The CHL and European leagues have completed their regular seasons, and that means we can suss through the numbers and project the offensive future for Edmonton’s prospects. Using Gabriel Desjardins NHL equivalencies, Martin Gernat is a rising star.
Years ago–before Gabriel Desjardins–we could talk about junior and minor league numbers in their own context. We might say "The Nuge was pretty good offensively in Red Deer, I wonder how much of that will come with him to Edmonton?" but the hard work of finding the line in the sand wasn’t clear. Gabe’s method–which seems to simple that it is easy to discard its worth–suggests there is a line in the sand, a reasonable conclusion.
- Gabe: One way to evaluate the difficulty of one league relative to another is examine the relative performance of players who have played in both leagues. Players rarely play significant time in two leagues in the same year, but they often play in one league in one year and in another the next. As long as a player’s skill level is approximately constant over this two year period, the ratio of his performance in each league can be used to estimate the relative difficulty of the two leagues.
LET’S GET ROLLING!
When I run the numbers, I put them in 82 game notation. This differs from others, but for me the boxcar is the easiest way to have the numbers register. Here are the 82 game "boxcars" for each CHL, NCAA and Euro kid run through the NHLE magic toy:
DEFENSEMEN (per 82 gp)
- Martin Gernat 4-19-23
- Jeremie Blain 4-16-20
- Martin Marincin 5-12-17
- Brandon Davidson 5-12-17*
- Kyle Bigos 4-13-17
- Dillon Simpson 2-13-15
- David Musil 3-8-11
- Oscar Klefbom 4-0-4
Gernat’s number is very good, partly due to playing for a quality WHL team but there’s also little doubt he was a hidden gem in the 2011 entry draft. At this point, I think it’s reasonable to adjust our sights on Gernat and project him as beyond a typical 5th round pick. Signing him should be a priority, as his value has increased markedly since draft day.
Pretty much everyone on this list has some offensive potential–Klefbom played in the SEL and would have received far less PP time than the rest of these players in their leagues–and I’d suggest all but David Musil could be described as "two-way" defenders instead of "stay-at-home" types.
Davidson gets an asterisk because he was 20-years old in a junior league.
FORWARDS (per 82 gp)
- Tobias Rieder 17-17-34
- Kellen Jones 13-21-34
- Toni Rajala 14-11-25
- Kristians Pelss 11-9-20
- Drew Czerwonka 9-11-20
- Travis Ewanyk 2-7-9
Rieder and Jones are having fine seasons, on a par with Curtis Hamilton one year ago. Rajala is a small forward running in place and one wonders if he has a future outside of Finland. Pelss is a bubble player, the Oilers may or may not sign him to a pro deal, but Czerwonka’s size gets him a contract this summer (in my opinion).
The Oilers have to get some of these kids under contract before June’s draft, and kids like Klefbom, Gernat and Musil could get signed too just to make sure they’ll be Oilers when they do turn pro or come over to North America.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
If I’m guessing, the brightest futures belong to Klefbom, Marincin and Gernat. Oilers–despite the #1 overalls coming right to the show–have a strong prospect group in Europe, NCAA and CHL. That amateur scouting department is delivering quality and these defensemen are looking good.
The forwards are going to have a helluva time breaking through–even to the AHL level. And don’t get me started on the 50 Man List. A player like Drew Czerwonka probably has a much better chance of getting a pro contract than Kristians Pelss, simply because of size and style of play.
The Oilers are set at small forward for a long time. Linus Omark’s situation is proof. For someone like Kellen Jones, the best solution is to stay in school. Two years down the line things could be different.