FARM WORKERS 2015

Every year for many, I like to look back on the past season and compare it to Brian Conacher’s brilliant book and his description of minor league rosters 50 years ago.

  • Brian Conacher: As in other areas of modern society, hockeys teams too have their generation gaps. This situation stood out on the Rochester team in 1965 which consisted of three groups: the veterans (had all resigned themselves to making the best of their minor league hockey careers), the young ones (who have stars in their eyes and are in the AHL for just a little time, or so they think) and the group somewhere in between (these players kept hoping that a break would come their way and they might get their chance in the “big tent”).

Last year’s look is here, and let’s get going.

  1. Men who are over 30 and come out of the minors to establish (0r re-establish) themselves are pretty much a thing of the past. You’ll find the odd goalie or defenseman but unlike the orginal 6 era very few teams have enough depth and free agency makes it impossible to keep them on the farm. Which is a good thing. BARONS 14-15: Steve Pinizzotto got into 18 games and honestly looked good doing it. Jason Williams earned—but did not receive—a call-up based on a terrific season, age 34. Ryan Hamilton is 29 and got a 16-game look, and another two-way contract. None of these men is close to establishing themselves as an NHL player at this time.
  2. Pretty much everyone who is in the AHL past (say) 21 has some issues and is going to do some meandering (this is universal from 1965 through 2009). BARONS 14-15: True story again this year. Martin Marincin, Anton Lander, Tyler Pitlick and others had things they needed to work on and spent extended time in the minors, Lander even getting a waiver sleep before being sent to OKC. Roman Horak bolted from this position a year ago, it’ll be interesting to see if any Oilers RFA’s, like Marincin, take this opportunity to leave the organization’s North American roster.
  3. We shouldn’t expect Rob Schremp to play more career games than Sam Gagner or Andrew Cogliano. Whatever that line in the sand is, that line sticks. BARONS 14-15: Yes, indeed. Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano may have issues, but there’s no way in hell they’ll be caught by someone like Martin Marincin or Anton Lander UNLESS Gagner washes out and he’s already at 562 games, an incredible total considering Gags is only 25.
  4. No minor league regular is likely to do anything incredible like play in 1,000 NHL games. It is a rare thing for a player to spend a couple of seasons in the minors and then go on to a 1,000 NHL game calibre career. BARONS 14-15: Klefbom spent only 57 games in the AHL and is unlikely to return, so he doesn’t qualify for this conversation (and he could very well end up playing 1,000 NHL games). Among the rest, I do think Anton Lander and Martin Marincin have a chance, but we’ll have to wait and see. Marincin played 127 AHL games during his entry level deal, 85 in the AHL, suspect he could have a long career and make it. Lander looks like a good bet despite an absolutely stupid entry-level contract (plus one year) spent at the mercy of the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.
  5. If you haven’t established yourself as a prospect of interest by 22 you are in trouble. The players who have graduated to useful NHL careers have at least played some NHL games by the end of their entry level deals. BARONS 14-15: Anton Lander is 23, but I think a normal organization would have graduated him  in due time. Marincin and Klefbom both made it and Pitlick, Hamilton et al did not. There’s a line there. Brossoit is still on the right side of the line and of course guys like Yakimov and Dillon Simpson have plenty of time.
  6. Exceptions are college men. Playing 4 NCAA seasons means turning pro at 22, meaning a “late start” for some quality prospects. BARONS 14-15. Too true. Mark Arcobello, Justin Schultz, Andrew Miller, Jordan Oesterle on it goes. Signing college players has all kinds of value and the Oilers need to do more of it.
  7. A large group of players on the current team could be described in the “tweener” division. History tells us we’ll have our answers on men like Schremp, Spurgeon, Roy and Reddox very soon. It also tells us we already have our answer on Colin McDonald. BARONS 14-15: As with the McDonald example, there are exceptions. Brandon Davidson looks like a tweener, right? Kale Kessy too, but what if things work out just right? I’d include Martin Gernat, Travis Ewanyk, Jujhar Khaira and others on that list, but one of them could be an exception.
  8. If we make a list of the minor league RFA’s each summer, we can probably as a group pick the cuts and be fairly close. That 50 man list gets a haircut every summer. BARONS 14-15: No doubt in my mind we see some clearance Clarence this summer. Candidates to go include Matt Fraser, Tyler Pitlick, Curtis Hamilton, Martin Marincin, Keith Aulie, Justin Schultz, Tyler Bunz, Brandon Davidson, Brad Hunt, Kellen Lain, Andrew Miller, Frans Tuohimaa. I think we could see several return—Pitlick, Marincin, Schultz, Davidson, Miller—but five or more are likely to go. That’s 10% of the 50-man list.
  9. Daniel Cleary, Fernando Pisani and Jason Chimera became productive players in the toughest league on the planet. THEY are the stars in this study. BARONS 14-15: Ladies and gentlemen, ANTON LANDER!!! He is the star of the minor leagues, folks. This is the reason you have a developmental league, so kids can learn how to play the game in a support role, or managers can get the hell out of their own damn way. Anton Lander is exactly why you have the AHL. Full stop. Got one! Music!
  10. For Rob Schremp fans, there’s exactly ONE pure offensive player who made it: Mike Walton. BARONS 14-15: There are no players of this type on the farm, last one was Linus Omark and he came through the organization when the management was wet-noodling.
  11. The future NHLERS are……..If I’m a betting man, these are the winners from the current group to be the new Cleary and Chimera. Here are the names I’ve mentioned over the years (a sample):
    • 2008: Theo Peckham and Gilbert Brule. Both were lost along the way.
    • 2011: Theo Peckham and Devan Dubnyk. Well, DD made it, lost it, made it again. Peckham had a great chance but blew it.
    • 2012: Linus Omark, Magnus Paajarvi, Anton Lander, Teemu Hartikainen and Tyler Pitlick. Lander punched his ticket.
    • 2013: Magnus Paajarvi, Anton Lander, Teemu Hartikainen and Martin Marincin. Lander made it, Marincin can see light.
    • 2014: Martin Marincin, Oscar Klefbom and Mark Arcobello. Could be three for three by the time it’s over.
  12. This season, I’ll choose (from the AHL group, and I’ll exclude Lander, Marincin and Klefbom) Iiro Pakarinen. I’d choose Tyler Pitlick but it’s not clear he’ll ever be able to stay healthy. I also believe Bogdan Yakimov and Jordan Oesterle will have careers but we need to see more.

