2014-15 Goals Projection: Mark Arcobello & Leon Draisaitl

Draisaitl, Leon

We’ve talked the centres to death, and it’s abundantly clear that nobody has much confidence in the duo of Arcobello and Draisaitl handling the two scoring lines not centered by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

How many goals can we expect from the two, and how does the Oilers’ top-nine forward group compare to the best teams in the West in terms of projected goal-scoring?

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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


We have to switch our technique a little here, given that Draisaitl is coming out of the WHL (we have no NHL history to draw on) and that Arcobello has only spent half a season in the NHL, which makes it difficult to project him forward.

Both players should see reasonably significant minutes at even-strength. Like Lowetide, I don’t really believe that either will win the No. 2 centre job outright, so there will likely be some nights when Draisaitl’s in the role and others where Arcobello’s there (and likely more featuring Draisaitl). It’s a similar story on the power play. Arcobello’s also going to get time on the penalty kill, and given the other options out there it might be a significant amount of time. Draisaitl probably gets his feet wet on the PK, but not much more.

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Games played is a total shot in the dark. Draisaitl will play whenever he’s healthy; I have him tabbed for 70 games total but there’s an incredible range of outcomes (anywhere from 0-82). Arcobello had some health problems and some healthy scratch problems last year, and could catch both again this year (I’m guessing there will be nights the Oilers want size up the middle).

Goal-Scoring Curve

Again, we’re forced to switch up our technique because there just isn’t much NHL track record between these two guys.

We’ll start with Draisaitl because we’re doing a straight-up WHL-to-NHL translation with him. Given historical rates (via Hockey Abstract) last year’s production equates to something in the 12 goals range; say nine at evens and three on the power play. This is just back of the envelope stuff here, because we don’t have enough data on the WHL to do more than that.

Arcobello played 41 games in the NHL last year and scored four goals; he then followed that up by scoring 10 goals in 15 AHL games. His expected 82-game NHL scoring translation (again via Hockey abstract) over his AHL career works out to about 14 goals, while last year he was on pace for just eight; I’d be inclined to split the difference which works out to 11 goals over 82 games or eight goals over 60. Say six of them at evens, two on the power play.

Total: 20 combined goals. That’s one less than we have Nugent-Hopkins down for on his own.

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  • Anaheim: Nick Bonino (22), Mathieu Perreault (18)
  • Chicago: Andrew Shaw (20), Michal Handzus (4)
  • Colorado: Paul Stastny (22), John Mitchell (10)
  • Dallas: Cody Eakin (15), Shawn Horcoff (6)
  • Los Angeles: Mike Richards (11), Jarret Stoll (8)
  • St. Louis: Patrik Berglund (13), Vladimir Sobotka (9)
  • San Jose: Logan Couture (20), Joe Thornton (11)
  • Minnesota: Mikael Granlund (8), Kyle Brodziak (7)

    Average: 26 goals.

The gap here wasn’t nearly as big as I expected, as teams like Chicago and Minnesota leaned hard on offence from the wings, and the Kings had terrible offensive totals in the regular season. Of course, we’re also only catching part of the equation by looking at goal totals; if Draisaitl scores 12 and Thornton puts home 11 that doesn’t make the young German a better pivot today than the old guy.

As for the comparison? There are some caveats – we’re projecting pretty good health, we’re ignoring goals against, and we haven’t gotten to the gang that can’t shoot straight on the bottom of the Oilers’ roster or its defensive group – but things look pretty good. We have the Oilers top line down for 80 goals, vs. 79 from the average playoff team last year. The second line clocks in at 52, which matches the totals of our average playoff team. And Edmonton’s third line, thanks entirely to Yakupov’s lovely number, is pegged for 39 goals – eight more than our average playoff team.

The key takeaway here, however, is that with good health the Oilers’ top-nine forward group should be competitive offensively with top western teams.


  • Quicksilver ballet

    Pretty realistic guesstimation. Might be a little high with his mobility/skating issues. Give him one more year in PA, that’s hardly worth keeping him and harming our chances for Connor McDavid.

    Our Oilers are a certain non playoff team with the 2nd L/C and top pairing blueliner positions still vacant. Bend over and take it for one more season please. It could pay off ten fold.

    Spare me your jibberish if you don’t agree.

