and vatanen would play together, as both would likely be our powerplay dmen. After the powerplay sekera and demers (vets) take on the toughs.

Great points.

AsiaOil,

I agree that the Hall line will be taking on the toughs when possible. I don’t think that Peter can pull off two separate trades for both Hamonic and Vatanen. Its one of the two plus a free agent I think. I also think Yak is going out east personally.

I have a feeling Chicago might just want us to take Bickell along with Shaw and we only give up a marginal pick in return. Like LT said, Peter’s cap space will make him a popular man.

MrEd

I HATE to see guys being injured playing the game.

Condra looked to his right as the puck came around and then stopped skating. Moreover he chose to play the puck up the wall rather than concede to the forechecking pressure.

Cizikas finished his check in an honest way.

No call.

Playoff hockey.

godot10

Centre of attention: Great points.

AsiaOil,

I agree that the Hall line will be taking on the toughs when possible. I don’t think that Peter can pull off two separate trades for both Hamonic and Vatanen. Its one of the two plus a free agent I think. I also think Yak is going out east personally.

I have a feeling Chicago might just want us to take Bickell along with Shaw and we only give up a marginal pick in return. Like LT said, Peter’s cap space will make him a popular man.

You can’t fix the defense if you take Bickell’s contract.

I’m willing to take an iffy contract if a top 4D is coming with it.

stush18

Lowetide: I sincerely hope you aren’t on the receiving end of a hit like that one. Eventually, someone will get hurt badly and they will bring charging back into the game. Crazy they ever got rid of it.

One thing the commentators like Cherry keep saying is that Condra should not have done that so close to the boards. Anyone with eyes can see that Condra landed on the ice, not the boards.

Charging. Just two minutes but it is a start.

I have been on the ends of those hits. But you only take a hit like that once before you learn. Rewatch the hit, cizikas stopped skating and glided for a couple seconds before hitting Condra. That’s not charging. That play is on condra completely.

Players know the risks of the game. If the hit is within the rules, like this one was, I am perfectly fine with the hit. I never hope for a serious injury from a hit, but I hit as hard as I can. I grew up knowing if I skated with my head down, or if I tried to bail out on a hit from someone instead of getting close to the boards, I was going to get hurt.

I grew up learning to hit in atom, and I honestly believe that was the best thing for players my age. Our coaches out us through skating camps to learn our edges and balance and checking clinics for proper checking. We learnt how to hit and take hits from players our own size. This nonsense of hitting in midget is going to increase the amount of career ending injuries. Like imagine being 15-16 and stepping onto the ice for tryouts against junior players and having to take a hit for the first time. After learning your whole life that you could skate with your head down, staring at the puck.

Gayfish

Also fire letestu into the sun. I think we can find a better 4line C. I don’t think hendricks has a lot left, and trading him now would be wise, but I’d be fine bringing him back. Korpikoski needs to disappear. The 4line really needs a change. Too bad lander couldn’t show himself to be a solution.

A RHC to replace latest is best, but doesn’t have to be for the power play. I would much rather have a couple RW that shoot right to man the PP.

Maybe Jarret Stoll comes back, don’t know how his story is progressing.

Would be kinda funny to bring gagner back as 4C. He would be a nice power play addition, but he probably would have to play wing and we would need to bing in another 4C who shoots left.

stush18

Professor Q: And that’s what’s wrong with hockey culture. Not sorry to say that.

What’s wrong with it?

That wasn’t a head shot, it wasn’t charging, or anything illegal.

A perfectly clean, nasty looking hit that unfortunately injured a player. As a person who plays a physical game, I am perfectly willing to stand up for myself after a hit like that.

The problem with the culture is that players can make head shots and knees without worry. No respect.

Gayfish

Did I really say anything bad LT?

MrEd

I’m happy with Letestu and Hendricks for the balance of their contracts.

stush18

godot10: You can’t fix the defense if you take Bickell’s contract.

I’m willing to take an iffy contract if a top 4D is coming with it.

You’d have to think the only way bowman moves bickells contract is if the eat half of it no?

Either way, I don’t think chiarelli will trade for bickell. We are pretty set down the left side, and I think maroon will be his bickell

anonymous

The Oilers can’t continue to pay so much for fourth liners. They’re going to have keep the fourth line at 2 million combined and their 5/6/7 D at 2.5m combined. They need to do this just to keep the players they have for more than the next year or two, never mind additions.

No more Letestus, Korpikoskis or Hendrickses amongst others. Time for a “kid line”. Too bad all their lines are “kid lines” already.

