You don’t need a slide rule to know Connor McDavid arrives at his first NHL camp with a lot of traction and the tools to be an impact rookie. The question for Oilers fans may be ‘how many rookies should be considered based on previous performance?’ and NHL equivalencies suggest there are several.
- Taylor Hall 82GP, 17-29-46NHLE (Actual 65GP, 22-20-42) .561 versus .646 (point per game)
- Jordan Eberle 82GP, 22-24-46NHLE (Actual 69GP, 18-25-43) .561 versus .623 (point per game)
- Anton Lander 82GP, 14-28-42 NHLE (Actual 38GP, 6-14-20) .512 versus .526 point per game) (AHL-to-NHL)
- Nail Yakupov 82GP, 18-22-40NHLE (Actual 48GP, 17-14-31) .487 versus .645 (point per game)
- RNH 82GP, 11-27-38NHLE (Actual 62GP, 18-34-52) .463 versus .839 (point per game)
For our purposes, I’m using a combination of Gabriel Desjardins ground-breaking work and Rob Vollman’s impressive recent doings.
Forwards (per 82GP)
- C Connor McDavid 82GP, 23-40-63—Miles clear of the previous No. 1 overall picks, McDavid`s NHL equivalency is clear of everyone you can think of all the way back to Sid the Kid.
- C Leon Draisaitl 82GP, 15-26-41—Easily forgotten after the `too much too soon` season in which the Oilers once again proved to the world they have no idea about who is ready and when. Should recover handsomely but may spend time in the AHL proving he’s ready—a smart move considering last season.
- R Andrew Miller 82GP, 15-20-35—He’s now 4A, meaning AAA doesn’t offer him much in the way of competition anymore but he may have to wait his turn for NHL employment. One thing to keep in mind: the speed we worry about (Purcell) is available in ample quantities with Miller. Interesting fall.
- C-R Kyle Platzer 82GP, 12-17-29—I’m not certain enough air was let out of his tires from junior but the numbers have him in a very nice spot.
- L Anton Slepyshev 82GP, 17-11-28—This might be a little low in terms of estimate, Slepyshev wasn’t playing 18 minutes a night in the KHL. Fascinating prospect arriving at a time when the new coach is going to be looking for complementary skill players. You never know.
- R Iiro Pakarinen 82GP, 16-11-27—He’s in a good spot, known to the team from last season and with substantial skills in the aggression and speed departments. Certainly a player to watch.
- C-R Greg Chase 82GP, 8-16-24—I think he might need a full season but Chase has a habit of getting noticed early and often; that may bode well for him this fall.
- R Tyler Pitlick 82GP, 8-16-24—Back again as a TC hopeful, Pitlick would be more established as an NHL player by now if not for injury. It’s hard to imagine he’ll stay healthy long enough to emerge from this group, but there’s opportunity.
- C Bogdan Yakimov 82GP, 10-13-23—Big Russian got a game last season, suspect he’ll impress with his size and skill in training camp. The NHLE’s suggest he’s in the range.
Defense (per 82GP)
- Joey Laleggia 82GP, 14-23-37—The NHLE’s love this player, but he appears blocked by veterans in the AHL. Absolutely worth keeping track of beginning TC.
- Brad Hunt 82GP, 11-19-30—A defensive adventure in the NHL, there’s no denying he’s an impact AHL offensive defenseman. I don’t think he’ll make it to the NHL this season, which means he’ll probably play 60 games.
- Darnell Nurse 82GP, 7-16-23—I think he’ll play fewer than 20 AHL games and as many as 50 NHL games this season. He’s a perfect fit for the current Oilers, who have been crying out for a physical defender with wheels since, well, 2006 summer.
- Griffin Reinhart 82GP, 6-11-17—I suspect he’ll see significant time in the AHL and NHL this season, and even though offense isn’t his calling card he should post some crooked numbers.
- Jordan Oesterle 82GP, 5-12-17—Fast defensemen are useful defensemen and this young man can scoot. Absolutely in the mix for NHL employment this season.
IT’S RAINING ROOKIES!
Goalies Laurent Brossoit and Anders Nilsson are also part of this group, meaning there are 16 potential grads from the Oilers prospect list and minor league system. I expect McDavid, Draisaitl (not a rookie), Miller, Nurse and Reinhart to play a significant amount in the NHL this coming season, but we might see a surprise or two.
This is a substantial list of prospects.