    • Sadly, the Oilers won’t do this.

      The Oilers have many faults, but bringing kids in to fill roster spots on the hopes they can help if even a little is a comic down fall of this organization.

      How would the Oilers faired with without Hall, RNH or Yakupov, bringing those kids in early was plain stupid.

      • Dan 1919

        Perron is a UFA in 2016 so he’s going to make his own decision regardless.

        None of Ebs, Nuge, or Yak have proven to be clutch anyway so they’d just be the young spoiled players complaining if they decided they wanted out. Plus they’d fetch a good NHL player in return, maybe a blessing in disguise.

        At this point Hall would be the only huge loss if he decided he wanted out.

        But I agree, this engrained KLowe attitude of, “who cares, just draft high until we have an all-star team,” is bound to catch up with them sooner or later.

        At some point they have to just commit to being a real NHL team again… and trade for a 1-2C like a real management group would do.

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    Connor McDavid is the missing peice of this puzzle. Oilers are one centerman injury away from getting him.

    Hall McDavid Eberle

    Perron Hopkins Yakupov

    Pouliout Draisaitl Purcell

    This would be an unstoppable top 9, really ridiculous.

    Let Nurse and Draisaitl develop in JR one more year, let them gain another 10-15 pounds and both can join the team with McDavid.

    Nurse and Draisaitl would come into their rookie seasons at 225-230 pounds each. That’s scary size.

    Having McDavid, Draisaitl and Hopkins as our top 3 centers for the next decade would actually make the infinibuild worthwhile…

    • Dan 1919

      Sounds great in theory but unfortunately there is some BIG competition in the McDavid sweepstakes.

      Both the Buffalo Sabers and Calgary Flames look poised to ice hockey teams capable of being beat by the Hockey Canada Woman’s group. What a spectacle will be had watching some of the most pathetic teams battle it out for the worst record in the NHL. A title that KLowe has come to dominate over the last 8 years, it appears he is now an underdog in his own game. He will even lose at losing this season.

      Trying to compete with loser Titans like the Flames and Sabers will be a lost cause from here on in. That means even though they are still at least a year away, their focus must be on making the playoffs every year now. That means get another NHL centermen and compete this year. It’s the only option.

      • nuge2drai

        Oiler Domination To Follow

        If a center goes down we automatically become the favourites in the McDavid sweepstakes.

        It doesn’t even have to be the Nuge.

        Imagine Arco goes down and Draisaitl isn’t ready…

        Our 2nd line center would be Gordan, Lander would be 3rd and Hendricks would slot in 4th.

        Sadly this would easily result in the worst lineup in the NHL.

        • Dan 1919

          Fair enough, I’ve underestimated KLowes ability to ice a losing franchise.

          You’re right, one or two injuries (which always happens) and we’re right back in the mix for McDavid.

          I was joking too, but sadly enough going into the season with this little center depth could easily result in McDavid.

          I like the tweet from Fake Oiler GM that says he’s already scheduled Draisaitl’s shoulder surgery.

        • I have no idea why your original post was even trashed? As an Oiler fan who wouldn’t want that combination?

          Absolutely correct on centre problem, now, just imagine the centre that does go down is Gordon!

          Who’s getting the own zone match up’s and tough minutes? RNH? Lander? That has 30-27th written all over it.

          While we might not get McDavid, I sure as hell wouldn’t pass on Eichel, watch out for this man child. 6’2 200lbs and just as good as McDavid.

  • Oil Vice

    I’m optimistic about arco. He’s got legitimate skills to contribute. He should fit nicely on a 3rd line vs. softer opponents. Can play pp and, in a squeeze, maybe as high as line 2 with the right line mates. If he doesn’t fit the long term plan then hopefully he can play himself into a decent trade value.

    • Oil Vice

      I don’t understand why they sat Arco last year and other centers played.

      You can be sure that Eakins will mess the team up again. Play guys who shouldn’t play, etc Eakins is a stubborn person and maybe does not realize how arrogant he is.

      He has to go

  • Mark me down as a naysayer………..your conclusions are based on last years defence.

    We have improved by acquiring solid defenceman who can move the puck and improved on strong wingers who can support the play much better than last year.

    Call me an eternal optimist but the numbers should be much higher IMHO.

