by Lowetide

Mark Letestu is a throwback player who can be used in multiple roles depending on the makeup of the rest of his team’s roster. Back in 1970, these men were called “utility forwards” and often ended up with unusual scoring totals. Consider Jimmy Roberts, a defenseman-forward for St. Louis and Montreal, who in 1971-72 (while playing for both teams) scored six goals at evens, five on the penalty-kill and one on the power play. Letestu mines the same area of the roster and his scoring breakdown a year ago (three at evens, 11 on the power play and two shorties) is genuinely unique to this era, while also marching in lock step with old Jimmy Roberts. Can Letestu do it again? (Next Year).


  • 5×5 points per 60: 1.33 (7th among regular forwards)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 3.57 (7th among regular forwards)
  • Corsi for 5×5 %: 45.8
  • Corsi Rel 5×5 %: -3.5
  • DFF Elite 5×5 %: 40.9
  • DFF Elite Rel 5×5 %: -6.7 (23 percent of TOI v. elites)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 120 shots/13.3%
  • Boxcars: 78gp, 16-19-35
  • (All numbers via Puck and hockey-reference)
  • Sincere thanks to for the fantastic work these years.

RE 17-18: 76GP, 10-10-20 (.263)

  1. You have him falling off quite a bit? Yes. Letestu went 11-3-14 on the power play a year ago, and I don’t think it reasonable to assume he’ll repeat it.
  2. What are his PP numbers in your projection? I have him 4-5-9 at evens, 0-1-1 PK and 6-4-10 on the power play.
  3. That’s quite the drop. How much less does he play? I cut his PP time, from 2:16 to abut 1:30 per game.
  4. Why? As good as Letestu was a year ago, I don’t think the Oilers should stand pat. I think it benefits them to try others, and some of his playing time (in my model) went to Ryan Strome. Not a ton, but about 60 of his 5×4 minutes go away.
  5. Your 5×5 number isn’t exactly inspiring. Letestu loses some playing time there as well, with the top three C’s grabbing some of his 5×5 time. His 5×5/60 would come in around 1.10 on the season.
  6. What is he good at? Power play, penalty kill, faceoffs. He is a veteran presence and the production compared to contract makes him a real value contract.
  7. Do you like him as 4C? Yes. Letestu is a good possession player when placed with capable help, and that should be the case in 2017-18. Give him good linemates like Zack Kassian (49.2 Corsi for 5×5 percentage in 315 minutes) or Anton Lander (50 percent in 123 minutes) and things hum.
  8. Who do you think he’ll play with? The Caggiula-Letestu-Kassian line has interesting potential, and Jujhar Khaira and Anton Slepyshev are also in the mix. If the team has a slumping soft minutes line, perhaps they can move Jussi Jokinen to Letestu-Kassian and run it as a de facto 3line in terms of minutes.
  9. How confident are the Oilers in Letestu? I know they love him because of the depth chart.
  10. Say what? Four centers are a lock to play in the top 9F all of the time (97, 29, 93, Strome). Letestu is unlikely to move up, and his possible competition for 4C (Khaira, Brad Malone) are a step down.
  11. Maybe Edmonton plans on bringing in competition on a PTO? Sure, and last year Kris Russell didn’t get signed until very late. These things do occur, we have to acknowledge the limitations of projecting things in mid-summer.
  12. How good is he at PK? Letestu had less success than Nuge and McDavid in GA60 4×5 this season, but was stronger a year ago in the metric. I think he can be part of the solution, and his FO percentage being over 50 helps.
  13. Why don’t these links work? has gone dark.
  14. Are you upset? It’s a real loss, such a brilliant site. Puck IQ and all who sail her are saints of the sliderules, NaturalStatTrick, Manny and the rest as well.
  15. You were wrong when you said they wouldn’t protect him. I said they would protect him and predicted Reinhart would be the man chosen.
  16. Fake news reaches Lowetide! Nice.
  17. Will they re-sign him? They will probably try but next summer will be a hornet’s nest. I don’t see Letestu getting a raise.
  18. Could that be a role for Khaira or another young player? You’d like to see him grow into that role, but there’s much we don’t know about Khaira. The ideal candidate was Anton Lander and he is gone.
  19. Is there a scenario where he is traded before the end of 2017-18? I would think the only way that happens is a poor year by the Oilers, we shouldn’t anticipate that outcome.
  20. Why this song? Great song, great lyric. I like these kinds of players, work like a bugger their whole career just to stay in the game, to belong alongside great players in the best league in the world. When the Expos catcher-infielder Ron Brand retired, they asked him his career highlight. He said “every minute I got to spend with these great ballplayers and everyday I could call myself a big leaguer”. Those are the guys who make the game special in my opinion. They are the ones who usually give the most accurate scouting reports on themselves, usually get little credit for good deeds, get cut the moment they lose an inch on their fastball and often get traded by a deadline contender for an upgrade. I hope he wins Stanley in Edmonton. Next year.
  21. Nice that you feel that way and still cut his projected playing time. Shows real range. Dink.


