2014-15 Goals Projection: Wingers Teddy Purcell and Benoit Pouliot

Edmonton added two significant NHL veterans on the wing over the summer. Both Teddy Purcell and Benoit Pouliot have long track records of even-strength scoring, and have played significant minutes for successful NHL teams. What will they do in Edmonton?

For those interested in a brief explanation of this series, see the first post in it (on Taylor Hall). Just a reminder about two things: I’m not projecting breakout seasons here (though they happen) and “comparables” are just the players inhabiting roughly the same roster position on the eight Western Conference playoff teams, and that empty-net goals are not included.

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Games & Usage

Purcell has been incredibly durable since breaking into the NHL fulltime. He has missed all of three games in four seasons, and never more than one per year. I’d chalk him up for another 81-game campaign. Pouliot isn’t quite as durable; he missed 11 games with a sprained shoulder in 2012-13 but more regularly clocks in for between 74 and 80 games. Averaging his games missed over the last four years we can figure on him playing 75 games.

Both of these guys are newcomers, so projecting their ice time is a little more difficult than it has been to date.

Over the last three years, Purcell has played between 13:19 and 13:32 per game at evens. Edmonton’s reasonably deep on the wing now, so let’s estimate him as falling right between those numbers (13.4 minutes per game). He has no history on the penalty kill, and we have him slotted for the second unit power play, so something in the Ales Hemsky/Ryan Smyth range (call it 2.5 minutes per game) seems reasonable.

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Pouliot’s usage has also been reasonably consistent from team to team. He has played roughly 11.4 minutes per game at evens over the last three seasons, and 1.9 minutes on the power play. Given his big contract he might get a push from those numbers; say 11.5 minutes at evens and 2.0 on the power play per game. He hasn’t been used on the penalty kill previously.

Goal-Scoring Curve

We’ll start with Purcell again. His shot rates at even-strength and on the power play over the last four seasons (via ExtraSkater.com) are as follow:

Age % of Peak EV Shots/60 PP Shots/60
25 100.0% 9.9 10.5
26 97.5% 6.7 8.5
27 95.0% 7.1 7.4
28 92.5% 6.9 6.9
Projected 90.0% 7.1 7.8

These totals are skewed a little bit by a great 25-year-old season; Purcell’s numbers have dropped off the last few campaigns but I’m sticking with the four-year average here. A note about linemate effects: last year he mostly played with Alex Killorn and Valtteri Filppula so it seems reasonable to think they weren’t propping him up in crazy fashion or anything.

Using the above games played and ice time projections, Purcell is expected to fire 128 shots at even strength and an additional 26 on the power play. Assuming he fires at the same 9.3 percent rate he’s managed at even strength over the last few years, that works out to 12 goals in that discipline. His power play shooting rate seems a little high and it’s a small sample so I’ve bumped him down to the league average 12.2 percent, which would give him three goals on the power play.

On to Pouliot. His shot rates:

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Age % of Peak EV Shots/60 PP Shots/60
24 100.0% 8.1 12.3
25 100.0% 7.2 4.5
26 97.5% 8.0 6.9
27 95.0% 8.0 7.9
Projected 92.5% 7.4 7.4

With 75 games played and his projected per-game time on ice numbers, we would expect Pouliot to record 106 shots at even strength and another 19 with the man advantage. Using his 10.8 shooting percentage of the last four seasons, we would expect him to score 11 goals at even strength. His power play shooting percentage is based on a grand total of 46 shots, so again I’ve opted to use the league average of 12.2 percent, which would give him two goals on the power play. Worth noting: Lowetide’s RE series piece on Pouliot is already up, and without the math he figured 14 goals, as opposed to the 13 I have here.

Total: 28 goals combined. A year ago, this duo combined for 27 markers; we’re predicting a bounce back for Purcell after a bad shooting percentage year and a slight dropoff for Pouliot after a wicked power play season (he scored seven times on 20 shots). As always, we’re not looking at empty net goals here.