The Edmonton Oilers have to draft players who they can grind into useful NHL men, and then hold on to them. The Daniel Cleary’s and Jason Chimera’s are on the way, with Anton Lander perhaps the first of several to support the gifted jacks and kings. I know many of you blame the scouts, but for me the lesson of this season—the lesson of Anton Lander and Todd Nelson—is the players are fine, but the organization doesn’t believe in them and doesn’t develop them using established good practices.

We can only hope Peter Chiarelli builds on what is there and doesn’t flush useful prospects for sins real or imagined. We wait.

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59 Responses to "FARM WORKERS 2015"

  1. Ben says:

    Jeff Petry has Justin Schultz potential 🙁

  2. blainer says:

    Man CMD will need to work on faceoffs..

  3. russ99 says:

    Great post LT.

    Do you see a change in the type of veteran AHLers we get next year? With Draisaitl, Chase and Nurse graduating to Bakersfield and the abundance of bottom six prospects already in OKC, I hope we add a scoring forward or two rather than the typical veteran checking line forwards.

  4. Lowetide says:

    russ99:
    Great post LT.

    Do you see a change in the type of veteran AHLers we get next year? With Draisaitl, Chase and Nurse graduating to Bakersfield and the abundance of bottom six prospects already in OKC, I hope we add a scoring forward or two rather than the typical veteran checking line forwards.

    It’s hard to say. I would like a:

    1. Veteran goalie like Bachman, except one willing to back off and let Brossoit run with the starting job should he earn it.
    2. A right-handed veteran ala Fedun to give some balance to the defensive group. I think the Oilers could afford to run just prospects plus that guy (Davidson, Musil, Gernet, Simpson, Oesterle,Laleggia)
    3. A sniper for Leon

  5. speeds says:

    OT, kind of strange question:

    What would you trade for Gilbert, if anything, presuming MTL is moving him somewhere to make room to sign Petry?

