Defining Success for Jesse Puljujarvi

Jesse Puljujarvi may or may not be NHL-ready next season. If
he is capable of playing in the majors, he may not score right away. It’s
important to say these things now so that he’s not branded a disappointment if
he fails to meet some of the sky-high expectations out there.

Jason Gregor wrote a great piece on this yesterday, and this one echoes it somewhat but also works as a complement. Where Gregor looked at European players generally, and the difficulty of hitting the 30-point mark at 18, I’ve decided to focus specifically on Finland and an outer marker for Puljujarvi.

The Finns

Saku Koivu

From 1990 to 2015, NHL teams spent 17 first-round selections
on forwards who spent their draft years in Finland’s SM-liiga. Six of those
picks were top-10 choices; three of them were top-six selections.

Of those 17 players, exactly one scored so much as a single
point at the NHL level in his Draft+1 year.

A lot of that has to do with opportunity, of course. Only
three of those 17 players were moved into the NHL immediately after being drafted,
and two of them—Olli Jokinen in 1997-98, and Mikko Rantanen with Colorado last
year—played less than 10 games. Players like Saku and Mikko Koivu, Mikael
Granlund and Tuomo Ruutu would surely have scored at least a little if they’d come
over from Finland immediately and been given NHL minutes.

On the other hand, none of those guys blew the barn doors
off when they did come over. The high-water mark for any of them was the elder
Koivu’s 45-point rookie season at the age of 21; several of them took a while
to find their legs in North America even after additional seasoning in Finland.

Jokinen is an interesting fit as a comparable for Puljujarvi—he
was picked third overall, is listed at 6’3” and 215 pounds and had better
numbers in Finland—and he had four low-scoring seasons and was traded twice before
he emerged as an offensive threat.

The most interesting comparable for our purposes, though, is
Aleksander Barkov. Barkov, the No. 2 pick in the 2013 Draft, is now a vital
player for the Florida Panthers and is the one guy from our list of 17 who
contributed in the NHL immediately after being drafted. How does he stack up to
Puljujarvi?

Vs. Barkov

Barkov was the second-leading scorer for Tappara Tampere
(Google Translate renders the team name as “Poleaxe”, which is awesome). The
SM-liiga keeps a pretty comprehensive collection of stats, but unfortunately
the really in-depth stuff has only been tracked since 2014. Here are the basics
for Barkov:

  • 53GP, 21 goals, 27 assists, 48 points (0.91 points/game)
  • 167 shots, 12.6 shooting percentage

Puljujarvi’s regular season numbers fall well short of those
recorded by Barkov. He finished sixth on his team in scoring (well, actually
seventh, but Sakari Manninen joined the team late and should probably be
excluded):

  • 50GP, 13 goals, 15 assists, 28 points (0.56 points/game)
  • 175 shots, 7.4 shooting percentage

It’s interesting to see the shot totals so similar. I’m inclined,
however, to think that the gap in shooting percentage is reflective of talent,
rather than poor luck of Puljujarvi. Barkov had back-to-back
seasons with a 12.5 shooting percentage leading up to the draft, while
Puljujarvi shot at just a 6.2 percent clip
in 2014-15.

“He’s done everything but score in the games I’ve seen him
play this year,” one scout told The
Hockey News
about Puljujarvi this year.

Where Puljujarvi has the edge on Barkov is in tournament
play. Both played at the World Junior level in their respective draft years,
and while Barkov was good (seven points in six games) Puljujarvi blew him out
of the water (17 points in seven games).

The other thing in Puljujarvi’s favour is the way his game
grew over the course of the year. We don’t have Barkov’s month-to-month splits,
but we do for Edmonton’s latest pick and they show solid improvement:

  • Prior to January 1: 31GP, 5 goals, 7 assists, 12 points
    (0.39 points/game)
  • After January 1: 19GP, 8 goals, 8 assists, 16 points (0.84
    points/game)

Translations

One of the key tools that we have for projecting players
from other leagues into the NHL are league translations. Gabriel Desjardins
pioneered this work in hockey, looking at players who had come to the league
prior to the 2004-05 lockout; Rob Vollman updated it with players after 2005 in
his 2014 edition of
Hockey Abstract.
Translations are simple; they’re based on past performance of players coming
from other leagues to the NHL.

Here’s how Barkov compared to his translation numbers:

  • Pre-2005 translation:
    0.44 points/game
  • Actual: 54 games,
    24 points (0.44 points/game)
  • Post-2005
    translation:
    0.27 points/game

Barkov’s modest 24-point performance (which pro-rates to 36
points over an 82-game season) is an exact match for Desjardins’ league translation.

