HOW GOOD IS PATRIK LAINE?

Like it or not, we are going to be talking about the draft again in Edmonton this spring. Unless the Edmonton Oilers plan on going all ‘Ralston Purina St. Louis Blues’, they are very likely to be sitting front row, feature table. The good news? Some outstanding players are available.

By the fall of 2015, Laine was known to those of us who follow the draft via flowery scouting reports and good boxcars in the SM-Liiga, Finland’s pro league. Steve Kournianos has certainly been vocal in his praise for the player, as his website shows:

  • Kournianos: Laine’s become the best power winger prospect in the Finnish Elite
    League, and all before his 18th birthday. He’s a big-bodied scoring
    threat with a devastatingly accurate wrist shot and a penchant for
    eluding detection, so when you combine the two, you get the desired
    result. From a skating perspective, he’s shown an improved stride, which
    allows him to go zone-to-zone in a hurry. But what’s been most
    impressive about his Liiga campaign beyond burying the puck has been the
    accuracy of his passes off the rush. Laine’s been dominating both his
    peers and those slightly senior in age for a while now, and by that we
    mean both physically and statistically.
    Source

I recommend clicking on the link, a very interesting story about Laine is contained inside.

Early in the season, Red Line report looked at Laine and compared him to countryman Jesse Puljujarvi:

  • Red Line: “Puljujärvi is clearly the stronger skater of the two and he will always
    have an advantage in this very important aspect of the game, but I
    think Laine is the one who’s showing more offensive talent and upside.
    Laine has better puck possession skills in the offensive zone, his dekes
    are more effective, his reach is greater and he uses his size better.
    Laine is a bit smarter offensively, he’s better at controlling the pace
    of the play and his scoring touch is on a higher level
    . There are still
    obvious consistency issues, but overall he looks more dangerous in the
    offensive zone than Puljujärvi. “Overall Puljujärvi has performed quite
    well and is getting involved every shift, and through ten games no
    opposition goals have been scored while he’s been on the ice. But
    generally speaking, he hasn’t looked like an unstoppable offensive
    threat that’s dangerous almost every shift. He’s generating some good
    scoring chances, but not enough to really stand out in comparison to his
    teammates.”
    Source

laine capture

HOW GOOD IS HE?

We have an interesting top of the charts this season, as the three best forwards available are all playing in substantial pro leagues in Europe. Time on ice impacts these young men, but it is interesting to see how each is performing in their respective leagues: 

  1. Auston Matthews 28GP, 21-15-36 1.29 (NLA, Switzerland’s top pro league)
  2. Patrik Laine 29GP, 11-10-21 .724 (SM-Liiga, Finland’s top pro league)
  3. Jesse Puljujarvi 36GP, 7-10-17 .472 (SM-Liiga)

One of the very difficult things to suss out is the strength of these leagues. Rob Vollman of Hockey Abstract ranks the Swiss League ahead of the Finnish league at this time. Source

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

I think it is reasonable to say any NHL team would be thrilled to get Patrik Laine and that he should go inside the top four overall (three mentioned, and Keith Tkachuk’s boy). Craig Button, TSN’s draft guru, says this about the two Finns:

  • Button: As for Puljujarvi and Laine, both currently skating in the
    Finnish Liiga, it’s a coin flip for me. Puljujarvi may have a more
    well-rounded game, whereas Laine may have more flair. I don’t know who
    is the better prospect at this time and may never know with any real
    confidence, but it’s safe to say you can’t go wrong with either one of
    them. Source

He has Puljujarvi No. 2, and Laine next in line. I think we have this player surrounded at this time, with the season still underway and spikes or downturns possible.

    • ChillyPepper

      Exactly, the last thing the oilers need is another top 1st round forward , that gets thrown into the mix at 18 years old, and gets poisoned by the losing ways of the current oiler culture. Trade the pick for some immediate help.

      • TheYarish

        Given that the top-3 are playing in pro leagues already, then they’d probably adapt and perform a lot better than someone out of juniors.

        Add to that they would come in on an ELC, which would free them up to move a $6m player which could be the cap space to sign a top-2 D, keeping the puck makes the most sense to me.

      • TheYarish

        We wont make the playoffs. We would be making a trade under duress which means we lose the trade. We have lots of cap space this summer. Now is not the time to make a trade.

    • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

      If you end up with the 7-10 pick which is possible, which d man are you going to get with that pick.
      Right now GM’s only want to get rid of old d men with brutal contracts.
      RNH was a #1 over all and wasn’t enough to get Jones out of Nashville.
      How many stud d men have been traded over the last 5 years, very few if any (before Jones). How many old d men with heavy contracts that the team will be stuck with have been traded, the answer, lots.
      If Nurse turns into a stud d mean, and the team has McDavid and Draisaitl to sign, bearing in mind they own 3 6 million $ contracts already. The math doesn’t add up.
      Trading a so called core player or two for a stud d man makes more sense, if it can be done.
      And then keeping your draft pick, because you are going to need cheap kids to fill in the gaps. Chicago has done a great job of that.
      Their draft picks have allowed them to do this.

      • BDH

        Agreed. Trade one or two of Eberle, Hopkins or Hall for one or two right hand dman. Hall will get the biggest return, Eberle the least, but keep the draft pick as cheap replacement for these players as you will have to pay whatever dman you get. Just bringing in one dman for one of these guys would make a big difference.

      • BDH

        If you don’t trade the pick then trade somebody for defense help.

        It is going to be difficult to trade Eberle, RNH for any defense help. They each make 6M and are 2bd line players on a playoff team..

        I think you can get more for a draft pick, especially top 3

      • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

        We don’t need a big stud 8 million dollar a year dman to do well in the playoffs. Nashvilles got two of them, and they can’t get past the first round and this year are a borderline playoff team.

        We need a veteran top pairing serviceable dman, it doesn’t have to be a Shea Weber type place.

      • Oil City Roller

        I don’t know if you’ve noticed but all the Oilers have already become a dynasty with all those first round picks. A dynasty of shame.

        Dude I want you to dig down deep, to that last shred of dignity you have left and give up on the draft lottery pipe dreams. I’m pretty sure teams like Chicago and L.A. don’t sit around licking their chops at the thought of the next 18 year old that’s going to save the team. Winners don’t wait around to be gifted success.

        • TheYarish

          every team gets a first round pick. And are you really mentioning Chicago a LA, you realize not long ago those two teams drafted near the top of draft for a Decade.

      • TheYarish

        The problem isn’t keeping the high picks.

        It’s completely missing on picks 2-7. Look at any playoff team, and they are successful in finding players beyond the first round. Davidson is the only pick that’s really shown any real progress or ability at the NHL level.

        It’s also failing to hit on their free agents. Sekera has been good after his first 20 games. Who else is performing? Nikitin, Ference, Jultz, Fayne? Reinhart? That’s five defencemen, and maybe you give a break to Reinhart, but the rest are underwhelming. Any quality forwards signed recently?

        How about goaltending? How many All-stars have they had in net? Not very many recently.

        Trade one of the top-6 forwards to add a d-man, and replace them with one of the high pick. Then you have future cap space to sign Drai and McDavid.

  • TheYarish

    If the Oilers take a winger, they better have a plan. They took Yak and in his second season found himself on the 3rd line.
    The team cant just keep collecting these players.
    For example when McDavid gets back, soon he will be the #1 center and Yak seems to be a great fit for him. Where does this leave Eberle and Poulet. Who slides to the 3rd line.
    And when RNH comes back and is the #2 center that pushes Draisaitl to the right wing.
    As I said a plan would be nice.

  • Strottie

    Either Laine or Puljujarvi make Eberle expendable. I can’t decide between the two. Hopefully the scouts can.

    But who are we kidding, we’re winning the lottery anyways :]

  • BDH

    Trading away a potential lottery pick in the top 3 would be a huge mistake. I believe in this core, and adding another piece will only strenghen the team. The fans need to be patient here, as its only new managements first year, once they have a healthy Oscar Klefbom and Conner Mcdavid then this team will reach its full potential.

          • TheYarish

            how is a 180 pound elf the solution ?? How is the dumbest looking man in hockey ( ebs ) the solution ? The solution to the problem is addressing the problem and that is the soft more or less useless group that for some reason has been deemed our ” core “.

          • TheYarish

            Have you watched the previous 4 seasons with nuge ? I brought up eberle cause I hate him also lol im not saying trade nuge for free Gatorade im saying trade for defense , and also 29 teams wouldn’t take nuge hence Nashville taking johansen a quality #1 centre built for the playoffs , which nuge is not and judging by nashvilles record in terms of draftingand trading for talent , the fact a competent and successful gm does not consider nuge a peice of a Stanley cup puzzle should say it all

          • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

            How does anyone take a comment like this seriously, the solution to the problem is addressing the problem??

