Justin Schultz continues to defy the odds and lead the AHL in scoring, something he’s done since the early days of the season. Now, Schultz is being joined by other Barons at the top of the scoring race and there’s another group crowding into the league’s top 20 point-getters for 2012-13. How unique is this display by Oiler farmhands?

Peter White is one of two players (the other is Shaun Van Allen) to lead the AHL in scoring while playing for an Oilers farm club (in both cases it was the Cape Breton Oilers). Its interesting to look back and see how many players made the "front page" of the season-ending scoring lists, reflecting a top 10 finish:

  • 1979-80: Mike Toal, Houston (CHL) 76pts (tie-5th)
  • 1980-81: Tom Roulston, Wichita (CHL) 107pts (2nd)
  • 1980-81: Don Ashby, Wichita (CHL) 96pts (3rd)
  • 1982-83: Ray Cote, Moncton (AHL) 91pts (10th)
  • 1984-85: Ray Cote, Nova Scotia (WHL) 79pts (tie-7th)
  • 1990-91: Shaun Van Allen, Cape Breton (AHL) 100pts (3rd)
  • 1990-91: Dan Currie, Cape Breton (AHL) 92pts (10th)
  • 1991-92: Shaun Van Allen, Cape Breton (AHL) 113pts (1st)
  • 1991-92: Dan Currie, Cape Breton (AHL) 92pts (8th)
  • 1992-93: Dan Currie, Cape Breton (AHL) 98pts (7th)
  • 1994-95: Peter White, Cape Breton (AHL) 105pts (1st)
  • 1994-95: Ralph Intranuovo, Cape Breton (AHL) 93pts (4th)
  • 1999-00: Dan Cleary, Hamilton (AHL) 74pts (10th)
  • 2001-02: Jason Chimera, Hamilton (AHL) 77pts (5th)
  • 2001-02: Brian Swanson, Hamilton (AHL) 73pts (8th)
  • 2007-08: Rob Schremp, Springfield (AHL) 76pts (tie-7th)
  • 2009-10: Charles Linglet, Springfield (AHL) 74pts (tie-8th)
  • 2010-11: Alexandre Giroux, OKC (AHL) 78pts (2nd)
  • 2010-11: Brad Moran, OKC (AHL) 72pts (tie-6th)

Interesting group of names, almost all of them minor league scorers of note who did not establish themselves as NHL calibre scoring starts. Van Allen had a substantial career, but it was in a 2-way of checking role and he was saved by expansion. Dan Cleary and Jason Chimera took some time to figure things out in the minors, but both have enjoyed solid NHL careers over a long period of time. Rem Murray also enjoyed a sensational AHL season in 95-96 and used it as a springboard to an NHL career.

None of these players has a thing in common with Justin Schultz, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Taylor Hall. The situation the current Barons find themselves in is truly unique–a one-off if you will–and we are likely to see some unusual totals if the NHL season is flushed.


First of all, no defenseman has ever led the AHL in scoring. The last time a defenseman finished in the top 10 in league scoring (by my count) was Steve Bancroft (10th in scoring 2000-01, 73 points). The record for most points in a single AHL season by a defenseman belongs to Chris Snell, who scored an amazing 96 points for the St. John’s Maple Leafs in 1993-94.  Justin Schultz is on pace to clear that number with ease and if he continues on current pace would be the first defenseman in the league’s history to score 100 points in a single season.

The forwards are likely to pass Schultz eventually, with Jordan Eberle hot on his trail and clearly having fun in the AHL:

How many points could Eberle score, Nugent-Hopkins score, Hall score? Because most players who romp early like these kids are called to the NHL, there isn’t a lot of precedent for this kind of thing. Don Biggs of the Binghampton Senators holds the league record for points in a season (138 in 1992-93 for Binghampton) and I think that number might be in jeopardy if there’s no NHL season. Of course, there are other players in the league this season who could make a run at that number including Braydon Schenn and there’s a lot of season to go (and of course the NHL could end this lockout and send everyone back to where they belong).


More of the same. These guys are just starting to wheel, especially Taylor Hall who is 3, 1-7-8 +4 in the last week. The Barons play again this afternoon and based on last night’s game (the first period was electric) we should expect more offense and more of the type of chances displayed in the Eberle video above.


