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.
PREVIOUS NHLE’S FOR OILERS PROSPECTS
- Connor McDavid 82GP, 23-40-63 (Actual 45GP, 16-32-48) .768 versus 1.07 (point per game)
- RNH 82GP, 11-27-38NHLE (Actual 62GP, 18-34-52) .463 versus .839 (point per game)
- Leon Draisaitl 82GP, 15-26-41 NHLE (Actual 72GP, 19-32-51) .500 versus .708 (points per game)
- Taylor Hall 82GP, 17-29-46NHLE (Actual 65GP, 22-20-42) .561 versus .646 (point per game)
- Nail Yakupov 82GP, 18-22-40NHLE (Actual 48GP, 17-14-31) .487 versus .645 (point per game)
- Jordan Eberle 82GP, 22-24-46NHLE (Actual 69GP, 18-25-43) .561 versus .623 (point per game)
- 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.
NHLE’S FOR OILERS PROSPECTS, 2016-17
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.