Among the players confirmed for invites to Oilers camp this fall (well,
late summer) is Loik Leveille. He’s a fascinating player—shoots the puck
A LOT—and he was a blast to observe at the recent Oilers orientation
camp. Now, let’s not get too excited (last year the Oilers gave a lot of
playing time to a player who was in the same position as Leveille but
didn’t sign him) but the idea of ‘free prospect for only a contract’
does have appeal if he’s the right player. So. Is he?
Leveille first impressed Oilers fans (and the Oilers obviously) at the Orientation Camp after the draft. Later in the summer came word he would be part of the rookie camp next weekend in Penticton.
- Leveille: “To improve my chances, I have to work on my speed and power”
Although he wasn’t drafted, International Scouting Services had him among the 210 best players available for 2015 (No. 182).
ISS: Leveille is an offensive
minded defender who was used in all situations and was counted on by
the Screaming Eagles to contribute offense from the back end. The green
light suited his game; he loves to jump in and carry the puck and has
above average puck skills, but commits to the rush way too often. He is a
decent straightline skater and shows good bursts of speed through the
neutral zone, but first couple steps need work. On the defensive side,
he has just average backwards skating ability; feet look a little heavy,
pivots and crossover need work. He does play with intensity, takes the
body, but a lot of his decisions are a little high risk/reward type. He
has a heavy shot that needs to find the net more often. A chance to be
an NHL Prospect but will need to improve mobility and decisions.
Looks like the player and the scouting report match. So, we’re looking at a good skater with some mobility issues but there’s some nice things going on. In some areas, math loves him.
AND THEN THERE’S MATH!
What really stands out for me from the stats run for Leveille is his SOG total: 189. That’s a lot for a defenseman, No. 1 among QMJHL defenders last season. Source.
Among Q defenders, his 2014-15 season tied him for No. 8 in NHL equivalency (18 points projected), tied for No. 5 in Age-adjusted points-per-game (CHL Stats is a gold mine) and tied for No. 12 in Dangerous Shots (the QMJHL is several miles ahead of the other two leagues in their tracking).
HOW GOOD IS HE?
I think Leveille offers enough skill to be considered the frontrunner (or possibly the only) among the group of players Edmonton will invite to camp. What does that mean? Well, they’ve followed all the rules (that was an issue last year with Tkachev, the Oilers didn’t read the lawyer parts) this time and Leveille is eligible to sign with Edmonton. As was the case with Joe Hicketts of the Detroit Red Wings, he would sign, become a sliderule (not part of 50-man during season) player and return to the QMJHL for the season. It’s a wonderful arrangement and I do think he’s got an edge over a player like Tyler Soy, whose speed may be a concern.
WILL IT HAPPEN?
No idea. It’s another interesting story to follow during training camp and pre-season. More to come.