Measuring Reasonable

Back in the summer I wrote several posts about reasonable expectations. I think they’re valuable because the brain can play tricks on us in mid-season. We see a kid like Jordan Eberle adjust quickly, play miles beyond his years and less than 20 games later we adopt that level of ability as the norm and forget all about the progress. "Reasonable expectations" re-boots the brain and gives us a nice starting point to the season.

The original rookie "reasonable expectations" post is here, and I’ll review each of the names below in the order listed back in July.

  1. Taylor Hall: July 31 Reasonable boxcars: 74gp, 20-20-40, 16 minutes a night and he plays on every line. He will get more PP minutes than the other two rookies and because of it will lead the group on scoring. Confidence is a huge deal for any #1 pick, and this kid seems to have a lot of it. He’ll need it. Currently: On pace for a very similar boxcar season (13-22-35) to the one I projected. I think he’ll probably run the final number beyond 40 because the kid is improving all the time. Lordy he’s a talent, and in fact he’s making adjustments without the puck at a very nice pace too. Having a #1 overall pick means there’s always something to look forward to every game. He’s a beauty. Hall is getting 17 minutes a night so it’s "in the range" of my prediction, although Eberle is playing more with the man advantage. His relCorsi number is quality considering the circumstances and the only real concern is his 5×5/60 number (1.31) but that’s really splitting hairs. RE result a match after 18 games.
  2. Magnus Pääjärvi July 31 Reasonable boxcars: 66gp, 13-18-31 on 14 minutes per game. Although he is more physically mature than Hall, there’s going to be a gap in terms of where he should be on the ice and where he’ll be drawn to; I think he might earn the trust of the coaching staff down the line, but this season will be a learning curve much like the one described above (in regard to Hall). I don’t think he’ll approach Hall’s boxcars, but should say most of the shortfall will come due to different opportunities. Hall is extremely likely to get the push. Currently: on pace for an extremely similar boxcar (9-19-28) although the young man is playing every game and I thought he’d get some PB time (which may come). He’s the one rookie who has looked like a pure rookie on many nights, but the math thinks he’s a solid player already. His 5×5/60 number (1.43) is 2nd best among the rookies and as I mentioned in the original post Taylor Hall is definitely getting the push (not being critical, stating a fact) from Oilers management and coaches. Playing 14 minutes a night (as predicted) and with lesser mates and his relCorsi reflects it. The one thing I think we should be a bit concerned about is that he’s been a perimeter player for an extended period here. That’s why his scoring chances have dried up and that will continue until he heads back into traffic. That’s the one reason why I’d keep him in Edmonton: the problem is here and if he goes to the AHL his speed will no doubt make it easier for him to gain clearance. He’s an outstanding prospect, might as well let him learn things here unless he loses confidence (I don’t really see that at this point). I wish Renney would give him some PP time, a goal or assist right now might see him catch fire. MPS is ahead of the other two rookies by a wide margin in one important category: plus minus. RE result a match after 18 games.
  3. Jordan EberleJuly 31 Reasonable boxcars72gp, 12-17-29 on 15 minutes a night (with several on the PK). Jordan Eberle sees the game extremely well, and I think it might end up landing him a job as an NHL center down the line. For now, he’ll be on the same NHL rollercoaster as Hall and Pääjärvi, although it is possible he sees extended time on the PK (depending on whether or not ST signs someone in August or September). Currently: Unlike Hall and MPS, this young man has exceeded all the numbers and is a solid Calder candidate at this time. Eberle projects to finish 18-36-54 which is miles past the reasonable expectations I predicted for him. I also suggested he’d play 15 minutes a night (Eberle’s TOI: 18:25 per game) and not get much PP time (2:27 a night). I did suggest that he’d PK and in fact the young man is one the ice for about 2 minutes a night in that situation. His 5×5/60 (1.69) leads the rookies and is a match for Hemsky, and his relCorsi is in the black although it trails Taylor Hall’s impressive number.Note: Smartest rookie I’ve seen in forever. Man he’s clever, and I still think he might end up playing center for this team at some point in time. RE result is not a match. Eberle is well beyond reasonable expecations at this time.
  4. Theo PeckhamJuly 31 Reasonable boxcars: 51gp, 0-8-8 with 5-6D minutes. With most defensemen the boxcars don’t tell half of the story, and in Peckham’s case it wll be less than that. If he’s reading plays and reacting at speed by Valentine’s Day, we’ll have a player. Currently: Things are going very well for Wreckum. He did not impress in TC but the waiver danger kept him on the roster. Since opening night, he’s been doing well on the 3rd pairing and is perhaps a future top 4 defender with this team. His 1-4-5 +2 boxcars stand out on this team and are beyond what I’d projected and one doubts he’s going to end up with 25 points this season. Still, he’s delivered solid play and his grit and nasty streak are a welcome sight on a team that has been too tame most nights. It’s no fun to play against Theo Peckham, and how many defensemen can you say that about on the current Oilers? RE result is not a match. He has become the player I’d hoped for by Feb 14 already and passed that by a little too. His 17:34 a night (2 minutes on the PP per game) will likely increase as the season wears on.
  5. Devan Dubnyk: July 31 Reasonable expectations20gp, 3.12 .901, and if Khabibulin’s case blows up then double the starts. Over at Lowetide, I posted a longer RE about Dubnyk. If you’re interested, it is here. Currently: NK’s age is catching up to him and Dubnyk won the day over the other goalie (Deslauriers) at least for now. Dubnyk is in the NHL’s top 20 in terms of SP (.924) although he hasn’t played enough to qualify among the league leaders yet. His SP number is way beyond NK’s (.879) and it is completely reasonable to suggest that Khabibulin’s age and injury history mean we are looking at the actual man in terms of 10-11 goaltending with DD. His nickname ("the big Easy") could be better (what about Flex Plexico? Orel? Orly? Demon Hunter? No?) but his play in a small sample so far this season gives hope for the future. RE is a match. The GAA is close and the SP is in a small sample so we’ll wait before getting too excited. He’s got his chance, and looks like he’s mature enough and good enough to give it a good shot. Good for him.
  6. Shawn BelleJuly 31 Reasonable expectationsThere’s a chance he makes the big club out of camp (especially if Souray isn’t here) but I’m betting he’s a recall due to injury. I wonder how much he’s played on the PK in the minors. 40gp, 1-3-4. 520 minutes. Currently: Just recalled and playing well. He is certainly going to get a long look while he’s here and I suspect that after Smid returns the organization will at least consider placing Strudwick on IR or he’ll retire. I know I’ve said this for a long time, but for crying out loud Edmonton Oilers this isn’t fair to anyone. Not Strudwick, not Belle, not the paying customer not the goaltenders. Jason Strudwick got more out of his career than anyone could have hoped for (including Strudwick) and perhaps it’s time for him to coach the minor league defensemen. Just saying. RE is not yet a match because he’s only played in 2 games and I projected him for 40. However, I think there’s a very good chance the young man stays.