            I see people respond to this kind of nonsense all the time.

            Just take a step back and realize this guy just want to evoke a response, it’s his game and don’t get sucked into this.

            Anyone who watches hockey, talks hockey and is a fan of the game and players know things like.

            Looks dumb is not a credible opinion.

            Soft – perhaps the second dumbest comment when talking about players more importantly talking about centres.

            – the weight, the last criteria of being a troll loser.

            these soft, lady bing players who never fought and weighed around 180 lbs are smiling.

            Gretzky – Sakic – Yzerman

          • TheYarish

            Lol since you didn’t understand what I meant by the solution is addressing the problem I will simplifiy it for you: the players we have are not peices to a winning team. The evidence for that is on your tv screen whenever the oilers play contending teams , as to eberle looking dumb I place no emphasis on his playing ability on how stupid he looks but if the man is gonna play as dumb as he looks it’s something to make fun of , modano was the dumbest looking human on earth but he was hell of a player. Eberle is not. When I say these players are soft it has nothing to do with how many fights they’ve been in but how heartless they are , and bob Mckenzie talks about not wanting soft players
            On his team all the time and our roster is literally full of them and if nuge played half as good as Sakic would anybody want him traded ? the only thing nuge and ebs have in common to those guys is a weight class ? Not heart level not compete level not hockey iq not leadership just their weignts are similar so why even compare hall of famers to a bunch of losers ?

          • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

            its so obvious this team is not built right, but its writers like Lowetide etc who continue to buy in to this lousy core. they are too small, too soft, they dont compete hard enough, but of course its all good here because guys like lowetide, tell us that injuries are the reason this team is a bunch of contiunous losers.

  • TheYarish

    Draft talk already?

    Come on Allan, we have 32 games left to play and if we win 30 of them we have a chance to make the playoffs.

    Where is your inner optimism?

    • BDH

      they would probably only need 21 wins and that would probably be good enough. But yeah it is quite bad to be already talking about a top 5 pick again. Its like groundhog day year after year. What allan should really talking about instead, is why this has been occuring year after year without any improvement in standings. And forget about the usual staples of saying injuries etc.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    Thinking about this makes me mad. I still want to blow it up! GET EKBLAD. He’s going to be the best defenceman of his generation. youll have to over pay to get him outta Florida but that’s fine. If anyone can afford to over pay its the loser oilers. This first rnd pick, Reinhart and Hall for Ekblad and a 2nd?

    McDavid, Draisaitl, Ekblad, Klefbom, Nurse

    That is a dream core! Generational Center, Generational Dman, star Center and 2 star Dman

    Balance! That would give you a better core than the Hawks.
    You’re gonna have to trade Hall, Eberle and RNH eventually anyway. Might as well start while they’re worth somthing.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    5 first round picks and what will fix this team is a 6th?!? If no one has noticed the current recipe makes a S@#t sandwich. If they don’t try something different get ready for a familiar taste.

    • BDH

      the feeling i get is the media and fans have fallen in love with there 1st round picks, the thought of moving the eberles, halls, nuges,etc and the fans freak out. Its not working the last decade, yet insanity rules in edmonton, just keep stirring the same ingredients and hope for different results i guess.
      I have heard Lowetide say it would be insane to move Nugent Hopkins, when in reality when you are this bad for so long, everything should be considered.

        • HardBoiledOil 1.0

          Exactly,and then ended up moving him for a underperforming Teddy Purcell, because nobody wanted Gagners 5 million dollar salary . I recall Jason Gregor ranting and raving that the oilers resign hemsky and they did, and by the time the oilers moved him his value had dropped to 2 mid round lower draft picks. Assest management here has been awful, falling in love with talented players when in reality the mix should have been changed years ago., its an ugly cycle that continues to this day, and is why the oilers are still at the bottom, while other teams like Calgary, Colorodao, Florida, Arizona, have made strides.

          • HardBoiledOil 1.0

            agreed. the love for same nucleus of players and an unwillingness to trade one or two of them over the years has definitely been a contributing factor in what has kept this team in the toilet.

    • Dwayne Roloson 35

      We all know the problem. No one’s saying another pick will fix the team. Maybe we should just forfeit our picks because people are mad about our position in the standings/s

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    This would be the year to deal this pick. I’m thinking Eberle and/or Nuge will also be on the move next year. I can’t see Chiarelli coming back with virtually the same group. Big changes are coming to Oil Country in the offseason.