John Chambers

I’m a bit confused. Everyone loves Boyd Gordon at $3M to take defensive zone draws, kill penalties, and fail to put up any offence.

Letestu gives the same performance at $1.8M and everyone hates him. Go figure.

Ryan

Stelio Kontos:
Also fire letestu into the sun. I think we can find a better 4line C. I don’t think hendricks has a lot left, and trading him now would be wise, but I’d be fine bringing him back. Korpikoski needs to disappear. The 4line really needs a change. Too bad lander couldn’t show himself to be a solution.

A RHC to replace latest is best, but doesn’t have to be for the power play. I would much rather have a couple RW that shoot right to man the PP.

Maybe Jarret Stoll comes back, don’t know how his story is progressing.

Would be kinda funny to bring gagner back as 4C. He would be a nice power play addition, but he probably would have to play wing and we would need to bing in another 4C who shoots left.

I’m not a guy that likes to blow smoke up my ass, but I was nearly alone on an island when many intelligent folks around here like Gmoney and Wheatnoil had Lander penned in for 3c last season.

While I lost a hundred bucks in an unfortunate bet to Pouzar, I was ultimately right about Lander.

Okay, so you’ve given me the requisite segue to blow smoke up my ass. Thanks man.

square_wheels

wait a second – did I just hear the Ducks crew say “a questionable call against Bieksa” ?

Fuck that guy. Seriously, fuck Kevin Bieksa.

Mr DeBakey

John Chambers: I’m a bit confused. Everyone loves Boyd Gordon at $3M to take defensive zone draws, kill penalties, and fail to put up any offence.

How much is Boyd Gordon’s contract next year?
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m talking about next season.

Centre of attention

Lowetide:
Ethan Bear scored again tonight, but Seattle is behind.

Is it okay that I am really excited about this prospect?

I know, miles to go. But come on. The kid is shooting the lights out.

MrEd

Does Korp need to be reconsidered if we draft a Fin?

MrEd

square_wheels,

Right?!

Ice Sage

Centre of attention: Is it okay that I am really excited about this prospect?

I know, miles to go. But come on. The kid is shooting the lights out.

C’mon guys – Ethan B. allows so many metaphors – ‘he’s mauling the predictions’ ‘bringing Oiler fans outta hibernation’ ‘that other guy may be Ghost but this is the real Bear’…
(I’ve liked this kid since his bantam year in Kelowna – nothing flashy but he just does everything quite well)

Centre of attention

MrEd:
Does Korp need to be reconsidered if we draft a Fin?

Pakarinen is designated translator IMO.

Centre of attention

Lowetide:
Bear scored again, Thunderbirds still trail.

Are you watching the games? What does he look like defensively?

Ice Sage

Lowetide: No, watching Ducks-Preds

How ’bout that – the surviving California team is the Sharks!
On an Oiler-centric note, I’m glad they have a Rinne-esque goalie now.

Centre of attention

Lowetide:
Now tied, Bear 2-1-3 tonight. Okay, mild excitement is allowed, but inward.

If he builds on this next season [or even just sustains this pace] I might buy Bob Green an expensive beer. Or two. Hell, I’ll buy him the whole damn bar if he grabs another kid just like Bear this summer.

5th round pick?! Love it. More please.

Rondo

Ice Sage,

No left wings that can score on Anaheim

Rondo

Lowetide,

Are shots on goal correct? Seattle Kelowna

GCW_69

Mr DeBakey:
Who did he play with? Most common wingers were Lauri Korpikoski and Matt Hendricks.

When talking about solutions for potential Cap issues, the $6mm tied up in this bad line would be an excellent place to start.

Yep. Fourth lines should top out around $3.5m total. It is the least intelligent part of your roster to overpay. So, of course, the Oilers overpay this line big time.

Interesting if you look at the fourth lines that went tonight. Each team had one player getting grossly overpaid on the fourth line (Clutterbuck, Boyle, Gaustad, McGinn).

Little Poteet

Can I just say, off topic, that with 15 points in 13 playoff games after a stupendous regular season, Ethan Bear is looking like a steal from the 5th round. And he shoots right. He could give oesterle a run for his ice time in California next year

GCW_69

Rondo:
Ice Sage,

No left wings that can score on Anaheim

Hall for Lindholm. Toss in Reinhart if you have to. Works for both teams.

Yak for Severson.

Laine – McDavid – Eberle (soft minutes)
Pouliot – Nuge – Leon (tough minutes)
Maroon – Helm – Parenteau (second comp)
Who cares as long as they are cheap

Lindholm – Sekera
Klefbom – Demers
Davidson – Severson