Cleaning Windows

by Lowetide
Bogdan Yakimov photo by Rob Ferguson

For most signed prospects, the window of opportunity is at least three years. That coincides with the end of the entry contract and those players are usually eligible for waivers in the fall of their fourth season. How many forwards who don’t post significant offense in the AHL at age 20 make the NHL? What kind of roles do the successful players fill upon NHL arrival?

THE ATHLETIC!

I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here is our recent work.

OILERS FWD PROSPECTS AT 20 (AHL) PTS-GAME

Here are the numbers for AHL forwards at age 20 between 2010-19, with NHL games (in brackets)

  1. Tyler Benson 69, 15-51-66 .97 (7 games)
  2. Jesse Puljujarvi 39, 12-16-28 .72 (139 games)*
  3. Kailer Yamamoto 27, 10-8-18 .67 (53 games)*
  4. Teemu Hartikainen 66, 17-25-42 .64 (52 games)
  5. Bogdan Yakimov 57, 12-16-28 .49 (1 game)
  6. Marco Roy 42, 8-12-20 .48
  7. Ryan McLeod 56, 5-18-23 .41
  8. Phil Cornet 60, 7-16-23 .38 (2 games)
  9. Tyler Pitlick 62. 7-16-23 .37 (248 games)
  10. Kyle Platzer 48, 6-11-17 .35
  11. Curtis Hamilton 41, 5-6-11 .27 (1 game)
  12. Jujhar Khaira 51, 4-6-10 .20 (218 NHL games)
  13. Travis Ewanyk 68, 7-5-12 .18
  14. Mitch Moroz 66, 5-4-9 .14
  15. Ryan Martindale 16, 0-2-2 .13
  16. Kale Kessy 54, 2-4-6 .11

Some of this is the Oilers scouts discovering more offense is required from high picks (Moroz, Ewanyk) and some of this is prospects being legit better than their rookie NHL statistics due to lack of playing time (Tyler Pitlick, Jujhar Khaira).

I think it also shows Edmonton is getting better at drafting skill. That will hopefully spill over to the bottom six forwards as soon as this coming season. If we take the top two lines from last season and then count the rest of the goals by forwards, we get this:

  • Goals by 97, 29, 93, Kassian, Yamamoto, Neal, Chiasson: 156 goals
  • Goals by other forwards: 46

If the Oilers can find a way to use Tyler Ennis-Kyle Turris-Jesse Puljujarvi as a third line, goals should be more plentiful. I remain curious about outscoring, but the Oilers managed 223 goals in 71 games a year ago. Extrapolated over 82 games, that’s 258 goals and a total that begins to carry a team.

A big day in Oilers history. Jari Kurri ascended to the top line on merit and stayed there because he made the top line better. That’s exactly what the Oilers need for Connor McDavid’s line.

The key to Kurri was his completeness. Sure he had a quick release and sure he had outside speed, but he patrolled all 200-feet with authority. For me, the most memorable play in his wonderful career came in the deciding game of the 1984 Stanley Cup Final. Both sides went for a line change as the puck was sent to the left corner behind Edmonton’s net. Kurri retrieved the puck and sent a controlled missile to 99 waiting just onside at the center-ice line, and 20 men scrambled from a would-be grave and the dynasty needed their goalie to make the save. Gretzky cashed. Stanley. Music. Forever.

50 comments
3

You may also like

4.7 7 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
50 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
OriginalPouzar

Kailer Yamamoto showed last season in Bakersfield that box-cars don’t always tell the entire story. Some posited, before his late December call-up, that, despite his OK but not sparkling counting stats, that he was dominating the AHL with his game – he really was a scoring chance creating machine. Moving to the top 6 in the NHL from the 2nd line AHL provides better QoT and skill to play with and Yamamoto, playing the same game in the NHL that he did in the AHL, let to fire!

Jaxon

I would suggest that Benson still hasn’t been given the ideal linemates yet. He’s never been paired with a true pure goal scorer. Not in the AHL, and not even going back to junior. He has never really been paired with a sniper. It will seem like his playmaking ability came out of nowhere if he ever lines up with someone like a Neal on RW and maybe even Turris or Nugent-Hopkins at C. That would be giving him a real chance to succeed. We shall see. I’m still quite bullish on Benson.

Oilman99

Benson is a cerebral player that will be a valuable asset if put in the right situation. Like Yamamoto, he needs skilled line mates to succeed.

OriginalPouzar

I do agree. Skill-set wise, I think he could be a good fit for McDavid’s left wing in time – once the game slows down from him (which it will with some consistent reps), he has the smarts and skill to get the puck to the right places, to find McDavid with time and space. His pass on his one assist was an example of what would would be a benefit to McDavid. Of course, he’s also no shrinking violet on the boards.

OriginalPouzar

Josh Currie has become a pretty good goal scorer at the AHL level. Not sure if I would use “sniper” per se but he was a key part of the Benson/Marody/Currie success.