  • Anaheim: Kyle Palmieri (14), Patrick Maroon (11)
  • Colorado: Jamie McGinn (19), P-A Parenteau (12)
  • St. Louis: Vladimir Tarasenko (20), Brenden Morrow (13)
  • San Jose: Martin Havlat (11), Matt Nieto (10)
  • Chicago: Brandon Saad (18), Bryan Bickell (11)
  • Los Angeles: Dwight King (14), Dustin Brown (14)
  • Minnesota: Nino Niederreiter (14), Justin Fontaine (12)
  • Dallas: Ryan Garbutt (16), Valeri Nichushkin (14)

    Average: 28 combined goals.

That’s an awfully interesting number. Craig MacTavish’s summer upgrades give the Oilers the kind of depth wingers that can stand on even terms with the best clubs in the West.


  • Who’s production at evens are they replacing? Smyth and Hemsky?

    Both Pouliot and Purcell historically have had reasonable production, but are you further ahead understanding neither spent much time on the penalty kill?

    I think the Oilers been better off dumping Gagner and signing a second line center and 2 way forward who effective at penalty killing. I don’t think the Oilers fan had an appetite for pucks so we are have Purcell doesn’t address the 2 way forward winger or hole at center.

    • We don’t know about center, its a wait an see. Center is no worse then its been in years, its just inexperienced.

      Defence looks average when compared against most NHL clubs, not sure what your seeing. Fayne and Nikitin are reasonable additions to a defence by commitee approach.

  • The effectiveness (value added) of Pouliot and Purcell is most likely in the possession categories , just like our defensive additions . They are bought in as better replacements to make it better for our young stars to advance . They also fit a better size than what they are replacing . We may even see a return to swarm with this group . Our possession game was best at beginning of season , until our goalies became inadequate and they had to abandon it due to that goalie demise . Nice article by Henderson @ hockeybuzz defending Eakins and the swarm – worth reading .

    Pouliot and Purcell seem best suited for the possession game , and we may see an increase in points another possession player like Perron . One can hope at least .

  • A-Mc

    The best part of the summer acquisitions is that they are all 27/28 years old (With Aulie being 25). We didn’t grab any old timers for once!

    If the team starts to turn it around this season and it shows well, we’re setup to possibly keep our team around for a while w/o having a bunch of guys retiring in 3-4 years.

    The more i look at what we’ve picked up this summer, the more my optimism grows. I may be drinking some of the coolaid, but that’s ok because it sure is hot out there.

        • Serious Gord

          I agree (obviously) just read my post that immediately follows yours and you will see one of the many reasons why.

          As an aside, while we are only talking goals production on this thread and we can all agree that that is only one of many metrics needs to judge a players value, what is the comparable for these two players using a dollars in salary per goal metric?

          My guess would be that it is sub-par.

          • oilerjed

            Translation(Serious Gord): So even though this conversation is on the subject of predicting goals scored from these 2 new players. And even though I can admit and we all know there is much more that goes into placing value on a player then goals scored. How bout we skew this conversation in a negative direction and focus on dollars / goal ratio anyways? Because that is a more negative light that I thrive under. Lol

            Skipping your comments from now on. You are obsessed with focusing on any possible negativity. It’s kinda sad actually.

          • Serious Gord

            Do what you want, but in a cap world EVERYTHING needs to be couched in value for the dollar. That’s what all of this new sports math is all about – even in non-cap leagues like MLB as they have a wealth tax.

            That it reflects negatively on the oil (and a few others on the list) isn’t my problem. And it’s awfully hard not to be negative when you are talking about a team perennially as bad as the oil. I have anchored almost all of my arguments regarding the oil upon salary ever since the lost season. It is the new – eight year old – reality. Get used to it.

  • A-Mc

    With our new club trending toward a possession game with added size and grit we should meld rapidly I suspect . Our youth should benefit from that , and have increased stats . Draisaitl fits that new possession mold and has the size to match the direction club is headed for . Recent drafts show those trends with likes of Nurse , etc.. We could surprise this season if youthful stars advance . Still need a top 1-2 centerman to really put the wheels in motion for this season .

