APPROACHING UNICORNS

by Lowetide

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.

  1. Connor McDavid 82GP, 23-40-63 (Actual 45GP, 16-32-48) .768 versus 1.07 (point per game)
  2. RNH 82GP, 11-27-38NHLE (Actual 62GP, 18-34-52) .463 versus .839 (point per game)
  3. Leon Draisaitl 82GP, 15-26-41 NHLE (Actual 72GP, 19-32-51) .500 versus .708 (points per game)
  4. Taylor Hall 82GP, 17-29-46NHLE (Actual 65GP, 22-20-42) .561 versus .646 (point per game)
  5. Nail Yakupov 82GP, 18-22-40NHLE (Actual 48GP, 17-14-31) .487 versus .645 (point per game)
  6. Jordan Eberle 82GP, 22-24-46NHLE (Actual 69GP, 18-25-43) .561 versus .623 (point per game)
  7. 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).

  1. L Drake Cagguila 22-22-44
  2. R Patrick Russell 17-17-34
  3. L Jere Sallinen 10-15-25
  4. R Jesse Puljujarvi 11-12-23
  5. R Tyler Pitlick 7-15-22
  6. C Jujhar Khaira 8-13-21
  7. R Anton Slepyshev 10-7-17
  8. C Bogdan Yakimov 5-11-15
  9. C Kyle Platzer 5-9-14
  10. 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).

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.

  • Lucic—McDavid—Eberle
  • Hall—Draisaitl—Maroon
  • Pouliot—Nuge—Puljujarvi
  • Hendricks—Letestu—Kassian

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?

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.

  • Klefbom—Demers
  • Sekera—Fayne
  • Nurse—Davidson
  • Oesterle

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.

STAND BACK

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.

nurse lucic

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.

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Drew

“Steve Smith”:
Drew,

I don’t think any commentator has increased his esteem in my eyes over the last five or so years more than Gregor has. He started off firmly in the “watch the games, nerds” camp, but has actually been swayed by the evidence. Glad to see him on the side of the angels on this one.

yes he will not admit it but he does look at the info…

"Steve Smith"

Drew,

I don’t think any commentator has increased his esteem in my eyes over the last five or so years more than Gregor has. He started off firmly in the “watch the games, nerds” camp, but has actually been swayed by the evidence. Glad to see him on the side of the angels on this one.

SumOil

i am literally crying right now

threeputtdouble

We lost the better hockey player but for various reasons may well have just become a better hockey team. It’s always been a matter of selling low on the forwards, folks.

Drew

Gregor is suggesting that some of the talk about hall’s attitude came from within the oilers. this is being used to justify the trade now.
wonders how the old boys are still here.

N64

Gregor in full attack mode on org bad mouthing players.

Drew

gregor on fire about the trade and the oilers org, brilliant,

HugThePost

I think Chia dodged a bullet named Subban. He is great, but that salary…..

Plus the whispers from Montreal media about him not being the most upstanding ‘team’ guy

I think the Habs made their mind up on him even before the season ended and it came out as things like the coach benching him and criticizing him in the media.

It’ll be interesting to see how he does in a non-traditional nhl market.

N64

Protagonist: same time? One thing I HAVE to think, is that the timing of the Hall and Subban deals indicate that Hall for Subban was being discussed, and Montreal or Edmonton didn’t pull the trigger.

Wonder if Bergevin almost had Hall and PLD+ before Columbus picked.

Wonder what he was asking for afterwards.

westcoastjos

PDL:
So is now the time for supporters of this trade to bring out the knives to Hall?“Bad attitude”, “dumb”, “questionable”.Believe it or not, there are people who visit this blog who love Hall and love him as an Oiler.

And yes, we know championship teams don’t have to include him, but he was not the reason we didn’t win squat for the past 5 years.

It is a two way street. The other side can have an opinion about Hall too without us throwing knives at each other. He may or may not have been one of the reasons that we didn’t win for the past 5 years. For me, I felt like he gave up a lot when the Oilers season was in the tank. That didn’t happen with McDavid last year. He pushed right until the end.