How does Puljujarvi fare under the same approach?

  • Pre-2005 translation:
    0.27 points/game (23 points in 82 games)
  • Post-2005
    translation:
    0.17 points/game (14 points in 82 games)

This is a player who by all accounts plays a complete
two-way game, who has good physical tools and a big brain. But the offence may
not come in year one.

“Laine will score earlier,” another scout told THN, “but Puljujarvi, if he doesn’t
score, he’ll still be able to help you.”

If the Oilers are fortunate, Puljujarvi’s growth over the
course of the year will result in him blowing the translated numbers out of the
water. If not, though, it shouldn’t be held against the player. Even if he spends the whole year in the AHL, we might look back on this as a successful developmental season. 

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    With MacT and Lowe around one can never be confident in the oilers high end prospect development. Plain and simple. Those guys have horrible resumes and a track record of squandering and under developing high end talent. End rant.

    • Gotta agree, would not have matter who they drafted, with those clowns in charge of development,they still think the NHL is a developmental league.Dont stop ranting until they get skidded for all their egregious errors (AND ARROGANCE).Too many too list and some are outright hilarious.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Katz should just put those two in charge of the Jasper development camp. They can spend the whole year planning hiking routes and bike trails to go down along with other team building activities. Keep them as far away from the hockey decisions a possible. Keep them away from Jesse!

  • FireScorpion

    Nice to see some common sense amongst Oilers fans finally. Articles of “Patience for Poo” “Defining success for Poo”
    A far cry from the yearly clamor of how the most recent toy will dominate. Guess that’s what 10 years of futility and countless disappointing attempts to rush 18 year Olds will do.

      • FireScorpion

        Really? Hmm well you have fun with Connor ALONE at next year’s draft party. Whatever floats your boat pal.
        I know I’d rather have McDavid, Landeskog, Forsberg, and Seguin myself . As long as you’re happy though down there in the cellar. Must feel homey by now eh?. Hitting on 1 out of 4 is about right for Edmonton though. You usually win about 1 out of 4 games as well don’t you?

        • Zarny

          Landeskog, Seguin and Forsberg are all excellent players.

          The problem, however, has never been the 1st overall selections.. It’s been the garbage they were surrounded with. The Oilers had nothing in the system prior to 2010 and have produced virtually nothing outside of the first round since 2010.

          The only advantage with Seguin over Hall is C vs W. Their offensive numbers are near identical and it’s not like Seguin is a great overall player. Any criticism of Hall’s 200 ft game applies to Seguin too. Landeskog is no better than Nuge. They are different players but again, virtually identical offensive numbers and Nuge has a better 200 ft game. Landeskog is more physical but he’s also a W. Not to mention what has Landeskog accomplished in Col? Nothing. And no one was going to take Forsberg 1st overall considering he slid in the draft.

          You’re looking in the wrong spot.

        • WhaleOilBeefHooked2

          Are you nuts? I’ll give you Seguin, but the Oilers would have been laughed out of the draft if they’d taken Forsberg and Landeskog 1st overall in those drafts.

          Hind sight is 20-20 and maybe those guys look better now (Forsberg yes, Landeskog maybe) but no one in their right minds would have taken those two with the #1 picks.

        • Morgo_82

          Man, you sure love jumping onto the Oilers board to be an a$$hole. Here’s an idea, put the f*cking keyboard down, go take a shower, put on some clean underwear, crawl out of your grandmothers basement, got outside and stop acting like a c*nt.

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        amen to that ! and that’s what he’s very worried about. he knows the Oilers are on the verge of passing the overrated Lames for good. this is a team that just let a guy like Joe Colborne walk out the door after a breakthrough season of 19 goals and 44 points. brilliant!

        • Keepyourstickontheice

          Don’t forget that the Flames are also the team that thinks an aging Brian Elliot is the answer. St. Louis, a much better team than anything Alberta has seen in years, let him go for magic beans, he’s clearly the goaltender of the future.

          Let’s see how the “league’s best defence” can let another overworked goalie down.

          • fisherprice

            Brian Elliot is really good (led the league in sv% LAST SEASON), even if he is getting up there in years. He’s also a stop gap for a young team that’s still developing. He can provide decent to good goaltending but doesn’t need to be signed for big money like a Ben Bishop or anything. Considering what the market was like for goaltending this off-season and what the Flames needed, I think they shored up their goaltending situation as best as they possibly could (Chad Johnson is a backup who can handle a heavier workload than most in case Elliot falters) and didn’t pay big money or commit to anyone long term.