  • Serious Gord

    As was noted in part on previous threads – the oil are paying a ton of money for third and fourth line players relative to the elite teams in the league. Clearly in order for the oil to join those ranks that has to be addressed these players need to be shed (to whom? Who will be the bottom feeders that are even worse than the oil that will be willing to spend to the cap?)

    The above is not meant to be a criticism of MacT. Rather it is to point out that this is the mess he has been given by Klowe and tambo by not succeeding in pro scouting and development. He has to buy/deal for veteran talent rather than use cheaper inhouse players as a result.

    Thus the oil is years away from becoming a complete, competitive team – guys like puliot, Purcell and Hendricks are going to have to be replaced with cheaper players of similar or better ability thus freeing ups space to fill or improve the several other weaknesses in the roster.

    I am not convinced that management sees it this way. And that is even more discouraging than the current buckshot-ridden roster.

  • Eulers

    Talking possession, I noticed in this years play offs, that Poulliot , with his speed, did a good job on the forecheck , digging and winning battles on the boards.

    Not sure that this would be applied with the Oiler system, because out side of Hendricks the rest of guys never heard of the word”fore check.

  • Eulers

    “His power play shooting percentage is based on a grand total of 46 shots, so again I’ve opted to use the league average of 12.2 percent, which would give him two goals on the power play.”

    Check yer math, Willis: that is 5.6 goals.

  • The Last Big Bear

    I think the moves this summer come down to removing good individuals for the sake of making the team better, and bigger.

    Hemsky, Gagner, Smyth, Belov, Nick Schultz, Fraser, Dubnyk, and Labarbra got replaced with Purcell, Draisaitl, Poulliot, Nikitin, Fayne, Aulie, Scrivens and Fasth. Sure Purcell might not be a better hockey player than Hemsky. And the jury will be out all year as to whether Draisaitl is going to be an upgrade his rookie year over Gagner. But I would say Purcell is a better fit for 3rd line RW. Draisaitl will help the size issue in the top six in a big way. No question Fayne, Nikitin, and Aulie are an upgrade on Nick Schultz, Belov, and Fraser. And Pouliot vs Smyth is not even a conversation.

    By my eye the Oilers are a legit 2nd line C and a top 2 defenceman away from being a contending team. Those players do not come via free agency very often. Most teams have to develop them internally. Cue Draisaitl and one of Nurse, Klefbom, or Marincin.

      • A-Mc

        I somewhat did this for fun a week or so ago (From another post, pasted below):

        For fun, i took what i believe to be the Oilers roster next season, and i averaged the Heights and Weights of all the guys (Plus additions).

        Ht ” Wt lbs
        Hall 73 201
        Nuge 73 180
        Eberle 71 180
        Perron 72 198
        Drais 74 212
        Purcell 75 203
        Yakupov 71 186
        Arco 68 166
        Pouliot 75 197
        Hendr 72 211
        Gordon 72 202
        Gazdic 75 240
        Lander 72 185
        Avg’s: 72.5 197

        Petry 75 195
        Schultz 74 188
        Ference 71 187
        Nikitin 76 223
        Fayne 75 210
        Marinc 76 188
        Klefbom 75 213
        Avg’s: 74.6 200.6

        Forwards Averages: 72.5 (6′ 0.5″) and 197 LBS
        Defense Averages: 74.6″ (6′ 2.6″) and 200.6Lbs

        Compare this to Gregor’s numbers he ran earlier in the year:
        Forwards: 5’11 and 191.7lbs
        Defense: 6’2 and 196.1 Lbs.

        Gregor stripped some forwards from his group but i kept the entire 13 forwards that i think will make up the team this season; so its not entirely fair to compare them but it does appear that we’ve made some good jumps. This also doesnt account for all the young guys likely gaining 5 lbs over the off season.

        • oilerjed

          Wow, good work. I might sub out Lander for say Pitlick or Pinizzotto as both seemed to have success on that Gordon line last year. Though I could see Lander using his defensive acumen and face off prowess to play the wing on that line and help Gordon and Hendricks eat some tough minutes. Pitlick or Pinnizzoto would help that line forecheck and retrieve the puck though.

