NHLE SUMMER 2013: RED HOT RAJALA

 

Since 2010, the Edmonton Oilers have been graduating exceptional offensive talents to the NHL. Gabriel Desjardins’ NHLE has been a guide for those seasons, and has predicted future performance accurately. And not only Hall and Nuge and Yak, but also Eberle and Paajarvi and Omark too. The equivalency has a new favorite, young Finn Toni Rajala. How high can he fly?  

In past summers we’ve reviewed the minor league, junior and Euro forwards and placed them on the same level using Gabriel Desjardins’ NHL equivalencies. Here’s what the top end looked like 2010-12:

SUMMER 2010 NHLE (PER 82 GP)

  1. Jordan Eberle 22-24-46 (.561 point-per-game)
  2. Taylor Hall 17-29-46 (.561 point-per-game)
  3. Magnus Paajarvi 16-22-38 (.463 point-per-game)
  4. Linus Omark 20-15-35 (.427 point-per-game)

When the 2010-11 season actually rolled out, the NHLE was an excellent guideline. Jordan Eberle exceeded the number (.623) as did Hall (.646) and Omark (.529), while Paajarvi (.425) was well within the range. NHLE predicted all four would have offensive success given the opportunity, and all four proved it to be true during the 2010-11 season. 

SUMMER 2011 NHLE (PER 82 GP)

  1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 11-27-38 (.463 point-per-game)
  2. Anton Lander 14-20-34 (.414 point-per-game)

The Nuge (.839) blew his number out of the water, mostly owing to an insane season on the PP. Lander (.107) was well below expectations based on opportunity and readiness. 

SUMMER 2012 NHLE (PER 82GP)

  1. Nail Yakpov 18-22-40 (.488 point-per-game)
  2. Magnus Paajarvi 7-21-28 (.341 point-per-game)
  3. Teemu Hartikainein 10-13-23 (.280 point-per-game)

Yakupov had the identical season to Hall two years earlier (.646) and as with Hall cleared his NHLE by some margin. Paajarvi (.381) passed his number by a little but Hartikainen (.130) was so poor he lost the opportunity for a one-way deal with the Oilers.

SUMMER 2013 (PER 82GP)

This year, I’m going to use Rob Vollman’s NHL equivalencies. No disrespect to Gabe’s originals, but the Vollman numbers are more recent and address those who have asked for updated equivalencies in the past. Pardon my math, but I believe these to be correct. 

  1. Toni Rajala 14-22-36
  2. Mark Arcobello 11-23-34
  3. Jesse Joensuu 11-15-26
  4. Jujhar Khaira 6-17-23
  5. Ryan Hamilton 14-9-23
  6. Andrew Miller 10-13-23
  7. Anton Lander 9-11-20
  8. Kale Kessy 7-12-19
  9. Ryan Martindale 7-8-15
  10. Tyler Pitlick 4-8-12
  11. Curtis Hamilton 6-5-11
  12. Will Acton 4-6-10
  13. Travis Ewanyk 3-5-8

Rajala is such an interesting player. Many will count him out as an "Omark 2.0" but he’s young, posted splendid numbers in the AHL and he’s a shooter. Rajala–at 21–just missed the point-per-game level and is certainly a candidate for NHL employment based on his season with the Barons. Toni Rajala had 149 shots on goal in 46 games and was cashing regularly. 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? 

The lesson from this year’s NHLE: Watch Rajala! Also, some of those summer bets (Joensuu, Ryan Hamilton, Andrew Miller) are at the very least interesting. My look at the NHLE’s from past seasons is here and photo of Rajala courtesy Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved.