Every once in awhile I will think about Jordan Oesterle’s season and project him onto the Oilers roster in 2016-17. He is advancing as a prospect, you know. He has learned his lessons in the AHL, the wobbly bits are less a part of his everyday game—and that brilliant footspeed shines like a diamond.
The problem with projecting him is this: He is a lefty, and Edmonton has so many—too many—at both the NHL and AHL level. How does a prospect like Oesterle make it to the NHL?
I am (in general) convinced Oesterle can help an NHL team in a depth (first recall) role. Now, today. Let’s take a look at his NHL numbers and then look at his minor league totals.
WAR ON ICE PLAYER CHART
This is via War-on-Ice, a couple of notes:
- Oesterle is in the ‘less sheltered’ quadrant (Brad Hunt is getting the soft parade, look at him over there lollygagging!)
- He is not playing the toughest competition (Klefbom is) and he is not taking the most own-zone starts in the portion of his shifts that begin with a faceoff (Klefbom, Fayne and Sekera are).
- The color of his bubble is almost blue. Oesterle posted a Corsi for 5×5 percentage of 48.6—49.5 when he was playing away from Griffin Reinhart. Source
- He did and does play RH side.
- He posted an 0.83 5×5 points-per-60 total, No. 3 on the Oilers (in a small sample). Source
- He is younger than Joey Laleggia (by one day) and Brandon Davidson.
- He is a fast train.
This is all in very few games (17, 0-5-5) but there is a story here and that is important. Peter Chiarelli will eventually cull the herd (he WILL, right?) and the best lefties should rise to the top of the leftorium. Based on his recall, one would have to rank Oesterle ahead of at least some of his AHL defensive mates. Let’s have a look at the AHL numbers.
- Jordan Oesterle 0.395 points-per-game
- Brad Hunt 0.339
- Dillon Simpson 0.304
- Griffin Reinhart 0.300
- Joey Laleggia 0.274
- Darnell Nurse 0.222
- David Musil 0.182
- Ben Betker 0.143
- Nick Pageau 0.143
- Martin Gernat 0.111
That is a good sign for Oesterle. He doesn’t get the power-play time that wizard Brad Hunt gets, but at evens has the edge. We don’t have TOI estimates, but Hunt gets his share. Interesting to see Simpson—a player not generally regarded as being an offensive type—showing fairly well here. As an aside, the top number among regular AHL blue this season? TJ Brennan, 0.696.
I love the site AHL.Prospects-Stats.com (link below) because they estimate time-on-ice. Using all disciplines, we get an idea about defensive scoring by player. Remember, this includes all situations, EV, PP and PK.
- Brad Hunt 2.003
- Jordan Oesterle 1.707
- Joey Laleggia 1.336
- Griffin Reinhart 1.216
- Dillon Simpson 1.205
- Darnell Nurse 0.884
- David Musil 0.735
- Nick Pageau 0.665
- Ben Betker 0.630
- Martin Gernat 0.413
- AHL Prospects
Hunt ends up first overall, but his PP points edge (21-7) over Oesterle skews this number. At evens, the best offensive defender on the team appears to be Oesterle.
Andrew Ference after Oesterle’s first NHL game in 2014-15: “He was really, really good. He
had great composure, fantastic skating ability, he was so calm. I
remember my first game, I didn’t want to touch the puck and he’s
handling and skating up the ice really well and making great plays. It
was very impressive.” Source
Gerry Fleming in February (via Bob Stauffer via Jon Willis): “Over the last six weeks Jordan Oesterle has been by far our
best defenceman overall. His positioning defensively, his ability to skate the
puck out of trouble, his ability to make plays both defensively and offensively
has really elevated our defensive core as a group.” Source
I have Oesterle No. 8 among the LHD here, but Ference and Nikitin are unlikely to play in the coming season for the Oilers or Condors. Injuries to Oscar Klefbom and Brandon Davidson during this season could be factors at the beginning of next season, and the rest of the depth chart behind Andrej Sekera is very young.
I am inclined to think Oesterle has a reasonable chance to play a significant number of games in the NHL this coming season with the Oilers. Agree? (Photo by Mark Williams)
Previously in this series: