RAJALA RISING?

Lowetide
July 26 2013 08:00PM

For some time now, we've been talking about equivalencies, using Gabriel Desjardins' NHLE's going back several years. The boys over at NHL Numbers have had a lash at updating the equation, and now Rob Vollman from Hockey Prospectus gives it a try. The results--when applied to the Oilers prospect base--suggest there are some very talented offensive players bubbling under.

AHL PROSPECTS

(photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved)

Vollman's system for the AHL is multi-tiered based on age and the recent past (in terms of AHL to NHL progression) suggests young players who are 19-21 are more likely to carry their offense to the NHL. This isn't a new idea, but the severity of the progression is more pronounced in the Vollman model. Here's an overview of the AHL forwards from 2012-13 and their NHL equivalencies using Rob Vollman's work.

NHL EQUIVALENCIES, OKC BARONS F, age 19-21 (per 82 games)

  • Toni Rajala 14-22-36 (this is a solid number at 21 years old)
  • Anton Lander 9-11-20
  • Ryan Martindale 7-8-15

These are the 19-to-21 year olds in the current group run through Vollman's NHL equivalency.

  • Vollman: Our study found that particularly high-scoring 19- to 21-year-olds are virtually guaranteed scoring success in the NHL.

Toni Rajala--at 21--narrowly missed scoring at a point-per-game clip and is certainly a candidate for NHL employment based on his season with the Barons. Lander is a checker, so his offense here would correctly suggest we're looking at a role playing C whose value is more defensive. Martindale at least makes the list, something Tyler Pitlick and Curtis Hamilton didn't score enough to do this past season.

NHL EQUIVALENCIES, OKC BARONS F, age 22-26 (per 82 games)

The group 22 to 26 years old are less likely to build an NHL career based on Vollman's work, meaning a player like Mark Arcobello (or Teemu Hartikainen) is less likely to make it.

  • Mark Arcobello 11-23-34
  • Teemu Hartikainen 11-18-29
  • Phil Cornet 12-14-16
  • Vollman: While a super-high AHL scorer under age 22 might ultimately turn out to be a legitimate NHL level scorer as well, that's quite unlikely when the AHLer is 23 or older. There may be the occasional late bloomer, but most older players who are good enough to dominate the AHL level aren't good enough to win a regular top-six shift at the NHL level, possibly due to their small size, weak skating abilities, or lack of defensive commitment.

Vollman's look at 27+ year olds is not encouraging for that group; for instance, the odds that Colin McDonald (as an example) remains in the NHL at a high level are unlikely--a much better outer marker would be a role player like Toby Petersen.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Many of the AHL numbers used by Vollman match Desjardins' original, with a small adjustment for the 19-to-21 year old mid-level talents like Lander being the major item. Much of the information above would be very similar (or identical) to the Desjardins' numbers run a decade before, but that in and of itself has value.

I do think Vollman's 'line in the sand' at 22+ is a more pronounced judgement than we've assumed in the past, and it'll be interesting to see how this rolls out into the future.

My personal thanks to Mr. Vollman for his permission in using information from his book in preparing this article. You can preview the book here.

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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 Team 1260.
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#1 Fresh Mess
July 26 2013, 08:28PM
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Yes.

Not big on the NHLE. Not even big on a lot of LT's fancy stats, but we need more of this. You're not a fangirl LT. Bring it.

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#2 Fresh Mess
July 26 2013, 08:31PM
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Am I the only one throwing wood towards that photograph?

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#4 Tyler
July 26 2013, 08:45PM
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People always talk about needing a solid defensive 4 line. I say you just need better hockey players on the ice at any given point then the other team has out there. A 3rd line should be defensive (and be a somewhat threat to score, but should primarily be a shut down crew). If other teams are putting big bodies out there, with marginal skating, skill, hockey IQ etc. The dregs if you will. Why not try giving a cheap, highly skilled 4 line a shot. It's not like these guys have to shoot the lights out against the other teams power lines. You never want your 4th line vs another teams 1st line regardless of make up. But a line of Rajala, Arcobello, Jones/Jonessu could be interesting. Play them in that role, 4th line, in pre season. Line match them 6-8 minutes a night against another teams slow, big bodied 4th line, and see what happens. I'm guessing one team has the puck the entire time based on skill alone, gets some scoring chances and 5 on 5 production plus draws a ton of penalties in the process. The cost in minimal and fights big bodies by simply being better hockey players. What say you Nation? Mac T? Worth a preseason look in my books at least.

