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).
MARK LETESTU 2016-17
- 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 IQ, Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com and hockey-reference)
- Sincere thanks to Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com for the fantastic work these years.
RE 17-18: 76GP, 10-10-20 (.263)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- How confident are the Oilers in Letestu? I know they love him because of the depth chart.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Why don’t these links work? Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com has gone dark.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fake news reaches Lowetide! Nice.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Nice that you feel that way and still cut his projected playing time. Shows real range. Dink.
CURRENT RE 2017-18 (FORWARDS)
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.