Expectations: The Big Three Rookies

Jonathan Willis
October 11 2010 12:47PM

Edmonton Oilers' Jordan Eberle flies through the crease of Vancouver Canucks' goalie Cory Schneider during the first period of their NHL pre-season hockey game in Edmonton September 26, 2010.  REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber (CANADA - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

All through training camp, there was no real mystery about what was driving optimism among members of the OilersNation: the big three rookies. On most teams, any one of Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi or Jordan Eberle would be sufficient reason for optimism; breaking in all three at once has done a lot to turn around perception of a team coming off a bad year.

The readers of the OilersNation have projected all three rookies to score in the 40-50 point range. After Magnus Paajarvi’s tremendous preseason, he is projected to have the highest total, followed by Jordan Eberle, with Taylor Hall a few points back.

Magnus Paajarvi

The chart above (helpfully in a single colour, for Wanye’s bastard child) shows how many people projected what point totals for Paajarvi. Some key numbers:

  • Reader High: 66 (Ender, russ99)
  • Reader Average: 48
  • Reader Low: 30 (m@s f@s)
  • Writer High: 49 (baggedmilk)
  • Writer Average: 38
  • Writer Low: 30 (Lowetide)
  • Desjardins’ League Translation: 38

To recap, the average reader expects Paajarvi to score 10 points above the projected translation, while the six writers expect Paajarvi to hit the exact number predicted by Gabriel Desjardins.

Jordan Eberle

The chart above shows how many people projected what point totals for Eberle. Some key numbers:

  • Reader High: 68 (treevojo)
  • Reader Average: 45
  • Reader Low: 30 (OB1)
  • Writer High: 53 (baggedmilk)
  • Writer Average: 44
  • Writer Low: 29 (Lowetide)
  • Desjardins’ League Translation: 46

To recap, the average reader expects Paajarvi to score one points below the projected translation, while the six writers expect Paajarvi to score two points less than predicted by Gabriel Desjardins. It appears that for all the hype, everyone has remained remarkably grounded on their expectation for Jordan Eberle – and that he might be the rookie most likely to surpass expectations.

Taylor Hall

The chart above shows how many people projected what point totals for Hall. Some key numbers:

  • Reader High: 60 (treevojo)
  • Reader Average: 43
  • Reader Low: 25 (Steve Smith)*
  • Writer High: 53 (baggedmilk)
  • Writer Average: 45
  • Writer Low: 40 (Lowetide)
  • Desjardins’ League Translation: 46

*It’s worth noting that two readers, DimebagDave and dohfOs, excluded Hall entirely – perhaps expecting him to be reassigned after nine games.

Taylor Hall appears to be the player that breaks all the rules. Gabriel Desjardin’s league translation number, at 46 points, is higher than the total expected by the writers (45) which in turn is higher than the total expected by the readers (43).

To Sum Up

I’m not sure if it’s a desire not to place too much on the shoulders of rookies coming in, or if the examples of Steve Stamkos and John Tavares loom large, but as a group Oilers fans have remarkably reasonable expectations for the three rookies. Magnus Paajarvi’s preseason performance appears to have moved his number a little higher than he’s likely to attain, but Hall and Eberle’s expected performance is right in line with what their junior numbers would suggest.  Also of interest is the fact that readers and writers are in agreement on Hall and Eberle, but differ on Paajarvi - suggesting perhaps that the preseason was less moving for the latter.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Chris.
October 11 2010, 12:57PM
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I picked MPS to be the most dominant rookie... too bad he's stuck with Cogs as his center instead of Horcoff.

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#2 Wanyes bastard child
October 11 2010, 12:57PM
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It does help, thanks Willis :)

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#3 Jeremy
October 11 2010, 01:01PM
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I beleive the high-water mark for any of the 3 should be 50 points. I don't have any huge expectations that any, let alone all 3 hit that mark.

As to the fans relatively realistic expectations Jonathan, I think we need lookno further than the previous years dead last finish in the standings.

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#4 Slick
October 11 2010, 01:01PM
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It will be interesting to see if all three rookies get equal opportunities as the season rolls along or if one of them falls by the wayside. I seem to remember Stamkos being sent down to the AHL for a few games throughout the season when he was a rookie, I wonder it that might be the case here.

That kind of move would also allow Renney to get a better look at some of the guys that didn't make it out of training camp.

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#5 Chris.
October 11 2010, 01:10PM
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Bingofuel:

Why is the record no longer under the last game score? I think everyone would appreciate seeing a perfect 2-0-0.

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#6 OILERSORDEATH
October 11 2010, 01:14PM
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I think the rooks will get better and better as the season goes on, as tavares did last year.

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#7 Wanye
October 11 2010, 01:14PM
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Chris. wrote:

Bingofuel:

Why is the record no longer under the last game score? I think everyone would appreciate seeing a perfect 2-0-0.

We are working at automating that game record dealy among other things right now. It has been a supreme pain in the butt to manually create new image files over the past 3 seasons.

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#8 Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"
October 11 2010, 01:18PM
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I really like what I see as far as trying to make all three lines in to scoring lines. If one line gets hot they will of coarse face better D allowing the others to face easy competition hopefully then scoring more points allowing them to catch up to the leaders. If we can have a 3 headed snake with a goal here or there from the grind line it will be a lot of fun and all three could end up at 50 points or so. Sure hope so!

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#9 C-DOG
October 11 2010, 02:03PM
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OILERSORDEATH wrote:

I think the rooks will get better and better as the season goes on, as tavares did last year.

Tavares was actually more productive in the first half of the season than the second half, he had a decent last 10 games stretch that was squewed by a 5 point night in Vancouver.

Dushene and Stamkos got better as their years went on.

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#10 OilComesFromSand
October 11 2010, 02:15PM
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In regards to these rookies, I read something quite interesting about them.

