NHL equivalencies are a great way to put a bunch of players outside the NHL into a single category for the purposes of estimating offense. It is not perfect, but does act as a reasonable guideline for fans to project prospects into the immediate future. This year’s NHLEs have one major issue, but once again give us a solid look at Edmonton’s top forward prospects.


Much work has been done on NHLE, I would direct you to Gabriel Desjardins item that explains his methods and acts as a brilliant starting point.

I also believe an article by Byron Bader that discusses thresholds as a predictor of success—and more—is a worthwhile read.

For the numbers below, I will be using Christian Roatis and his handy methods (with one exception).

I would also suggest reading both Rob Vollman and Kent Wilson, whose fine work in this area has been enlightening.


One of the limitations of the NHLE is that an impact prospect can post a pedestrian number if the right (or wrong) circumstances present themselves. Jesse Puljujarvi (and Patrik Laine) played in the top Finnish league, posting numbers that do not reflect their dynamic performances against players their own age. Even more compelling, both men erupted with impressive playoff performances in the Sm-Liiga playoffs:

  • Jesse Puljujarvi 10gp, 4-5-9
  • Patrik Laine 18gp, 10-5-15

Because these are dynamic players, and their TOI was impacted by playing in a pro league, I have decided (below) to use Aleksander Barkov as the comparable. The Roatis number for JP (82gp, 6-7-13) is clearly shy of reasonable (not the fault of the estimator), so I am using a Barkov NHLE ( x .5) and welcome your input.


  1. Connor McDavid 82GP, 23-40-63 (Actual 45GP, 16-32-48) .768 versus 1.07 (point per game)
  2. RNH 82GP, 11-27-38NHLE (Actual 62GP, 18-34-52) .463 versus .839 (point per game)
  3. Leon Draisaitl 82GP, 15-26-41 NHLE (Actual 72GP, 19-32-51) .500 versus .708 (points per game)
  4. Taylor Hall 82GP, 17-29-46NHLE (Actual 65GP, 22-20-42) .561 versus .646 (point per game)
  5. Nail Yakupov 82GP, 18-22-40NHLE (Actual 48GP, 17-14-31) .487 versus .645 (point per game)
  6. Jordan Eberle 82GP, 22-24-46NHLE (Actual 69GP, 18-25-43) .561 versus .623 (point per game)
  7. Anton Lander 82GP, 14-28-42 NHLE (Actual 38GP, 6-14-20) .512 versus .526 (point per game)

The NHLE’s for most of these men turns out to be low, and that is (in my opinion) a reflection of their special status when entering the league. In the case of Anton Lander—a more earthly figure—the NHLE does its job.

When viewing these numbers, and factoring in Puljujarvi’s status as an impact prospect, it is probably reasonable to assume that even the torqued NHLE for this player may not be enough of a push.


  1. L Drake Cagguila 22-22-44—He is 22 (as mentioned above by Bader, and others, age is a very big item) but does enter pro hockey with a solid resume. I think it is probably a stretch to suggest he will make the opening night lineup but NHL time in 2016-17 appears possible. 
  2. R Patrick Russell 17-17-34—Another college man, he is 23 and has three solid to impressive scoring seasons since coming to Norh America (he is from Denmark). Speed issues would be the concern here, but this is an interesting prospect based on his NHLE.
  3. L Jere Sallinen 10-15-25—It is easy to overlook his signing with all that has come before, but this is a player with pro experience (Sm-Liiga and KHL) and he could surprise. Edmonton has mined this area before (Lennart Petrell, Iiro Pakarinen) and those players have had success in convincing the Oilers they can play in the NHL. 
  4. R Jesse Puljujarvi 11-12-23 (Barkov RE). I find the NHLE somewhat unsatisfactory with this player, and am eager to see him in North America (AHL or NHL) in order to get a feel for his offensive ability. He looks dynamic and effective, but the boxcars trail the visual. Hurry September. 
  5. R Tyler Pitlick 7-15-22—I was somewhat surprised by his signing—not because he cannot play, but because his injury history with the team have been so horrendous. Credit to both sides for trying one more time, and Godspeed young man. 
  6. C Jujhar Khaira 8-13-21—A giant leap last season for Khaira, who was so good the club rewarded him with 15 NHL games. Khaira is extremely unlikely to do anything like score 40 NHL points in a season, but he could be a very effective bottom 6F. 
  7. R Anton Slepyshev 10-7-17—A disappointing season produces a poor NHLE. I think he is a far better player than this, but as is the case with Puljujarvi, the boxcars suggest offense may be a little shy. For Slepyshev, who is 22, this is a big season in 2016-17.
  8. R Greg Chase 8-8-16—He played a limited number of AHL games (NHLE 2-12-14), so this NHLE is from his time in Norfolk of the ECHL. I don’t know why the team felt he should start in the lower league, but it probably benefited him to play more as opposed to sitting on the bench (as was the case with Kyle Platzer for much of the season).
  9. C Bogdan Yakimov 5-11-15—A strange season has me wondering about him as an Oiler. Players who bolt mid-season are often sent away forever, but this is a giant center and they don’t grow on trees. I am not bullish on him playing in the NHL this coming season. 
  10. C Kyle Platzer 5-9-14—The NHLE limitations here (and with Chase) are similar to Puljujarvi—there is some evidence Platzer didn’t play as much as more established players on the team. That should change this coming season.