          I would also wonder if Marincin loses his spot out of camp to either Nurse or Klefbom who are both heavier. I think Nurse is just over 200 and Klefbomb is somewhere in the 220 range?

          All in all, the Oilers are slowly climbing the western size ladder to the middle of the pack. I don’t think any team will ever catch LA as I think they only have like 3 players under 200 and 6 foot on the entire team, but we’re certainly gaining on teams like Anaheim and Sanjose. Especially when kids like Nurse, Marincin, and Nuge put on a few more pounds. I could see Nuge eventually playing in the 190 range.

    • Serious Gord

      I will agree with you if you revise your term from contending to competitive. Even with those additions they would be lucky to get past a single round in the playoffs. And even that ‘competitive’ assessment is couched in a whole bunch of what ifs and unproven players.

      And there is no way we will see the arrival of a “legit” 2c and 1d between now and October. So the REAL assessment is another year not being competitive even for a playoff spot.

      • Serious Gord

        Sorry, the phrase ‘next year’ is a bit misleading. I certainly don’t expect this team to be a contender come October. In fact, barring a Colorado like turn around, I really don’t see them making the playoffs.

        It’s a shame guys like Yakimov, Jujhar, Moroz, Klefbom, and Marincin weren’t drafted and developed a bit earlier. As they will eventually be the rest of the ‘team’ that support our superstars. In terms of building a team through the draft, Edmonton kind of did it backwards, got its stars first, and is only now developing the rest of the guys they need.

        But assuming some of these guys don’t fall off a cliff, then I am excited for a time when Draisaitl has a year or two of NHL under his belt, one of Klefbom, Nurse, or Marincin have emerged as a top line guy. And youngsters like Yak and Nuge have grown up a bit and into their respective roles.

        There’s a lot of well deserved gloom and doom in Edmonton, but fans forget how young our team is, especially the core guys. I don’t see Burglund suddenly making this team a cup contender, the only thing that will do that is time and development. But this is the first time since being an Oilers fan, the team has actually had the high end talent to develop.

        Hall is already one of, if not thee best LW in the league. I firmly believe one day soon Hall, Nuge and Ebs will be one of the elite top lines in the league. They will be up there with future super lines like Benn-Seguin-Nichuskin, Drouin-Stamkos- Callahan, Pavelski-Coture-whoever.

        And then behind that line there’s Yakupov, Perron, Draisaitl, Gordon, and Pouliot.

        Then I look at all the up and coming talent on the farm, especially at defense, but also at forward. Sure I want the team to win right now, but I just can’t help getting bananas over what this team is going to be in a year or two.

        • Serious Gord

          Good points.

          I find it notable that the blue jays are in something of a similar predicament:

          the stars are at or are approaching their peak yet the supporting cast of prospects – pitchers mostly – are just a year or so away and the supporting fielders are still pretty thin. The pressure to at least make it to the wildcard is enormous but that would mean dealing away some of the stud prospects (though there is much debate as to how good some of these prospects really are – some accuse jays mgmnt of over-valuation. Could that also be the case with the oil?) hurting the future for results now.

          But by the time the youngsters arrive, the stars – encarnacion and Bautista could be gone or have faded.

          Both teams are in a real catch 22 that could see them miss playoffs in the near future AND in the mid to long term.

          The combined moral of the story is (and always has been) internal player development always has to come first.

      • Serious Gord

        Mr negative Gord:
        It’s to my understanding that the reason they play the games is because they really don’t know who’s going to win. Stats and opinions are great and make for fun conversation but…the fun is in not knowing and supporting your oilers. They’ve been hard on us for too long but it’s ok to let your hair down and loosen up a little.

        • Serious Gord

          The moment you as a fan are prepared to settle for second or third best is the moment you get exactly that.

          It is not a coincidence that the cubs are almost always bad and that their fans tolerate – even celebrate – the tradition of badness – waxing nostalgic about Harey Carey and Ernie banks rather than roasting management. Compare that to hawks fans who abandoned the team on masse when wirtz ran the team into the ground…

          It not negative to hold oil management to a high Standard.