This is a helluva rookie crop. Just ridiculous.

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    I am really disappointed with Magnus, the kid has tremendous skills, the couching staff has to find a way to get this kid going. He looks really frustrated.

  • Lowetide

    Well they could send MPS down but I don’t think he’s at that point yet. One of the great things about being able to send European kids to the AHL at 19 is that they can spend 10-15 games in the minors to get their confidence back.

    But I don’t think MPS is lacking in that area.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    I think the biggest difference I have seen in MPS’s game from the pre-season to now, is how he seems to stop moving his feet a bit when he is carrying the puck in the offensive zone. He is also button hooking and turning back too often at the hash marks giving him not enough room or time with the puck.

    I think his lack of space and time in the offensive zone is what he is getting frustrated about. He also seems to quit on plays a bit early so he can get a good defensive jump back. I hope he is not content to be the third best point getter out of the rookies but the best defensive guy. I would like to see him excel at both parts of the game.

    Good write up LT. It will be good to see the trend as it keeps developing for these guys.

  • Lowetide

    agree that MPS has been a parameter player. His best game as a oilers came playing with Penner in pre season.
    I would be really uncertain predicting his future…….reminds me of afinogenov.

    When Afinogenov broke into the league, there was some comparison to P.Bure, but Afinogenov never took the next step.

    I feel stupid saying, especially when it is so early into MPS career, but I am going on a limb here……think in MPS you will definately get an Afinogenov. He has talent and potential to take the next step but will need some luck to be compared to #96.
    But I feel he can do it.

    • The Real Scuba Steve

      MPS at times even looks like Hemsky out there, maybe he needs his ice-time increased at bit to raise his confidence, what worst that can happen? that hasn’t already happen to this team this year.

