The Calder

The Edmonton Oilers are extremely likely to have a strong rookie-of-the-year candidate in 2010-11. They have three outstanding prospects (Magnus Pääjärvi, Jordan Eberle, Chipper Jones) and enough job openings to make one believe anything is possible.

Some coaches/managers dole out minutes to rookies with a thimble, others are more generous. They key is being "NHL ready" which is something Oilers rookie forwards have rarely been over the last decade. Ales Hemsky came to the show early because the organization felt he could learn more in the NHL than playing another season in the Q. Sam Gagner arrived in TC fall 2007 fresh from an international tournament and weeks ahead of many others in terms of conditioning.

Craig MacTavish didn’t have a lot of "big minutes" rookies during his Edmonton coaching career. Here are his forwards, with their total time-on-ice in rookie seasons.

  1. Sam Gagner (07-08) 1238:31
  2. Andrew Cogliano (07-08) 1112:17
  3. Kyle Brodziak (07-08) 1033:24
  4. Jarret Stoll (03-04) 945:18
  5. Patrick Thoresen (06-07) 776:33
  6. Ales Hemsky (02-03) 712:12
  7. Jason Chimera (02-03) 710:06
  8. Marc Pouliot (06-07) 600:12
  9. Dom Pittis (00-01) 506:13
  10. Liam Reddox (08-09) 481:39
  11. Brad Winchester (06-07) 476:18
  12. Mike Comrie (00-01) 466:54
  13. Shawn Horcoff (00-01) 452:12
  14. Fernando Pisani (02-03) 375:18
  15. Jean Francois Jacques (06-07) 292:44
  16. Zach Stortini (06-07) 207:27
  17. Brian Swanson (00-01) 174:38
  18. Mike Bishai (03-04) 128:18
  19. Tony Salmlelainen (03-04) 125:27
  20. Michel Riesen (00-01) 118:53
  21. Jani Rita (02-03) 114:26
  22. Steve MacIntyre (08-09) 86:07

There were maybe 5 rookies who got big time playing time (the top 4 and Comrie when he signed) in their rookie seasons. Hemsky was given 153 minutes on the powerplay, a large portion of his rookie season. He was spotted too, meaning his chances of being a strong Calder candidate were dashed by not getting enough at-bats (even with only 712 minutes of ice-time, Hemsky finished 2nd in the NHL in rookie assists, 2002-03).

Of note here are the three rookies who played more than 1,000 minutes in 2007-08. Gagner, Cogliano and Brodziak got a lot of playing time in their first season, although only Gagner got big PP minutes (Cogliano got quite a few too, with Brodziak getting PK time).

Tom Renney handled rookies in a similar way in his time as head coach. In his 4 (well most of 4) seasons with the Rangers, Renney doled out the rookie minutes to forwards thusly:

  1. Brandon Dubinsky (07-08) 1188:59
  2. Dominic Moore (05-06) 1022:28
  3. Petr Prucha (05-06) 931:02
  4. Nigel Dawes (07-08) 792:04
  5. Lauri Korpikoski (08-09) 742:09
  6. Ryan Callahan (07-08) 643:29
  7. Ryan Hollweg (05-06) 376:40

Last season, NHL coaches gave 9 rookie forwards 1000+ minutes of time on ice. The Colorado Avalanche had three of them (Matt Duchene, Ryan O’Reilly, TJ Galiardi) and would probably be the template for this season’s Oilers crop up front. Duchene received an enormous amount of PP time and the other two were given extened auditions on the PK. I’m not certain if there’s a penalty-killer among the Oilers kids but we’ll see.

Finally, which of these kids is most likely to be the frontrunner on his own team? Desjardins NHL equivalenvies give us an educated look at the problem. Desjardins NHLE’s have impressive predictive power, but these three young players are very close in terms of potential offense:

  1. Jordan Eberle 22-24-46
  2. Taylor Hall 17-29-46
  3. Magnus Pääjärvi 16-22-38

None of them have shown themselves as "complete" players, offering a wide range of skills and giving the coach a trustworthy option in all areas. If I had to guess which of the three emerges as the strongest Calder candidate, it would be Taylor Hall. First overall means he’ll get all kinds of opportunity, his Desjardins NHLE is as impressive as Stamkos at the same age, left-wing is wide open on the Oilers and what better way to signal a new beginning than to see your first overall pick win the Calder the following season. It has "Gilbert Perreault" style appeal, a young organization going in the right direction. Finally, and perhaps most important, he is a "shooter" and that might give him a slight edge on the PP role that might be open for one rookie; however, the other two are no slouches in this department.

The truth is any of these three could win the Calder trophy in 2010-11.