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#5 toprightcorner
July 26 2013, 08:48PM
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I don't see Hartikainen ever hitting 29 pts in the NHL.

I would suggest that the longer you spend in the AHL the expectations of the NHL team drop and you are instantly put in the "role player" category and then don't get put on a scoring line if they make it in the NHL. Team expectations would affect your offensive opportunity.

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#6 toprightcorner
July 26 2013, 08:50PM
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send this article to Dean Lombardi and have MacT offer Rajala for Clifford.

LT - Awesome choice of title, very witty and great movie!!

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#7 DSF
July 26 2013, 09:24PM
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toprightcorner wrote:

send this article to Dean Lombardi and have MacT offer Rajala for Clifford.

LT - Awesome choice of title, very witty and great movie!!

Lombardi already has Toffoli, Holloway, Weal, Vey and Kozun in the pipeline.

In other words, he already has 5 players better than Rajala.

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#9 madjam
July 26 2013, 09:27PM
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toprightcorner wrote:

send this article to Dean Lombardi and have MacT offer Rajala for Clifford.

LT - Awesome choice of title, very witty and great movie!!

Not such a bad idea . While other clubs are still grabbing NHL talent , we are promoting AHL talent . I see Franson may soon be available for prospects and/or draft picks .

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#10 DSF
July 26 2013, 09:27PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Weather did say anything about rain.

Were you planning a parade?

How bout that Bo Levi Mitchell?

Kid can play.

Calm feet.

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#11 GVBlackhawk
July 26 2013, 09:44PM
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DSF wrote:

Lombardi already has Toffoli, Holloway, Weal, Vey and Kozun in the pipeline.

In other words, he already has 5 players better than Rajala.

You are a living, breathing, broken record.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

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#12 DSF
July 26 2013, 09:48PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

You are a living, breathing, broken record.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Much better than being a living, breathing loser.

Dump, wipe, flush.

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#13 Alex T.
July 26 2013, 09:50PM
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@Tyler

Tyler,

I'd love to see this. I'd take it a step further and put Hemsky on this line rather than on the checking line.

They call the 4th line an "energy" line. What gives a team more energy? A staged fight or a goal and or a skill puck possession shift?

Mac T says he wants skill. But everyone seems to want only 2 lines of skill. I say let's bring back Oiler hockey and attack with skill.

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#14 GVBlackhawk
July 26 2013, 09:53PM
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DSF wrote:

Much better than being a living, breathing loser.

Dump, wipe, flush.

Yes you are a real winner DSF....in your own narrow-minded, pathetic world. Congratulations. I am SO envious of you.

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#15 RJ
July 26 2013, 09:57PM
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A 5'10, 160 lb RW. Just what the Oilers need more of.

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#16 DSF
July 26 2013, 09:57PM
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GVBlackhawk wrote:

Yes you are a real winner DSF....in your own narrow-minded, pathetic world. Congratulations. I am SO envious of you.

You have obviously mistaken me for someone who cares what you think.

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#17 Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate
July 26 2013, 10:09PM
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OH My God Lowetide

Jennifer Garner, 'nuff said

Speechless man, speechless

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#18 harry
July 26 2013, 10:09PM
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Do we have one fri sick and tired of these tiny ggin forward who is over 6' and 210? Im so bloody sick of these tiny fringe forwards. Get some size already!!!!!

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#19 Darrell
July 26 2013, 10:21PM
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DSF wrote:

You have obviously mistaken me for someone who cares what you think.

DSF - do you actuallty think anyone around here enjoys your Oiler bashing or care which Oiler suck or which teams players are superior ? Your a running joke around here and think of yourself as a hero with the attention - screw off !

