Though his first year with the Edmonton Oilers wasn’t impressive, Mark Letestu rebounded this past season.
In 78 games, Letestu registered 16 goals and 35 points, both career-high totals. He scored 10 more points than he did last season, and his plus-minus went up by 19. Not only that, but he was one of the Oilers’ top players this postseason and finished the year strong, recording five goals and 11 points through 13 playoff games.
Letestu’s career year puts him in a strong position heading into next season. Here is what to expect from the veteran winger next year.
Looking at his on-ice play and impact, Letestu wore many different hats. At both ends of the rink, he made himself a force to be reckoned with. Not only did he add edge and ability to the bottom-six, but he created many scoring chances and did more with the puck. He also finished with a 13.1 shooting percentage, putting more accuracy and power into his shot.
Defensively, he was more physical and competitive, and worked to win battles for the puck and stack up against his opponents. His 50.4 faceoff win percentage was also the second-best out of all Oilers centres (David Desharnais finished with a 54.3 percent success rate at the dot). However, he must work on maintaining possession of the puck and being in control on the ice. His relative Corsi sits at a -5.7, meaning with Letestu on the ice, Edmonton likely finds themselves on the defensive.
An Important Asset
His biggest impact, however, came on special teams. Eleven of Letestu’s 16 goals came on the man advantage, and he displayed a sharp, quick shot on the power play. Out of the Oilers’ star-studded assets on the man advantage, Letestu was one of the most important players.
On the penalty kill, Letestu was able to win draws and take good care of the puck. He also wasn’t afraid to add offensive edge to his penalty killing game. Letestu scored two shorthanded goals and three shorthanded points this season.
Coming into this year, the bar gets higher for Letestu. With Desharnais gone, Letestu will have to step up and be the main faceoff man. Not to mention, with Ryan Strome coming in as another centre, and with Letestu’s contract expiring at the end of this year, he must prove his worth to keep his spot on the bottom-six.
Overall, with his ability to score on the power-play, as well as his impressive totals and standout season, Letestu has the power to prove himself and more going into next year, even as a veteran.