  • SurfacetoAirMissile

    What ever happened to having the players earn their spots on the big club? I think signing Comrie to a one year deal would make for a better competition. Calder…… really? Why don’t we let the boys learn to be pros first before lumping these expectations on them. 50 point? 60 points? 70 points? Granted this is coming from a guy who already has a Hall Wallpaper on his desktop…… ok …… I changed my mind….. Hows about winning the Rocket Richard Trophy?

  • Dirty Thing

    All this talk about our big 3 contending for the Calder…. what about Seguin? I think he has a pretty good shot at the calder with his added in extra anger for not being picked by the oilers. I think he’s got something to prove.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    @Dirty Thing

    IF Seguin plays this year, I agree that he would have a great shot at it. Surrounded by more talented players should elevate his point totals too. I am just not convinced that he starts the year in the big leagues.

    • Tracie

      Hey Scientist,

      If Seguin doesn’t start the year in the big leagues, he won’t play in the big leagues…he’ll have to play the full year in the OHL…you probably know this, having your super computer at all, but just in case you didn’t.

      Does anyone knows what’s happening with contract talks for our RFAs?? I really kinda think we should get Gagner, Brule, etc signed…any news on what the hol dup might be?

      • I'm a Scientist!

        My SuperComputer has been on the fritz ever since I tried to calculate which player the Oilers should pick… Seguin or Hall. It has never been the same. Sigh.

        Thanks for pointing that out. I am not totally aware of things like that and need some learnin’!

  • I'm a Scientist!

    I see Paajarvi getting the Hemsky treatment at the beginning of the year but towards January his maturity (he’s been playing against men for 3 years now) will start to show through. Seems like the most “complete” player among the Oilers’ 3 rookies, and Renney is the type of coach to reward defensive acumen with increased playing time.

  • Tracie

    If I was a betting man I would put my money on MTL Defenceman PK Subban, Pittsburgh forward Eric Tangredi (who will get a ton of time on either Sid or Malkins wing) or AHL Rookie of the Year Tyler Ennis with Buffalo to win the Calder.

    • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

      Subban picked up some tough minutes with MTL, but I wouldn’t be putting any money on him any time soon. The two times I’ve seen him in person playing against the Moose he was unremarkable.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      You know they factor in age and previous NHL experience when deciding on the Calder right? Otherwise Jimmy Howard would have won it this year.

      I wouldn’t discount Subban, but unless Tangradi or Ennis absolutely run away with the year (similar to what Mason, or OV or Malkin did when they won) the Calder will likely go to someone younger like Subban, Hall or MPS.

  • DougWeightProblem

    Not like i’d yank anybodies chain . It will be pretty tough to ignor Hall hoisting next season’s Conn Smyth Award and Eberle eclipsing Selanne’s goal scoring rookie season , as the Oilers set new standards around the league for youth and rookies while hoisting the Stanley Cup !

    Do i detect any naysayers ? Dream on and set your goals high Oiler fans , for it just might happen .

      • Petr's Jofa

        You’re not in NL are you? I’m looking for some people to hang out with 3 am on a random weeknights watching a group of young men lose countless hockey games.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          The restrictions of my parole after my unfortunate incarceration prevent me from leaving the province of Alberta for the balance of 2010 Petr, but the next time i’m in pursuit of wine,women,song and hockey there’s a good chance we may cross paths.

          Perhaps in the spring….no?

  • SurfacetoAirMissile

    The Oil are begining to take shape and there are several roster spots to address and/or wait and see at camp. ie Souray (arghhhh!) 3-way golie party and which players show well at training camp. However, the most exciting portion of the roster to prognosticate is the forward lineup….. even with all the question marks. So here goes nothin………

    1st Line: Penner-Brule-Hemsky If you replace Cogs with Hemsky after the chemistry we got to see between Penner and Brule late last year you gotta think this combo could be great!

    2nd Line: Hall-Gagner-Eberle All 3 are young offensively gifted players who could create some chemistry early if given the chance. We all know the Hall-Eberle connection but some forget the connection between Gagner-Kane. Remove Kane and add Hall…. less pressure on the 2nd line for the youngsters.

    3rd Line: MPS-Horcoff-Cogs Horcoff should bounce back and to put it nicely I would like to see Horc play no more of an offensive role than 3rd line and 2nd line PP. Cogs will need to up his game if he is gonna get into a more offensive role with the names I penciled in ahead of him. If MPS cracks the lineup then I believe he would benefit from playing with the work ethic of Horc and the speed of Cogs

    4th Line: Jacques/Macintyre-Fraser-Stortini/Jones I believe Fraser was brought in for some size down the middle and could move up the lineup if they feel they need some size to go along with the youglings. The balance of the 4th line is pretty much interchangable.

  • SurfacetoAirMissile

    @ DougWeightProblem

    To be eligible for the award, a player cannot have played any more than 25 games previously in any single season, nor have played in more than six games in two separate preceding seasons in any major professional league.

