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.

  • Lowetide

    I’d have to say all 3 forwards have exceeded expectations defensively. Eberle is quality on the PK, Hall backchecks like a demon, as does MPS.

    I can’t remember a group of kids that were this well-coached coming out of junior.

    These guys aren’t just out there for the offensive glory. They want to win and already seem to be living MacT’s line about out-scoring.

  • Lowetide

    Thanks LT, another good read. Good to see your warming up to Eberle finally. You always rank him lower than he should be. (example behind Nash in prospects)

    The kid is going to to be a star in near near future, I wouldnt doubt he goes to the all star game this year.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    @Gerald

    Its all good bud, im forever the optimist especially when it comes to the copper and blue. I tried to find your link, I didnt but i did see a little clip of 1 Gabriel Landeskog granted he is a LW( the armchair GMS will hang me for this) but if the Oilers dont get Couituer(sp?) i think they should draft Gabriel( 6’0 and a shade under 200) he kinda reminds me of DP with Forsberg hands and he can fight!
    If the Oilers get in the top 5 this year IMO they wont be disapointed on whomever they draft looks like a good one again this year

  • Last night was very acceptable for me. finally they went out and played like they were in the big leagues.

    I allways run Whitney out of town. But I have to admitt he played a very good game last night. two great assist.

    Gilbert still looks a bit lost. Who knows, maybe if the team plays good he will start to come around to what I expect of him.

    I think the kids still should use their linemates more.

    Great call in practise Renny, to play a game of fun(shinny). Keep it a bit loose. Maybe it’s what they need.

    Hemsky. Man you were on fire last night. You didn’t just talk the talk. You backed it up. BIG TIME> Do it again.

    I am very ok with loseing 4-3 in a game where re-building is in the works.

    Belle. I never say you play before. I like your confidence. Good hockey sence last night.

    Peckham. Just keep doing what you’re doing man.

    Good luck. Keep your heads up. And keep playing hard.

  • Rob...

    So far the biggest strength of Magnus that I’ve seen is his ability to draw penalties (though I know he has taken a few silly ones himself). The guy always seems to be putting the opposition into a situation where they need to risk taking a penalty to stop him.

    • Horcsky

      You’re right about that. It’s funny though, I think right now the opposition would just be better off giving Magnus his chance to score than hauling him down so we can send out our powerplay. At least until Magnus shows he can really get to the net and cause some goals.

  • O.C.

    None, not one of my concerns are addressed at the kids or the coaches for that matter. Eberle is a very very heady player and both Hall and MPS show flashes of their level of skill. It will come. Peckham has had a real good start to this season too. Belle, recognizing a very small sample size, has been a real pleasant surprise in that by keeping the game simple, with his athletic ability, he can play here for a very log time

  • Gerald R. Ford

    Did Pääjärvi get hurt in Calgary early in the season? I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything definite about that.

    On a really depressing side note, the Oil have now played 100 games over the last two seasons, and have a grand total of 74 points. That’s a .370 success rate.

    Ow.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Who were those imposters in Oiler uniforms last night ? They looked like a team that had to be recond with . Peckham’s best game ever . Eberle set up enough players to win the game . Only Oilers that looked like their usual self was Jacques and Paajarvi . Paajarvi looks lost out there , and club can’t seem to find a regular spot for him as yet .

    Never looked like we would lose that game , even in shootout, but somehow we did . The colder it gets the better we play ? Maybe we are just a bad fair weather club only ?

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Great article LT. I agree Eberle sees the game very well and has good anticipation on both ends of the ice. His footspeed and acceleration are also much improved from 2008. I think he’ll be playing center in a few years and is a much better candidate for the middle than Hall, who’s skillset is much more advantageous for the wing position.

    I’m okay with how things have been going. The team is really young and sometimes the compete level just isn’t going to be there.

