April 22 2013 09:45PM
The Oklahoma City Barons regular season is over, and there's a summer's worth of interesting things to ponder. We begin by looking through the offensive numbers with Desjardins NHL equivalencies. (photos of Toni Rajala and Kristians Pelss courtesy Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved).
Gabriel Desjardins has been working on NHLE for years and Robert Vollman and others have been moving the conversation forward. I'm using Vollman's numbers for the "23 and under" group represented on the Barons.
23 AND UNDER FORWARDS NHLE (per 82gp)
- Toni Rajala 13-21-34
- Teemu Hartikainen 11-17-28
- Phil Cornet 12-13-25
- Magnus Paajarvi 5-20-25
- Anton Lander 9-11-20
- Kristians Pelss 3-17-20
- Ryan Martindale 7-9-16
- Tyler Pitlick 4-8-12
- Curtis Hamilton 6-5-11
- Rajala has been incredible since the lockout ended, really driving a lot of the offense and posting very good numbers. If we compare him to last year's NHLE for Linus Omark (12-30-32), it looks like the Oilers have another opportunity to look at an undersized forward who can make things happen.
- Hartikainen's NHLE is up over last season (10-13-23 a year ago) as is that of Phil Cornet (13-7-20) and Paajarvi (7-20-27). I don't think Paajarvi sees the AHL again after this season for many years, and I believe Hartikainen will get a full NHL shot in 2013-14. Will it be with the Oilers?
- Among those who saw improvement are Anton Lander (last year: 3-10-13), Martindale (0-5-5 in 11-12).
- Pitlick (4-9-13) ran in place and Hamilton (4-6-10) did as well.
- Kristians Pelss--a player mentioned in the past as a possible checking forward in the NHL if he continues to develop--had a nice run before injury impacted him. Definitely a player to follow next year with OKC.
The big story is Rajala. His season at 21 in the AHL was an eye opener even if it started late. 149 shots in 46 games (3.24 per game) is a big item. And it isn't a fluke, either: Eetu Huisman tells us the following: In '11–12, Rajala had 4.88 shots directed at net per 15, good for 4th in SM-Liiga.
23 AND UNDER DEFENSE NHLE (per 82gp)
- Martin Marincin 5-15-20
- Brandon Davidson 5-9-14
- Colten Teubert 2-4-6
Marincin had a nice season in OKC, even accounting for Justin Schultz being his D partner for a couple of months at the beginning of the season. Taylor Fedun is 24 so not part of this look, but his NHLE is also a good one (4-10-14), and Davidson has a fine number using the Vollman ledge. We shouldn't expect too much from Teubert offensively, and he's about par with last season's NHLE(2-6-8).
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The Oilers "big hits" this season from OKC are:
- Paajarvi's continued development
- Hartikainen's step forward
- Anton Lander's offense is more reflective of his SEL numbers run through NHLE.
- Toni Rajala, a 4th round selection in 2009 who seemingly came out of nowhere to establish himself as a legit NHL prospect
- Martin Marincin a 2nd rounder from 2010, whose uneven season shows just how hard defensive development can be for an NHL team. Even after a full season with significant successes, we're all agreed he's at least a year away from being ready.
We've discussed the disappointments (Teubert, Pitlick, Hamilton) at length but there's a lot of good in this season, too. As Paajarvi, Lander and Hartikainen graduate, there seems to be a gap to Marincin, Rajala and the others. There is developing talent in the AHL, and some of these young men could end up being useful pieces to the puzzle or trade assets to move the club forward.
The names who are emerging are not the ones we expected, but there are good arrows here.