            I agree that letting Joe Colborne walk and signing Troy Brouwer are both bad moves, but overall, I think Treliving has actually done a really good job in Calgary. Believe me, it doesn’t make me feel good to type that out, as I want nothing more than the Flames to fail, and fail hard, but most of his moves have been quite smart (firing Bob Hartley, getting Dougie Hamilton for pennies on the dollar, trading Kris Russell while he still had value, probably over committed on years for Giordano but that’s balanced out by the really reasonable Brodie extension). If not for Connor, I would almost certainly think that the Flames have a better outlook than the Oilers at this point.

            Now, if you want a division rival that is making boneheaded, all over the place management decisions, just look a little further west to Vancouver and Jim Benning.

          • Keepyourstickontheice

            Brian Elliot is very skilled, but he is a frustrating player to own. He has a history of groin injury issues and has managed to play over 40 games only 4 times in 9 years where he was projected to be a starting goalie. Without a solid 1B to play behind him and challenge him for games they are in a dangerous spot.

            If Flames fans think they’re getting the second coming of Miikka Kiprusoff, they’re going to be disappointed.

          • fisherprice

            No Flames fan I’ve ever met or have seen anything written by believes he is the second coming of Kiprusoff though – this is a total strawman argument. Also, Chad Johnson stat line from last year was 22-16-4 with a .920 sv% and 2.36 GAA which are all better than Cam Talbot’s numbers, our unquestioned starter – I’d say he’s a pretty solid choice for a 1B.

            Look, I’m not saying I want the Flames to win or anything, but Oilers fans need to get realistic about our trash talking material. I’m sure you can all agree it’s been pretty embarrassing for us on that front for quite a while.

          • Keepyourstickontheice

            Yeah Chad Johnson is a decent goalie, I wish him well and hope he continues to put up good numbers.

            Two points of contention:

            First, here is a link to the FN article about the Bryan Elliot trade. The comments are overwhelmingly optimistic, and naysayers are mocked. Maybe the Flames fans you know are more level-headed than the ones I know, but I’ve heard the Kipper comparison come out of their mouths, there is no straw man argument being attempted here.

            http://flamesnation.ca/2016/6/24/flames-trade-for-brian-elliott/page/1#comments

            Secondly, if I was talking trash I would be calling Gaudreau a midget on Flames Nation or something along those lines. I do however take exception to trolls coming to ON to try and stir anger up and I will respond with any insight I have to try and bring it back to discussion and away from trash talking(go to 4chan if you want to make people angry and are not interested in talking hockey). The Oilers do not need to be Stanley Cup champions for me to be critical of another piss poor NHL team. Neither Alberta team is anything close to good right now, and they have a lot to prove to leave this era of mediocrity behind them.

          • fisherprice

            Nobody mentions Kiprusoff on that entire page, and I think they have the right to be happy about getting a solid starting option for cheap and without committing much of anything years or money wise. I also don’t think we should go by the worst homers of the FN comments section, unless you enjoy being equated with madjam or Serious Gord in return.

            As much as FN trolls come here when things go bad for the Oil, there’s a decent enough from ON that do it back in return. Again, don’t want the standard to be set by the trolls and dregs of each teams fans.

            Since I seem to get downvoted for being realistic about the Flames, here are some things I think will suck for the Flames going forward:

            Laughable at RW – Frolik is by far their best RW and he’s a good defensive, mediocre offensive 2-3 line tweener. Troy Brouwer is a player who’s offensive totals where primarily the result of other, better players dragging him there and they just signed him to a decent cap hit and multiple years. Alex Chiasson sucks. They have 3 good defencemen and then it falls off a huge cliff after that. They really seem to still think it’s a good idea to give Ferland regular shifts on the basis of one playoff series where he got into the heads of a mentally fragile Canucks team. There were better options than Glen Gulutzan. The fact that his ability to go hiking with Flames management seemingly meant more than going hard after actual elite coach Bruce Boudreau is really funny.

            See, there’s plenty to mock the Flames for!

          • Keepyourstickontheice

            The Kiprusoff line is something my friends from Calgary lay down, not something I saw on Flames Nation, sorry for any confusion I caused.

            All valid points regarding the flames, I think Gulutzan will end up being fine.

          • pkam

            My understanding of having a better outlook is not comparing to another team but comparing to your own performance or result the year before.

