July 16 2010 06:59AM

I promise not to bore you with too much math here at ON. However, based on my early experience it looks as though math is regarded as a guide along with observation at Oilers Nation, so there's an opportunity to discuss some very useful tools that some very smart people have created or derived over the last few years.

Gabriel Desjardins is a brilliant writer and problem solver. His blog is here and his stats mountain is here. Gabriel (among others) gives bloggers and math fans a chance to explore the NHL universe: lines, zone starts, shots for and against, even-strength scoring per 60 minutes, shooting percentage, he has all kinds of reasonable measurements that tell us more than the boxcars. I encourage you to read Gabriel's stuff, he is a generous fellow with his time (if I had to pay a dollar for every visit he'd own my house). Beyond that, I won't mention him here a lot, save for giving Gabriel credit for the things he created or derived. It is only fair.

Desjardins supplies us with a rational NHL "production equivalency" for lower leagues. He projects those leagues into the NHL, and explains it here. It is an exceptional tool, and has been tracking very well since we started using it for Oiler picks and prospects.

By way of example, here are two season's worth of quality picks (2007 and 2008) and their NHLE. It is followed in brackets by their actual NHL numbers the following season:

    • Patrick Kane, OHL: 26-36-62 (ACTUAL: 82gp, 21-51-72)
    • Sam Gagner, OHL: 16-39-55 (ACTUAL: 79gp, 13-36-49)
    • David Perron, QMJHL: 13-14-27 (ACTUAL: 62gp, 13-14-27)
    • Steve Stamkos, OHL: 23-19-42 (ACTUAL: 23-23-46)
    • Drew Doughty, OHL: 6-23-29 (ACTUAL: 6-21-27)
    • Luke Schenn, WHL: 3-9-12 (ACTUAL: 2-10-12)
    • Mikael Boedker, OHL: 12-17-29 (ACTUAL: 11-17-28)
    • Josh Bailey, OHL: 11-24-35 (ACTUAL: 7-18-25)

Those are really good projections. Gabriel has arrived at a solid number in terms of letting air out of the tires, and so we can look to the future with some confidence. I'm using his CHL, AHL, SEL and other equivalencies below, if you'd like to read more I would refer you to both blog and stats mountain.

BUBBLING UNDER: NHLE'S for Oilers top level F prospects (per 82 GP)

  1. R Jordan Eberle 22-24-46
  2. L Taylor Hall 17-29-46
  3. L Magnus Pääjärvi 16-22-38
  4. L Linus Omark 20-15-35
  5. C Chris Vande Velde 13-21-34
  6. L Philippe Cornet 10-17-27
  7. L Teemu Hartikainen 12-14-26
  8. R Toni Rajala 11-15-26
  9. C Robby Dee 13-12-25
  10. C Ryan Martindale 8-16-24
  11. C Milan Kytnar 8-14-22
  12. C Anton Lander 9-12-21
  13. L Liam Reddox 9-9-18
  14. C Tyler Pitlick 9-8-17
  15. L Curtis Hamilton 7-8-15
  16. R Colin McDonald 6-5-11
  17. C Ryan O'Marra 6-3-9
  18. L Drew Czerwonka 2-4-6
  19. R Cameron Abney 2-3-5
  20. L Matt Glasser 2-3-5
  21. L Matt Marquardt 1-4-5

This is an outstanding list, the Oilers best prospect list for forwards in a long, long time. Three top drawer offensive talents, followed by a long-in-the-tooth prospect (Omark) who can score and then an exceptional college face-off man with enough offensive skill to do well when he turns pro. Cornet and Rajala are in the "tweener" zone, as is Hartikainen but he brings enough things to his game that you can see him winning a job in a 2-way role (outside the top 6F). Martindale is also interesting, and the best defensive forward on the list (Lander) does pretty well by this metric. There are no less than 6 quality prospects on this list (Top 5 and Lander) and we haven't even looked at Pitlick (whose numbers suffered due to lack of playing time in the NCAA).

BUBBLING UNDER: NHLE'S for Oilers top level D prospects (per 82gp)

  1. Jeff Petry 4-22-26
  2. Taylor Chorney 5-10-15
  3. Jeremie Blain 1-13-14
  4. Brandon Davidson 0-14-14
  5. Kyle Bigos 4-6-10
  6. Alex Plante 2-5-7
  7. Theo Peckham 0-6-6
  8. Johan Motin 1-3-4
  9. Troy Hesketh 1-3-4

Martin Marincin's number isn't here, he played in Slovakia U-20 this past season and there aren't a lot of comparable defensemen who jumped to the NHL the following season. We'll get a read on him (WHL) this season. Petry is the best offensive option, and considering his wide range of skills should be a player we see in the NHL sometime this season. My preference would be for Petry to play an entire AHL season (the lesson of Chorney) before making the grade, but if the Oilers encounter injury he should be in the mix for callup. Plante, Peckham and Motin are stay-at-home types as is reflected here.