The 3 impact kids are finding the range, and Schultz is no flash in the pan. The supporting cast–Teemu Hartikainen, Magnus Paajarvi, Mark Arcobello, Martin Marincin and Taylor Fedun are fitting in, too. Yann Danis is showing flashes of returning to the form that made him team MVP for the Barons one year ago.

How high can they fly? That’s the fun part, watching these young men put their name in the history books in what is fast becoming a unique and exhilarating season.

  • It’s a shame they can’t just move the home games to Edm.during the lockout. They would probably sellout rexall if tickets were reasonable.

    It seems with all the promos and such that they are really trying to make a push in OKC.It’s too bad though that nobody there seems to notice.

    Does anyone know how long the contract is for with OKC anyways. One has to think if the free car giveaways aren’t working then it’s probably doomed anyways.

    I think Sask. would be perfect for them. They would have no problem selling out in Reg. or S’toon.

  • Lowetide

    I think they should keep the games in OKC. If the organization is trying to grow the game in that market, then this is “go” time, no? Deliver exceptional entertainment every night?

    • book¡e

      Fully agree, I think its critical to respect your market.

      If anything, I would move one game to Edmonton for the purpose of really reminding the casual fans (the vast majority of fans) in Edmonton that they should be more interested in the Barons and Oiler prospects in general.

  • I would almost like to see the lockout continue just to watch Schultz continue to obliterate the AHL. It’s stunning to watch him routinely put up two points every game. It’s such a special season, it almost seems a shame to interrupt it.

  • Czar

    OKC can’t move to cities like Regina or Saskatoon since they have WHL clubs. I would think it is near impossible to move to any city with a successful WHL team and try to run them out of town.

  • The Soup Fascist

    While all Oiler fans are tinkled pink about Schultz’s play in the AHL, I hope everyone doesn’t hold him to that standard when the NHL starts again.

    As Lowetide list indicates, many players have been high scorers in the AHL that have gone on to do bupkis in the NHL. Granted not many were rookie D-men, but the point is the same. The NHL is a different league.

    So while it is hard to imagine a better start or situation for the kid, we all need to keep it in perspective. If the kid does not score at a ppg in his first season in the NHL, let’s hope the fans don’t go all Poti on him.

    • John Chambers

      Granlund and Hall have near identical stats, but Charlie’s dropping a coyler. Charlotte, if any, have the nearest set of young talents but nothing like the OKC boys.

      • DSF

        Charlie Coyle has scored 7 goals. Hopkins has 8.

        While Hopkins has more points (mostly on the PP) it’s worth noting the Aeros have outscored the Barons 58-55 GF.

        It appears the Aeros have a balanced lineup while the Barons have all their eggs in one basket.

        I would imagine with Granlund and Brodin in the lineup, the disparity would be much larger.

          • DSF

            Using NHLE to rate a 20 year old rookie after only 17 games in an AHL season skewed by the lockout is a ridiculous notion.

            Not only is the sample size minuscule but the AHL is a tougher league this season due to the NHL level players in the mix.

            Here’s some info that might lead any unbiased observer to think Coyle might just be a top 6 winger:

            Enters his first professional season in 2012-13.

            2011-12: Totalled 14 points (3-11=14) in 16 games with Boston University.

            Skated for the United States at World Junior Championship, scoring five points (4-1=5) in six games…

            Finished season by tallying 38 points (15-23=38) and +23 rating in 23 games with Saint John (QMJHL), skating with fellow Wild prospect Zack Phillips.

            Added 34 points (17-15=34) in 17 playoff games…Recipient of the Guy Lafleur Trophy as the most valuable player of the QMJHL playoffs.

            Named CHL Player of the Week (4/1) after scoring 10 points (6-4=10) and a +9 rating in his first two playoff contest,

            2010-11: Tallied 26 points (7-19=26) in 37 games with Boston University, tied for fourth on the team

            Named Hockey East Rookie of the Year.

            Recorded six points (2-4=6) in six games to help United States win bronze at World Junior Championship.