            For example, the Oilers is supposed to have a better outlook means we expect our result in 2016 will be better than that of 2015, instead of better than the result of the Leafs.

          • daryl

            And if it wasn’t for injuries we would have finished higher than the Flames. We need a healthy Conner and Klefbom and Davidson to aid in the Larsson era to get to the playoffs.

          • madjam

            The injury situation certainly hurt the team last season , especially after Dec.15 . This will give you an idea/example of how it hurt us .

            Dec.15 /2015 we had a record of14W-15L-2T for 30 points . We finished with 70 points.

            Dec.14/2014 we had 7W-19L-5T for 19 points . We finished with 62 points .

            Dec.15/2013 we had 11W – 21L- 3T for 25 points and finished with 67 points .

            Now look at major injuries after and we see where the downfall came last year despite some positive reasons for optimism .

            Klefbom -Dec.14 -out for season , followed by many long term injuries like Davidson , Gryba, Pouliot , Yakupov, Hopkins , and surprisingly Ference . We simply did not have the depth to overcome so many major injuries last season .

            What is disturbing was after Dec.15 /2015 we only got 40 points as opposed to the other two years of 43 and 42 points , despite McDavid , Maroon and Eberle finishing off the season well .

          • HardBoiledOil 1.0

            i knew this type of answer was coming. the Flames had 4 more whole wins and 7 more points. and with the leagues supposed “best defense”! you’ll have to forgive me if it doesn’t wow me.

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        i’d be embarrassed to if i had to cheer for the team in the south part of this province that will likely be a lotto team this coming year and the only way i could make myself feel better is to come here and beat a dead horse!

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      Have you looked at your forward depth buddy?Youre talking about Ferland being a second line winger .

      He has been a flop and you cowgirls thought he was gonna be Lucic.

      I hate to tell you buddy we have the one and only Lucic so go find some depth on the wings and good luck next year in the cellar.

    • You just got LITT up!

      Why is this comment being trashed? Honestly? It sucks to admit, but it is correct. Oiler fans are so OVERLY sensitive about anything negative towards the Oilers.

  • freelancer

    “Laine will score earlier,” another scout told THN, “but Puljujarvi, if he doesn’t score, he’ll still be able to help you.”

    That is the big takeaway for me. The Oilers need more guys who can contribute away from the puck. I would say McDavid and Nuge are the only other top 6 players the Oilers have who can play a 200ft game. If Puljujarvi can put up 30 points playing a solid two way game next season no one should be disappointed.

    • YEGFan

      You just described a perfectly adequate 4th line player.

      I don’t know where you see him getting 30 points from though. Both of the articles do an excellent job of using facts to demonstrate why that number is unlikely and would represent him vastly exceeding reasonable expectations.

      The point of the articles isn’t that “no one should be disappointed” with 30 points. It’s that “no one should be disappointed” with 15 points.

  • madjam

    Normally I would be overly optimistic like I was with Conner last year . So this year I will tone it down on Jesse and be more conservative .

    Jesse will exceed Laine and Mathews this year and win the Calder trophy . He will press points around 75-80 , on par with Kurris’s first year in Edmonton and equal to Panarin’s 77 points last year . I happen to feel Laine and Puljujarvi have more to offer than Barkov had in his first year . Jesse is also better in the 200 foot game than others in his draft class . Would surprise me if he presses Selanne’s first year in Nhl at age 22 of 132 points . If he plays on top line , which seems possible , 75 points might be even a conservative guess .

    You’ll notice how conservative I have become , not even touting him to win the scoring race at first crack .

  • I am Batman

    Even though all the stats of comparable players are interesting there is only one thing that we cannot predict with stats: human behaviour, except if we are talking of the same human.

    So what I am saying is that Barkov, and Jokinen and Jesse P.; are all different people, with different genes, different situations and different life experiences. It is not reasonable to have same expectations because they are all different people, one of them might be exceptional.

    I fully agree that we cannot expect Jesse to win the scoring title on year one, I fully agree that he might struggle to score at first on this league. However, in comparing him with other finns is like saying “white men can’t jump”, I am sure there are some that can. It is like saying “Canadians are not good at soccer”, where I am sure lots would disagree.

    I am not trying to make controversy (this time, lol), I just think it is very hard to predict human performance by comparing the performance to other peers. We will compare Jesse’s performance to Jesse’s. He is his own man, and for the sake of our team, hopefully he does exceed expectations.

    • pkam

      If every individual is different and shouldn’t be compared to anyone else like you suggest, how do we make expectations? If we can’t make expectations, how can he exceed our expectations?