    Ennis played 10 games last year. I am pretty sure he is still eligible.

    • DougWeightProblem

      25, eh … fair enough. He certainly played well enough in those ten to be considered a candidate for this year’s Calder. I don’t know if Lindy Ruff gives him the chance, though. He’s pretty old-school.

  • SurfacetoAirMissile

    @ Original Ogden Brother – Team Hall

    It is not unreasonable to GUESS who will win the Calder in July….. Step 1 off season training, add a few pounds of muscle. Step 2 Make is through training camp uninjured and crack the lineup. Step 3 play well enough to stay in the lineup in a top 6 role and plenty of power play time. Step 4 Somehow maintain stamina/strength ratio to be an effective NHLer even though you have never played this many games, at this level, with this much travel and this much expectation….. just sayin it could be a little early and a lot could happen before then and now. What the Heck I will GUESS Hall wins the Calder.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    Anybody see MPS’s jersey? Does it have rock dots, or did they anglo it up?

    I do a lot of work with drivers licenses, and (sans umlauts), our good friend Magnus would have ‘PAEAEJAERVI’ on his back – at least according to our naming conventions.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    Wow, late to the party, but I want to give a standing ovation to LT who just delivered a civil, respectful, well written SMACK DOWN to Nate. He’s been noticeably absent ever since….

  • I read the stats on the ice time, but was immediately suspect of the numbers. I’m sure LT got the actual values right, but it doesn’t tell enough of the story.

    Patrick Thoresen had 776:33 in his rookie year, 64 more minutes than Hemsky’s rookie season. OK, great. Hemsky played 59 games for an average of 12:04 TOI compared to Thoresen’s 68 games and avg TOI of 11:25.

    Even the stats above don’t really give a complete picture, as Hemsky was a healthy scratch (according to the Wiki) for the missed games and Thoresen had 5 games in the AHL. I’ve got no info on where Thoresen spent his time other than the 5 A and 68 N HL games, so he may have missed some due to injury or even just because of flights and whatnot for his transition between the two teams.

    Comparing Gagner, Cogliano and Brodziak is fair because they all played a full season of games (79, 82 and 80 respectively). It’s fair to compare Winchester and Hemsky as they both played 59 games and only played for the Oilers (Winchester had an avg TOI of 8:04) but this only works if Winchester wasn’t injured and therefore unavailable to play.

    While I agree that the three rookies have a shot at the Calder if they get the ice time and especially the PP time, we need to look past the raw data and into the circumstances in cases like these.

    • I'm a Scientist!

      Hmmm, i don’t know if i agree with you. His defence is lacking. Sure, he put up a fight, but even with all that jam and moxie, the opposition still got the goal. -1.

      • You cant blame the cat that the bear took the Garbage. That cat had no teammates to work with. Who was gonna stop the Bear? The laughing baby in background? That lady could have thrown that baby at the bear and it still would have taken the garbage.

        This is an individual award, not a team award.

    • Hahaha I thought you were using slang. I was expecting to see a hockey vid.
      You are right though the cat wins.

      EDIT: After further review the it’s got jam, and It plays in the east should have been a give away.

      EDIT #2: I agree with the guy who said it wouldn’t win. The bear got the garbage.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    As I’ve posted on ON before,

    since the 05/06 the average for the top rookie goal scorer & point total is 26.25 & 60.53

    (with the exception of Crosby/Ovechkin)

    If Taylor Hall is unable to score 27 goals and 33 assists it will be an underwhelming season.

    He’s got the vet support from Hemsky,Penner,Horcoff and other “young guns”.

    Hell I’d be thrilled if he manages to play 82 games.

  • JDD was a key contributor to the 1st overall pick. Without his ability to allow a goal on the first shot or in the last minute, how will Edmonton finish 25th or worse this year?

    epic fail! Bring back Sully..

  • I think only 1 of Pääjärvi or Eberle will start here. I’m gonna say I think Magnus will see the toughest minutes of the 3. Eberle will join the team in Dec. Hall will have most pts. None will see Calder.

    Now you know…

  • How soon should we start booking Ft. Edmonton facilities/ venues for Stanley Parade and partying afterwards with the players, etc .? Nice venue to top off a Sinsational season . Any ideas for type of activities , bands and concerts you might like to see ? Any volunteers ?

    • Now your getting the spirit ! How about some free trips given away to attendees as well ? Crazy ? No . Was asked to be part of small group that was planning on using Ft. Edmonton for a business venture similiar to what i suggested . Between a rather small admittance fee and economic boom to the city , etc . it’s just to bad the deal fell thru before final plans got put in play .

  • Ender

    Wierd. While I kind of expected the three-headed monster in goal to start the season (it’s getting to be routine), I was thinking that they’d lock in JDD before Dubnyk. I don’t know know whether this signing will give more leverage to JDD now or the Oilers.