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#20 GVBlackhawk
July 26 2013, 10:25PM
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DSF wrote:

You have obviously mistaken me for someone who cares what you think.

Great! Then you won't mind this: I think you are a delusional narcissist who does not care about anyone or anything but himself. As a result, you have no friends, no close family members, and are a lonely, unhappy person.

And your track record of evaluating hockey players, especially when it comes to the Oilers, is laughable. At least you can hide behind a computer, though. In the real world, no one could talk as much trash as you, be so wrong, and still show their face.

Is that better?

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#21 Aeodhagan
July 26 2013, 10:34PM
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DSF wrote:

Lombardi already has Toffoli, Holloway, Weal, Vey and Kozun in the pipeline.

In other words, he already has 5 players better than Rajala.

Out of these 5 players you just spammed us with, the only one with better stats than Rajala is Toffoli, and Holloway (I don't know what the SEL equivalencies are, that and he's 3 years older). And that's because I give Toffoli more credo for NHL time. Now I don't want you to get it into your head that I care what you put out there, but dammit I at least want some effort from a bonafide troll such as yourself.

Rajala stats: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=118372

Toffoli stats: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=115633

Holloway stats: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=74655

Weal stats: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=110234

Vey stats: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=100352

Kozun stats: http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=96667

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#22 GVBlackhawk
July 26 2013, 10:36PM
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harry wrote:

Do we have one fri sick and tired of these tiny ggin forward who is over 6' and 210? Im so bloody sick of these tiny fringe forwards. Get some size already!!!!!

Size wins Cups!,

Just ask Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, and Pavel Datsyuk....tiny losers!

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#23 15w40
July 26 2013, 10:50PM
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Please refer to post #102 in the "Depth down the Middle" thread.

Sums things up well

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#24 madjam
July 26 2013, 11:23PM
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Should we have been drafting the most skilled player all the time ? Generally , in junior the most skilled players are not very big or midsize . We went for skill and did not have the forsight to see how size was going to be such a factor in todays game . The last couple of drafts we have put more emphasis on size and grit , however . We have had little success in the bigger players we have drafted for several years now . Most, that are progressing, still seem to be of the smaller variety lacking defence and or grit or physicality .

Looking at our overstocked farm club and you have to wonder how much quality time they have to develop on the farm , as very few are contributing in a good way to the parent club . Fillins we have , but decent graduates low.

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#25 Citizen David
July 26 2013, 11:29PM
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Really like this player. It makes me sad to think he might not get a shot here. I know you're a huge Hemsky fan LT but I'd rather ship Hemsky for whatever we can get and put Rajala on the third line.

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#26 Mr common sense
July 27 2013, 12:03AM
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Ummm. How tall is this guy? Do they grow taller after 21? Ummmm yeah. Next article

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#27 Taylor Gang
July 27 2013, 12:14AM
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On the topic of speedy wingers:

Wait, so you're telling me we can deal from a position of strength?

Wise words of Obama during the lockout: Get it done.

Clifford, here we come!

I'm so lonely this time of year

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#28 Pouzar99
July 27 2013, 12:49AM
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Please, please fellow posters stop taking the bait with DSF. I am so sick and tired of seeing threads hijacked by him. Every time an interesting thread gets going he jumps in and posts comments for the sole purpose of driving people nuts and then laughs himself silly as the thread gets derailed. He is a serious hockey fan, but he is just on here to troll.

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#29 TV6
July 27 2013, 03:00AM
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George "Bud" Holloway...

Obviously the "idiot" above has ZERO clue when it comes to the Crowns depth charts.

How embarrassed he must be to even have penned that in a public forum...

Like I stated yesterday...

The transparency is blinding...

x6

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#30 TV6
July 27 2013, 03:05AM
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I've always wondered in the back of my head about putting out a skilled 4th line with limited TOI in lieu of a big crashing 'energy' line...

It really could have some merit to it if they had the puck a lot of the time & played a very small but significant TOI.

What are your thoughts on a puck possession, skilled 4th line scenario LT..?

Food for thought, but good food none the less, & Rajala could be a piece to that puzzle.