Jaxon

Yeah, Currie was a decent goal scorer, but I still wouldn’t consider him a sniper and his production may have been largely due to playing with not just 1, but 2 elite passers. Everything funneled to Currie on that line. That’s a pretty good situation to be in if you have any goal scoring ability at all.

OriginalPouzar

Yup – he was playing with the likes of Colby Cave and Brad Malone quite a bit.

Your second paragraph re-stated one of my points – he went from playing with meh in the AHL to skill in the NHL.

I remain convinced that Puljujarvi’s rookie season in the AHL was upper echelon and does not get the credit its due – he was the youngest player in the league at 18 and put up 28 points in 19 games with meh linemates.

Oilman99

The big “if” is can Yamamoto continue to perform at last seasons level for a full season? Things didn’t go so well in the play in games.

pts2pndr

If the formula calls for three specific parts and you only use two of those parts you can not expect the same results. It sure isn’t rocket science. Hockey lines are made up of three players and like recipes and other formulas chemistry is a thing! All parts are not interchangeable.

defmn

I think a lot of coaches prefer to work with lines that are pairs with the third ingredient interchangeable depending on circumstance.

pts2pndr

This is true however once success is attained few coaches go away from the successful combination until it gets stale and isn’t working. All I am saying is that sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. While I understand the reasoning behind moving Nuge to Connor’s wing what it created was a team with two two player lines that were operating at second line levels. I believe with the addition of Kahun we may actually end up with two first lines which would be awesome. It is fun to anticipate what Tippett will be able to do with the talent added. We wait.

OriginalPouzar

Nuge/McDavid/Kass went 0-3 goals in the play-in

Nuge/McDavid w/o Kass went 4-2 goals in the play-in and shredded possession

jp

You can’t be laying that on Kassian, can you?

The line was 0-3 in 12 minutes on 8-10 shots. Their PDO was .700 (Mike Smith).

Anyway, the regular season numbers tell a different story, though those are almost as absurdly small.

And you’re throwing out everyone else’s play-in performance..

OriginalPouzar

I was just responding to the point about moving Nuge off the the Drai line creating two second lines.

Yes, I can put a large part of that on Kassian in the play-in as I watched him – I watched him create nothing, I watched him make mistakes that led to high danger chances against and goals.

pts2pndr

I agree small sample size and I still hold the belief that Larsson and Klefbom were beat up in the exhibition game against Calgary and never fully healthy for the play in.

OriginalPouzar

I’m not sure about last year’s levels – PPG maybe is a bit aggressive. At the same time, I do believe he all but solidified himself as a legit top 6 winger – you don’t go from that type of heater for 2 plus months to not being a top 6 winger. Lets not forget, almost the entirety of his points were 5 on 5.

The play-in is not representative of individual or team abilities – I think we all know that. If it is then James Neal should be in the top 6 to start the season, Klefbom should be in the AHL and Nurse should be on the 3rd pairing with Rusty ahead of him.

Jaxon

Let’s also not forget that Yakupov scored 11 goals in 14 games in 2013, 9g in 14 gp at 5-on-5. Smaller sample size, but that was when Yakupov was paired with better linemates to finish the season. 😉

buck yoakam

Yeah!!! Van The Man!

pdaouster

So you’re saying it was a 99 foot pass for the glory?

jp

LT: If the Oilers can find a way to use Tyler Ennis-Kyle Turris-Jesse Puljujarvi as a third line, goals should be more plentiful. I remain curious about outscoring, but the Oilers managed 223 goals in 71 games a year ago. Extrapolated over 82 games, that’s 258 goals and a total that begins to carry a team.

Agreed the new 3rd line is all but assured to score more goals vs last season. Also agreed that they might still not outscore.

I do think the Turris line is also pretty likely to improve on (or at least break even with) the Sheahan line goals against rates from last season. It’s not a tall task. The 3 members of that line were in or around the bottom 20 in the league in all of GF, GA and GF%. It was bad.

In my mind there are few surer bets in hockey this coming season than ‘the Turris line will have better results than Sheahan’s line did last season’.

If they can get the GF% into the 40’s it will represent real improvement.

Approaching or surpassing 50% would probably mean the Oilers are top 5 team.

SwedishPoster

Filip Berglund out until christmas with an upper body injury. Lennström missed his second straight game yesterday, unclear why, some sort of injury from what I’ve heard. Nygård pointless today in the SHL, scored his first of the season yesterday though but only has three pts in ten games so far, mentioned yesterday in an interview that he was pretty disappointed in his performance so far. Lavoie with another pointless game today, his team has managed to win two straight though after a long losing streak.

I’m a real bundle of Oiler joy today am I…

At least Broberg had a goal and a very strong game yesterday.

€√¥£€^$

No matter how you bundle it, your posts always bring joy to this Lowetidian.

Thank you, as always, for your reports!

OriginalPouzar

Maybe Lennstrom is getting ready to hop on a plane for Canada to get some quarantine in and prepare for training camp…..