  6. Lowetide says:

    Sounds like McLellan is the man!

  7. Ben says:

    I’m good with this McLellan thing. Young team, younger coach. Just feels right.

  8. Mtl-oiler says:

    LT do you what was the injury to Bogdan Yakimov?

  9. speeds says:

    Another side question:

    If you had to choose between Babcock and McLellan, knowing that EDM would put the money saved from signing McLellan back into the team via buyouts, trades, scouting, whatever, which would you pick?

  10. AsiaOil says:

    A sound decision if true and good news – still can’t believe I get to say that more than once a decade about the Oilers now.

    Lowetide:
    Sounds like McLellan is the man!

  11. godot10 says:

    Our boy Petry going beast mode. Eff you MacT.

  12. Lowetide says:

    Mtl-oiler:
    LT do you what was the injury to Bogdan Yakimov?

    Shoulder

  13. Mtl-oiler says:

    I’m leaning towards McLellan.
    If you were to consider what his record would be if he had Nicklas Lidstrom on his team and conversely if Babcock didn’t. I’m not saying Babcock is not a good coach but having a Lidstrom makes you look allot better.

  14. Lowetide says:

    speeds:
    Another side question:

    If you had to choose between Babcock and McLellan, knowing that EDM would put the money saved from signing McLellan back into the team via buyouts, trades, scouting, whatever, which would you pick?

    I’m honestly fine with either. Big fan of McLellan.

  15. porknuts says:

    All this Petry love on HNIC is breaking my heart

  16. Samson Loveblast says:

    Sounds like common sense may be reigning supreme with this coaching situation which is good. Lock down McLellan and avoid the Babcock bidding war soap opera.

  17. Ben says:

    I have met the girl of my dreams!

    But rather than ask her to marry me, I’ve decided to challenge her on a one night stand and an open relationship. Let you know how it works out.

  18. blainer says:

    Lowetide:
    Sounds like McLellan is the man!

    What makes you say that..

  19. blainer says:

    Gotta say CMD looking pretty normal in this series so far…

  20. rickithebear says:

    godot10:
    Our boy Petry going beast mode.Eff you MacT.

    Yup!
    The PP is the best in Playoffs and his box protection is elite.
    I do not think I have seen 1 goal against. LMAO!
    2?
    3?
    4?

  21. frjohnk says:

    blainer: What makes you say that..

    Elliotte Friedman said that’s what it looks like is happening in regards to Edmonton and the coaching situation during the intermission.

  22. fifthcartel says:

    I like it. Would be very happy with McLellan.

  23. Dashingsilverfox says:

    blainer:
    Gotta say CMD looking pretty normal in this series so far…

    Oshawa is doing a great job of shutting him down.

  24. ASkoreyko says:

    blainer:
    Gotta say CMD looking pretty normal in this series so far…

    And it begins already…

  25. Lowetide says:

    Dashingsilverfox: Oshawa is doing a great job of shutting him down.

    I heard he was changing his name to Joe.

  26. porknuts says:

    Go Joe Petry!

  27. Dashingsilverfox says:

    Lowetide: I heard he was changing his name to Joe.

    I heard Wayne.

    Cole Cassels is changing his name to Ryan.

  28. blainer says:

    frjohnk: Elliotte Friedman said that’s what it looks like is happening in regards to Edmonton and the coaching situation during the intermission.

    Thanks.. was watching the otters game…Tmac is good by me.. Happy with Babs too..

  29. Lowetide says:

    Habs win, and the series goes six at least. McDavid’s Otters on the wrong end again, looks like the dream may not happen. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Leon with a point and the Rockets are ahead 3-1.

  30. Gordies Elbow says:

    Good news on Todd McLellan. While I think that Babcock is a great coach, McLellan has been coaching in the WC since June 2008. I think that it gives him a unique perspective.

    Any thoughts to bringing on Assistant coaches Jay Woodcroft, Jim Johnson, and/or Video Coordinator Brett Heimlich?

    Ideally, Todd Nelson takes the associate coach role (Larry Robinson had that in SJ, and has moved to a role as director of player development for SJ.)

