Magnus Paajarvi and Justin Schultz are having different years in Oklahoma City, there’s some good and bad news on injuries to Oilers prospects, the NHL/NHLPA are going down the mediation path and some familiar names are eligible for this year’s NHL Entry Draft. This and more, after the jump.
1. Don’t bet on Magnus Paajarvi turning into a goal-scorer. The following chart shows Magnus Paajarvi’s shooting percentage by league, by year. Those without strong stomachs may need to avert their eyes.
Paajarvi’s best shooting percentage year in the last five and a bit seasons was his NHL rookie campaign, where he was a modest 8.3% shooter. He’s young, but this is strong evidence that he’s never going to be a goal –scorer, despite being a pretty decent volume shooter.
2. Justin Schultz’s shooting percentage has always been ridiculous. Here are the numbers for Schultz over his college and AHL career to date:
The question is how well those college shooting percentages are going to hold up at the NHL level. I can attest that Schultz has a wicked shot – honestly, watching him shoot when he sneaks in close he looks like a goal-scoring forward – but I just don’t know how high we can expect him to stay in the NHL. Possibly of interest: his University of Wisconsin teammate Jake Gardiner was a 6.9% career shooter in college and has been a 6.9% shooter in the minors (last year in the NHL Gardiner managed an 8.9 shooting percentage). (Related: Jason Gregor wrote about Schultz’s shooting percentage yesterday)
3. Oscar Klefbom is done for the season. This is not surprising, given the news of the last week, but even so confirmation that Klefbom is finished for the year is disappointing. I wonder if we’ll see Klefbom start next season in Edmonton – given that so much of this year has been lost, if he ends up in North America next season I suspect the smartest thing to do would be to start him in the AHL.
4. Good news on the Martin Gernat front. Jim Matheson reports that the Oilers prospect could be playing for the Oil Kings early in 2013. Gernat, despite his modest draft position, is an outstanding prospect and his loss to injury early this year was a significant negative. If he’s back relatively quickly in the new year he can play a significant amount of hockey; presumably that will make the transition to the professional game in 2013-14 a little easier.
5. The KHL’s leading scorer is Sergei Mozyakin. There is a lot of NHL talent in the KHL scoring race, with players like Evgeni Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk leading the way, but so far the league’s top point producer is a guy who was a ninth-round Columbus draft pick 10 years ago. Mozyakin is an exceptional talent – he’s twice led the KHL and once the RSL in points – but is undersized for the NHL game and never spent much time in North America. He played four games in the QMJHL in the late-1990’s.
6. I don’t expect mediation to do much for the NHL/NHLPA. There doesn’t seem to be much way for mediation to hurt the negotiations, so I suppose it makes sense to try it, but it’s hard to imagine the mediators making much headway with these two parties. We’ve seen a wide range of proposals, and both Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr are old hands at this sort of thing. The problem doesn’t seem to be that the two sides don’t understand each other; the problem is that they understand each other just fine and disagree emphatically.
7. That odd guy on Twitter mediates billion-dollar labour disputes for a living. One thing about mediation: it gave us the Guy Serota debacle yesterday. It’s hard not to feel a little bad for Serota, who far all I know is excellent at his job… but at the same time it’s hard to reconcile the weird Sarah Silverman obsession, partisan political commentary, sniper rifle ad and awkward YouTube videos with level-headed mediation.
8. Steve Tambellini has a draft-eligible son this year. Like his brother Jeff, Adam Tambellini s going the U.S. college route, which means that instead of playing in the WHL he’s in the BCHL. The 6’2” forward has 31 points in 25 games. For his sake, I hope the Oilers – as with Keegan Lowe a year ago – aren’t interested because there’s a lot of extra pressure that comes with being related to management.
9. And speaking of famous last names… Eric Comrie, the brother of former Oilers Mike and Paul, is the top-ranked WHL goaltender for the 2013 Draft. Central Scouting’s Al Jensen had the following to say about him:
He’s cool and relaxed, very durable and reliable. He always gives himself a chance to stop the puck with his excellent angle play and butterfly coverage. He’s smooth, controlled and well-balanced. Eric is good post-to-post and on wraparounds.
Comrie’s stats line (15-8-2, 0.916 SV%) is respectable, and he’s also earning some attention for work in the community.
10. Sabres G.M. Darcy Regier on the NHL Entry Draft. Regier has taken a lot of flak lately (and rightly given the Ville Leino signing) but he has enjoyed some success in tough circumstances over the years in Buffalo, and he’s one of the more interesting NHL executives to listen to because he thinks the game a little differently than many. His quote on the draft in Behind the Moves is a good example of that:
The NHL Amateur Draft produces, on average, 54 players [who play at least 80 NHL gamesi n their career] a year – 1./8 per team – I think. So your challenge as a GM is how can you get that to three or four? Can you get that to three or four? For a team like Buffalo, that’s a critical factor because we can’t get involved in the free-agency pool, or if we do, it’s in the secondary market and in a limited way. So our lifeblood remains our ability to select players, and then the focus for us is going to revolve a lot on the development process.
For years, the Sabres hit exactly the target that Regier speaks about above – between 1997 (Regier’s first year with the team) and 2005 the Sabres got 3-4 80+ game NHL players in seven of nine drafts (and if Marc-Andre Gragnani plays seven more NHL games over his career, that figure jumps to eight of those nine drafts). They stumbled a little bit in 2006/2007 – a stumble I’ve always attributed to cost-cutting in the scouting department – but in recent drafts appear to be back on track.
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