I learned a lot about hockey from my Dad. He would commend good plays, call bad players ‘dummies’ or ‘mutts’ and didn’t much like young players at all. I’ve told you this before, but that was an early tell about Bobby Orr. He didn’t say a negative thing about Orr, even when he was pretty new in the NHL. Sanderson was a hippie, Jim Dorey was a hood (hood was very bad) but Orr gained instant respect.
We all notice the new players who spend time with the puck. Why? A rookie who can insert himself into the game story is going to do even more good work as time goes by. If your team has a rookie doing things that involve the puck, that is a very good thing. Matt Benning is such a player, but there is some worry from this blog’s author in regard to the fine young rookie.
😱 PRAYER CIRCLE FOR MATT BENNING RIGHT NOW 😱
— minniafeng (@minniafeng) March 26, 2017
Matt Benning is developing a past and the only down arrow I can find surrounds injury. He’s that rare rookie who handles the puck enough to insert himself into the story and, if he can stay healthy, we might be looking at a long-term option on RHD Top4. Benning made a pass not long ago against Philadelphia that was just so good. Faceoff, puck goes back to LHD, sends it to Benning, who waited two heartbeats and then sent a fabulous pass to Leon as he arrived in the slot. Goal! Music!
He has to stay healthy. In early February against Carolina, he got sideswiped by Viktor Stalberg and missed some games. Upon return, his offense went away and his defensive numbers also had a time: 49.3 percent Dangerous Fenwick now against elites and 3.1 percent Rel Comp against elites. WoodMoney still loves him, but that concussion packed a wallop. I hope he’s fine.
Jesse Puljujarvi is now 30gp, 10-14-24 in Bakersfield and his scoring has increased over the last couple of weeks based on Eric Rodgers’ TOI estimate. When we last looked at things, he was at 2.31/60 scoring in all disciplines. Here is the latest, along with the rest of the prospect forwards in Bakersfield.
CONDORS F PROSPECTS (RODGERS’ ESTIMATED TOI)
- Boxcars and situational stats are from AHL.com, the rest is Rodgers.
- Puljujarvi has seen an uptick in the last two weeks, and that period has included a cooling down period for Anton Lander.
- I think it’s fair to say Jesse Puljujarvi’s AHL time has been a success and was the right thing to do. We are still trying to figure him out as an offensive player, but this 30-game stretch in the AHL has shown a lot.
- Rodgers tracks all this stuff several times a year, allowing me to double back to Jan. 1 and Joey Laleggia’s move to LW. The absence of alternatives clears the mind, and the Oilers aren’t flush with scoring forward prospects. With that in mind, it seems reasonable to regard the former defenseman as one of the best scoring prospects in the pro system. He might get some NHL time.
- Jujhar Khaira’s AHL time was textbook in terms of development. His NHL time has been injury prone, but suspect we have seen enough to project him onto next season’s roster. 4L, we’ll say. Edmonton’s ability to draft, develop and deploy forwards through their AHL system has been a very difficult thing for them to do this century. Khaira shows it can be done.
- Let’s not go crazy, but there are signs of life for Greg Chase here. He is separating just a little bit from the other prospects in the pack.
YOUNG OILERS FORWARDS, 2016-17
- I have been spending a lot of time in this area during 2016-17, because value contracts are going to be very important for this group.
- Tyler Pitlick was enjoying a splendid season before injury, he was running a fantastic shooting percentage that would have (likely) corrected by season’s end. Still, hedoes have a good shot, and he shoots a lot.
- Iiro Pakarinen hasn’t played a lot this year, so there isn’t a lot of story. His possession numbers are good so far this year, but a small sample size. Last season he was not impressive in possession. I’m uncertain about where this player fits.
- Anton Lander got 200 games in the NHL as a No. 40 overall selection. That is a successful draft pick.
- Anton Slepyshev has played basically half a season and shown well enough to have an inside track on a job next year, in my opinion. His possession numbers aren’t fabulous but he can do a lot of things and has an actual NHL shot. He could be one of the winners in this group.
- Jesse Puljujarvi has posted an interesting season, it’s easy to look at these NHL numbers and wonder. The key item is the shooting percentage (2.4), something he improved in the AHL (11.4). JP’s 88 shots in 30 AHL games are also a positive. This won’t count as breaking news, but extremely likely he will be the most successful player on this list.
- Drake Caggiula’s recent performances are most welcome, as we attempt to get his offense surrounded. His shooting percentage is a little shy and we have 53 games as a sample, so we are beginning to get a feel for his ability. Most common linemates are Slepyshev and Benoit Pouliot in a season of struggle, so we need to factor that in as well. I don’t think we know yet.
- Jujhar Khaira is extremely likely to be in the NHL next season, hopefully with the Oilers. I really like his game.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
We’re back! 10 this morning, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Scott Burnside, ESPN. A funny thing happened on the way to the Sharks and Wild winning their divisions. Plus, can the Oilers win the Pacific?
- Bryan Brant, Roster Point. A massive site designed to tie players with teams, there are all kinds of interesting things about it, including a new ranking system.
- Jason Gregor, TSN1260. Oilers coming down the stretch with a chance to win the division. How much credit should Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan receive?
- Sunil Agnihotri, Copper & Blue/The SuperFan. Oilers in possession continue to slide. Why?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!