Desjardins NHLE's are at the very least a marvelous toy. I believe they are more than that: a strong prediction about a player's offensive ability at the NHL level, and as such this is an extremely valuable measurement.

One final item. Gabriel's number tells us we have something special in Taylor Hall. Desjardins: Based on the performance of thousands of drafted players, we can predict how many points a player will score in the NHL when he’s 21-years-old. If he’s 17, four years later, we expect him to score at 72% of his junior rate. But if he’s 20, on average, he’ll retain just 26% of his scoring. 

There is some number massaging required to account for age, but this would make (with help from spOILer, comment #87 in this comments section) Taylor Hall's 21-year old NHLE 82gp, 32-52-84. We don't know Hall's TOI number (that had a major impact on Rob Schremp's 19-year old OHL season), but it is clear that the kid is an exceptional offensive talent. Gabriel Desjardins NHLE's are a strong predictor of the future, and for Oilers fans it is an extremely exciting time.

Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
#151 commonfan13
July 16 2010, 11:19PM
Trash it!

Why does Gregor use that Stockwell Day picture as his avatar?

#152 Crash
July 16 2010, 11:36PM
Trash it!
Bendelson wrote:

saw him good vs math

Subject: Dubnyk.

Living in Kamloops during the DD era, I 'saw him good' and loved what I saw (size, character and poise on an awful team).

Does my personal evaluation hold water? To me - hell yeah - I was there, know what I look for in a goalie, and certainly liked what I saw... To others? Unless you know me and my self-proclaimed stunning track record when it comes to goaltending, hell no. I'm just another voice.

This is where I find the math most interesting. It is not interested in my thoughts on the young man. It is not swayed by my Kamloops experience. It just doesn't care.

Most of us can agree that his road to the NHL has been bumpy (ECHL) and lonely (facing big rubber on bad AHL teams). Math has never loved him - until the end of last season perhaps (math started to like him a little).

So then - where do we go from here? Is math going to fall in love and start to back-up the 'saw him good' indicators I have always proclaimed or is math going to self-correct and show us it was just a fling, proving he really isn't a number one in the making?

Look forward to finding out this year. You know which way I'm betting... I saw him good.

I think I'm betting the same way you are...

Looks like he can become a force....soon

#153 vishcosity
July 18 2010, 09:17AM
Trash it!
Lowetide wrote:

Desjardins does have a junior-to-AHL conversion somewhere, that is an excellent idea. Now, volunteers? :-)

LT -

While I have no idea how to do any of this, I would be some curious to see if Dejardins could include some kind of calibration for the farm system. (I just have no idea how to do it, nor do I know how to solicit Willis or Bruce or any of the usual suspects. Please have at er, anyone.)

There has to be some question in Pouliot's mind as to the what ifs of trading places with Parise at their draft. If Poo ended up in the NJ organization and Parise here, would the numbers be where they're at? I bet he wonders that.

Or if homeboy Kyle Rossiter had been drafted by Anaheim rather than Florida he would have wound up with his junior coach instead of the carousel that was Florida pre lock out. Would he be in the show today? maybe.

The development system probably has significant impact on the player's future career, and possibly there is a way to include that factor on the NHLE projections, or, maybe we can assess the farm teams by measuring the predictions vs. the actual results for different players historically and see if there really is a pattern, then if there is, maybe it would serve as a reasonable corrective adjustment for future NHLE predictions.

The math sure seems good for the players who come from strong CHL teams and head quickly to the show, maybe it seems to fall apart for players who spend more time in the AHL. Being a 20 yr old kid living in Wilkes-Barre would be tough enough, imagine being thrown on a losing team in Gary Indiana. whatever.

Maybe Oiler brass has already learned this and it explains the recent effort towards the Barons. And maybe there is a way to quantify it, then adjust future projections accordingly.

Thanks for the article, some of the math elsewhere gets a little heavy, this one I could follow okay.

#154 Pajamah
July 18 2010, 09:19AM
Trash it!

I'd be extremely happy if he became a top 20 starter in the NHL. he may eventually become the Oilers starter, but I don't see him being an everyday NHL top flight goaltender.

I do think he'll have a better career than JDD though, but I still think Im going to put all my eggs in the Olivier Roy basket

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