A Sober Trip to Reasonable

by Lowetide

One of the interesting conversations that came out of yesterday’s post was what ‘reasonable’ might look like for a player like Raphael Lavoie. Oilers fans sat through half of the first round and some of the second saying their Hail Marys in an effort to will the last pure shooter in the draft to Edmonton. Since then, scouting director Tyler Wright has added shooters great and small and we’ll see how they shine.

Do Oilers fans overrate the team’s prospects? Of course. By how much? Well, let’s have a look.

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When talking about prospects, I like to go back to the beginning. Raphael Lavoie was ranked No. 16 by Red Line Report, who pull no punches with their rankings and scouting reports. Red Line did call him a polarizing prospect and a boom or bust player. They liked his size, skill and smarts, and our friend Scott Wheeler at The Athletic wrote a couple of brilliant articles detailing Lavoie’s sneaky, quick and deadly shot. Red Line projected him as a second line scoring winger and a power-play performer for a good team. That’s a nice scouting report, especially from a resource that has proven to be right many times over the years.

The issue surrounds expectations. Some fans immediately think “Alex DeBrincat” when looking at Lavoie’s numbers and I think of Brad Isbister and still others land in between. It’s impossible to draw a consensus but maybe we can get more people on the same page is it pertains to Lavoie’s possible future. Below are the goal-scoring NHLE numbers for four men, all in junior and then noted when hitting pro. The NHL numbers have not been adjusted per 82 games:

I like to pick a range of players (not usually this wide) in order to give us some ideas of possible outcomes. I think we can discount DeBrincat starting at 16 as a comparable for Lavoie, but Saad is a bit of a different comp. Through the seasons listed here, Lavoie is at least in the conversation with Saad. It’s important to note that the big winger posted a season of 20+ goals before the end of his entry deal, so there’s a chance Lavoie loses him in the next couple of years. But he’s in the conversation.

I used Isbister (over Ethan Moreau) because his skill set is a little closer to Lavoie. Both are big men, love shooting the puck, scored some goals and were willing to go to the front of the net. I think this is a good way to look at comparables, in this case using NHLE for goals.

Now each of the three names above saw NHL action in age 20 seasons. Lavoie is (by my depth chart based on likely training camp roster) the No. 8 left-winger and No. 6 right winger on this list. Right wing would be the clearest path, and honestly it isn’t impossible to project Lavoie for a cup of coffee in 2021-22. But nine or 10 goals? That’s a distant bell.

Ryan McLeod is my choice among the AHL players one year ago who has the best chance to be an NHL player for more than a few games. I’m not certain he makes the jump completely this year, but a quick look at some comparable players is encouraging.

I would caution about McLeod’s offense in the AHL this past season, it was the Pacific Division and the level of competition had a wider range (imo) than you would see in a normal year.

That said, McLeod shows well (if a little shy) compared to his brother, and 15 points for the young Oilers center this season is a reasonable expectation. Faksa is interesting because there was a time when the expectation for offense was higher, but he’s settled in as a consistent performer (while also being an effective player away from the puck).

I threw Cogliano in as an old timey comp, we see how his career developed. I would say that Cogliano looked more dynamic at age 20 when he arrived in the NHL, but quickly settled in at Faksa-levels.

Is McLeod a 30-point player annually? We’d have to take a longer look, and the most recent season likely overstates his offensive potential.

There’s not much doubt he’s going to play in the NHL. The Oilers don’t have many of those players.

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Ryan

If Keith can’t handle the second pairing, he should be more than adequate on the third pair, meaning Holland could be shopping for a lefty defenceman during the season.

..

The “needs” list

Your mileage may vary, but I see possible holes at right wing (which could be solved internally), second pairing left defence…

LT, you have such a diplomatic way of being critical. 🙂 This is a skill that I lack when discussing the Oilers management.