  • Mr.Snrub

    Remember this year there’s a draft lottery for all of the Top 3 picks!

    With the Oilers MVP Bill Daly on the scene i’d say there’s a very strong chance the Oilers end up with Auston Matthews,Jesse Puljujarvi or Patrik Laine wearing Oiler silks this fall.

  • TheYarish

    I would consider taking Laine
    1st overall. He can skate,has high level of skill and has a wicked right handed shot. Oh and he’s massive 6’4, 210 lbs and apparently still growing

  • ChillyPepper

    In 2011 the Swedes began following the NHS which had been officially introduced by Pat Quinn and the Oilers in 2009 …..known as the NewAge Hockey System it has taken Hockey by storm worldwide…..http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=598251,the Finns and all the Euro teams are ROCKING IT NOW…..if you dont understand the Systems and philosophies these men play in you CANNOT evaluate them properly.

    The Oilers cannot even properly valuate the Core who survived their NHS pogrom.

    The French almost wiped T-Mac off the ice surface…….LMAO…the Finns cannot be properly valuated by the Oilers…lol…lol…lol.

  • TheYarish

    Trade something.. . either the pick or some players and get a defense man, what needs to happen for people, or management, to realize that that is what this team needs!

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    The Oilers need a two top pairing defensmen now.

    An example would be Hamonic and Shattenkirk.

    The Only way to get those kind of players would have to include a first round pick I would think, have a feeling the Oilers won’t under any circumstances trade there own pick.

    I can see Yakupov being used to acquire a 1st to be flipped as part of a deal to acquire a top pairing defensmen, this way the Oilers can retain there’s.

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    I am absolutely astonished at the number of posters on here that completely disregard what injuries have done to this team. This team was not expected or built to win the cup this year. We know that. The management team made a poor decision in regards to the defense. This is also true. BUT consider the injuries

    McDavid-37 games
    Eberle-13 games
    Klefbom-20 games
    Hendricks-10 games
    Davidson-7 games and counting.
    RNH-4 games and counting
    Pouliot- 10 games
    Schultz- 14 games
    Yakupov 22 games

    Plus more totaling 205 man games. #1 in the NHL! Chiarelli made an error by putting too much trust in previous regimes opinion on D. And in particular counted on Schultz to make steps forward.. This was most definitely a mistake. But if you cant see that injuries(especially injuries to such key player) have not played a major role in this year. Then you are straight up missing a few screws.

    Amongst the Oiler losses this season “15” have been 1 goal game losses. Tell me the injuries above wouldnt of changed at least some of those results? 11 more points would put them 8th place in the West.

    The defense needs to be fixed. Perhaps they trade Ebs ++ for a 1st pair D? Perhaps they spend all the cap space they will soon have on a free agent 1st pair D? One way or another this will be done prior to next season.

    If this exact team had 1/2 the injuries and added a 1st pair D. They would absolutely be in the playoff picture.

    I dont know what it is about blog posters but the melodrama dial is much too high. All this weeping and gnashing of teeth.. The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Is quite the over reaction. The team really isnt that far off. 1-2 new D men, a better start to the season for the goalies, 1/2 the injuries and we are looking at making some noise in the playoffs.

    • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

      I get the plan. Add a new defenceman or two and fix the goaltending and they’ll be right back in the hunt. The problem isn’t the plan, it’s the execution of the plan.

      Remember Scrivens, Fasth, Ference, Nikitin and Fayne were supposed to be the solution?

      PC comes in and it’s Talbot, Nilsson, Sekera, Gryba and Reinhart were supposed to improve the roster.

      They finished 28th last year, they’re 28th now (29th by the All-Star game).

      I think ten years out of the playoffs has people frustrated. What else would you expect?

      • ChillyPepper

        Yes previous regime was an utter failure. They are particularly poor at assessing the D. Schultz/Nikitin/Ference were brutal moves.. many more mistakes i wont bore you with.

        Lets talk about the new GM. Posters on here seem to like to put all the Oiler failed moves over the past 10 years into 1 blame. Chiarelli was hired less then 12 months ago.

        So do you think Talbot, Sekera, and Reinhart are busts? Is that decided already?

        Did you miss the part where the team leads the league in manned games lost? Did you or any of the other posters here notice the names on that injury list?

