When Marc Pouliot played for the Hamilton Bulldogs his arrows were pointing in a good direction. He was the club MVP in 2005-06 (his first year pro) and things looked good for the Oilers first rounder. However, the development process stalled through injury and ineffective play. We’re still waiting on him.
It is a story that we’ve seen down on the farm many times this decade. From career-altering injuries (Doug Lynch) to development by sundial (pick a name, any name) to sharing the minor league team, the Edmonton Oilers aren’t getting full value from the farm.
I think the Katz group is making every attempt to close the gap between procurement (generally good for the Oilers) and development (the return has been poor based on the talent headed to the AHL each fall).
For an organization with as many holes as this one, leaking prospects is a bad damn deal. A recent example is defender Cody Wild, getting his feet on the ground in the Bruins organization after his stop-start career as an Oiler farmhand.
A NESN article out today gives us some insight into the Kevin Prendergast-run minor league system with a revolving coaching staff that currently counts Rob Daum as the head man.
- “It was very frustrating. The last two years I’ve always been in and out of the lineup and it got frustrating at points when I should have been playing. I waited my turn, and still, in the second year around, it didn’t work out again. So that’s when I said ‘ok, I need to move on and join another team and get my chance.'”
Wild got his wish with a move to Providence, the Bruins main minor league club. And he’s playing (12 games, 2 assists) and getting some solid minutes. The article has some nice quotes from his head coach with regard to blocked shots and playing with confidence.
I don’t really know if the Oilers rotate their healthy scratches but do know that Wild wasn’t considered a top flight prospect by the organization. He was behind a few defenders before this season and seemed to be passed by new hires Alex Plante and Johan Motin as the year moved along.
In December I ranked Wild as the #17 prospect in the system and suggested he was a better prospect than the Oilers implied and Derek Zona felt the same way. Math saw Cody Wild good, and I think he’s a prospect worth following. The disconnect between the draft and the development may have claimed another worthwhile victim.