            2009-10: Played in 42 games with the South Shore Kings (EJHL), posting 63 points (21-42=63).

            2008-09: Skated for U.S. Under-18 Select Team in Slovakia and the Four Nations Cup in Finland.

            2007-08: Scored five goals at the 2008 USA Select Under-16 Festival, tying for the team lead.

            Now, a lot of things can happen on the way to Grandma’s house but you likely think Paajarvi still has the potential to be a top 6 winger while, obviously, Coyle has a much better resume despite being picked 28th overall.

            Paajarvi, while being a year older, no longer a pro rookie and being picked 10th overall, trails Coyle by 5 goals and 1 point.

            I know where I would put my money.

          • GVBlackhawk

            “Not only is the sample size miniscule…”

            And then you present your argument using equally miniscule sample sizes.

            Paajarvi has consistently put up equivalent or better numbers (at the same age as Coyle) while playing at a much higher level.

            This year he has not been given any cherry minutes and his center has ZERO points…yet he is only 1 point behind Coyle.

            And just as I wrote that, Lander scores his first goal….assisted by Paajarvi.

    • GVBlackhawk

      Me, too. Although in DSF’s defense (can’t believe I just said that), Mikael Granlund would likely be there if Colten Teubert hadn’t of wrecked him.

    • DSF

      Justin Fontaine is tied for 24th.

      Mikael Granlund was scoring 1.5 PPG before injury.

      At that pace, he would be leading the AHL in scoring.

      More importantly, all of the Oilers best players, with the exception of Hemsky, are playing in the AHL.

      Meanwhile, the Wild have Koivu, Parise, Heatley, Setoguchi, Brodziak, Clutterbuck, Suter, Gilbert, Falk, Backstrom and Harding waiting in the wings.

      That’s a lot of cheese.

      • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

        look at you go. grasping at all the straws you can while spinning meaningless names and stats to try and save face.

        only in DSFs world is it ok to take an 8 game sample size and spin it into an AHL leading scorer.

        thank you for keeping the lockout interesting DSF. see you again next time.

        • DSF

          Koivu, Parise, Healtey, Setoguchi, Brodziak, Clutterbuck, Suter, Gilbert, Falk, Backstrom and Harding are a better team than the Oilers.

          Never mind the AHL guys.

          • OilClog

            Really man.. With all due respect, give your head a shake.

            Heatley.. Will never be a dominate player again.
            Koivu.. Pretty sure he’s in love with injuries, him and Harding are frequently dining together.
            Gilbert was replaced with a younger scary version.
            Parise and Suter are nice additions.
            Setoguchi Brodziak and Clutterbucks are found all over the league.
            Backstrom is close friends of khabby
            Falk.. Peckham? Lolol.

            Yakupov, Ebs, RNH, Hemsky, Hall, Smyth, Petry, Smid, Schultz, Gagner, Dubnyk are a better team then minnesota, never mind the AHL.

          • OilClog

            kyle brodziak 2011-2012 22g 22a 44pts 82g -15
            Sam gagner 2011-2012 18g 29a 47pts 75 g +5
            Cal Clutterbuck 2011-12 15g 12a 27pts 74g -4
            Ryan Jones 2011-12 17g 16a 33pts 79 g -7

            Devan Setoguchi 2011-12 19g 17a 36p 69g -17
            Ryan Smyth 2011-12 19g 27a 46p 82g -5

            Justin Falk 2011-12 1g 8a 9p 47g -13
            Jeff Petry 2011-2012 2g 23a 25p -5

            Gilbert and N.Schulz a wash. J.Schulz will give Suter a run for his money(for a lot less money).Eberle, Hall, RNH, Yak vs Koivu, Parise, Heatley. Geez. Better team?

          • OilClog

            This is DSF’s m.o.

            Chronic inability to admit that the Oilers do anything right, followed by some cherry-picked stats, and once someone argues, a sprinkling of “good grief”.

            He’s good at being a troll, though. Credit where credit is due.

      • longbottom/P.Biglow

        Well that gets points for desperation from me.
        This is the first time since I started here that I have ever read anyone celebrate someone who is sitting 24th in the AHL scoring.
        Nuff said, and I am called a homer.
        HA HA HO HO HA HA.