I too have been looking at the profiles on and off in the past and have noticed the website has been inflating the size of their talented players. Looks like somebody finally wrote about it.

Kind of interesting to read:

http://www.etownhockey.com/2010/10/oilers-website-exaggerating-size-of.html

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#11 Skidplate
October 11 2010, 02:21PM
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Chris. wrote:

Bingofuel:

Why is the record no longer under the last game score? I think everyone would appreciate seeing a perfect 2-0-0.

Carefull what you wish for Chris....

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#12 Bucknuck
October 11 2010, 02:22PM
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LOVE these articles about expectations - so interesting. I have to say I was moved by Pajaarvi's play in the preseason, though I have long expected Eberle to be the best of the three this year just based on age and AHL experience alone.

Thanks for this JW.

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#13 Ryan14
October 11 2010, 02:56PM
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OilComesFromSand wrote:

In regards to these rookies, I read something quite interesting about them.

I too have been looking at the profiles on and off in the past and have noticed the website has been inflating the size of their talented players. Looks like somebody finally wrote about it.

Kind of interesting to read:

http://www.etownhockey.com/2010/10/oilers-website-exaggerating-size-of.html

Aren't team sites regulated and controlled by the NHL?

I checked 3 different sites, and all 3 had different height and weight measurements for MP; the Oilers site had him weighing the least.

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#14 Tha Legion
October 11 2010, 02:59PM
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Off Topic: Marincin is +3 with one assist tonight VS Oil Kings, Martindale w/ 1g and 1a and Hamilton is getting set to play in a minute or 2

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#15 David S
October 11 2010, 03:17PM
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"...but as a group Oilers fans (except for baggedmilk who has breen drinking way too much vodka-spiked kool-aid) have remarkably reasonable expectations for the three rookies."

Fixed. Heh heh.

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#16 Rob...
October 11 2010, 05:13PM
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@OilComesFromSand

I do find it funny that he has decided he's a good judge of weight. Muscle weighs more than fat, and if this guy is providing ballpark estimates based on the girth and weight of him and his buddies he is likely far off the mark.

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#17 Adam D
October 11 2010, 06:13PM
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Why am I never included in these? I definitely had the reader high for all three players.

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#18 DDP
October 11 2010, 06:45PM
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I have to admit, I'm a little surprised by the pretty realistic expectations by people on this site. I would guess that fans coming to this site probably have a higher "Oiler IQ" then most, because some of the numbers I've heard thrown around for the big three have been much higher than 40-50 pt mark, especially for Hall.

If the kids are hovering around the 40-45 point mark by the end of the season, I would call that a success. Anything above that would be gravy!

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#19 Team Hall
October 11 2010, 06:53PM
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So JW, remember back when you wrote that article of concern about our goaltending this offseason, and I wrote a remark about how goaltending was the least of our concern, and I proceeded to get lambasted for that? I think some posters owe an apology thusfar. Just saying. I think these rookies are doing fine, and all three will achieve at par or close to Tavares numbers last year.

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#20 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 11 2010, 07:14PM
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Rob... wrote:

I do find it funny that he has decided he's a good judge of weight. Muscle weighs more than fat, and if this guy is providing ballpark estimates based on the girth and weight of him and his buddies he is likely far off the mark.

No doubt, not to mention most NHL'ers have dispreportionate legs to upper bodies, so MSP (and whomever) might have looked skinny, but he's likely packing alot of weight in his legs.

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#21 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 11 2010, 07:19PM
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Team Hall wrote:

So JW, remember back when you wrote that article of concern about our goaltending this offseason, and I wrote a remark about how goaltending was the least of our concern, and I proceeded to get lambasted for that? I think some posters owe an apology thusfar. Just saying. I think these rookies are doing fine, and all three will achieve at par or close to Tavares numbers last year.

Hardly, I don't think anyone (or at least very few people) questioned Bulin's ability. The issue has always been injury risk and has now been compounded with potential off ice distractions.

If he's still playing strong 80 games from now, you'll start to have a case.... and even then it was still a very high risk signing that warrents examination.

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#22 westy
October 11 2010, 07:58PM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

It does help, thanks Willis :)

Helps me too! I am also colourblind and so are 8-10% of all males in Canada. 10 years ago it squashed my dreams of being a fighter pilot :-)

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#23 Jonathan Willis
October 12 2010, 08:16AM
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@ Team Hall:

I'll happily admit Khabibulin's been good so far and the surgery doesn't appear to have slowed him down.

But it's far too early to be proclaiming anything - we'll see how his back and knees hold up as the season wears on.

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#24 @Oilanderp
October 12 2010, 09:29AM
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J.W., after the second bar graph, in the last paragraph (about expectations) in the 'Jordan Eberle' section, I *think* you intended to replace the word Paajarvi with Eberle. A minor point I am sure. A good read, as although I am not a 'stats man' I do enjoy looking at the distribution of expectations for our youngsters. Perhaps accompanying pie charts WITH COLOUR would further facilitate this (monochrome bar graphs are SO passe!). Also, more cowbell please.

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#25 baggedmilk
October 12 2010, 10:03AM
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Yeahhhhh. Baggedmilk is picking em high!

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#26 dawgbone
October 12 2010, 10:35AM
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Team Hall wrote:

So JW, remember back when you wrote that article of concern about our goaltending this offseason, and I wrote a remark about how goaltending was the least of our concern, and I proceeded to get lambasted for that? I think some posters owe an apology thusfar. Just saying. I think these rookies are doing fine, and all three will achieve at par or close to Tavares numbers last year.

Remember when JDD shoved it in the face of all his detractors? Yeah, that was a great 5 games.

Bulin's ability to have high quality games was never the issue.

His ability to have them often enough was.

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