$5.5 m in cap hit for two years, Jones and a 2/3rd out, and we have a hole on our second pairing on the left side…

Darth Tu

Arizona, eh? I wonder if they’ll move the franchise to Houston….

defmn

Maybe they will play outdoors under the stars. 😉

PennersPancakes

Does anyone think Colorado is a better team this year than last? Dynamite team but they have lost Donskoi, Saad, Graves, Timmins and swapped Grubs for Raanta? Theyre still a top tier team but despite having MacKinnon on the leagues best contract (Which is up after 22-23) they havent gotten past the 2nd round.

Burnaby Joe has to be feeling the heat, they actually havent made the conference finals since Bob Hartley was coaching them in 02.

Reja

Kadri was a big loss Vegas took full advantage of the physicality in the series. Glad he nixed the deal to the Flames

PennersPancakes

Like the player, but also been suspended 3/4 last playoffs. We talk about showing up when it matters…

Reja

He knows he has to play on the edge to be effective but the Refs are overly on to him. It took awhile before they relaxed on Kassian. Kass couldn’t draw any penalties even when it was blatant but as soon he looked at someone cross eyed he was off to the sin bin. Now that Kassian as taken the gentle approach in life he’s pretty much useless. Hopefully Hyman and Foegele who aren’t Angels will rub off on Sir Kassian.

PennersPancakes

The edge that Kadri needs to play on isn’t the same edge of being suspended. There were a few games on the leafs he completely shut down mcdavid without caving anyone’s heads in. Kadri can be annoying without being overly physical while kassian doesn’t seem to have that same non physical way of being difficult to play against.

Reja

Yes you are very much correct on both accounts. I’m hoping Kass was playing below a 100% because he is one boring player to watch when he mails it in from what makes him effective.

Ryan

That’s a great question.

They have some internal depth replacements, but I think many are underestimating the loss of that depth.

Losing Donskoi and Saad is 32 goals from the shortened season last year right there.Graves was an important defenseman for them.

If Erik Jonson is healthy, having him return, Byram and Murray should mean that the d is still in decent shape.

The bottom two forward lines will lose some scoring potency but the Avs still look to be in decent shape.

Losing Grubaur could have an impact. I haven’t looked into Grubauer vs Kuemper, but it looks like a decent bet.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ryan
Scungilli Slushy

Essentially the cap comes for all.

The more success, the more players you lose.

So the farm and drafting & D determine a lot of the outcomes of change due to cap. As we know,

I’m Capt Obvious. We will see how what were top teams roll with the punches.

They usually lose mojo.

Perfect.

Harpers Hair

Alex Newhook will quickly make everyone forget Donskoi and Sampo Raanta is NHL ready.

On D, Justin Barron is a 6’2” 200 (and still growing) RHD modern defenseman with elite skating and some nice scoring numbers.

More than decent.

pts2pndr

Right! Like you would know!

OriginalPouzar

0.5 P/G in the “watered down AHL” – shouts NHL ready, doesn’t it?

leadfarmer

Raanta didn’t exactly blow the doors off a very water downed Ahl last season and forwards in their junior year in college numbers don’t mean much as pretty much every future NHL caliber forward is gone by after sophomore year.
Could you please point out on Wheelers very recent list where I can find Barron?
im having some difficulties finding him.

PennersPancakes

Anyone else curious how the Vancouver Canucks are going to get their roster under the cap?

Currently at 70.8 that means 10.6 mill of space to sign Petterson and Hughes. I forgot they still have Ferland who will be LTIR for 3.5. If they use all that space that means 14.1 million for the both.

Have to think Petterson gets a Barzal like bridge contract if he is the real deal (3x7M) since they cant afford to go long on him. Hughes is a difficult one to project but likely gets overpaid considering Makar just signed 6X9M and Heiskanen 8X8.45M.

Cant go long on both but maybe one. Seems like whatever they do their cap situation will be rough moving forward. At least Luongo is finally off the books next year but lucky for them they have to sign Boeser to a new contract and their buyout penalties jump up 2 million.

