In the summer, we talked about writer Gabriel Desjardins and his NHL equivalencies. The original post is here. That was mid-July, and 6 months later we have at least half a season of actual stats to view and compare against the projections. The hard numbers are impressive–across the board.
This time around I’m not going to spend too much time explaining Gabe’s processes, but would encourage you to read his article on the subject here. Gabe has always been generous in sharing his work and this "math toy" projects very well. Here’s a look at this year’s Oiler kids.
NHL FORWARDS (per 82gp)
- L Taylor Hall Projection: 17-29-46 On pace: 27-24-51. The NHLE did a good job (so far) of projecting overall points, although Hall is scoring more than projected by his junior success. I’d say this was a successful prediction, but would also suggest that Hall’s recent move to the 1line may mean a surge in points during the second half of the season.
- R Jordan Eberle Projection 22-24-46 On pace 18-29-47. The NHLE was extremely close in the case of Eberle, who is currently injured but should be back in the lineup soon. As with Hall, these are actual NHL number’s we’re projecting.
- L Magnus Pääjärvi Projection 16-22-38 On pace 8-21-29. This projection is off from the other two NHL kids, owiing at least partly to time-on-ice and quality of linemates. The Swede gets less PP time and 4 minutes less in terms of overall playing time per evening. Having said that, the projection is at least "in the range".
AHL FORWARDS (per 82gp)
- L Linus Omark Projection 20-15-35 NHLE 23-17-40. Omark is slightly ahead of the projection but the original projection gave us an idea about him as a player. I did not include his NHL stats.
- C Chris Vande Velde Projection 13-21-34 NHLE 6-3-9. The first major miss and with this player it probably spells trouble. His NHLE number came from his final college season and Vande Velde is older than most of the prospects on this list. I understand he’s playing a checker’s role in OKC, but for him to be this far away from his own pace in NCAA hockey sends up warning signs. We don’t know how much he played in college hockey and we know if was more of a feature role. If Vande Velde doesn’t recover offensively in the second half, and if he can’t deliver more offense in 11-12 then he’s probably going to stall out in the AHL.
- L Philippe Cornet Projection 10-17-27 NHLE 4-6-10. Cornet has missed his Desjardins number by a mile too, but there are reasons behind it. Cornet has been a healthy scratch many games and is rarely in a feature role. In his last 4 games, he’s 3-1-4 +3 for OKC because Cornet’s playing on a more featured line. I think he’ll close the gap before season’s end if he can stay on his current line.
- L Teemu Hartikainen Projection 12-14-26 NHLE 11-12-23. A solid projection by NHLE. He’s 6-10-16 +7 in his last 17 AHL games, so a callup to the NHL isn’t out of the question for this impressive rookie. One of the players in the system who has done the most to impress this season.
- C Milan Kytnar Projection 8-14-22 NHLE 3-7-10. Kytnar has played a depth role and done some penalty-kiling for the big club, but even considering those two items the young man is off the pace from his projection.
- L Liam Reddox Projection 9-9-18 NHLE 18-14-32. Enjoying a more featured role with OKC, Reddox played very well in all areas and earned his way back to the NHL (at least for a time).
- R Colin McDonald Projection 6-5-11 NHLE 17-6-23. McDonald is enjoying his finest pro season owing mostly to playing on a line with elite level AHL players (Giroux, Moran) during much of the year. He’s among the league leaders in goals scored this year and might earn another shot in the NHL if he can keep it going.
- C Ryan O’Marra Projection 6-3-9 NHLE 3-21-24. O’Marra (like McDonald) is playing in somewhat ideal waters this season and his offense reflects it. O’Marra played well enough to get a recall to the NHL, although some of that owes to the Oilers having so few right-handed centermen in the organization.
Junior, College and European Forwards (per 82gp)
- R Toni Rajala Projection 11-15-26 NHLE 11-11-22. Young man started slowly in the Finnish elite league (called the SM-Liiga) but has turned it on a little lately. He’s certainly in the range as a prospect in terms of expectations.
- C Robby Dee Projection 13-12-25 NHLE 15-20-35. In Gabe’s look at equivalencies he’s always careful to impress upon the reader that age is a major item when looking at these numbers. Robby Dee will be 24 in April, so his strong NCAA showing might not be enough to get him an NHL contract. We’ll see.
- C Ryan Martindale Projection 8-16-24 NHLE 16-21-37. One thing we need to keep in mind when it comes to junior age players (17-20) is that they are still developing. This means huge leaps in scoring can occur (which leads to things like draft steals, etc) as is the case with young Mr. Martindale. He’s enjoying a breakout season at exactly the point we’d hope for him and because of it we can expect a much better player than his draft number implied just a few short months ago. Martindale turned 19 in October, so we should not assume he’ll have a giant step forward next year in the OHL. In fact, I’d guess he might turn pro in the fall.
- C Anton Lander Projection 9-12-21 NHLE 14-15-29. This is the one forward on the list of players outside the NHL we should be following this season. He’s playing well and from what we read is moving up the TIMRA depth chart (SEL). Lander might be an Oiler next season. Colin Fraser might want to pick up the pace.
- C Tyler Pitlick Projection 9-8-17 NHLE 11-15-26. He started slowly in Medicine Hat but Pitlick is enjoying a strong run recently (7-13-20 +3 in his last 18 gp). Like most of the Oilers CHL kids, he could play pro hockey next season.
- L Curtis Hamilton Projection 7-8-15 NHLE 11-21-32. Big season from Saskatoon Blades winger. 0-4-4 in 4gp since coming back from the World Juniors. An impressive improvement over his projection.
- L Drew Czerwonka Projection 2-4-6 NHLE 7-11-18. With the Oilers having so many CHL prospect to follow, a guy like Czerwonka might get lost in the shuffle. However, considering his skills outside of offense, he should be a player worth watching over the next few seasons.
- R Cameron Abney Projection 2-3-5 NHLE 3-4-7. On pace with expectations.
A couple of things. When I say "projection" in this case those numbers are based on last season’s numbers. So, it’s a "line in the sand" for their offensive ability placed in NHL terms. Taylor Hall’s number (46) and Linus Omark’s number (35) are on the same line, from the same column. Also, we don’t have access to TOI and linemates, etc. This has a major impact on these seasons and more evidence is required before we can make a decision on most of them.
Winners? Hall, Eberle, Pääjärvi, Omark, Hartikainen, O’Marra, McDonald, Reddox, Martindale, Lander, Pitlick, Hamilton. Czerwonka too, he deserves to be on the list. You could go many seasons without seeing this number of good arrows.
Down arrows? Vande Velde, Cornet (with an explanation), Kytnar,
Defense next Sunday.