TIME. ON. ICE.

These AHL games in OKC are fascinating. Fantastic talent mixed with marginal pro’s on the same roster, insane talent out against modern day Ogie Ogilthorpe’s and promotions that appear to be so ridiculous the mind boggles (someone wins a car every Saturday night!). For me, there is one question I’m dying to know the answer to, and I suspect it is available. Somewhere.

Thirty games into OKC’s season the club has played about 1830 minutes in anger (estimate). Now, some of those minutes were shorthanded and others on the powerplay and still others came with the net empty. According to the AHL site, OKC has had the man advantage 135 times and been shorthanded 136 times, meaning that at most the special team minutes would total 560 (and of course they don’t: crossover 4×4 minutes, goals early in a PP or PK, game ending, all kinds of things) or so if we add the 5 minute majors, etc.

Lets estimate the EV time-on-ice total at 1400, or about 47 minutes per game. Is that fair? We can adjust if you like–or if someone has done the work God love them pass it along–but for the purposes of a Sunday evening blue sky conversation lets make it 1400 minutes. Cool?

OKC’s goals look like this:

  • PP goals for: 32
  • PP goals against: 28
  • SH goals for: 4
  • SH goals against: 3

Meaning, that in the 30 AHL games and (estimated) 1400 EV minutes OKC has scored 64 and allowed 58 goals, and that 122 even-strength goals have been scored by and against the Barons this season. 

Hold on, I’m getting there.

So, if we agree that the OKC Barons have scored and allowed 122 EV goals–and we divide them by 1400 minutes–we get an even strength goal for or against every 11.5 minutes. We add the GF and GA, then divide in two and after that spread it over 1400 minutes. Fair? I’m following this train of thought but using only EV totals.

THIS OUGHTA BE GOOD

I admit that when it comes to math, God stuck a sliderule in one of my ears and it came right out the other side. When things are explained to me with great patience on a piece of foolscap I ususally start getting the idea within a week or two (ask my Grade 4 Math teacher–Miss Stack–no lie). I took great care to count these as fairly as possible over 30 boxscores, but there may be a mistake or two along the way.

With that as the backdrop, here is the list of player’s on the ice during all even strength games this season, along with the total time on ice estimate and then TOI per game estimates. I encourage you to poke holes in the theory, refine it or call it the work of a madman (which I admit to freely) but please don’t ignore it. Although my thinking may not be right, surely there’s some way we can figure out a reasonable estimate of TOI based on what we’re looking at this season in OKC.

LEFT WING

 

PLAYER

GP

EVEN GOALS

TOTAL EST TOI

TOI.GAME EST

1

HALL

22

35

402.5

18.30

2

HARTIKAINEN

30

34

391

13.03

3

HAMILTON

25

22

253

10.12

4

BYERS

30

15

172.5

5.75

5

TYRVAINEN

9

5

103.5

11.5

6

LIZON

2

1

11.5

5.75

7

CORNET

8

1

11.5

1.44

Okay, first things first. It only adds to up about 1350 minutes (as opposed to 1400) but there are reasons for that (other positions getting more ice time, I should have included someone,etc) and getting this thing nailed down exactly isn’t the point. I know we’re estimating and so if we’re in a reasonable range that should be good enough for the discussion.

  • Taylor Hall plays a lot–remember this is even strength–but the EV estimate above is probably heavy because he’s a higher event player–goals happen with Taylor. I have no way to adjust for that, so we’re just going to park it in our back pockets and move on. Either way, he’s supremely productive–what an amazing hockey player. If Hall’s EV time on ice estimate is correct, then he’s producing (22, 5-12-17 at evens) 2.53/60 at evens this season. A fine number considering he’s coming back from surgery.
  • Teemu Hartikainen is by any measure getting solid ice time, I can’t imagine by eye or by number we would conclude anything contrary. If this EV minute estimate is in the range–if in fact he has played 391 minutes this season, then his EV offense (30, 5-6-11) means he’s scoring at a 1.69/60 even strength clip. That would be considered average but not outstanding production for the big Finn.
  • Curtis Hamilton is not producing, and in fact according to this estimate the young man is playing significant even strength minutes. I’m not enamored of his linemates most nights, but Hamilton has had some contact with the "really, really good looking" players on the roster and is not channeling Zoolander at this time (or maybe he is). Hamilton’s even strength numbers (25, 1-2-3) have producing at a 0.71 rate. That would be well below the Mendoza line and we can assume the Oilers are worried about him as a pro prospect.
  • Dane Byers has suffered a massive reduction in production year over year, but as we can see via the estimates a lot of this has to do with the fact that he’s not playing much. Byers–more than any AHL veteran on the club–is between a rock and a hard place with the Barons. I’m certain he would welcome a trade.
  • Antti Tyrvainen–like Hamilton–has received solid minutes at even strength when in the lineup. His production has been poor (he’s a little behind Hamilton in the ev/60 estimate) and his costly penalties have no doubt had a negative impact on the team. As much as I love the Finns, Tyrvainen’s time with the organization is likely to run out at the end of the season.