Bennings handling of the salary cap doesnt get nearly as much ridicule as it should.

Harpers Hair

You’re basing that projection on a 24 man roster.

They’ll be fine now and in the immediate future.

Here’s a breakdown.

https://theathletic.com/2768408/2021/08/19/can-the-canucks-build-a-contender-roster-and-cap-projections-all-the-way-to-2024/?source=user_shared_article

PennersPancakes

7.5×3 for petterson and 6×3 for Hughes?

Either they kind of flutter and don’t live up to it and the canucks are screwed since these are supposed to be their stars. Or they’re unreal and they are up to it and demand massive raises once you’ve bridged them.

The bridges help keep the team together for the near future but theres zero room for additions like the article suggests and that projected roster doesn’t have the horses. All that cash tied up with Myers and OEL are self inflicted wounds.

The article shows the team banking on young players to fill the void but they don’t have the elite talent of the mcdavids/crosbys/ovechkins of the world. The projected rosters scream mediocrity and if they make the playoffs they’re talking first round exits

Harpers Hair

Have you looked at the Oilers cap situation next year?

Its pretty ugly.

Odd, that a weaker roster was 1 game away from the Conference final just over a year ago.

How did the “Elite McDavids” do?

leadfarmer

Are you talking about that team at the basement of the division again?

OriginalPouzar

Is this post really implying a greater outlook for the Canucks than the Oilers vis-a-vis the cap.

The Oilers don’t have a ton of cap space the next year but, aside from tender, all the important pieces are locked in for the McDavid years.

Numerous “real prospects” right on the cusp will be replacing aging veterans for cheaper for the next few years.

Keith/Russell/Koekkoek to be replaced with Samorukov and Broberg

Archibald and Kassin to be replaced by Holloway and Lavoie.

Koskinen to be replaced by Skinner/Konovalov

jp

There’s also that small matter of a 22 point gap in the standings (32 points in a full season).

leadfarmer

Doubt they get them that cheap

pts2pndr

Short answer no! I live in B.C and to put it simply the Canucks are not relevant!

Harpers Hair

NHL Fantasy on Ice https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/13.1.0/svg/1f3d2.svg (@NHLFantasy) Tweeted:
#FantasyHockey rankings, best goalies who changed teams this offseason:

1. Kuemper, COL
2. Fleury, CHI
3. Andersen, CAR
4. Grubauer, SEA
5. Mrazek, TOR
6. Ullmark, BOS
7. Nedeljkovic, DET

@NHL Fantasy on Ice podcast:

DevilsLettuce

Colorado needs to hire Eakins so he can team up with MacKinnon. They can look down at everyone while they eat celery sticks together convincing themselves that sugar is why they can’t find playoff success.

Harpers Hair

Or the Oilers should hire someone to help McDavid scream at Jesse on national television because he missed a pass which prevented them from having playoff success.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

I’m sure your nemesis never had a strong word, or even a stern gaze, for his teammates when they screwed up. Yep, Moose was known as the Silent Giant by his teammates, most assuredly.

Last edited 1 month ago by BornInAGretzkyJersey
Harpers Hair

A steely gaze is a far throw from a tantrum.

Side

I’m going into my ninth year next year and I haven’t won shit.”

BornInAGretzkyJersey

And yet a steely gaze from Messier 30+ years ago in a chance nightclub encounter was enough to send you into a tailspin, leaving the wreckage of your ego strewn to smoulder across the Oilers blogscape.

Besides, if it was Smith staring down a defender after a missed assignment leading to a goal against, you’d bring up Fuhr never doing that on national TV.

pts2pndr

I believe you should be an expert in adult tantrum’s. It’s good to see you have an area of excellence.

Scungilli Slushy

I can’t imagine your emotional self control at 23.

Such outrageous behaviour from Connor goes against the grain of elite players, I know.

Maybe he should train with Nathan. Learn something. They both have Irish names after all.

