I promise not to bore you with too much math here at ON. However, based on my early experience it looks as though math is regarded as a guide along with observation at Oilers Nation, so there’s an opportunity to discuss some very useful tools that some very smart people have created or derived over the last few years.

Gabriel Desjardins is a brilliant writer and problem solver. His blog is here and his stats mountain is here. Gabriel (among others) gives bloggers and math fans a chance to explore the NHL universe: lines, zone starts, shots for and against, even-strength scoring per 60 minutes, shooting percentage, he has all kinds of reasonable measurements that tell us more than the boxcars. I encourage you to read Gabriel’s stuff, he is a generous fellow with his time (if I had to pay a dollar for every visit he’d own my house). Beyond that, I won’t mention him here a lot, save for giving Gabriel credit for the things he created or derived. It is only fair.

Desjardins supplies us with a rational NHL "production equivalency" for lower leagues. He projects those leagues into the NHL, and explains it here. It is an exceptional tool, and has been tracking very well since we started using it for Oiler picks and prospects.

By way of example, here are two season’s worth of quality picks (2007 and 2008) and their NHLE. It is followed in brackets by their actual NHL numbers the following season:

    • Patrick Kane, OHL: 26-36-62 (ACTUAL: 82gp, 21-51-72)
    • Sam Gagner, OHL: 16-39-55 (ACTUAL: 79gp, 13-36-49)
    • David Perron, QMJHL: 13-14-27 (ACTUAL: 62gp, 13-14-27)
    • Steve Stamkos, OHL: 23-19-42 (ACTUAL: 23-23-46)
    • Drew Doughty, OHL: 6-23-29 (ACTUAL: 6-21-27)
    • Luke Schenn, WHL: 3-9-12 (ACTUAL: 2-10-12)
    • Mikael Boedker, OHL: 12-17-29 (ACTUAL: 11-17-28)
    • Josh Bailey, OHL: 11-24-35 (ACTUAL: 7-18-25)

Those are really good projections. Gabriel has arrived at a solid number in terms of letting air out of the tires, and so we can look to the future with some confidence. I’m using his CHL, AHL, SEL and other equivalencies below, if you’d like to read more I would refer you to both blog and stats mountain.

BUBBLING UNDER: NHLE’S for Oilers top level F prospects (per 82 GP)

  1. R Jordan Eberle 22-24-46
  2. L Taylor Hall 17-29-46
  3. L Magnus Pääjärvi 16-22-38
  4. L Linus Omark 20-15-35
  5. C Chris Vande Velde 13-21-34
  6. L Philippe Cornet 10-17-27
  7. L Teemu Hartikainen 12-14-26
  8. R Toni Rajala 11-15-26
  9. C Robby Dee 13-12-25
  10. C Ryan Martindale 8-16-24
  11. C Milan Kytnar 8-14-22
  12. C Anton Lander 9-12-21
  13. L Liam Reddox 9-9-18
  14. C Tyler Pitlick 9-8-17
  15. L Curtis Hamilton 7-8-15
  16. R Colin McDonald 6-5-11
  17. C Ryan O’Marra 6-3-9
  18. L Drew Czerwonka 2-4-6
  19. R Cameron Abney 2-3-5
  20. L Matt Glasser 2-3-5
  21. L Matt Marquardt 1-4-5

This is an outstanding list, the Oilers best prospect list for forwards in a long, long time. Three top drawer offensive talents, followed by a long-in-the-tooth prospect (Omark) who can score and then an exceptional college face-off man with enough offensive skill to do well when he turns pro. Cornet and Rajala are in the "tweener" zone, as is Hartikainen but he brings enough things to his game that you can see him winning a job in a 2-way role (outside the top 6F). Martindale is also interesting, and the best defensive forward on the list (Lander) does pretty well by this metric. There are no less than 6 quality prospects on this list (Top 5 and Lander) and we haven’t even looked at Pitlick (whose numbers suffered due to lack of playing time in the NCAA).

BUBBLING UNDER: NHLE’S for Oilers top level D prospects (per 82gp)

  1. Jeff Petry 4-22-26
  2. Taylor Chorney 5-10-15
  3. Jeremie Blain 1-13-14
  4. Brandon Davidson 0-14-14
  5. Kyle Bigos 4-6-10
  6. Alex Plante 2-5-7
  7. Theo Peckham 0-6-6
  8. Johan Motin 1-3-4
  9. Troy Hesketh 1-3-4

Martin Marincin’s number isn’t here, he played in Slovakia U-20 this past season and there aren’t a lot of comparable defensemen who jumped to the NHL the following season. We’ll get a read on him (WHL) this season. Petry is the best offensive option, and considering his wide range of skills should be a player we see in the NHL sometime this season. My preference would be for Petry to play an entire AHL season (the lesson of Chorney) before making the grade, but if the Oilers encounter injury he should be in the mix for callup. Plante, Peckham and Motin are stay-at-home types as is reflected here.

Desjardins NHLE’s are at the very least a marvelous toy. I believe they are more than that: a strong prediction about a player’s offensive ability at the NHL level, and as such this is an extremely valuable measurement.

One final item. Gabriel’s number tells us we have something special in Taylor Hall. Desjardins: Based on the performance of thousands of drafted players, we can predict how many points a player will score in the NHL when he’s 21-years-old. If he’s 17, four years later, we expect him to score at 72% of his junior rate. But if he’s 20, on average, he’ll retain just 26% of his scoring. 

There is some number massaging required to account for age, but this would make (with help from spOILer, comment #87 in this comments section) Taylor Hall’s 21-year old NHLE 82gp, 32-52-84. We don’t know Hall’s TOI number (that had a major impact on Rob Schremp’s 19-year old OHL season), but it is clear that the kid is an exceptional offensive talent. Gabriel Desjardins NHLE’s are a strong predictor of the future, and for Oilers fans it is an extremely exciting time.