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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS
- The Oilers’ new fourth line isn’t really a fourth line
- All your centres are belong to Nashville
- 2014-15 goals projection: David Perron
- 2014-15 goals projection: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- 2014-15 goals projection: Jordan Eberle
- 2014-15 goals projection: Taylor Hall
- 2008-09 Springfield Falcons – Five years later
- Follow Jonathan Willis on Twitter