We have two forwards to go in my RE. Last year’s Oilers forwards played 984 games (that is the correct number btw) and scored 208 goals, 295 assists. I’ll leave it to you to identify the two remaining players and what the estimates might give us as a final tally for this season’s forwards.


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Bruce McCurdy

A day late & many, many dollars short, but Letestu’s PP production was not 11-15-26 but 11-3-14. He was 3-15-18 at evens, a massive flip in G:A ratio from one role to the other. Obviously the 15 EVA got put in the wrong category, but the difference is pretty massive so worth mentioning. (sorry, LT!)


Two REs left. Must be Drake and JJ.

Drake is a spark plug and creates chances, I think he cashes for about 36 points.

JJ gets little love, plays about 40 games and comes in with 11 points.

Just guessing.

Well there are 115 GP left for the forwards.

Maybe 76 GP for Caggiula and 49 for Khaira?

I think Drake scores more than 23 PTS too. My guess is in the range of 10-20-30.


Two REs left. Must be Drake and JJ.

Drake is a spark plug and creates chances, I think he cashes for about 36 points.

JJ gets little love, plays about 40 games and comes in with 11 points.

Just guessing.


The goddamn Hall trade again? Can we not put this to bed? Somehow the rules are different with him. Did we lose the Penner trade because we moved him for futures? Chiarelli is a vet GM and paid the cost of business. There wasn’t a Hall for Subban option. I hated the deal at the time, but in the present, there is one team that would like to undo the trade, and it’s not the good guys. That’s good enough for me. If we look back in 5 years at a 60pt per year Hall, you have to chalk that up as a win. That’s how the armchair GM game is played.


Don’t forget, With Hall on your team, you stand a better chance chance winning the lotto. 😉


Ryan: Yes, to our kind host and my good virtual friends at this fine blog, I can confirm that this season our 32-year-old 5’10” Mark Letestu will be on his way towards exiting stage left.

Consequently, there will be auditions for his spot on the power play.

To clarify, my only “source” is my deductive reasoning ability. 🙂


LT nailed this RE.Too many righties to steal time from Letestu on PP1.

Cant figure out the last two; Interested to see the final Tally.

Yes, to our kind host and my good virtual friends at this fine blog, I can confirm that this season our 32-year-old 5’10” Mark Letestu will be on his way towards exiting stage left.

Consequently, there will be auditions for his spot on the power play.


Scungilli Slushy,

“you never trade bats just for gloves, if you want to win.” – But they do trade bats for Pitching ….

Not sure I understand your entire post, but I like that you laid out your argument and opinion.



“it can be nearly impossible to craft a irrefutable argument for which was the better player.” – This is true for players of similiar ability, position and results for sure.

Hall & Larsson may never have a clear cut winner.

But I do think you can use a variety of factors to try and determine who is better between player A and player B. For me, that is fun. So instead of saying we cannot measure which player is better, I would say in many cases we can. And even if we can’t, we can apply which metrics are important to us and try and determine who we thinknis the better player or who won “a trade”.

Gilmour / Leeman ? can we measure who we think was better ot ehich team won that trade?

To your point, probably 50% of trades are difficult to accuratrly measure outside of opinion and feelings (Hall / Larsson). But I would suggest a certain amount are clearly measurable by many different metrics.

Scungilli Slushy


I appreciate your input here and many others. We have different views, I have reigned myself in over time to avoid conflicts.

Yet on this issue of LT’s opinion about the TRADE, I am going to put forth a stronger statement to you and all those making the same mistake of logic and continuing a debate that has no legs.

The facts:

-Hall for Larsson straight up, small cap gain for Oilers

-LT (and others) said then “AT THE MOMENT OF THE TRADE” the Oilers did not get a good return. The future outcome was never a consideration, not a part of the discussion, neither denied or confirmed, do not mention it in regard to this discussion if being sincere is important to anyone responding


-Hall was widely regarded as a top level emerging offensive talent. A player that made everyone he played with better – a play driver by the numbers. Best player on the Oilers.

-Adam Larsson was a high pick reclaiming his career after a slow and disappointing start, a lack of faith and usage from his team. A young player who had failed his offensive potential from his draft day. He was thought to have been better than Hedman in his career to that point. from Hedman to maybe a defensive specialist and very questionably a first pairing quality. Look it up here and elsewhere.

– The MSM almost unanimously panned the deal, even those who try to think about things. When the wide consensus says it was not enough that stands as a valuation of the players. That is how stocks are valued, right? And everything else.

Whether that consensus opinion is right or wrong, again, is not the point here. To discuss that is a different conversation, it is not logically or sincerely a part of this one.