    Embrace the rebuild or don’t people, but make up your minds. You can’t say cheers to the rebuild and then complain that they’re losing. Look to the Hawks/Penguins/Capitals. All three were terrible for a very long time before they became powerhouse clubs.

    • just to play along with your ridiculous post, who would you put in place if Renney was fired? I can’t see a better option out there.

      I was against the Quinn gassing and I still sort of am, only due to the loyalty and contract that we gave him and pulling him out of retirement and us still losing at an incredible clip. But, I still think Renney is a better all around coach for our team at this point in both Renney and Quinn’s careers.

    • Gerald R. Ford

      Really? Other then benching half of the defensive core, giving Cogliano a brain transplant and possibly puting the skates on himself I can’t see what more he could do with what he has. It’s not as though he’s running last years Stanley Cup Contenders into the ground.

      The Cogliano comment isn’t due to lack of heart but instead a comment regarding him skating around like a chicken with his head cut off……However, that is an improvement from last year.

  • Rob...

    A few observations on last night’s game:
    1. Hall has is smart and anticipates well when it comes to positional play.
    On one faceoff there was a scrum for the puck around the dot. As soon as the puck went back to our D @ the point, Hall rushed to the front of the net. He went hard all game and was almost always in the right place.
    2. I like the way Peckham stands guys up as they come into his area. We haven’t seem that for a long time and we could use a lot more of it from other players.
    3. I love the way Hemsky plays, but I wish he wouldn’t put himself in harms way so often.
    4. It was disappointing that we couldn’t shut things down in the last minute. Lots of room for improvement is that aspect of their game.
    5. I’m a long time season ticket holder and am not losing heart. I would be delighted if we got a top three draft pick, although I do want to see them play hard. There will be more changes and a few of the guys we have here will be gone and replaced (hopefully) by upgrades.

  • As long as Hall ends up with more than 3 goals (like Thornton’s first year) then it’s success on that end. I can see the future in him so I am not worried about points this season for him.

    Eberle has been sensational and the extra couple of years of seasoning have really worked to his benefit. I really like how agile he is on his skates and how he can evade checks and dish them out and strip pucks from much bigger more experienced or crafty guys. This guy is something special.

    Magnus has seemed to have lost his touch around the net but I am pleasantly surprised with his defensive awareness and his eagerness to backcheck and to go the extra mile. Even though he isn’t doing anything fancy with the puck like Hall or Eberle he is consistent and strong on the puck and generally I know that if he has it in our zone he will get it out. I see a Horcoff like or work ethic in him for an overall responsible game.

    Theo looks like he belongs and he continues to play with an edge yet he isn’t taking stupid penalties or running all over the ice trying to be a bigger pest and taking penalties for it, like Moreau did way too much of the last few years. I can see some leadership abilities shining through with Peckham and I think his future is looking bright. I hope he can sustain his energy through the year as he has been lights out so far.

    Dubnyk and Belle need more games to see how their year will look but they both have the tool box so hopefully they can continue to get stronger as they get in more action.

    Overall the future looks bright!

  • My UNreasonable expectations required Hall to score 56pts.

    So far he’s a bust showing all the struggles wingers face without a true #1 center.

    In 2 years Hall will take his talents to be Beantown oh just wait..

  • Lowetide

    Yeah, I think it’s important to note that these players are pretty much on pact (and Eberle beyond it). Odds are their splits will be better for the next quarter and the final 40 games should see progress too.

    Exciting rookie crop.

  • Roadhouse

    As Huey Lewis would say its, “FIST TO BE SQUARE!”

    Beauty goal by Hall in the shootout. Can’t believe it was his only FIST attempt this late into the season!

  • Roadhouse

    As Huey Lewis would say its, “FIST TO BE SQUARE!”

    Beauty goal by Hall in the shootout. Can’t believe it was his only FIST attempt this late into the season!

    • a lg dubl dubl

      You just snuck that Fist in there didn’t you! Your not fooling anyone!
      Hall is on pace for 35 points, not bad not bad..I still think he’ll get over 50.