#TameConnor

Boo

pts2pndr

Typical immature, childish no brainer response!

Reja

If Mactavish doesn’t hire the brainiac Eakins and stays the course he would he still be G.M. I have no doubt Mactavish does better with his assets and arguably the draft than Peter and Holland.

Scungilli Slushy

Too funny

Ice Sage

That’s a list made by an 11 year old Avalanche fanboy… please don’t clog the net waves with this piffle

Harpers Hair

Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) Tweeted:
Buffalo Sabres No. 1 overall pick Owen Power is reportedly returning to the University of Michigan for his sophomore season

https://twitter.com/hockeynight/status/1428427960864985094?s=20

BornInAGretzkyJersey

Must not be elite.

Harpers Hair

Almost every NCAA player returns to college for a year or two after being drafted….see the most recent winner of the Norris Trophy for reference.

Is that elite enough for you?

leadfarmer

You suggesting a number 1 pick routinely doesn’t play in the NHL
oh my

PennersPancakes

14 years of 1st overalls immediately playing in the NHL if I recall. Johnson being the latest one?

Side

You are trying to compare a D who was drafted 66th in 2016, spent 3 years in the NCAA and 2 seasons in the NHL before winning a Norris to a #1 pick?

Perplexing.

PennersPancakes

Its like hes not even trying anymore, the contrarian beliefs used to be interesting and provoke conversation but now it just feels like kicking a puppy.

meanashell11

He thinks as LT is on vacation he can swing by and take cheap shots as no one will hold him accountable. His asshole/60 is spiking.

pts2pndr

Mixed up his depression meds with his stupid pills!

OriginalPouzar

.

Last edited 1 month ago by OriginalPouzar
Reja

Fox played the long game and won. Owen could very well do the same. How much salary would a fully developed D-man command as he’ll be basically a free agent at 21

Scungilli Slushy

Small hot shit offensive D are all the rage, like the hottest girl in high school.

Lets see what it looks like in a few years.

Great, or another guy like most with skill that once sussed out was too small to do enough overall, loads up on easy points and becomes too expensive to shelter.

OriginalPouzar

If he took it to free agency, he’d be turning 22 when he started his ELC and subject to the ELC parameters for two seasons so he’d be turning 24 when he’s off his ELC and an RFA not a UFA.

Reja

Ok did not know that.

pts2pndr

Fishing with illegal bait in shallow water!😉

OriginalPouzar

Very nice write up and great information on the comparables.

I think that is great information but, for me, with guys like Lavoie and McLeod, I formulate most of my personal “expectations” for these players based on viewings as I have seen the play alot in their pro careers – almost all of their games in the AHL.

Lavoie is a tough one to project because, as LT mentions, he is a boom/bust type prospect, that I agree with. His play in the AHL somewhat mirrors what he did in junior as it relates to “inconsistency” – Lavoie’s production was very streaky, not only in general over time but also within a game. He would produce for 4-5 games at over a P/G and then to somewhat quiet for a bit. Also, within games, he would often be invisible for long stretches and then one or twice per game have shift where his size/speed/shot are on display.

I think Lavoie needs to learn to impact a game from shift to shift.

I don’t think he’s in the realistic conversation for an NHL job out of camp – he was only in the AHL for a month or so and showed issues away from the puck (as an offensive player out of the Q often does) and showed that he needs to get stronger in battle and learn timing and positioning in the defensive zone.

—————–

McLeod, we’ve talked about quite a bit over the last number of months – My position is known that I think his NHL offensive upside will be related to his willingness to engage in battle and get to the tough areas – he will always be able to help transport the puck from the defensive zone to the offfnsive zone but, as of right now, he isn’t much help getting the puck back in the defensive zone (although his positioning is good) and he certainly isn’t much help within the offensive zone.

I too don’t put too much stock in his P/G in his second NHL seasoning translating to the NHL but its not really due to any “weakness of the AHL” this past season but more about the way he was producing. His issue with battle and physicality, which dates back to junior, was not improved on as his line with Benson and Marody was so dominant that they didn’t need to battle to get the puck – they had the puck all the time.

