Expectations: The Big Three Rookies

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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:

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

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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).

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    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.

  • Slick

    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.

    • C-DOG

      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.

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    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!

    • Ryan14

      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.

    • Rob...

      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.

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        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.

  • Bucknuck

    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.

  • “…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.

  • Bucknuck

    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!

  • westy

    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.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      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.

    • 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.

  • @ 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.

  • 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.