This coming week, my RE series tackles the future. In three posts, I’ll project Drake Caggiula, Jesse Puljujarvi and Anton Slepyshev. These men are not applying for exactly the same spot in the batting order, but there are many similarities. A check of the birth certificates tells us the long-term (likely) winner, but what about this season?
- Drake Caggiula with 97: 1-2-3 in 67 minutes (2.68 5×5/60 scoring) 52.5 CF5x5/60
- Drake Caggiula w/o 97: 4-4-8 in 567 minutes (0.85 5×5/60 scoring) 47.2 CF5x5/60
Caggiula’s most common linemates were Anton Slepyshev, Benoit Pouliot, Zack Kassian, Milan Lucic and Mark Letestu. The advantage of playing him with Connor McDavid is increased balance on the roster (Leon can play on a 2line that suddenly becomes far more dangerous). The disadvantage is that he’s in a contract year. He is 23, his time to establish an NHL career is now.
- Anton Slepyshev with 97: 1-1-2 in 22 minutes (5.49 5×5/60 scoring) 41.9 CF5x5/60
- Anton Slepyshev w/o 97: 3-5-8 in 406 minutes (1.13 5×5/60 scoring) 46.2 CF5x5/60
Slepyshev is in the same career spot (23) and his scoring numbers without CMD are more encouraging. His most common linemates were Drake Caggiula, Milan Lucic and Leon Draisaitl. Slepyshev went 3-2-5 in 110 minutes 5×5 with Leon, there appears to be chemistry there (small sample size alert).
- Jesse Puljujarvi with 97: 0-4-4 in 84 minutes (2.86 5×5/60 scoring) (53.8 CF5x5/60)
- Jesse Puljujarvi w/o 97: 0-2-2 in 204 minutes (0.59 5×5/60 scoring) (53.0 CF5x5/60)
There are a few things we can say about these players based on the numbers aboe:
- None of the three scored well away from Connor McDavid. The best offense came from Slepyshev while playing alongside Leon Draisaitl (feature role) and some of that could have been with 97 on the line.
- The most important number is 18, Jesse Puljujarvi’s age when he was playing NHL hockey one year ago. He’s going to improve, the other two men will acclimate but their actual skill set is mature.
- Both Caggiula and Slepyshev are in their contract seasons, Puljujarvi could cash some or most of a $2.5 million bonus if he plays with McDavid this winter. All of these men could be more expensive if playing extended time with 97.
- Slepyshev (7.37) and Puljujarvi (7.27) basically tied in 5×5 shots per 60 a year ago, Drake Caggiula (6.24) trailed by some margin.
- Caggiula and McDavid 4×5 looked good together.
I have my RE numbers and have established where each of these men are best deployed in the coming season. I have none of them playing a massive amount with Connor McDavid. What about you? Is there one among this group you believe should be on 97’s wing opening night and stay there?
Nothing new on the Leon front, these slow days of summer waiting remind me of the 1980’s. I have resisted saying anything about the agent’s ploy because maybe it works and then Mike Liut looks like a genius. Ask 100 hockey fans who follow these things about the gap and probably 75 of them tell you Leon is on an island with no way back to shore. That isn’t Mike Liut’s game. He isn’t worried about 75 out of 100, he is focused on one man: Peter Chiarelli. Based on PC’s own past this could go any way imaginable.
WORLD SUMMER SHOWCASE
Kailer Yamamoto had three shots in his first game for TEAM USA at the World Junior Summer Showcase. Lots of comments suggesting he is one of the best American forwards, bodes well for his chances of making the roster at Christmas.
I’ve read here and there about Montreal going after Leon and it makes a lot of sense from the Habs pov. They are a veteran team primed for a run behind Carey Price, but also have some legit roster issues. The addition of Draisaitl in the middle would solve a lot of problems.
I do not see an offer sheet, but there might be a trade window. Peter Chiarelli’s handling of the Phil Kessel situation in September of 2009 involved getting two firsts and a second. I don’t see any way he deals LD for just picks, but if the player side indicates they have reached a point of no return, perhaps we do see something with Montreal. Note: We are not there now, extremely unlikely Leon ends up anywhere but Edmonton.