Assuming that Lombo turns down that trade for Holloway 1st since he covets him so darn much.

x6

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#31 Oiler Al
July 27 2013, 08:13AM
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Rajala..... didnt we just banish Omark to the lands beyond? Theres not a big difference other than in fact Omark is a bit bigger player.

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#32 K_Mart
July 27 2013, 08:35AM
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Tyler wrote:

People always talk about needing a solid defensive 4 line. I say you just need better hockey players on the ice at any given point then the other team has out there. A 3rd line should be defensive (and be a somewhat threat to score, but should primarily be a shut down crew). If other teams are putting big bodies out there, with marginal skating, skill, hockey IQ etc. The dregs if you will. Why not try giving a cheap, highly skilled 4 line a shot. It's not like these guys have to shoot the lights out against the other teams power lines. You never want your 4th line vs another teams 1st line regardless of make up. But a line of Rajala, Arcobello, Jones/Jonessu could be interesting. Play them in that role, 4th line, in pre season. Line match them 6-8 minutes a night against another teams slow, big bodied 4th line, and see what happens. I'm guessing one team has the puck the entire time based on skill alone, gets some scoring chances and 5 on 5 production plus draws a ton of penalties in the process. The cost in minimal and fights big bodies by simply being better hockey players. What say you Nation? Mac T? Worth a preseason look in my books at least.

Buffalo tried this in 06-07 and it worked really well.

They had 9 guys on pace to break 20 goals.

43,37,34,32,23,21,19,16,13,9,6,4 were the goal totals for their forwards.

If I remember correctly though, when they reached the playoffs they were so badly injured and missing so many players that they set a record for fewest nhl starters to dress for a playoff game. Not sure if that was linked to the fact that they were likely the smallest team in the league, but either way, they proved you can run 4 scoring lines and be successful.

There were only 3 playoff teams with a worse goals against than them that year so their defensive play was likely lacking.

I've never been a believer that you have to be like the Kings to win. You can win many different ways, and we are going to try and do it with average size and high skill.

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#33 Taylor Gang
July 27 2013, 08:42AM
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So... Anybody want Franson?

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#34 Numenius
July 27 2013, 08:46AM
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LT, Vollman's pessimism about 27+ year olds isn't good news for Ryan Hamilton, who's 28. I wonder if he'll buck the trend.

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#35 K_Mart
July 27 2013, 08:49AM
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@DSF

According to Vollman's system, Toffoli is the only superior offensive player in that bunch when compared to Rajala.

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#36 Spydyr
July 27 2013, 08:51AM
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Even though the Oilers colours do have blue in them.Just say no to more smurfs.

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#37 HardBoiledOil
July 27 2013, 09:11AM
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DSF wrote:

Lombardi already has Toffoli, Holloway, Weal, Vey and Kozun in the pipeline.

In other words, he already has 5 players better than Rajala.

had Rajala played the entire season in the AHL, he would have matched or exceeded the point totals of the above players. none of those 5 are necessarily "better" prospects than Rajala.

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#38 HardBoiledOil
July 27 2013, 09:14AM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Rajala..... didnt we just banish Omark to the lands beyond? Theres not a big difference other than in fact Omark is a bit bigger player.

big difference in work ethic though.

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#39 book¡e
July 27 2013, 09:17AM
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DSF wrote:

You have obviously mistaken me for someone who cares what you think.

For a guy who doesn't care what the people on these blogs think, you seem to spend a tremendous amount of time trying to get them to respond to you. I suspect it is because this is pretty much all you have these days. However, if you put your efforts into constructive critical commenting you would earn a lot of respect, but instead you troll. Maybe it's time you tried something new.

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#40 toni_rajalapeno
July 27 2013, 09:17AM
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My name that I've had for years will finally one day be relevant again! Rajala was an absolute joy to watch at the Memorial Cup in Brandon, really crafty player.

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#41 HardBoiledOil
July 27 2013, 09:27AM
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harry wrote:

Do we have one fri sick and tired of these tiny ggin forward who is over 6' and 210? Im so bloody sick of these tiny fringe forwards. Get some size already!!!!!