Protagonist

What the heck is happening. Did everyone agree that they’d just put out all their press releases at the same time? One thing I HAVE to think, is that the timing of the Hall and Subban deals indicate that Hall for Subban was being discussed, and Montreal or Edmonton didn’t pull the trigger. The fact that the Hall trade came out first leads me to believe that Chia said no. How bad was that PK for Hall trade that he said “No, I’d rather have Larsson?”

N64

Woodguy:
Bob McKenzieVerified account
‏@TSNBobMcKenzie
Steven Stamkos is staying in TB. #TSN

Everything is happening!!!

~ Did someone say something about some guy called Taylor Hall? ~

Hall going out is a footnote today. Will make top 10 bad trade lists down the road.

Pouzar

Just wow. Bergevin.

Brutal.

You could have had your 1-2 C combo locked up for the next decade.

Back 9

So is now the time for supporters of this trade to bring out the knives to Hall? “Bad attitude”, “dumb”, “questionable”. Believe it or not, there are people who visit this blog who love Hall and love him as an Oiler.

And yes, we know championship teams don’t have to include him, but he was not the reason we didn’t win squat for the past 5 years.

HugThePost

wow; what a crazy nhl day!

Woodguy

Bob McKenzieVerified account
‏@TSNBobMcKenzie
Steven Stamkos is staying in TB. #TSN

Everything is happening!!!

N64

Bob McKenzie ‏@TSNBobMcKenzie 32s33 seconds ago
Steven Stamkos is staying in TB. #TSN

Drew

crazy is going full out right now.

T0ML
Pouzar

@TSNBobMcKenzie Tyler Dellow last seen running down the hall yelling to Chiarelli – ‘I meant Ekman-Larsson!’ #oilers

Woodguy

#Blockbuster @CanadiensMTL trade PK Subban to @PredsNHL for Shea Weber #wow @Sportsnet @NHL.

Pouzar

Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) | Twitter

https://twitter.com/RealKyper

2 mins ago – View on Twitter

#Blockbuster @CanadiensMTL trade PK Subban to @PredsNHL for Shea Weber #wow @Sportsnet @NHL.

N64

Pouzar: Kypreos

New Jersey!

/drops mic

Pouzar

Subban for Weber?

"Steve Smith"

westcoastjos:
Kiltymcbagpipes,

I agree for the most part. I don’t think the rumours about bad attitude came from nowhere. You can see it in some his questionable tweets over the years.

Is it paranoid of me to suspect that the Oilers have employees commenting here? It probably is.

T0ML

Now if somehow we land PK …. does that make today a win?

edit: to elaborate …. without giving up McDavid, i mean a 1/2 punch on D of PK (or another high offense player) and Larsson … instantly makes the D high end….

Pouzar

Now Kypreos saying PK gone as early as today? WTF is goin on?

westcoastjos

Kiltymcbagpipes,

I agree for the most part. I don’t think the rumours about bad attitude came from nowhere. You can see it in some his questionable tweets over the years.

Pouzar

Jethro Tull: Have one for me, bro.Then another.

“To absent possession monsters!”

Will do.

T-minus 300 sec

Pouzar

So let me get this straight, we can give away one of the best players in the NHL but we cannot execute a simple buyout of one of the worst?

Drew

Kiltymcbagpipes:
Terrible trade could have done way better I’m sure.

However, Hall’s value isn’t nearly as high as all you think. I’ve been telling you all these for many many months. There’s a reason he didn’t get picked for team canada

Say goodbye to:

– hard worker but bad attitude
– terrible decision maker
– puck hog
– dumb passer with low percentage shots

This isn’t an individual game it’s a TEAM game. I don’t like the value of the trade but the Oilers are a BETTER team with Lucic and Larsson then with Hall. Cry about it all you want. We will be a tougher TEAM to play against and built for the playoffs. I’m pumped for the season!

go away

Blackwolf

Relax folks. We need defense. He’s a good player. At least we didn’t retain salary like in the Kessel deal.

HugThePost

Can’t help but think about some of Hall’s end of season comments this spring when he mused about how anyone but Connor can be moved.

Makes me agree with Pouzar—Hall asked out.

N64

Pouzar:
Only explanation is Hall asked OUT.

