TOR - NYR 1.00
MTL - BUF 1.00
FLA - BOS 1.00
CAR - MIN 1.00
WPG - NSH 1.00
STL - TBL 2.00
DAL - PIT 2.00
VAN - CGY 4.00
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NYI - ARI 21.00

Statistical analysis from the Finnish League: Jesse Puljujärvi and Patrik Laine

LIIGA, MAAJOUKKUE, NHL / Artikkeli
Jesse Puljujärvi has played a rather offensive role.
Kuva © Juuso Pellava - juuso.pellava@jatkoaika.com
Finnish top prospects for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft made a big impression at the 2016 World Junior Championships. Jatkoaika takes a look at their advanced statistics from the first half of the Finnish League season 2015-16.

17-year olds Jesse Puljujärvi and Patrik Laine made a big impression at the World Junior Championships in Helsinki. How have they done in the Finnish League this season? Jatkoaika takes a look at their advanced statistics of the season's first half before the WJC break. Note: Puljujärvi's first game after the World Juniors is not included in the stats.

Laine clearly a star for Tappara Tampere

Laine's season for Tappara has been a success. A small injury kept him sidelined for a while, but during the 24 games he's played, Laine has posted impressive eight goals and eight assists. However, five of the goals have been scored on powerplay, so how is his game on even strength?

Not bad at all. Laine's Corsi rating on even strength is 52,87 %. It's even more impressive when look at his Corsi Rel, which is 5,8 % higher than the team average. His tendency to produce a lot of shots increases his team's chances on scoring goals. Even the comparisons to Alexander Ovechkin aren't totally ridiculous, when it comes to his style of play.

Laine's shooting percentage likely tells us that his accuracy on even strength could be better, as the positive possession game and plenty of shots has not brought more than three ES goals to the young man himself.

Tappara is not on top of the Finnish league in Team Corsi. They do, however, have quite a lot of skill and ability for good puck possession when the game is close, or they are trailing by one or two. Some of their players like Kristian Kuusela are definetely among the best players in Liiga. 

Stats comparison 1
  ES TOI/G PP TOI/G SH TOI/G C% C per 60 min ON ICE Sh% ON ICE SAVE-% PDO AVG SHOOTING distANCE for (ES) AVG Shooting distance AGAINST (ES)
Laine Patrik 00:13:05 00:03:33 00:00:31 52.87 +3.37 8.53 92.56 101.09 12.06m 13.49m
Puljujärvi Jesse 00:12:27 00:02:15 00:00:04 56.49 +10.03 8.38 95.30 103.69 11.68m 14.86m

Oulun Kärpät has great puck possession stats - so does Puljujärvi

Laine's linemate in the World Juniors, Puljujärvi, has done even better for Oulun Kärpät. The top prospect has the personal Corsi at 56,49 %. It's also one of the best in the Finnish league. One has to notify that Kärpät team percentage is much higher than Tappara's, but Puljujärvi's Corsi Rel is also a very good one at +2,8 %.

Kärpät is on top of the Finnish league on standings, and on puck possession too. They enjoy a high level of puck control, where their offense varies a lot between quick attacks and patient passing plays depending on the score and time remaining. They often relay on long board plays in the offensive zone, when looking for a perfect chance to score - instead of shooting the puck right away or dumping it to the boards and giving it away. Kärpät doesn't like to give the puck away, even if they aren't generating shots from every shift.

Puljujärvi has scored a total of 5 goals and 12 points in 31 games. Two things to consider: Puljujärvi has less goals than Laine, but one more on even strength. The save percentage, while he's on the ice, is also higher than the league and team average.

Zone starts and ends
  DZs% NZs% OZs% DZe% NZe% OZe%
Laine Patrik 26,80 33,51 39,69 34,54 37,11 28,35
Puljujärvi Jesse 18,62 40,08 41,30 25,79 35,75 38,46
DZs% = Defensive Zone starts NZs% = Neutral Zone starts OZs% = Offensive Zone starts DZe% = Defensive Zone ends NZe% = Neutral Zone ends OZe% = Offensive Zone ends

Puljujärvi's role even more offensive than Laine's

Notable difference between the two can be seen on the zone starts. Puljujärvi's role in Kärpät is even more offensive-oriented than Laine's. Puljujärvi has started only 18,62 % of his shifts with a defensive zone faceoff, while Laine's percentage is 26,8 %. Laine's role is rather offensive too, when compared to Tappara totals.