        • DSF

          He’s now actually tied for 15th.

          Only 3 points behind Hopkins.

          Certainly no cause for celebration but you have to bear in mind the Aeros aren’t loaded up with the Wild’s best players.

          • OilClog

            But but but have you not been going on about how the Wild entry level talent is far and beyond the Oilers? I’m pretty sure the Barons would love all the best talents the Oilers could supply too.. Hemsky, Smyth, Yakupov, Petry, Smid, Dubnyk, Whitney..

            Hell at this point they’d love themselves a Paajarvi.

          • DSF

            Yeah, no doubt every team in the league is falling all over themselves to get all those players from a 29th place team.

            What on earth would the Wild do with Pajaarvi.

            Kid can’t even score in the AHL.

            The Wild’s LW depth is:

            Parise, who scored 45 goals and 94 points while playing on the offensively challenged Devils.

            Heatley, who while losing a step, still managed 24 goals and 53 points last season while plying without their #1C in Koivu who was injured most of the year.

            Jason Zucker, 14GP, 9G, 6A, 15P in the AHL.

            Johann Larsson, 18GP 5G, 6A 11P in the AHL.

            Guillame Latendresse, a former 25 goal scorer.

          • DSF

            No at all.

            Obviously, the Barons have a better roster with all those high first round picks.

            Thing is, Minnesota’s best players have their feet up while the lockout drags on.

            But, that the Aeros are only 3 points behind the Barons in the standings despite losing arguably their two best young players to injury, speaks volumes.

            Just heard that Granlund is due back this weekend and, as luck would have it, they play the Barons twice.

          • DSF

            Jeezus Justin Fontaine is a 5 ft 10 in, 170 lb 25 yr old. A career minor leaguer. Would anyone in his right mind compare him to RNH? The Oiler stars are ripping up the AHL, and you are losing it, DSF.

  • I ran Schultz through NHLE, and came up with the number of 55 points. That would have put him behind only Karlsson among defencemen in scoring last year. Insane.

    But I have been thinking about NHLE lately. Like you, I think it’s good for getting a general idea of what to expect from a player in his first year. But here’s a fun exercise. Go run Sidney Crosby’s numbers from his draft year, and compare it to his rookie NHL totals. He beat those by about forty points.

    What principle does NHLE work on? Well, it operates under the assumption that a player in a lower league will be in a lot of goals that a NHL defence and goaltending wouldn’t let happen. A defenceman may play a 2 on 1 poorly and leave the passing lane open. The goaltender may play the angle badly, and leave net open that he shouldn’t. Statistics tell us about 70% of junior goals are of this nature (which is why only about 30% of offense transfers) and about 55% of AHL offense wouldn’t happen one league up. These numbers are a little skewed, especially the junior numbers, because some of a player from junior briniging 30% of his offense might have a lot to do with natural progression of a 19 year old player to a 20 year old player. Which also helps explain why 27 year old 100 point AHL players don’t often graduate into at least decent second line players.

    But let’s stick with that. Let’s say those numbers are accurate. There are still the plays in which the junior defenceman cuts off the pass, and the player still gets it through him somehow, or the goaltender has the angle, but the shooter finds a hole the size of a fist and puts it in. There are plays that are still goals at any level. I would argue if 70% of offense at junior is off of mistakes and lower quality competition, there are a finite number of opportunities made by these mistakes. There is only so much ice time, and if you’re putting up considerable totals, you’re probably getting equivalent ice time to just about every other high end player in your position that has come before and after you (unless you’re Nugent-Hopkins, I guess, maybe?). That means, if you get three really good opportunities in a game that will give you a golden opportunity to score, Patrick Kane is as likely as Nugent-Hopkins as Steven Stamkos as is Taylor Hall as is Nail Yakupov to bury those. They’ll all likely do it at the same rate.

    But what about players that score at a stratosphere that is above their bretheren? What about players that are scoring unholy totals, like a Crosby? Well, if Kane and Stamkos would have, like Crosby, buried those three opportunities, then the difference has to be that Crosby is burying more goals than he should on opportunities where there isn’t a clear mistake, or where the defenceman and goaltender both played him smartly.