There is nothing else.

If he did Oilers PR will say it flat out soon. Otherwise they’ll insinuate it.

Blackwolf

Protagonist,

According to woodguy chart.
Defense vs 1 comp. Excellent
Offense good.
Keep in mind. Who do you give the puck too in jersy

Kiltymcbagpipes

Terrible trade could have done way better I’m sure.

However, Hall’s value isn’t nearly as high as all you think. I’ve been telling you all these for many many months. There’s a reason he didn’t get picked for team canada

Say goodbye to:

– hard worker but bad attitude
– terrible decision maker
– puck hog
– dumb passer with low percentage shots

This isn’t an individual game it’s a TEAM game. I don’t like the value of the trade but the Oilers are a BETTER team with Lucic and Larsson then with Hall. Cry about it all you want. We will be a tougher TEAM to play against and built for the playoffs. I’m pumped for the season!

flea

Jethro Tull,

Yeah I know what he was saying. But still – it says something about his mindset. Just an observation.

Cassandra

Jethro Tull:
Caramel Batman,

I think Chia is an awesome GM.

I think my sarcasm detector is broken.

Jethro Tull

Pouzar:
I am mere feet from “THE PINT”

See ya everyone.

Have one for me, bro. Then another.

“To absent possession monsters!”

Jethro Tull

flea:
Does anyone remember back in early 2015 when Taylor made some kind of comment about not wanting to play with Connor? Something like “I don’t want to see him in the dressing room next year?”

Crazy trade, it seems so bad I almost think this trade is going to work out.

Context dude. I actually listened to that interview on OilersNow. He meant that it would mean they were picking first and therefore not in the playoffs.

Stick to facts.

Cassandra

Pouzar:
Only explanation is Hall asked OUT.

There is nothing else.

The explanation is that Chiarelli is stupid. There is lots of evidence of this. There is no evidence Hall asked out.

I was young and didn’t live in Edmonton at the time. But the only thing that could be this bad is Gretzky being traded. Did the cup after taste sweet? I can’t imagine. I have ashes in my mouth

To go from the greatness of P.K. Subban to the blah of Larsson is sickening.

Drew

Pouzar:
Only explanation is Hall asked OUT.

There is nothing else.

Stauffer was on and saying he did not want out.

N64

böök¡je:
Fuck this team – I’m done!

Now who the hell do we blame every time something goes wrong instead of the guy who volunteered.

Hmmmmmm. Tough one.

Pouzar

I am mere feet from “THE PINT”

See ya everyone.

Jethro Tull

Caramel Batman:
The trade really is inconceivable.A #1 pick superstar for Adam “fucking” Larsson.How much better than Demers is he?He’s a lot closer to Demers than he is to Taylor Hall.

This would have been a horrific trade if it included a #1 prospect and a top prospect.

RNH for Dumba was a reasonable trade.It becomes a fucking great trade if it avoids this catastrophe.

I honestly want to punch Chiarelli in the face.

I don’t know that I can watch the Oilers again.Even if they win, the well is poisoned.

You can always start by not following Oilers blogs.

"Steve Smith"

Are we agreed that this blog should now be exclusively about Neil Young’s oeuvre, with posts titled after current and former Oilers?

flea

Does anyone remember back in early 2015 when Taylor made some kind of comment about not wanting to play with Connor? Something like “I don’t want to see him in the dressing room next year?”

Crazy trade, it seems so bad I almost think this trade is going to work out.

Jethro Tull

And I had some shit-hot news on Klef’s staph infection to share too! Not for a few days then.

Cassandra

The trade really is inconceivable. A #1 pick superstar for Adam “fucking” Larsson. How much better than Demers is he? He’s a lot closer to Demers than he is to Taylor Hall.

This would have been a horrific trade if it included a #1 prospect and a top prospect.

RNH for Dumba was a reasonable trade. It becomes a fucking great trade if it avoids this catastrophe.

I honestly want to punch Chiarelli in the face.

I don’t know that I can watch the Oilers again. Even if they win, the well is poisoned.

Pouzar

Only explanation is Hall asked OUT.

There is nothing else.