CENTER

 

PLAYER

GP

EVEN GOALS

TOTAL EST TOI

TOI.GAME EST

1

ARCOBELLO

28

36

414

14.79

2

NUGENT-HOPKINS

19

23

264.5

13.92

3

LANDER

26

24

276

11.5

4

VANDEVELDE

26

25

287.5

11.06

5

GREEN

13

10

115

8.85

6

HOUSE

18

11

126.5

7.03

7

HUNTER

2

1

11.5

5.75

Some of those LW minutes seem to have filtered over here, that’s okay we are just playing in the sandbox. Some of the thems on the portside are showing up here too and lets get to them.

  • Mark Arcobello ate Josh Green’s lunch. Honestly. Green had the job, got hurt and as you can see by these estimates doesn’t appear to be making a lot of headway. Arcobello’s performance–if I’m on the right track with this TOI estimate–has been stellar. So far at evens, Arcobello is 28, 6-10-16 at evens this year, meaning his even/60 number sits at 2.32. I know he’s playing with stunning linemates but the small forward is also posting offense at even strength–a golden category. I have no idea if he ever gets an NHL shot, but he’s convinced me that he deserves a chance.
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins did not play as much as the other NHLers at even strength according to this estimate. The Nuge averaged about 14 minutes a game (based on my math) and since his EV numbers are 19, 5-3-8 that means his EV/60 is at 1.82–off the pace of Hall and Eberle. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Nuge, but I believe the EV/60 estimate perhaps reflects his age (Nuge is three years younger than Jordan Eberle). His PP number is as always through the roof (I have not done that estimate, maybe for the end of season).
  • Anton Lander is crawling from the wreckage of a very poor early part of the season and finding his way on the Nordic line. His current even totals for the year (26, 2-4-6) works out to 1.30/60–much better than it was a few weeks ago. Lander showed a year ago in the NHL that he could help a PK, meaning he just has to hit a little in order to make it in the NHL as a regular. The last few weeks have been encouraging.
  • Chris VandeVelde has (in my opinion) given  the organization enough to consider him the first callup when injuries hit the big club (this assumes a season). Although long in the tooth for a prospect, coach Nelson relies on him for the big moments and VV serves an important role on the Barons–one he could probably duplicate for short periods in the NHL. His EV/60 estimate (26, 0-6-6) is 1.26/60, about what we might expect from him.
  • Tanner House is on the roster as a depth player and a guy who can step in if VV can’t serve his term. House has many of the same skills and watching him you get the feeling there’s a player there but this isn’t the year to push up the depth chart. His EV numbers (18, 2-1-3) are in the range with VV and Lander (1.42/60) so he’d need a tremendous amount of luck to win the day.

RIGHT WING

 

PLAYER

GP

EVEN GOALS

TOTAL EST TOI

TOI.GAME EST

1

EBERLE

30

47

540.5

18.02

2

PAAJARVI

30

31

356.5

11.88

3

PELSS

3

3

34.5

11.5

4

PITLICK

23

14

161

7.00

5

RAJALA

5

3

34.5

6.90

6

ABNEY

4

1

11.5

2.88

This is the Eberle-Paajarvi slot on the depth chart, and Pitlick, Pelss, Rajala and Abney are all auditioning for one job or another at the pro level.