          • Joe Mamma

            Ugh, please sir, spare me. You’ve been a negative debbie downer since you first started calling in to stauff’s show on The Team. You know, back when the oil were lovable small market losers taking runs at powerhouses like Dallas and Colorado. Even when we made the run in ’06, you were a stick in the mud at every opportunity. The whole town is going nuts with oiler fever, and you’re calling in with pessimistic “Ya but, what if” scenarios. So I say again, please sir, spare me your righteous indignation, and claims that you’re at all interested in the success of this team. You’re just a negative, glass-is-half-empty sort, and you like company in your misery. Be what you are if you must, but don’t force feed us all your poison pills whilst telling us it’s for our own good. It’s patronizing, and frankly not fooling anyone.

  • Eulers

    The Oiler team of this year will much more defensively sound , as this is the area that required the biggest turn around from last season (270 GA) . Because we should also be a better possession club , offence should also increase because of it (204 GF) . With this turnaround we have also added more size and grit to team . MacT. still needs a little more (at least one more center ) to have a successful season . It’s up to the young stars to now carry the offence to new heights without having to rely on veterans like Gagner and Hemsky . Nurse fits the mold we are trending towards and his emergence could prove very fruitful, as would Draisaitl , etc..

  • Serious Gord

    Hello JW

    What im gettjng from these articles is that Edms forward scoring is right on average with the top 8’s average.

    With that being said would it be acurate to say that if Edm’s D plays like an actual NHL defence and Scrivens/Fasth play between .915 – .925 the Oil will finish between 7-10 in the west?

    Also whats going on with Schultz?

    • Edmonton’s projected scoring so far is right on pace – and we haven’t looked at centres yet. I’m crunching numbers as I do these posts, so I’d hold off before saying that the Oilers score at a playoff pace team-wide.

  • oilerjed

    @ Jonathon Willis

    Im loving these articles, When are you gonna do one for YAK?? Im curious to see how you would translate the sophmore slump from last year. Is there even a formula for that??? Seems to happen to every rookie almost every time.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Some people will read this and say “Hooray, the Oilers depth wingers can score as well as the average western playoff team” (and if they had the same centres, I think this would actually be basically true). Others will crunch some numbers and say “Hey, the Oilers depth wingers are the most expensive pair on that entire list, and have double the average cap hit of this group.”

    I’m also wondering who is going to be taking all the PK shifts? Between Hall, Eberle, Perron, Purcell, Yakupov (presumably), Pouliot, and RNH, in this series we have accounted for less than 1/4 of the SH TOI the Oilers will face. .

    The way this is unfolding, Hendricks and Gordon will lead the league in SH TOI (and thats not really a reach, as Gordon was top-10 among NHL fwds last year).

    People talk about how an injury to RNH would ruin this season, but an injury to Gordon would put the Oilers on the floor just as quickly.

    Edited to add that once again, I think your projections look pretty much bang-on in my opinion.

  • Serious Gord

    Will they score more often than Ryan Jones did? the guy was all try but really didn’t accomplish much. Loved Smyth but his time was up so hopefully these two guys are their replacements and we should be further ahead on that alone. Not asking for anything more than a competitive team at this point but if this team surprises then all the better. If the new kid (Drais.) contributes anything defensively we are further ahead there over Sammy also.

  • Serious Gord

    A sobering thought – According to Capgeek the 8 playoff teams Jonathan used as examples spent an average of just under $4150000 on these 3rd line wingers. That’s under 1/2 of what the Oilers will spend on Pouliot and Purcell. In fact the only guy (Havlat) that had a bigger contract than either of these guys was bought out.

    A goal counts the same whether the guy makes 600000 or 6000000 and the Oilers had money to spend so it had to go somewhere. The fact is they also have an overpriced 4th line and over spent on Nikitin. I have to think that these moves created lost opportunity to upgrade other positions.

  • We should all be hoping for these two to transition as well as Perron did last season. If they come in with a career year impact along with DP, the top line and a comeback year from Yakupov, this team could squeak into 11th.