What kind of expectation should we have for Jesse Puljujarvi as an NHL player this season? Ordinarily, I ask the NHLE’s to tell me, but the Sm-Liiga is not a strong league in terms of conversion to the NHL. It would be unfair to let the air out of the ties with Puljujarvi at the same rate as normal humans—and yet we are left to wonder what represents a reasonable line in the sand. Revolved helped out recently by giving us numbers (from this source) on the Finn:
- ESP/60: 2.64
- ESShots/60: 6.93
- Corsi%: 57.5
- ESTOI: 13
We are at the point in the summer where I am ready to present my NHLEs for the prospects who might have a chance to play for the Oilers this coming season. I have decided to use Aleksander Barkov as a comparable—moving the deflation number from .3 to .5. Call it convenience, call it exceptional status, either way I think it represents this player more fairly.
NHLE’S OVER TIME
Here are some recent Oilers, their final season outside the NHL, followed by their rookie seasons in the show.
- Connor McDavid 82GP, 23-40-63 (Actual 45GP, 16-32-48) .768 versus 1.07 (point per game)
- RNH 82GP, 11-27-38NHLE (Actual 62GP, 18-34-52) .463 versus .839 (point per game)
- Leon Draisaitl 82GP, 15-26-41 NHLE (Actual 72GP, 19-32-51) .500 versus .708 (points per game)
- Taylor Hall 82GP, 17-29-46NHLE (Actual 65GP, 22-20-42) .561 versus .646 (point per game)
- Nail Yakupov 82GP, 18-22-40NHLE (Actual 48GP, 17-14-31) .487 versus .645 (point per game)
- Jordan Eberle 82GP, 22-24-46NHLE (Actual 69GP, 18-25-43) .561 versus .623 (point per game)
- Anton Lander 82GP, 14-28-42 NHLE (Actual 38GP, 6-14-20) .512 versus .526 point per game)
The idea (for me) behind NHLE is to give us an idea about a player and how much offense he should be expected to deliver. I posted the NHLEs for 20 Oilers prospects a year ago (McDavid and Leon included) and here are 10 for this coming season (using the modified number for Puljujarvi).
- L Drake Cagguila 22-22-44
- R Patrick Russell 17-17-34
- L Jere Sallinen 10-15-25
- R Jesse Puljujarvi 11-12-23
- R Tyler Pitlick 7-15-22
- C Jujhar Khaira 8-13-21
- R Anton Slepyshev 10-7-17
- C Bogdan Yakimov 5-11-15
- C Kyle Platzer 5-9-14
- R Greg Chase 2-12-14
Edmonton is very likely to have a cracking top 6F, and that third line should hum too. I would guess Puljujarvi, Caggiula, Pitlick and Khaira see NHL time, but most of those minutes will probably come in the bottom 6F. Defensemen are next.
If the Oilers keep their centers three (McDavid, RNH, LD) then we are dealing with winger depth—and the addition of Caggiula and Puljujarvi this spring and summer helps the bubbling under group.
I will tell you that my belief is that JP plays 20+ games in the AHL, in order to establish his ability to enter the NHL as an actual plug-and play (and without having to justify the cap hit—that will include a substantial bonus). When he arrives in the NHL, I expect he will get a substantial center and the soft parade. If he plays 60 games, can he score 30 points? I think he can. In this case, NHLE does not (imo) give us a fair assessment of this player (or of Laine).
Only June 28 but one source said 100% and another 95% that @MilanLucicCFC17 will sign with @EdmontonOilers on July 1.Let's see if it happens
— Gene Principe (@GenePrincipe) June 28, 2016
I think there is a good chance Lucic ends up in Edmonton, but do not believe it is a done deal. Anaheim, Boston, Vancouver, Los Angeles, all of those cities will be heard from and this negotiation window is designed for all teams to pursue chosen targets.
Thoughts? Edmonton also has Drake Caggiula (NHLE: 44 points) who is likely to start in Bakersfield but could be a factor in the coming season. Can the Oilers afford this lineup? Is is a playoff lineup? Are we approaching Unicorns?
Can confirm Reps from both Lucic and Demers have had conversations with Oiler management among other teams.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) June 28, 2016
As you may know (if you have been reading this blog all spring), Jason Demers is my choice to address the defense this summer. Why? Two reasons. First, he is easily the best RHD available in free agency, and he can effectively replace Jeff Petry (I believe). Second, and this is important, Peter Chiarelli must take what the market gives him. Get Demers, and if a Boychuk/Leddy opportunity makes itself known later, then make that move, too. The idea that making over this defense is a quick fix has always been folly. It is going to take some time, but that doesn’t mean the Oilers should hesitate in free agency. No sir. Get Demers, wait for the right opportunity (while also waiting for your current assets to rise) and try like hell to grow your own.
For all those complaining about Jason Demers and his potential, look at his development and time under McLellan pic.twitter.com/5oRyXHXoHB
— Sammi Silber (@sammisilber) June 28, 2016
GROW SOME FUNK OF YOUR OWN, AMIGO!
The Edmonton Oilers drafted Markus Niemelainen in the third round on the weekend. He is a big, mobile defender who should earn his keep at the NHL level patrolling the blue and keeping things neat in his own back yard. I found it interesting that Niemelainen was taken about 50 spots after Logan Stanley—and I do not think it is clear that Stanley is a better prospect.
- Logan Stanley: 6.07, 220. 64gp, 5-12-17 107pims
- Markus Niemelainen: 6.05, 189. 65gp, 1-26-27 28pims
- Logan Stanley: Even-strength primary points per game: .094
- Markus Niemelainen: Even-strength primary points per game: .108
- Logan Stanley: Estimated even-strength points per 60: 0.655
- Markus Niemelainen: Estimated even-strength points per 60: 1.133
There is much we don’t know about both players, but this quick look-see appears to favor the Edmonton giant. Neither man is wildly productive offensively, but Niemelainen had 26 assists and despite scoring four fewer goals had 89 shots (to Stanley’s 104). I am not making an effort to put down Stanley, but will be watching closely this coming season. I believe the Oilers bet may be the better one, especially considering draft position. Finally, I know many of you are not fans of defensive defenders (Mark Fayne alert!) but I do believe these players have value. Niemelainen might be a very good pick.
With the news yesterday of the Lucic and Demers visits, I think we are getting an idea about the scope of this summer’s plans. We are talking major items, Lucic and some blue moves, and I suspect a major trade is also in the cards. I think Peter Chiarelli may have had the big contracts in play (Hall, Nuge, Ebs) but the possible returns (Dumba, etc) don’t excite him. So, and this is just a guess, we may see an active free-agent Friday followed by a period of silence—and it could last into the season. If PC adds Lucic and Demers, tweaks around the roster, and the team starts strong this fall? We may not see any major moves. If there is no target, why trade anyone? Keep your powder dry, build the best roster possible with the pieces available. I think adding Lucic and Demers might be the plan, and after that come what may.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning, lots of hockey talk and some soccer and football too. We will welcome Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal in at 10:20 or so, then talk with Andrew Buchholtz of 55-Yard Line about CFL Week 1. At 11:05, Corey Pronman gives us insight into the Oilers picks and some of the brilliant picks from the 2016 draft.