  • Jordan Eberle is a young, emerging star in the NHL so that makes him an even bigger item in the minors. According to these estimates, coach Nelson has been riding his best player hard at evens (and we know the story is similar on the PP). According to this TOI estimate, and based on Eberle’s EV numbers (30, 15-11-26) the young man is having an enormous season (2.89/60) and is well ahead of the next forward on the Barons. Remarkable.
  • Magnus Paajarvi is in a race with other prospects for NHL employment (its likely he’ll find another team if the Oilers choose to move in another direction) but one of the areas he could help his cause is even strength production. He’s getting plenty of time on ice at the discipline, and his boxcars (30, 2-9-11) are a little better than Hartikainen’s (1.85/60) at this time. Paajarvi’s a strange duck as an offensive player–his snipe in the shootout the other night has never been seen on this side of the ocean–but he has all kinds of tools that can be useful in the offensive zone.
  • Tyler Pitlick has had a hard time since getting an early season push, and part of that difficulty involved injury. I’m reminded of the old line "what doesn’t kill you…." and in the case of Pitlick I’m prepared to stubbornly stand by in the hopes a player emerges. His playing time based on this estimate is severely low (7 minutes a night) and perhaps that is part of the difficulty (this is something I’ve been suggesting for awhile but the eyes play tricks) this season. Pitlick’s boxcars (23, 1-2-3) are more impressive when run through the TOI estimates (1.12/60) but are no screaming hell either. I hope he gets a lot of playing time in the second half, and suspect Nelson will give him at least one more chance to gain traction with skilled men.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

You tell me. Does this have any value? I can run this at Christmas and in the post-season if the estimates seem fair (or we can tweak them). I’m game for it because it informs, but would love the chance to improve on the system above and encourage any and all input.

Finally, the key bullet points:

  • Eberle is having an impact season, his second in a row.
  • Hall is coming on strong, but that injury did impact output early on at evens.
  • The Nuge is behind the other two at evens and that should not surprise–he’s still a kid, folks. A very, very gifted kid.
  • The Hartikainen-Paajarvi race is closer than we thought.
  • I entered this exercise thinking both Curtis Hamilton and Tyler Pitlick were getting short straws in terms of even strength time on ice. I leave convinced of Pitlick’s low number of at-bats, less so about Hamilton’s.
  • Lander is in fact improving as the season wears on.
  • Dane Byers is getting screwed out of at bats left, right and center and no one apparently cares.

Happy New Year!

  • TLHansum

    Wait, i could win a car and there’s only like 10 people attending each game?!?

    I’ll be there FIST

    I have no clue why you added GF and GA and then divided by two to get offensive output.

    • GVBlackhawk

      Conclusion: You are trolling again.

      Try watching a game. Hall is the man for OKC — an offensive juggernaut. He had a slow start but is now 9th in AHL scoring. He has played 8 fewer games than Eberle and only trails him by 14 points. Mark my words, by the end of January, Hall will be 3rd in AHL scoring and will have closed the gap in the scoring race.

      Okay? Nice try.

        • Oilers89

          No doubt. These current talks better end this lockout business. However, if Hall does stay in the AHL until the end of January then we will see his boxcars improve drastically. Hall is killing it often now. Even his deke’s are working now! Lol

      • Oilertown

        Took the words right outta my mouth but put them in better context haha. Yes DSF try watching a game, if you did you would see that Hall is tearing the AHL a new hole.

        As Lowetide said Hopkins is very young and is more then just a powerplay specialist. Holy hell he is still young enough to be playing on the world junior team which he is tearing up.

        Lastly you got it correct though Eberle is a beast but also a couple years older then Hall and even more so then Hopkins.

        My conclusion you are a very jealous troll, oh if only the lame Nucks had such a bright future huh.

  • Lowetide

    Jonathan: Yeah, I think a season ending look would probably reflect better. A lot of ups and downs along the way but a full season should give the major players a solid chance.

  • Word to the Bird

    DSf is my hero I cant wait to be bitter and old, clinging to numbers and facts like a bible. I Cant wait to be energized by cynicism, trolling fan boys of popular sports blogs getting my kicks.
    Such a sad person making so many people annoyed like a gnat or fly you can’t swat.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    who had smyth in the spengler cup bet and who got stuck with a week in the penalty box by taking gagner?

    **mutters** i think dsf might have actually got one right here….