    I think the idea of NHLE can be broken down to “hard goals” and “soft goals”. Hard goals are ones that would be scored at any level, and transfer. “Soft goals” are dependent on league specific weakness and would be eliminated at the NHL level. I would posit that because soft goals are a factor of the league they’re in, the number of opportunities to convert on them is fairly constant. I think when you make it easy for a player like Hall or Crosby, the difference between their respective skill levels for amount of conversion on those chances is negligible. The difference comes more from “hard goals”. Players score more, even though they’re covered well, they’re cut off from shooting lanes well, they’re battled in the corner well, and they still find a way to get the puck into the back of the net.

    Let’s go back to Justin Schultz. Could it be, due to his young age and how much faster he is scoring than everyone else, that he is currently scoring a disproportionately high number of “hard goals”? If so, it is possible, though to use your term Lowetide, hardly reasonable, that his NHLE is actually too low for the amount of offense he can bring to the table? Could he be a 65 point player? Even a 75 point player?

    Another intriguing player is Yakupov. Given his scoring in a very good pro league, one has to believe that his pre-injury scoring rate of about two points a game is a better indication of his talent level than his post-injury totals. He had some separation from Taylor Hall in terms of scoring rate. Could Yakupov have scored a few more hard goals than Hall, and might actually outpace Hall’s rookie year by a fair degree? I’ve thought before that Yakupov might be the best pure offensive force of the bunch (which is… certainly saying something.), but this way of thinking about equivalencies might provide better context as to why.

    Of course, if Yakupov comes in and struggles to score at a 20 goal pace and Schultz scores at a 30 point pace, this could all seem very silly, but it’s interesting stuff to think about.

    • ItsTheBGB

      Loved the post, well thought out. All I can say is I hope you’re right, but I won’t be mad if you’re wrong!

      Also, Taylor Hall is snowballing into an absolute beast down there.

      • striatic

        .. and i don’t think it is any coincidence that Eberle and RNH started to really light it up right after Hall came back online.

        even when he isn’t scoring, Hall creates loads of time and space for those two to operate with. he’s like flypaper in the way his speed traps opposing defenders.

  • The Soup Fascist

    It almost seems that Yakupov is the forgotten guy in this equation. While Eberle, Hall, Nuge and Schultz are yukkin it up in the AHL. Yakupov is getting zero coverage wherever he is right now. The scary thing is Schultz seems every bit of number one defenseman we have been looking for and its only our first line in the AHL tearing it up. Yak is a shooter first something else we havent had in a while. One word folks: SCARY!

    • GVBlackhawk

      Yeah, I can’t wait until Copper n Blue gets back to game day threads. Then I can go back to arguing with Derek Zona about that.

      Another fantastic shot and goal just now by Eberle.

  • book¡e

    Oh DSF, “dumb-stupid-flawed”

    You list a bunch of players that you GM shelled big contracts to but cannot even afford to pay

    I always appreciate the laugh though. Minnesota isn’t going anywhere anytime soon – book it.

  • stevezie

    “Gee, the lack of humility [] that’s being displayed here, uh… staggers me.”

    I’m as happy about the kids amazing season as anyone, but this comment section sounds like it’s planning the parade based on farm team stats.

    Step back and realise you’re taunting DSF because his team only has three point-a-game players while your team has four (and has sustained no major injuries).

    Keep in mind that Schultz is passing to Eberle who feeds Hall whose rebounds are bouncing to RNH. Their collective qualteam is off the charts. Just for comparison’s sake, Jason Spezza won the AHL scoring title centring Denis Hamel and Brandon Bochenski.

    The Barons are doing amazing, especially Schultz who is a defenceman. Let’s just keep in mind they are down there as a cluster, and many hands makes light work.

  • longbottom/P.Biglow

    Santa came early to the Oiler fans with a healthy dose of OKC hockey in the stockings. If its up to me we blow this season and let this group continue to give us a show in the AHL. JS and Eberle and eating up the competion. If Eberle isn’t a candidate for Sochi I’ll be pissed.The guy scores at any level. He reminds me of Jean Ratelle of the Bruins and Rangers . Eberle has sick skills.