        There’s a good argument to be made that Chia has not been perfect. He hasnt. But you give this team assembled .910(below league average) goaltending in the 1st month + 1/2 the injuries and i’ll show you a playoff team.

        Does it suck? Am i frustrated by yet another year? F&%$k yah. I just like to put things into perspective.

    • TheYarish

      So you are happy finishing in 28th place again, its fans like you that keep the oilers management going good job boys. Injuries excuses are for losers, results matter and apparently you dont care about finishing dead last again.

      • TheYarish

        Yes i’m a long time Oiler fan and i’m happy with another bottom 5 finish. Good question.

        Here’s a crazy idea. Losing 2 of your top 3 Centers and 2 of your top 4 D men for 4-6 weeks each DOES have an effect on the results. So results matter and are also affected by injuries. Especially when they have to 4 of your top 6 forwards and 2 of your top 4 D. Its really quite logical if you can take emotions out of the equation.

        • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

          Nothing but pathetic excuses for another year of being a bottom feeing team. Its a pathetic team with pathetic fans who accept losing so easy, and make excuses .

    • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

      Only 1 goal losses, instead of blow outs, thas the talk of low expectations for a loser team. Im sorry but losees are losses and another 30th place finish seems to be the norm in edm

      • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

        Let me break this down for you

        1st line Center-RNH
        2nd line Center McDavid
        1st Line RW Eberle
        2nd line RW Yakupov
        2nd line LW Pouliot
        1st/2nd Pair Klefbom
        2nd Pair Davidson

        All missing for major portions of the season. 4-8 weeks in some cases.

        Apply that to any team in the league and tell me that’s not going to have a -10pt effect at minimum on the standings?

        • ChillyPepper

          Let me break this down for you. They were a terrible team before the injuries, and they’re a terrible team after the injuries.

          If they were playing good hockey, then started falling down the standings after all the injuries, you’d have a leg to stand on.

    • '68 Fire Chicken

      10 years out if the playoffs and fans/bloggers being upset is not melodramatic. You took a snapshot in time (this year) to make your point. It should not have taken 10 years to build a winning team.

      All teams have injuries, some still win enough games to make the playoffs. What’s our excuse now ? Maybe if the players weren’t hobbits we wouldn’t be the IR leaders.

      A decade of no playoffs is in the horizon and some people are to inept to understand why fans are “gnashing teeth”. Give me a break. If you settle for poor results in life like that then that’s your benchmark. Some of us aim a little higher than worst every year….

      But you know there is always next year…

      • Van isl Oiler

        We have been hearing the same old spiel for the last 5 years and the oilers continue to be the laughing stock of the nhl. They are the definition of the poster child of how not to build a team. The softest bunch of skill forwards who don’t know how to win

  • Van isl Oiler

    Read the first paragraph of the article and skipped straight to post a comment.

    Edmontons first pick this year is more likely to be traded than in any other. The teams needs are obvious and this is a major bargaining chip that will be dangled. You can count on it.

  • Van isl Oiler

    Nobody in their right mind pays any heed to LT’s comments. If he had his way Al Hamilton, Ryan Smyth and Bucky would still be playing. I’m thankful he is just a talking head and not the Oiler gm.

    • ChillyPepper

      Yeah lowetide has little credibility anymore his pandering towards the oilers is so evident the team is a joke yet he thinks all his rosy typical of the no expectations here , and the reason oilers management is so comfortable here knowing all the media are just puppets

  • ChillyPepper

    Nurse is/was supposed to be the stud defence man… But as of lately the playing over his head is doing some pretty crappy things to his game. Do we honestly believe Klefbom is the answer? Is he going to be immune to playing above his level and his game going to the dogs?

    I believe the Oilers need a crappy contract defenceman to mentor those 2 (Nurse y Klefbom) or this organization will continue this crappy cycle of losing. There is an incredible amount of talent, and a lot of potential on the ice. These young guys are missing their leaders. Thinking that McDavid is going to be the saviour to this team is not the answer.

    The days of one guy coming in and sweeping the team to playoffs and Stanley Cups are long gone. One goal game losses are still losses, no matter how we try and spin them. This team desperately needs some leadership, and to put that pressure on McDavid is ludicrous. This team needs defence, and it has for a very very long time.

    Does trading Nuge get you one piece? Maybe… But then we are right back to square one, a young kid trying to push this team forward. That sounds familiar huh…