I think McLeod can get there but we’ll have to see if he will get there. He is a big guy and, once he gets his “man-strength”, if he learns to trust his body, he can be a legit elite 3C.

Harpers Hair

Suggesting the AHL wasnt weaker last season is just ludicrous.

Most of the best AHL players spent the season on NHL taxi squads and more than a few were junior players who were allowed to play in the AHL because their junior teams did not play. (See Quinton Byfield for reference).

This was so much a factor that it prompted the NHL/AHL to change the eligibility rules so that any junior player who played 20 AHL games last season will be allowed to play in the AHL again this upcoming season.

Once again, Byfield is still only 18 but will be allowed to play in the AHL again if he doesn’t makes the Kings roster out of camp.

And, of course, virtually all NHL teams has their 3rd best goaltender on the taxi squad rather than in the AHL.

And yet you’re claiming AHL performances were not pumped by any “weakness in the AHL”.

Of course they were.

DevilsLettuce

This guy is putting a curse on the Kings post by post.

Harpers Hair

Curses are the excuses of the feeble minded.

PennersPancakes

Whats the excuse for the Canucks then? I dont know what Id rather believe if I was a Canucks fan but the curse from the 1972 Summit Series has to be hanging overhead with 3 Finals appearances and no Cups.

pts2pndr

Speaking of feeble minds how’s your self admitted clinically diagnosed depression?

Genjutsu

That’s really not something you should say to another human being.

Even if they are being an ass.

OriginalPouzar

That’s a nice rant – has nothing to do with the substance or points made in my post but a nice rant nonetheless.

Harpers Hair

Now you can’t even comprehend your own post never mind that LT suggested taking McLeod’s AHL numbers with a grain of salt.

Reja

The Kanucks have been cursed since they booed team Canada off the ice against the Soviet Union.

PennersPancakes

Its such a weird coincidence that the AHL was a weak year yet the Ontario Reign, the poster child of the league with the worlds best prospects, resulted in such meh seasons for Turcotte (0.65 pts/g) and Byfield (0.625 pts/g).

Pulju put up 29 points in 39 AHL games (0.74 pts/g) despite being yo-yoed from the NHL on a Bakersfield team devoid of famous prospects all the while doing it in a year not pumped by a weak AHL.

Is there a chance L.A wont have a team full of all stars with all these amazing prospects or have these prospects just had a lesser year than a younger Pulju had in a tougher AHL season?

OriginalPouzar

To this day, I remain convinced that Puljujarvi’s rookie season in the AHL does not get enough talk for how great it was – his production, as the youngest player in North American pro hockey (two full years younger than the minimum age for a CHL drafted player) in that man’s league was something else.

PennersPancakes

I think after this season hes about to pull off people will be pointing towards it wondering why anyone ever gave up on him.

BornInAGretzkyJersey

I too don’t put too much stock in his P/G in his second NHL seasoning translating to the NHL but its not really due to any “weakness of the AHL” this past season but more about the way he was producing. His issue with battle and physicality, which dates back to junior, was not improved on as his line with Benson and Marody was so dominant that they didn’t need to battle to get the puck – they had the puck all the time.

You basically proved LT’s point right there. That McLeod could get away with poor habits and a less than complete game at the pro level is precisely because the competition was weaker than normal.

Think about it: McLeod produced at a rapid clip with guys who couldn’t crack the NHL, but could barely register a point with guys who would be elite in the AHL, while mostly playing against weak NHL competition. His bad habits showed up in spades, which has since prompted your daily boiler plate replies about what he needs to do to take the next step.

OriginalPouzar

That’s not how I view it – for me, from watching, the line was so dominant because it consisted of 3 NHL players with chemistry.

OK, Marody may not be “an NHL player” but he is very close and, at worst, a legit tweener who has a dominant season in a “normal” AHL as a 21 year old rookie in the league.