    • madjam

      That’s the spirit we should all have . Really get annoyed with writers and fans trying to pigeon hole and low ball these new draftees before even seeing them play a game at NHL level .

      • YEGFan

        I really get annoyed with fans and Oilers GMs who ignore all the evidence, over play their hands, and anoint new draftees who beat out pathetic competition in camp with first line minutes before even seeing them play a game at NHL level.

        • madjam

          You really don’t know what your talking about . These players get line minutes because they are the best options to begin with and have NHL talent and skills , and almost always do well their first seasons with or without protected minutes and use . The only one that did not of late is Draisaitl , all the others did very well point wise .

          Example : Gagner -49 points , Hall 42 points , Yakupov – 31 points in only 48 games , Hopkins -52 points in 62 games , McDavid -48 points in 45 games . Draisaitl only exception with 7 points in 39 games . The evidence is quite clear , most do very well their first season , and that’s not so hard to figure out if you are half decent at picking out top talent .

          GM’s know what they are doing , but you do not .

          • Ed in Edmonton 1

            Any theory why 3 of the above have never achieved their Rookie year scoring pace again (Yak, Gags, Nuge). I’m guessing they had very sheltered minutes and when they had to step up into a real top 6 roles it became harder.

          • YEGFan

            What an incredible post.

            The Oilers are literally historically bad, and were an objectively awful team every year one of those players was leaned on as a key member of the team as a rookie.

            They got a ton of minutes and were put in every advantageous position the coach could manage, of course they got points. The team also lost. In fact, they haven’t just lost, they’ve had the worst stretch by a team in league history.

            Are you just angrily being contradictory or do you actually somehow believe the GMs of the Oilers have known what they’re doing? It’s not even up for debate anymore from what I can tell. The team has been awful and the biggest reason for hope was stark luck gifting us McDavid.

          • madjam

            We have been poor for years because of a poor supporting caste , the rookies have been the force that kept us close and part of the solution . The youth has been the best part of our team all these years , not the horrible supporting caste . Even McDavid was of little help with that group , helping us fall back to 29th . Until we get a decent base around our youth the team will continue to falter . Sounds to me like you want to erroneously blame the youth , and not the real problem which is the supporting caste that has failed them and team .

            Your funny , you completely ignor the non production of the supporting caste not being our major problems this decade , but rush to the pump to blame those that are the most productive on our team which still is our youth . If they were not the most productive then they simply would not have been playing them .

          • ifiwasgm

            The Oilers awesome development of said star rookies is why Hall only returned you a good defenceman and Huge and Yak’s value is so low there is no point in trading them.

    • Naturally performance is going to vary based on the individual; at the best of times prediction is an inexact science and particularly when human behaviour works its way into the mix.

      What this does do is give us a frame of reference. If Puljujarvi exceeds it, power to him and so much the better for the Oilers. But if he doesn’t, I don’t particularly want to read in January about what a bust he is.

    • YEGFan

      What are you arguing exactly?

      Yes, pretty much everything in the world is so complicated by variables that it’s impossible to know for sure what an outcome will be.

      It is completely possible Puljujarvi slides in next to McDavid and puts up 100 points. Are you arguing that we should expect the best possible scenario? Are you arguing that we should not consider less favourable scenarios because we don’t know for sure that they will happen?

      The world is complicated and to try and predict anything you have to deal in probability. It’s most likely Puljujarvi plays safely, is fairly successful against weak competition, gets beaten up a bit by top players, and puts up 20ish points. That’s not certainly what will happen, but all the evidence indicates it is probably what will happen.

      The point is that the Oilers would be running a huge risk to plan to have Puljujarvi be one of their key players if they want a good chance of winning most games. For the past 10 years ignoring that fact and being over-reliant on 18 year olds has not worked.

      • camdog

        Personally I’m not to worried about where Puljujarvi is going to fit in next season. He’s a winger and the Oilers won’t need to rely on him like they have had to with every other kid that has played on this team. They’ll be able to send him to the AHL which offers the organisation flexibility.

        I’m more worried about how Nurse or LD are going to be if they are relied on and things don’t go well for them to start the season.

  • Hemmercules

    Like to see Pulju sent down unless he really blows everyone away in camp/pre season. The Oilers throw rookies to the wolves too often. They aren’t making the playoffs anyway, why rush him.