  • bwar

    Please don’t look at the defensive side of the game. I couldn’t handle that much misery. 20goals from our projected 2nd and 3rd line centres combined is sad enough.

  • Jayz

    My honest prediction for this year. Leon makes the team and pushes his way into the top line. RNH becomes our version of RoR minus the contract drama. Arco finds a groove on the third line and pots 20g 30a .

    Offensively the team will take major strides and play a safe game that allows our goaltending duo a chance to win every night.

    Call it blind faith or stupidity but this is the year the entire NhL will stand up and take notice of this team for more than just sucking.

      • Jayz

        Critically insane? You know what he was on pace for before he was unfairly demoted for smash mouth samson right? No my friend. Insanity is the negativity that has seeped into the fan base here. You can predict gloom all ya want but I firmly believe after 8 years of futility the sun will shine on this dogs ass of a team this year and for many to come. Joe Thorton isn’t getting younger. Taylor Hall isn’t getting worse.

        You don’t wanna cheer for the underdog ? Piss off ..wanker

        • Jayz

          Arco played well for 10 games. After that he showed exactly what he is, an AHL player. If he is such a great talent how come no other team in the league wanted to sign him? The only reason we are even talking about him is because our centre depth is a joke. If we go into the season expecting him to play full-time then we can expect to have a great shot at Mcdavid. If we actually want to start getting better and winning some games then we need real NHL players, not guys like Arco, Philip Larsen, Grebeshkov etc. Arco 50 points…keep dreaming!

          • Jayz

            Not sure what games or stats you watched but what I saw and what stats guys observed was a player that made others around him better( when not with gadzic) finished checks, and was leading Calder scoring at some point I believe.

            Your bias is simple. He wasn’t a high draft pick, he’s not 6’2, he’s had to work his way up from the echl, and he just isn’t sexy.

            What a bunch of draft pick drunk, Rexall bling spend to the cap assfaces most of you have become. I remember a time when we kicked the avs and stars out of the playoffs with a fraction of the salary .

            Believe in this team or go jump on the wagon of another team.

          • Dan 1919

            You are basing your opinion on 10 games. And as much better as he made everyone WE COULDN’T WIN! I’ve supported this team through the early 90’s when we had the likes of Mike Stapleton and Gord Mark playing so no, I’m not draft pick drunk. I’m also not a fool enough to believe that Arco is an NHL player on a good team. If you actually believe that he is, I have some magic beans to sell you.

          • Dan 1919

            Also, we don’t need a minor league Frodo to play centre for us against the big men in this conference. Like it or not, we need guys hat can compete with bigger centers so Nuge doesn’t have to.

        • Why so mad bru?

          Do you really think Arco is that good?

          In 7 years, Gagner, an actual centre playing in the NHL never made 50 points.

          Arco, who was given choice minutes with Hall & Eberle, while being gifted insane amount of OF/OZ starts had a hot start, once he went down to 3rd line centre he was chewed up while still getting soft minutes.

          The article in which your posting on, describes his stats, yet you feel offended that I said Arco getting 50 points is critically insane!!

          You need tougher skin if you want to post your opinion and not expect someone to comment on it.

          It’s not negative, it called reasonable expectations.

          • Dan 1919

            Thank you. Finally someone who doesn’t have a completely unrealistic expectation of Arco coming in and saving the day because he played well for 10 games.


          • Jayz

            Not mad at all. Time will resolve it. This fan pessimism will serve to either make they players prove themselves or drive them away. I have a much better feeling about the team 2 years almost removed from tambo.

          • camdog

            I’m tired of these negative comments about the fans. Really a stretch to blame the fans for the losing. Without the passionate fans in this city the old barn would be empty. The negativity is strictly based on the losing atmosphere created by past management regimes that have been empowered by Kevin Lowe. If the organisation ever puts a winning product on the ice the players will be fine, if they continue to lose it won’t be the fans driving players away, it will be the losing.

    • Thumby

      OK I’ll bite on the optimistic look for next year. How’s this.. Four Big things play out..

      1. Scrivens posts a 924% save percentage.

      2. Draisaitl stays healthy and plays 82 games and wins the Calder Trophy with 65 points a positive Corsi for and is 51% on the dot.