Up next: The defense.

  • 24% body fat

    One thing with your comparisons, The first NHLE number is a year or two lower in age than the next one. If you take into account progression, numbers seem spot on.

    As for Puljijarvi and Laine, age needs to take a larger factor in the calculation when playing with pros as apposed to juniors. The NHLE should fall off for the same amount of points as they get older.

  • OilCan2

    Puljujarvi is #4 on your prospect list. Coincidence? or just lucky like us?

    I really enjoyed the write up. There is a lot of research done on these guys.

    There is a definite reason to be optimistic with our new found depth. We can look forward to competition for roster spots. It also allows guys to slot in closer to the line where they will succeed. For example Sekera and Fayne playing second pairing with Klefbom and Larsson starting off strong. That could give us a 180 on defensive numbers.

  • madjam

    As per audio of David Staples on Puljujarvi – he also falls into generational talent level due to his size , speed , hockey IQ and skill level . One of few that can play the speed game at McDavid level , yes superior to Laine . That you can see reasonably well by just eye approach . They will be dynamic together and doubt you will see two that can match their speed and skill level in entire NHL today . We got another dandy and future super star ! He should have gone first and we’ll soon be the benefactors of that .

  • RJ

    That JP has skill is undeniable, but the expectation that he will come into the best league in the world as an 18 year old, play on the Oilers top line and produce like a veteran are sorely misplaced.

    Put him the the AHL, and wait a season. I don’t see the downside for his development and adjustment to the North American game.

    • fasteddy

      I get your logic, but often when this is mentioned what isn’t factored in is potential relationship damage; try telling the kid he gets $90k in the minors instead of up to close to $3million in the show and I don’t suspect he’d be too happy. Especially after going through camp and realizing his skills are good enough to play up.

      • Seanaconda

        What does he have to do to hit his bonuses? And would he not get his base 900 of whatever grand to play in the ahl or are all elc’s 2 way??

        But anyways rookies almost never hit their schedule 2 bonuses were they gotta be like a first team all star or top ten in the league in points or winning the calder or hart.

        the sched A bonuses can be pretty easy but they can only add up to 800 grand. While the schedule b goes up to 2 mill. And then they can have a 90 grand signing bonus to hit the full rookie bonus contract.

        So I’m not even sure if any of the oilers rookies got their full bonus contracts paid yet.

      • Oil drop

        The system in place give teams total control over draft picks. If they don’t like what you are doing there only resort is to retire or ask for a trade. Agents will advise against both of those options.

        We own this player in his early years and the team should do what they feel is best. Plus after only making 90k in first year bumping up to 2 or 3 million in second and third year will make player forget about alot of the only making 90k part.

        Do you mind if I ask what you make…never mind it is retorical I am betting 90k is a hell of alot more than he is making now. It is pretty hard to get upset over a paycheck that big so he will be fine. Plus he will be busy learning north american culture and language in Bakersfield while scorin with hot California girls to be piss ed about all the money he didn’t make.. keep in mind his draft pedigree most certainly will ensure him a carrer earning of 20 to 50 million if not more

    • madjam

      I would not bank on him playing in AHL , as one of his best attributes is his superior vision and ability to process the game at an elite level rapidly – speed in both senses of the hockey spectrum . Crosby and McDavid have that extra well tuned sense ,and Jesse appears to have it as well . Whether we go up in the standings this year is going to have a lot to do with Jesse producing this season , not next year after . Could Conner and Jesse be one two in scoring race next year , seeing as they have a wealth of speed and skill ?

      • Cowbell_Feva

        Puljujarvi probably should spend at least a little bit of time in the AHL. The whole rink size does have a lot to do with it. Less time to think, etc. Plus playing against the worlds best….we seen how well it worked with Draisaitl at the same age, and he was used to North American ice playing in the Dub.

        Him and Connor going 1/2 in scoring is flat out silly. #97 is elite, and he if healthy could be a top 5 scorer, but there are too many other elite studs in the NHL to try and have an untested 18 year old kid beat out.

        Benn and Seguin in Dallas, Sid and Geno in Pittsburgh, Stamkos and company in Tampa, oh and that guy wearing 88 in Chicago….not to mention the Getzlafs/Thorntons/Kopitars and Tarasenkos of the hockey world.

      • RJ

        People were extremely excited about the draft two years ago. There were potentially TWO generational players in the draft. McDavid had 48 points in 45 games. Eichel had 56 points in 81 games. I think if JP came close to Eichel’s point totals, fans should be thrilled.

        But to suggest JP could finish second in scoring? I think most people here would like to have some of whatever you’re smoking.

  • madjam

    How do others rate Jesse . Canuck fans rate him this way :

    Chris Tanev RD (4.5M for 4 more seasons ) trade to Oilers for Puljujarvi . 17 for and only 4 against . For Draisaitl – ( 4 for and 6 against ) . After Larsson trade , they would hope to go for big Jesse in their trade . Would you as an Oiler fan make that trade for Jesse , even though I would not .

  • RJ

    I would be curious to ask LT and JW what impact the change in goalie equipment could have on these projected stats. If goalies struggle a lot, we could see a short-term boost in points.