    • ubermiguel

      Even if he plays very well in camp and pre-season I want to see him start in the AHL. Draisaitl and Nurse are the most recent examples of young players that started strong then slowed down as the season went on. Young players need to condition themselves to the long grind of NHL pro-hockey. Puljuujarvi has never played more than 60 games in a season (regular + playoffs), and never against North American pros. He may start strong, but he will decline as the season goes on.

      • RJ

        I agree with this.

        Puljujarvi played 50 games and played around 14:30 minutes per game.

        Admittedly I am not an expert on the SM-Liiga, but I would guess that the travel is much less than the Oilers travel schedule.

        Asking him to play 32 more games, all the additional practices, play more minutes per game (if he were with McD), and manage travel are a lot to ask anyone.

        And that’s without adjusting to a different language, country, learning to play against superior level talent, in a smaller rink with different systems and philosophies.

        I don’t see how letting him adjust over two seasons is the worst thing.

  • RJ

    I think there is one simple measure for success for Puljujarvi: TOI.

    If he averages 18-20 minutes a night in Bakersfield, he will be ready for an NHL spot and contribute in his draft+2 year.

    To get to 18 minutes, he’d need to play on the top line, play the PP, play in OT and maybe the PK.

    Is he good enough to play in the NHL this season? Probably, but you’re not worrying about one season, you’re looking at the next seven.

    And for all those folks who trash this: last summer I said that Nurse should spend the whole season in the AHL. After one uneven season, quite a few commentators are stating Nurse should spend all or part of this season in the AHL. Rushing him to the NHL did him no favors.

  • fisherprice

    I suspect he will play this year for most of the season, I also expect he’ll put up something in the range of 25-40 points. Nearly every scout for every organization rated him as one of the only NHL ready players (Matthews and Laine being the others). NHL ready doesn’t necessarily mean a star rookie though. His skating is NHL ready and he already has a pretty good 200 foot game – given that he’ll probably see at least SOME time with McDavid or Nuge or Drai, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him put up points at a slightly higher clip than other Liiga to NHL comparables, but probably not like 60 points or anything. I think we should temper our expectations if they’re having a star RW right off the bat, but I don’t think it’s outrageous to think he’ll be a solid contributor as early as this season.

    • Rob...

      I’m an a-hole by nature and love a good witty joke or barb, but I’m trying hard to move away from judging/ridiculing someone for their physical features. Join me. Focus on whether or not he can play, whether he puts in effort, whether uses his size to his advantage, whether or not he’s active in the community… Last I checked, the size of his nose, mouth, ears or colour of his skin shouldn’t matter to an Oilers fan.

  • Rebuilding the Rebuild

    Let him tear it up in the A this year. No more 18 year old rookies please. Take advantage of the fact he can play in the AHL rather than junior.

    • madjam

      Eichel had what – 52 points last year with Sabers under worse conditions than even here , yet was instrumental in moving Sabers forward last season . Now I rate Jesse better than Eichel overall and expect he will do very well in the NHL like Eichel had last season . Our team overall will be better than Sabers lineup was back when Eichel entered the league . Some just have a hard time recognizing superior elite talent than others .

      • fisherprice

        Eichel’s draft rating was comparable to someone like John Tavares (who put up 54 points in his first year, btw, it’s hard to score as an 18 year old, even for a first overall). He probably would have gone #1 in every draft from 2010-14 and probably would have this year too. Puljujarvi looks really good but he is categorically not as good a prospect as Eichel was last year.

      • '68 Fire Chicken

        This is sarcasm right ? Eichel is worlds better than pool party. He also played on the top line and got alot of PP time. Pool party is not going to get that in year one here.

        And recogonizing superior elite talent ? Buffalo looks better than our Oil on paper. Proper D. Loads of talented forwards. And a prospect system full of talent developing players properly.

  • Expectations feel similar from when Leon Draisaitl was drafted. No one was expecting the Oilers to draft that high that year. And even after they did get him, everyone seemed fine if he spent the year in the AHL or even sent back to junior. Which they ultimately did after burning a year of his ELC. Great asset management.

    Pujujarvi will have the advantage of not being a centre, and likely not being asked to perform in a key role. If he comes in and takes someone’s job in the top 6, all the better. I suspect not having that pressure will do wonders for his development. It even allows the organization some breathing room of not having to rush him because they have no one else.

    I do think the team will see him get called up at some point in the year, if he doesn’t make it impossible for them not to take him out of camp.

    He appears to be a good skater, have good size and skill, and can play in all areas of the ice. Really the only thing holding him back will be the transition to the smaller surface, and whether or not he can push his skills further.