McLeod is an NHL player and, in my opinion, so is Benson (and I’ve expressed that it was Covid only that held him back last year).

Anyways, this is really neither here nor there vis-a-vis my point which relates to McLeod’s increase in offence at the AHL level not being due to developing the aspects of his game that I think he will need in order to produce NHL offence.

Genjutsu

That’s how I see it too.

McLeod’s future is as 4C but if he does develop his game 3C or maybe even 2C is possible.

Having 4C that saws off the Gf/Ga and is a plus PK guy wouldn’t be catastrophic either.

dustrock

Invisibister was such a great nickname.

That guy had the potential to be John Leclair and occasionally one saw glimpses, shame it didn’t work out, hope he’s doing well.

kelvjn

Brad Isbister was a strange one. I remembered happy we got a local guy for Jamne who scores 30~40 points a season, but then then all of a sudden went down hill at age 26. At the time the Oilers were bleeding talents through UFAs, and they could really use am established players on the 2nd line behind Smyth and Carter (later Hemsky).

Bank Shot

It seems like Lavoie’s best shot at making it is to buy into the defensive side of the game. He’s probably a little shy of top six offence or he’d be showing it but he’s got the size and skill and tools to be an NHLer of some capacity if he wants to put in the grunt work. I think an NHL position is in reach for him.

McLeod reminds me of Pitlick. Just looks like a guy that will be an NHLer. Whether that’s 3rd line or 4th he seems like he’ll have a career.

OriginalPouzar

If McLeod had even half of Pitlick’s “physicality”, he would be an elite 3C in time.

Reja

I was a big fan of Pitlick until the day he signed with the Flames.

El Duderino

Testarossa

Oil2Oilers

Excellent article LT, I hope Lavoie blows the doors off the AHL this season.

But SOBER!

You ask too much Sir, too much by half.

Oil2Oilers

Even Carly Rae Jepson thinks so.
https://youtu.be/rJw32FXV97A

ChupaCabra

Couldn’t agree more. Very happy to take a trip to reasonable. But I’ll be damned if I’m doing it sober. That’s unreasonable.

John Chambers

If Lavoie is to make it as a top-6 winger he’s going to have to score at 1+ ppg pace this season.

If he’s at .75 ppg he could eventually make it in the Isbister / Chiasson depth role.

Anything less and well …

Darth Tu

On the plus side he was 22-23-45 in 51 games in the Allsvenskan last year, so 0.88 (approx) ppg. Then went 5-5-10 in 19 games after moving over to the AHL, 0.53 ppg. Someone with a bit more Condors knowledge than me can probably speak to how those points broke out, and what his game time splits were etc. between first arriving and towards the end of the season.

He did post 1-3-4 in 6 playoff games.

I think 0.75 ppg is a reasonable ask of him, but context will be everything with that. Yamo is a top six winger for us right now and scored at 0.66 and 0.69 ppg in his two stints with the Condors. Again, context is important with Kailer’s time there.

OriginalPouzar

I believe I have expressed my “expectation” that Lavoie produce at apx 0.75 P/G this coming season.

Just like his junior career, Lavoie was a very streaky producer at the AHL level – he’d be quiet for a handful of games and then go on a 5-6 game heater where he’d be over a P/G. He also had the same in-game issues that he had in junior where, in a game, he would be a non-factor for large periods and then have a couple dominant shifts here and there.

I look for some more consistency in his game.

With respect to Kailer’s production – I would note that in his last stint in the AHL, while his point production wasn’t eye-popping, he was absolutely elite – he was a scoring chance creation machine, shift after shift after shift. Part of his low production was that he was playing on the 3rd line or middle six, often with the likes of Joe G., Esposito, Malone, etc – yes, solid AHL players but not great/talented finishers.

godot10

1+ PPG after Christmas. He didn’t have many games in the AHL last year.

MushedPeas

I’d take Isbister plus.