I think and thought the Oilers would be better for the deal, and I said at the time I thought Larsson was a first pairing guy, a rock, what teams have to be built around. I was never a huge Hall fan.

However, I also said the Oilers should not have traded a consensus top level offensive player for a defensive defensman straight up. Subban, Doughy, Letang, etc sure, straight up, a package, but that should be the return.

Or Larsson and prospects or picks or both. But not a defensive player as they are the easier ones to get, you never trade bats just for gloves, if you want to win.

I thought from the get go the narrative from the teams was suspect, it rang disingenuous and the cap wasn’t enough to justify a straight up, although it had a part in it.

There are reasons obviously why it happened or it wouldn’t have, but those reasons are not a part of this discussion, it could be another discussion.

These points are cut and dried logically. There isn’t a reasonable discussion here, it can only go on if logic is disregarded. I won’t respond now. Maybe down the road when the lack of mental discipline and disregard for the meaning of words and how they form statements pop my skull cap off again.


Believe Letestu said last year he felt better and more productive playing fewer minutes as well

John Chambers

LT I’m surprised you have Caggiula projected to score so few points. I think he’ll get top-6 looks this year and end up in the 15-20-35 range.

My guess is your last man is Khaira who I have scoring 4-7-11


I agree that Letestu’s PP points will go down this year – even if he had the same ice time on the PP as last year, I don’t imagine he would have the same level of success.

Additionally, there are a few other more “skilled” forwards with right shots that will be competing for that 1PP spot – Strome, JP, Slepy, etc. so, yes, his minutes on the PP may go down.

Assuming another player can have a similar or better level of success on the PP, I would hope to reduce Letestu’s PP minutes as he has talked about being less effective overall when he’s had to play too many minutes.



I think you have fairly summarized my position in some ways. I believe many trades can be fairly evaluated given adequate time – Martin – Esposito etc. is easy. So is Gretzky for Carson and Gelinas and a bunch of money. But it is not so easy in other cases.

Try the following thought experiment and see if you don’t come to agree with me.

There was this moment many years ago when I had lost all hope of the Oilers ever winning another cup. In fact, I sort of thought there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell they would even make the playoffs. A stunnign degree of ennui has set in. The team’s player moves all seemed like they were shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic and then suddenly at about the half way mark of the season everything changed.

That night John Muckler and Teddy Green threw out this line of kids and from their very first minute together they brought this wild manic energy. Every time I hear the term energy line I think of those three kids, and I bet I am not alone. Joe Murphy, Adam Graves, and Martin Gelinas were simply magic together.

Here is your ridiculously simple task. Rank those three players.

There is no trick here – just a simple proof that even when we know the outcome and the players have been retired for years it can be nearly impossible to craft a irrefutable argument for which was the better player. Everybody who ever saw them play will have an opinion but trust me there won’t be a consensus. I suspect that Hall and Larsson will retire with it still unclear


LT nailed this RE. Too many righties to steal time from Letestu on PP1.

Cant figure out the last two; Interested to see the final Tally.

Ford Prefect

Scungilli Slushy,

Ha. My flames friends(spits) are concerned because he is a Russell supporter.

Scungilli Slushy

Ford Prefect:
John Shannon‏Verified account @JSportsnet

Looks like David Johnson, who ran and will be joining Flames data team.

I have much respect for Mr Johnson’s site, industriousness and determination. I do think he was on the wrong end of many debates. I was softening up to him, but this reinforces a lack of critical judgement and quality. ?


Bag of Pucks,

Prior Post. Shoutout to All the comments. Interesting on looking at “How” to evaluate a trade.

VOR – If I try and simplify your post, IMO you are basically saying we can never evaluate a trade fairly. Players will always bebon different teams, different ages, different ice times, different linemmates, etc, etc ….

I like hearing the debates and opinions; stat comparisons and all that the blog fires up in the comment sections; and I also know that NO opinion will be a completely sound staaistical argument that passes Doctorate level criteria in Stats.

Bag of Pucks

Loved Grohl’s comment once about recording ‘There is Nothing Left to Lose’ in his basement, just 3 dudes chilling, drinking Coors lite and eating BBQ, and recording when they felt like it. Then the album wins the Grammy for rock record of the year against some megabudget productions. Vindication.

Great record. Heartfelt. Organic. Real.

Get the sense the Elk Point lad is much the same way. Perfect choice!

Bag of Pucks

Quick shoutout to VOR. Absolutely top notch post in the prior thread. ?

Ford Prefect

John Shannon‏Verified account @JSportsnet

Looks like David Johnson, who ran and will be joining Flames data team.


Woodguy comes on your show yesterday and says how good Letestu is on PP1 and you give him 10 goals!?

Why do you hate Woodguy, LT?