    Again, since no one at the beginning of last year was expecting the Oilers to draft so high, getting anyone good was great. But having him fall down for nothing, was even better. No rush, and no expectations.

  • Honestly my expectations are so low at this point. In regards to the draft –the only player worth a dam (according to scouts) was Matthews. I have watched him play and while I am not an expert by any means he looks like a beast.

    No clue why PC traded Hall for Larsson and I am not sure Milan is going to be anything more than an aging “slow player” with a long term deal.

    Yes Milan 3 years ago I would have taken in a heartbeat, but in 2016 not so much and seeing how the elite teams are built– all about speed, speed, and speed I wonder. Oh and we traded one of the fastest and best skaters.

    Yes I know who knows, maybe Larsson is that so coveted and Milan scores 25-30 goals.

    Defense and goaltending were curiously not addressed.

    Anyway Happy Summer 🙂

    • How do you think Milan’s speed compared to Maroon’s? Cause if it’s comparable, Maroon got 13 points in 16 games playing on McDavid’s wing.

      Milan was not brought into replace Hall outright. He was brought in to be an upgrade on Maroon.

      By my eye if Maroon can go 13 in 16, then Milan should be just fine.

  • Ed in Edmonton 1

    “He’s done everything but score in the games I’ve seen him play this year,” one scout told The Hockey News about Puljujarvi this year.”

    Could be this year’s Lawson Crouse (I mean that as a compliment). If he turns unto a Bob Gainey type that would be great.

  • Lofty

    Jeanshorts/baggedmilk,

    May be a little issue with the podcast. Otherwise jeanshorts loves interrupting people.

    Chris leaves and things fall apart… Maybe it’s just my download, I dunno but something seems off on my end.

  • RJ

    JW – do you have the P/60 for Barkov versus Puljujarvi? Were they as far apart as the stats suggest?

    The reason I ask: if you listen to some ON fans, Yak is garbage while Eberle is an elite offensive talent. But their P/60 with McDavid are virtually identical. Either Yak is not as bad as some suggest or Eberle is not as good as others suggest.

    • YEGFan

      You can pretty easily see Eberle has produced consistently since he came to the NHL. Most of that time was before McDavid. In terms of points he is one of the best RWs in the league. You can make an argument about how by your eye he looks “soft” or “lazy” or whatever, but you cannot argue he hasn’t consistently produced at a high level throughout his career.

      • RJ

        2011-12 – 78 GP, 76 points (signs big contract)

        2012-13 – 48 GP, 37 points

        2013 -14 – 80 GP, 65 points

        2014-15 – 81 GP, 63 points

        2015-15 – 69 GP, 47 points

        If you look at statistics on point production, Eberle is at the age where he should be peaking. But he isn’t. His point totals and PPG are declining.

        I suppose if you take five year averages, he will come out well, but from season to season his production is steadily declining.

        If we focus just on last season, he was on pace for his career worst production. Thankfully for your guy, he got to play with McDavid, who had an amazing three game stretch after the All-Star game. 2 points against CBJ, 3 points against Ottawa, and 4 points against the Leafs. Take away that 9 point in three games stretch and he would have had his career worst totals.

        Add all of his production with McDavid last season on a P/60 basis, and it’s virtually identical with Yak/McDavid. If I believe ON, Yak is a bust, who should be traded for pucks. How does a bust score at the same rate as one of the best RWs in hockey?

        I read a lot of hockey blogs. Trading for Eberle came up a few times on other teams’ sites. The consensus outside Edmonton was that he scored at an unsustainable rate which landed him his big contract, but that the player from the last 2-3 seasons is the real Eberle. A decent RW, but not one of the best in the game.

        I think that’s fair. He is a decent RW, but not in the top tier. He should be able to outscore Yak in his P/60 with McDavid, no?

        • I am Batman

          Plus…. (Hate me a bit more) have you seen his +/- ?

          -51 on his NHL career. Only one year on the plus side.

          If more goals against are scored when he is on the ice than when he isn’t doesn’t that speak about his laziness, softness and how much of a liability he is on the ice. I don’t care that you can score a pretty goal if the other guys are going to get two because you don’t give a damn about forechecking.

          Not worth the 6 million dollars at all.

          And now everyone is going to pile up on me, say that this is a stupid stat and that it’s not Eberle ‘s fault. That he has always had terrible management, sub par goal tending and an AHL defense…. Accountability people, elite players hold themselves accountable and expect their fans to hold them accountable.