"get some size already"...Darnell Nurse, 6'4", Ben Betker, 6'5" 200, Bogdan Yakimov, 6' 4" 200, Anton Slepyshev 6'2", Alan Muir, 6'3", Evan Campbell, 6'2"...

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#42 99thOilerfan
July 27 2013, 09:38AM
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HardBoiledOil wrote:

"get some size already"...Darnell Nurse, 6'4", Ben Betker, 6'5" 200, Bogdan Yakimov, 6' 4" 200, Anton Slepyshev 6'2", Alan Muir, 6'3", Evan Campbell, 6'2"...

Re: Size issue.

Please see above.

Regards,

MacT

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#43 harry
July 27 2013, 10:02AM
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@GVBlackhawk

Crosby, Kane, and Datsyuk arent flanked by 5'9" 160lbs wingers

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#44 harry
July 27 2013, 10:06AM
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99thOilerfan wrote:

Re: Size issue.

Please see above.

Regards,

MacT

Are any of these players on the roster for 2013/14. We are going to get dominated if we dont address this. Funny how one of the main things MacT wanted to address has alk of a sudden fallen by the wayside

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#45 GVBlackhawk
July 27 2013, 10:12AM
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harry wrote:

Crosby, Kane, and Datsyuk arent flanked by 5'9" 160lbs wingers

No but Steven Stamkos is....Marty St. Louis can't hear you with his Stanley Cup ring plugging his ear.

Your argument has no basis in fact.

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#46 HardBoiledOil
July 27 2013, 10:13AM
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harry wrote:

Are any of these players on the roster for 2013/14. We are going to get dominated if we dont address this. Funny how one of the main things MacT wanted to address has alk of a sudden fallen by the wayside

c'mon, harry, he's been trying! Clarkson decided to sign with home town Toronto instead of here and that's OK. he did sign Boyd Gordon and he's not small at 6'1" 200, as is Clarkson. i don't believe MacT is done either and he has to compete with other teams who want the same players. it's painful, but it's just going to take time. it's still July and he has Hemsky yet to dump.

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#47 WhattaMike
July 27 2013, 10:13AM
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On Rajala...although small he is an excellent speedy guy with skill who makes any 3rd line to 4th line a good offensive threat in a game. If his skils are very good for the NHL, he then makes an excellent replacement on the top 2 lines when injuries occur. This means there is depth for the Oilers. This also means he is an asset.

When the Oilers have 6'2" to 6'4" players such as Hamilton, Pitlick, Martindale not doing anything and this firecracker is working harder, better and also is pushing his way up the chart, I cheer for the little guy.

That being said, he still would have to play with some size type players too on the lines he goes on.

This kid has talent people and ya cant throw that away for a player who has size but no offence nor skating skill.

Whats even better is that right now he is very cheap and the timing to show what he can do is perfect this training camp.

I also believe he is the reason that Omark is not getting the Oilers' love right now. Omark is definitely with skill but Rajala must be proving he is a better two way player.

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#48 rob
July 27 2013, 10:34AM
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Alex T. wrote:

Tyler,

I'd love to see this. I'd take it a step further and put Hemsky on this line rather than on the checking line.

They call the 4th line an "energy" line. What gives a team more energy? A staged fight or a goal and or a skill puck possession shift?

Mac T says he wants skill. But everyone seems to want only 2 lines of skill. I say let's bring back Oiler hockey and attack with skill.

I agree totally,lets do it the oiler way!and to think all the bashing of hemsky and such even having a conversation of him playing on the 3rd or 4th line should show everyone how much better this team is,as not many have the skill to play hemsky that far down the line up

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#49 rob
July 27 2013, 10:40AM
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hemsky plus a second to Toronto for franson,then sign Grabovsky and move ganger to wing,use a first round pick or extra defence to trade for some toughness!

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#50 Oiler Al
July 27 2013, 10:43AM
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HardBoiledOil wrote:

big difference in work ethic though.

Thats a good point, I`ll give you that. Omark take hockey as`enertainment `to a different level.

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