      3. Yakupov score 35 goals and posts a 51% corsi for.

      4. YAK 2 makes the team as the fourth line winger and by the 41st game of the season takes on the role of third line centerman and posts a 53%corsi for.. is 52% on the dot.. and scores 15 goals and 20 assists.

      If all this happens especially the save percentage .. Eakins will be coach of the year . The oilers are then eliminated by the Hawks in the semi’s. Now that IS vey optimistic… Am I awake yet…

      • Lol.. way to take it to the absurd. I consider myself to somewhat lean towards an optimistic perspective. And as it stands barring major injuries i’d say this team has a shot at 9th in the West. 10th is my prediction.. and I consider that a considerable improvement.

        I think where we are going to see the most improvement is in the GA category. I would guess somewhere in the 30 less goals over the course of the year. Couple this with a slight GF increase of 20 goals appx. Would mean a +50 Goals differential from last year. 9th-10th in the West. Book it.

        • Thumby

          Ya that prediction of mine is very far fetched but I will say this much is possible.

          2012/2013 Colorado finishes 29th..

          2013/2014 Colorado finhses 3rd.. yes 3rd in the league

          Varlamov’s save% is 927 percent. Roy wins coach of the year.. Roy is a genius.. NOT.. he should hand his award to Varlamov.

          Tampa 2012/2013 Tampa finishes 28th

          2013/2014 Tampa finishes 8th over all..

          If Scrivens has that kind of year we ARE in the playoffs. Am I optistic he can do that? Kinda.. I will say this .. if Scrivens does post Varlamov’s number ..Eakins will Also be in the genius category…

          • The truth is, you’re right. It’s pretty rare and unlikely, but sometimes goalies for bad teams just post ridiculous numbers and make the whole team seem so much better.

            Colorado is a garbage team. They were garbage two years ago, and they were garbage last year. If the Oilers had their goalie post a .927 sv% that would be enough for the playoffs and coach of the year for Eakins.

            Scrivens and Fasth are really inexperienced and sadly, they are in control of the outcome more than the team and coaches in front of them.

            I suspect Varlamov drops back to .905-.910 and COL drops to the playoff bubble or worse.

            The Oil don’t quite have playoff quality offense, but they are right on the line, and who knows, maybe yak bounces back and Purcell and Pouliot put them over the edge. If the goalies faulter the team could easily still finish in the lottery. The goalie is about as valuable as the pitcher in baseball. No team, no matter how great, can overcome poor goaltending.

  • Man.

    If 8 goals is all Arcobello can be projected for in that position, just leave Draisaitl in the position or bring in Lander instead. The smurf can stay in the A.

    Tell me again, WHY did we re-sign Arcobello? Oh, because he’s MacT’s current mancrush, right. Petersen, Thoresen, Pouliot, etc. Ugh, god, I wish that man would stop these one player mancrushes he has all the time. Every single one of them have proved to be fringe NHLers that go on to do nothing anywhere else. But hey, maybe MacT reads a lot of Charlie Brown. Keep running for that football, MacT.

  • Thumby

    Im cheering for Calgary this year. I cant watch the battle of Alberta if the Flames have Monahan, Sam Bennet and Mcdavid up the center over the next decade

    go flames go……this is the year all oilers fans cheer for the flames not to suck

  • Hopeless in Etown

    Realistically, I am expecting the Oilers fall just a bit short of the playoffs next year. Using some simple estimates for improvements in goals for and against, every improvement of about 2.7 goals results in 1 point in the standings. Using the SV% of Scrivens and Fasth for last year and for their careers, we can expect a .916 SV% versus the .904 SV% average we had last year for all goalies combined. That is 30 less goals on its own which should result in about 12 points in the standings. With our improved defense and defensive awareness from the forwards, we should be able to improve that some more by having fewer shots against. I can’t see much more than 1 to 2 shots per game less this season than last but that also gives us between 3 and 5 extra points next season. We would need a real number 1 d-man to do any more than that. The Oilers would then need as a team an extra 22 to 29 goals to make the playoffs. That is a lot.

    I figure the Oilers will be much closer to the playoffs but still a position of two shy but also well out of the running for Connor McDavid.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      We all said the same things going into last season, and it proved to be more fantasy than fact. They finally got their hands on a decent coach, and kerplunk,yet another near last place finish/28th place.