As many as 41,3 % of Puljujärvi's shifts start with a offensive faceoff.

Linemates - Patrik Laine
LINEMATE 1 LINEMATE 2 TOI TOTAL C%
Peltola Jukka Ilomäki Arttu 00:59:53 65.15
Järvinen Jan-Mikael Peltola Jukka 00:46:27 61.9
Ilomäki Arttu Savinainen Veli-Matti 00:38:23 52.78
Karjalainen Jere Savinainen Veli-Matti 00:26:35 44.19
Lajunen Jani Kuusela Kristian 00:20:51 66.67
Peltola Jukka Dixon Stephen 00:19:51 41.18
Järvinen Jan-Mikael Dixon Stephen 00:17:57 18.18
Lajunen Jani Savinainen Veli-Matti 00:14:46 66.67
Karjalainen Jere Ilomäki Arttu 00:11:25 50
Haapala Henrik Lajunen Jani 00:06:26 50
TOI TOTAL = Time on ice totals, C% = Corsi %
Linemates: Jesse Puljujärvi
LINEMATE 1 LINEMATE 2 TOI TOTAL C%
Niemi Mika Aho Sebastian 02:15:31 52.84
Niemi Mika Huml Ivan 00:42:47 56
Pirnes Esa Huml Ivan 00:33:58 50.88
Pirnes Esa Pyörälä Mika 00:33:37 76.6
Junttila Julius Niemi Mika 00:20:39 65.52
Niemi Mika Mäenalanen Saku 00:19:28 51.85
Kalapudas Antti Aho Sebastian 00:16:46 64.71
Aaltonen Miro Aho Sebastian 00:09:25 70
Mäenalanen Saku Pirnes Esa 00:08:19 54.55
Aaltonen Miro Pyörälä Mika 00:07:46 25
TOI TOTAL = Total time on ice, C% = Corsi %

Laine's Corsi percentages have been big between some of the line combinations. Some of the samples are relatively small, but compared to four 60+ % line combinations his work with Stephen Dixon centering the line have been very weak.

Puljujärvi's results are more even between the different line combinations, only one of them being a negative one. The most used combination with Mika Niemi and Carolina Hurricanes prospect Sebastian Aho has worked with a 52,84 % Corsi. The line combination has allowed only two goals during over two hours of ES play together.

Conclusion: These young guys can play, but use them in offensive line combinations

When examining these players, one has to notify, that the quality of competition has not been available when examining these players. However, when looking a Tappara percentages, the very divided difference on defensive and offensive zone starts can be seen. For example the defensive stud Markus Kankaanperä plays a very defensive role compared to Nick Plastino.

Laine's effect to Tappara's shot attempt differential is very positive in any case. According to the stats, Tappara should continue playing him with C Arttu Ilomäki or Jani Lajunen, not the other centers.

Puljujärvi has played very promising hockey too. He hasn't been completely satisfied with his scoring, being a bit less disclipined with his pace and liking the puck more than the high-passing Kärpät is used to. He could enjoy a north american style of play even more, given his big body and the love of puck-handling.

Zone starts tell us about a sheltered role of Puljujärvi. However, his success with various line combinations tells his great Corsi numbers can't be only thanks to his linemates. Dropping Puljujärvi to a 3rd or 4th, or into a chechking role might hurt his stats.

One interesting small detail was when Kärpät coach Lauri Marjamäki tried Puljujärvi with WJC teammates Aho and Antti Kalapudas. The 17 ES minutes together were very efficient for shot attempt differential. 

Statistics: Miika Arponen @MiikaArponen Analysis: Antti Wennström @AWennstrm

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