I would think Broberg and the European World Juniors will be heading in the next few weeks…

OriginalPouzar

Lavoie’s offence has slowed down a bit. Held pointless in a rare 5-3 win for Vasby. He did have five shots on net in 16 minutes of ice.

Blumel with a lone assist as Pardubice is tied at 6 and heading to OT.

Rodrigue stays perfect and moves to, I believe 7-0, stopping 29 of 30 in a 3-1 win.

Harpers Hair

pierrepoilievre (@PierrePoilievre) Tweeted:
Alberta Premium Cask Strength, named the best whisky in the world, still not sold at my local LCBO. Another reason we need a pipeline. 🥃 https://t.co/p6LWb8ZgGf

https://twitter.com/PierrePoilievre/status/1330269362838712321?s=20

Harpers Hair

Terry Jones (@byterryjones) Tweeted:
As of 1 p.m. Joey’s 50-50 has produced a total of $383,655. That will be a payout figure of $200,000 plus by the time you read this. Last call is scheduled for 8 p.m.

https://twitter.com/byterryjones/status/1330605442687324160?s=20

Reja

kurri was arguably one of the most underrated players in league history.

godot10

Not as underrated as Tikkanen.

As both demonstrated in 1990 when Mark Lamb played the role of Gretzky in the playoffs, and was hardly missed! -).

OriginalPouzar

The new kid certainly has skill.

I am heartened by continually reading fans of his former teams deriding losing him:

https://twitter.com/NHL/status/1330613271653621760

Harpers Hair

18 retweets in 12 months.

Huge.

OriginalPouzar

Cool post.

Good value add.

Harpers Hair

#fluffer

jp

Way to move the conversation forward.

Harpers Hair

Making up stuff about heartbroken fans moves nothing forward.

defmn

Stop acting like an asshole.

jp

This is not challenging opinions.

And OP is not the one making stuff up. The goal happened a year ago, this tweet is from 5 hours ago. (now 34 retweets in 5 hours).

OriginalPouzar

The NHL made the tweet. I read through the comments – full of Hawk and BUF fans deriding their management teams for the trade and talking about a great get for Edmonton.

Factually correct and the post seems more relevant to the LT blog than some random post about a bottle of booze.

OriginalPouzar

Not that this is worthy of engagement but everything I have read from Hawks, Pit and Buf fans about Kahun is extremely positive about him – noone said anything about heartbroken fans but the statement above about fans generally deriding management is 100% factually correct.

OriginalPouzar

Kurri and completeness – patrolling 200 feet with authority.

That’s what I saw from Dylan Holloway all weekend last weekend.

Of course, we are a couple years from that being an option and that is only if he continues to develop as expected/hoped. From what I see of him and what I hear about him (i.e. athleticism, work ethic) and what I hear from him, I think he’s a good bet to get there.

Brogan Rafferty's Uncle Steve

I thought I only enjoyed silky-smooth Irish whisky. But, on Friday, finally listening to leadfarmer’s (I think it was leadfarmer) suggestion, I bought a bottle of Laphroaig. It turns out peats okay. Anyway, more value whisky suggestions would be appreciated.

Also, Kahun sucks. Juuso Valimaki’s dirty panties could get more retweets.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

White Owl is possibly the finest rye whisky I’ve imbibed. Their spiced version is incredible; you can’t go wrong with that one or the traditional. It’s easy to recognize, since it’s one of the few clear whiskies you’re likely to find. Great value too.

Yeti

I love Laphroaig, but Lagavulin is even better. Arbeg is another personal favourite.

jp

Oilers NHL rank in points per game (seriously, I love this stuff!):

1 Leon Draisaitl 1.55
2 Connor McDavid 1.52
28 Kailer Yamamoto 0.96
31 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 0.94
(First line)
————————————-
135 Zack Kassian 0.58
144 James Neal 0.56
148 Dominik Kahun 0.55
162 Tyler Ennis 0.53
173 Kyle Turris 0.50
(Second line)
————————————-
252 Alex Chiasson 0.37
275 Josh Archibald 0.34
(Third line)
————————————-
—- Jesse Puljujarvi —-
317 Joakim Nygard 0.27
384 Gaetan Haas 0.17
391 Jujhar Khaira 0.16
(Fourth line)
(Note there were 416 forwards included with the GP cutoff I used – 25GP).
————————————-

Revolved

HH and OP,

You are both important contributors here. I appreciate hearing about our own players and the context that comes from hearing about other team’s players. As far as I’m concerned, please keep this information coming.

However, it is beneath you both and really just sad to read when you attack each other. If you insist on continuing, at least make it witty please.

OriginalPouzar

So, we are in to all but the last week of December.

If that league wants to start in very early January, this is a big week for finalizing a deal to get an official start of training camp date.

Lockdowns across the country, potential for that to happen here in Alberta, intra-province travel being restricted, etc. notwithstanding, lets do this…..

50
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x