      The reality is, the Oilers are going into yet another season with that 1/2 center ice position vacant, and missing a couple top pairing blue liners as well.

      It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the Oilers are being set up to fall well short again this coming season. Can’t say that I blame you though. The Oilers haven’t lost a game in 4 months and the usual summer optimism is getting some time in the sun.

      • Dan 1919

        Sounds a lot more realistic.

        If everything went perfect and a handful of young guys have breakout seasons they could finish in 7th/8th with this roster.

        If everything goes well this year they likely finish 10/11/12.

        (Most likely scenario) If they have a couple tough injuries and the NHL proves too big of a step for a bunch of rookies to shoulder at once, they finish 13/14 in the conference. But there’s some terrible teams in Cal, Van, Flo, Buff left fighting for McDavid.

        That’s why I don’t see any value in trying this season out with no 1-2C. The season will end a complete waste finishing around 12 or something.

        With a 1-2C and maybe a trade at the deadline, they could find themselves in a playoff race down the stretch.

        And they’re going to need a C anyway when Gordon falls off in the next few years. But they’re probably banking on these AHL guys right now to be eventual depth players. We all know how good the Oilers are a projecting depth players (see Lander and MPS.)

        This one has been beat to death… but they desperately need another NHL centerman.

      • Hopeless in Etown

        I agree the biggest hole is at center, I think everyone agrees with that. But to think the Oilers won’t be better than last year is ridiculous as well. Last year we had a goalie with a career .912 SV% fall down to a .891 SV%with a backup who wouldn’t have made most teams AHL affiliate (that is huge and cost the Oilers a lot of points – I figured about 9 of them alone from a game by game look). We now have two goalies that can actually push each other with the one proving to play better getting the starts. You would have to consider this depth better than last year.

        On defense, we still don’t have a number 1 defenseman but we have 3 or 4 legitimate 3/4 defensemen versus 2 last year. It is still not enough but it is better than last year. Grebeshkov would not make this year’s line up.

        Our forward depth is better than last year. Yakapov is not automatically thrust into a second line role and we have some legitimate forwards capable of shutting down the opposition. And I can’t see Yakapov being worse this year than last so he at worst is an equivalent player but likely better than last year. I don’t think the forwards are earth shattering better, but it is an improvement from last year.

        I think even the biggest pessimist would have a hard time arguing that the goaltending, forwards, and defense are not improved (even if only marginally in some cases) in comparison with last year.

        That leaves the center position. Nuge and Gordon are the same as last year. That leaves comparing Arco, Hendricks, and Gagner with some combinations of Arco, Hendricks, Draisatl, and Lander. With the way Gagner played last year, it is tough to think this is at least not pretty close to equivalent and possibly slightly better.

        Overall, that doesn’t leave me thinking this is a playoff team but it does leave me thinking the team is a fair bit better than last year. Not getting McDavid or playoff revenue next year.

  • ubermiguel

    For Draisaitl I think the range is closer to 9-82. I would be stunned it he doesn’t get a full regular season tryout if only because it gives MacT more time to find another centre.

  • nuge2drai

    Oiler Domination To Follow

    @JW – you should write an article on what the Oilers roster outlook if Leon isn’t ready and one of the Centers gets injured.

    Also take a look at average man games lost to centers around the league.

    I would title this article the Rude Awakening…

  • "Frank the dog"

    We need to forget about the MickeyD sweepstakes. If this team hits 30th place then Mc D won’t help us just as none of Hall, Nuge,Yak,Nurse and baby Drai would have helped.

    More likely a collapse would mean a finish in the high 20’s, enough for our 1st line to ask for trades, which would mark the undisputed start of infinibuild.

    I don’t think that will happen, and I’ll tell you why: It’s because instead of 2 duds as assistant coaches, we have a wise old bard and an ex-boxer on the coaching staff.

    Unlike their predecessors they have the proven skills and experience to know what needs to be done and the motivational skills to make the players enjoy what they do and build the winning culture.

    That, the high end skill and the complimentary players MacT has assembled, is why we don’t want, don’t need and won’t qualify for Mickey Dee’s sweepstakes ticket.

  • Word to the Bird

    I really hope LD proves me wrong but I don’t think he’s ready for the NHL yet. He would be the perfect for for the current roster so the pace should be set on tortoise for his development.