          I hope Jesse comes with desire to camp and he deems Eberle useless

      • camdog

        When Yak was with McDavid he played more of a set up role deferring the puck to McDavid and McDavid then went and scored the goals. When Eberle was with McDavid, Eberle went to the scoring areas and McDavid would pass him the puck for the goal. Both players worked with McDavid, but both players did different things with him on the ice that allowed McDavid to rack up the points.

      • RJ

        The P/60 is useful because it ties in a player’s time on ice to their points.

        Like I said elsewhere, Yak is a bust. He’s brutal. He belongs in the KHL, or deserves to be traded for a bag of pucks. Yet somehow, this defective terrible hockey player scored at the same rate with McDavid as Eberle, one of the top RWs in all of hockey according to ON.

        Maybe, just maybe, playing Yak in the right situation would lead to more than 2 goals. That’s the point.

  • Wintoon

    Deeply concerned with the trend that appears to be developing within Oiler fandom.

    You are starting to sound a lot like Leaf fans.

    Every new draft pick is the next saviour.

    Every player is nit picked to death before they even hit the ice.

    Everyone becomes so caught up in the minute details such as handedness of the D when we first need to get up to the level where we actually have an NHL calibre D group.

    Just give these young guys room to breathe. Most importantly however, be fans, be supportive and support this team. They are going to be very good very soon.

  • camdog

    I went to a game 2-3 years back. Yak was maybe in his second season in the league. It was late in the game and Yak went hard to the net and 3 members of the other team starting face washing him and the rest of the players on the Oilers turned their back to the kid and started heading to the bench for a line change. It was really hard for me to cheer for a team that would not be supportive of each other. Fortunately PC has remodelled the team, players are now being held accountable. Even if they do not win next season I think the team will be fun to watch and they will at the minimum try each and every night.

  • madjam

    Eberle not in bottom or middle tier , he is in top tier still . Having multiple nights of points is a positive , you only worry if it is a one shot deal . His production pretty steady considering injury time and new line mates and coaching style change once again . Scoring at an unsustainable rate you might apply to Maroon at over 20% last season , or Yakupov at over 20% his first season , but I see nothing to suggest Eberle ‘s is unsustainable . Eberle at a higher level of player than Yakupov has shown so far and if your not blind it is easy to see . Price for forwards near 60 points a season is basically right around the 6M figure .

    Looking at Eberle this year , he spent less time with Pouliot, Hall and Hopkins than previous seasons , and more time with McDavid (a raw rookie ) and Maroon .Understanably his point production was slightly down and injuries also played a part . Yak has been a problem production wise since his first unsustainable season , and it’s not hard to see how it plummets with most line mates he plays with .

    • FireScorpion

      So he played less with Poo, Hall and Nugent but more with This apparently generational talent and so his production went down hey? Tell me more
      Makes sense as the Oilers record was actually slightly worse with McDavid in the lineup.. Generational indeed

      Eberle is overrated like the rest of your guys. No one values them like Oilersnation . Hell the trade value on Yak is nothing and Nugent couldn’t even gain you a top dman. Neither could Hall for that matter. Hilarious

      • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

        Hey MODS. I know that we here on On have way more leeway than they do on FN, but I think there comes a time with this firebug to remove him from this site.
        He never brings anything worthwhile to talk about and he belittles everybody’s comments or suggestions.
        I for one am tired of seeing his daily bullship. Once in a while is fine but this is getting to the point where regular visitors to this site are getting pissed off.
        Please do us all a favor and remove him.
        We have our own trolls here but at least they’re ours.

        • HardBoiledOil 1.0

          and none of us are offended by an opposite opinion, but there is a difference between that and trolling. me personally i feel other teams fans are welcome if they ADD to the discussion. but i feel that some of these guys add nothing but trolling and in some cases a blind eye seems to be turned. if some of these guys won’t actually TALK about hockey other than stating the obvious and beating a dead horse (your team sucks, haven’t made the playoffs for a decade, yadda yadda) then yes, please to removing or blocking these turkeys!

        • supra steve

          And who has more posts on FN than you Train? Occasionally you have a point, more often you just hope to stir up the locals. Then you post this, on your home site? Pathetic child.

          And Scorpion, you aint no better, get yer @ss back home.

  • JBear

    I seem to remember Yak being the right time right place (ie wide open in front of net) when playing with Conner. The Oilers have so many options now with Conner making players around him better.

    As for Puljuarvi, history has shown that Finns struggle in their draft year in the NHL. Be best to start him in the AHL.