  • Bucknuck

    I love the depth this team has with forward prospects. Perhaps MPS could do with a little time in the AHL and perhaps Omark could come up for a bit. I don’t think that either would lose out if they split the season.

    Ryan Whitney is currently sitting in sixth in defense scoring. That is pretty impressive. He is just one point behind Visnovsky.
    So we have Whitney at #1, and Smid, Peckham, Belle as a 4,5,6… so now we just need a pair of decent D for the #2 and #3 slots and the whoopee.

  • I heard Horcoff scored last night.

    Was it another beauty like the rest of them? You know the ones where Horcoff takes it in his own zone, burns through the middle, dekes out the two defensemen, blows a kiss to all the ladies in the Horcoff “shirts off for horcoff” section, trims Gagners mustache and roofs it with a sick wrister.

  • GSC

    Re jfj

    I keep asking because i am kind of hoping he is out for a few weeks so Reddox or OMarra can get a chance. You know, a useful bottom sixer who is good at checking (and by that I mean stopping the other team from scoring, not hitting real hard)

  • Wax Man Riley

    Re jfj

    I keep asking because i am kind of hoping he is out for a few weeks so Reddox or OMarra can get a chance. You know, a useful bottom sixer who is good at checking (and by that I mean stopping the other team from scoring, not hitting real hard)

  • Wax Man Riley

    LT, you are a saint. When I want to know how a player is doing, I come to you. Your predictions were prophetic, I am impressed.
    Doobie is his nickname, The Big Easy, The Giraffe are sidebars, just sayin.
    Belley looked like Scott Niedermayer out there in OT LT, you agree? Rushing up the ice, going for the net? What defenseman does that? And strong too, a definite upgrade at #6 there.

  • What I’m suggesting is the Oilers could have had..

    Seguin #1C 50%+FO

    Couturier#2C 50%FO

    Horcoff#3C 48-50%FO

    Other numbers would fall in line also. (PK/PP puck possession/distribution)

    It would take 3 years but the Oilers would be ahead in terms of positional balance.

    Drafting a winger set the rebuild back at least 1 year despite #4 being BPA on draft day.

    • Even though I am Team Hall, I have to admit this dude makes a compelling case. You have to build strength down the middle, we now have to draft at least one top centre. That will take time, and pain.
      Look at Cowgary, they’ve had the best winger in the game, hasnt helped much.
      I didnt see Gags in that diagram though.
      I just liked Hall because he was more tenacious, grittier player, more desire, not soft, goes into the tough areas, not a permiter player. If we get Couturier, we get our cake and eat it.

  • Ducey

    I went to the Oil Kings game tonight.

    Not super impressed by Ryan Nugent Hopkins. He looks a blend of Sam Gagner and maybe Eberle, but not as dynamic as either. Runs the PP from the sidewall. Decent skater with some jam. But small.

    Not super great passing or stick handling. Above average I expect.

    Maybe he just had an off night.

    Pelss looked ok. He has nice wheels and good hands. Surprised me with his grit. Made a lot of bad give aways rather than trying to get it to the net or shooting.

    Abney looks like JFJ out there. Definitely in the goon who can play a little category.

  • Mason Storm

    If/when the oilers draft couturier. The first there centers in 3 years will be. Couturier, gags and Horcs. Then the wingers will be Hall, Eberle, Hemsky, Paajarvi, Brule and whoever. I see no worries there. As for the defense, not so rosy.

  • Ducey

    WHAT`S MISSING ? Oilers have offensive skill to contend on a nitely basis even from defence , and they certainly have enough speed to dominate almost anyone !

    What we lack far more than size at times is the will , character and intestinal fortitude of club to consistently battle for puck possession . When they do it on a whole game basis they do just fine as evidenced by a few games this year . The club temporarily lacks the ability ,desire and work ethic required to compete in the tough areas – most notably board aresa and slot area .

    Sure Peckham , Stortini and even Eberle seem to have a desire and consistency to go and compete successfully in those areas, but very few else will on a constant basis . We are too soft on the puck far too often relying on only skill and speed . That`s a lazymans game played mainly on the periphery . Oilers going to have to pay the price of getting their noses dirty on a consistent basis if they hope to remain competitive with all the other clubs that do . It`s fixable and
    coachable. Puck and player support is part of a team that constantly fights for puck possession at both ends of ice .

    We sadly lack players willing to make that sort of sacrafice on a consistent basis, and thats got to change !When we commit we are good , when we don`t, our club plays and looks pathetic .