No matter the AAV or the length of his next contract, the Edmonton Oilers are going to need big production from Leon Draisaitl. One of the things we’re all wondering about (aside from the cap number) is what the big forward can do with a line of his own. Can you push the river, Leon?
DRAISAITL 2015-16 WOWY TAYLOR HALL
- At 5×5, Leon Draisaitl scored 2.32/60 alongside Taylor Hall in 2015-16.
- At 5×5, Leon Draisaitl scored 1.13/60 without Taylor Hall in 2015-16.
This is a little unfair, Draisaitl played just 160 minutes without Hall during the 2015-16 season. Draisaitl and Hall had real chem, although a long cool run later in the season caved their overall totals together. Still, a very successful first full season for LD.
DRAISAITL 2016-17 WOWY CONNOR MCDAVID
- At 5×5, Leon scored 2.23/60 alongside Connor McDavid in 2016-17.
- At 5×5, Leon scored 1.79/60 without Connor McDavid in 2016-17.
Crazy as it looks, Draisaitl had slightly better offensive numbers with Hall in 2015-16 than with 97 this past season. Why does this matter? Doesn’t really, but in doing the RE for the coming season I’m trying to handicap Leon’s minutes. If we give him the same number of power-play and PK points as a year ago, and run him solo center, what is the general area of reasonable for Leon sans McDavid in 2017-18?
- Draisaitl 5×5: 82, 13-22-35
- Draisaitl PP: 82, 10-17-27
- Draisaitl PK: 82, 0-0-0
- Draisaitl: 82, 23-39-62
That’s fine production for a 2line C (would have ranked No. 15 among C’s a year ago) and if he can win the possession battle with (say) Milan Lucic and Anton Slepyshev, Edmonton should consider that a raging success. Question: Is that good enough for $8 million times eight years? Or do you stick him with McDavid and push for 85 points?
Bigger question: If you run McDavid and Leon together, and Nuge has a successful year on the 2line, is there a way to move heaven and hell in the NHL to keep RNH past 2017-18?
- There is room for two more contracts, but I think the Oilers might be done.
- The Jokinen signing gives clarity and structure to the forward group.
- Jesse Puljujarvi would have to play poorly in pre-season in order to avoid a feature role.
- There are two spots in the top 9F for three youngsters: Puljujarvi, Anton Slepyshev and Drake Caggiula. JP is going to get an enormous push, who wins the other job?
- Slepyshev and Caggiula can be sent down. I don’t think that will be a factor, but if push comes to shove, something to keep in mind.
- I have Jujhar Khaira on the roster as forward No. 13, for me the battle for the final spot comes down to Pakarinen versus Malone versus going with 8D (speeds has been mentioning that possibility on twitter).
- My dark horse F for opening night? Joe Gambardella. Forechecks like a demon, creates offense from those exchanges 150 feet from his net. Ryan Lambert raved about just this thing, we talked about it when he signed.
- The signing of Auvitu had a similar impact to Jokinen’s signing on the defense. Ideally, he passes Ryan Stanton, Mark Fayne and Eric Gryba on the depth chart and becomes an everyday player. His outlet passes alone could add to the offense and on this roster he is a lock for some power-play time.
- We’ll chat about pairings as the summer rolls, but for me keeping Klefbom with Larsson has so much appeal. You need a pairing to count on.
Photo by Rob Ferguson
PETRY, CHORNEY AND WILD
Do you remember our long conversations about these three college defenders back in the day? Cody Wild may well have been the most talented offensively, but too much chaos without the puck limited his progress. Taylor Chorney was too small to play a feature role and arrived in Edmonton during a time of addling, so took the long route to the NHL (now at 141 games). Jeff Petry was the winning lottery number of the trio, he blossomed into a solid NHL player (now at 445 games).
I wrote about four new hires for the AHL team (Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones, Ziyat Paigin, Ryan Mantha) over at ON last night, this is going to be a very interesting follow for the coming year. There aren’t going to be enough at-bats for all four men, meaning someone is going to sit and possibly see time in the ECHL (Wichita!).
These defensemen are going to have lots of time to make the adjustment to AHL play, makes me wonder which of them will push for NHL time first. No hurry, which makes the current experiment far different than the college trio of years ago.
His spike in goal-scoring in the AHL is an underrated portion of the Oilers season (prospects division). From Boxing Day forward, he went 43gp, 18-13-31. Moved to wing from defense and kick-started his career.
In looking at Laleggia’s progression, I’m reminded of just how difficult it can be to track college men. Each spring I do a “Farm Workers” post and mention this area of procurement:
- Exceptions are college men. Playing 4 NCAA seasons means turning pro at 22, meaning a “late start” for some quality prospects. Condors 2016-17: Yeah, this remains for sure. Drake Caggiula skipped the AHL so far, and Matt Benning played just two AHL games. Nick Ellis is also in this conversation, and I think Jordan Oesterle will have an NHL career, although I doubt it will be with the Oilers. Joey Laleggia is also in this category, with the added delay of playing a different position. Source
College players are such a different group, they deserve their own category. Rob Vollman has done some impressive work on NHLE’s, but one of the main areas of innovation was applying different numbers for various NCAA divisions. Playing in the NCHC is far different than playing in another division. Which brings us back to Gambardella.
I don’t know that Joe Gambardella takes training camp by storm and pushes his way into the conversation, but the things we track with math are speaking volumes about this player. Drake Caggiula’s NHLE (44) a year ago isn’t far removed from Gambardella’s season run through the Vollman NHLE.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
The wide world of sports this morning at 10, TSN1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Luke Wileman, TSN. The emerging story that is the Canadian men’s soccer team.
- Dave Dawson, Onside CFL Fantasy. We’ll talk about value players and who you should choose at quarterback this week.
- Rob Vollman, ESPN and NHL.com. Rob tweeted out yesterday “you could pay McDavid in the $20M/yr range (if it were permitted by the CBA), and it still projects to a positive value contract” and we’ll talk about that and Leon’s contract.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!