    Head coach: Todd McLellan
    Associate coach: Todd Nelson
    Assistant coach: Jay Woodcroft
    Assistant coach: Craig Ramsey
    Player analysis: Rocky Thompson

    Good mix of experience with the current staff, and new blood.

  31. blainer says:

    ASkoreyko: And it begins already…

    Yup…lol.. I am thinking we should take Eichel…

  32. Dashingsilverfox says:

    Gordies Elbow:
    Good news on Todd McLellan. While I think that Babcock is a great coach, McLellan has been coaching in the WC since June 2008. I think that it gives him a unique perspective.

    Any thoughts to bringing onAssistant coaches Jay Woodcroft, Jim Johnson, and/or Video Coordinator Brett Heimlich?

    Ideally, Todd Nelson takes the associate coach role (Larry Robinson had that in SJ, and has moved to a role as director of player development for SJ.)

    Head coach: Todd McLellan
    Associate coach: Todd Nelson
    Assistant coach: Jay Woodcroft
    Assistant coach: Craig Ramsey
    Player analysis: Rocky Thompson

    Good mix of experiencewith the current staff, and new blood.

    Link to the McLellan/Woodcroft scenario:

    https://dcbdotme.wordpress.com

  33. square_wheels says:

    godot10,

    Screw him and his crappy Ford dealing father in law. Ya that’s right, just like the Canucks I find every opportunity to bash Fords and the guy that pissed away our best dman.

  34. Richard S.S. says:

    With Edmonton winning the McDavid sweepstakes, the eyes of the NHL world and other interested parties have been watching every move made. Nicholson and Chiarelli are considered to be excellent additions. Adding McLellan means everything Edmonton must do is right. Adding Babcock means everything must be perfect.

    McLellan has been watching and coaching two of his potential players through two weeks or more of high intensity pressure at the highest level – the best in the World verses the best in the World. And Babcock has done what?

  35. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Lowetide: I’m honestly fine with either. Big fan of McLellan.

    I like McLellan too (good ol’ Saskatchewan beauty) but shouldn’t the Oilers at least kick the tires of the most prized coach of the cap era (also a Saskatchewan Beauty) before handing the keys over to McLellan?

  36. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Richard S.S.: McLellan has been watching and coaching two of his potential players through two weeks or more of high intensity pressure at the highest level – the best in the World verses the best in the World. And Babcock has done what?

    Babcock went to his daughter’s graduation.

  37. Dashingsilverfox says:

    Richard S.S.:
    With Edmonton winning the McDavid sweepstakes, the eyes of the NHL world and other interested parties have been watching every move made.Nicholson and Chiarelli are considered to be excellent additions.Adding McLellan means everything Edmonton must do is right.Adding Babcock means everything must be perfect.

    McLellan has been watching and coaching two of his potential players through two weeks or more of high intensity pressure at the highest level – the best in the World verses the best in the World.And Babcock has done what?

    Babcock has the cred to do whatever the hell he wants.

    Either of McLellan or Babcock would be a huge win for the Oilers.

    Let’s hope the Oilers braintrust allows them the room to clear out all the crap.

  38. Richard S.S. says:

    Klima’s_Bucket,

    But does Babcock still go if he’s still in the Playoffs?

  39. wheatnoil says:

    Klima’s_Bucket: I like McLellan too (good ol’ Saskatchewan beauty) but shouldn’t the Oilers at least kick the tires of the most prized coach of the cap era (also a Saskatchewan Beauty) before handing the keys over to McLellan?

    Who says they’re not?

    Chiarelli to meet with Todd Nelson in Edmonton this wknd and will also reach out to Babcock…perhaps speak to him before he goes overseas.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 8, 2015

    They can be interviewing Babcock while they’re still targeting McLellan. They haven’t said ‘no’ to Babcock until the dotted line is signed. If they were to alternatively hold off all negotiations until Babcock has made his decision, they may lose out on McLellan.

    I don’t mind this strategy. It actually puts a bit of pressure on Babcock, who Nicholson and Chiarelli have a relationship with. “Listen, Mike, we’re definitely interested. We also really like Todd McLellan and we’d be very happy with him as our coach. We don’t want to lose out on him while we’re waiting for you to make your decision. So, seriously, how interested are you in coming here? Because if we don’t have a legitimate shot at you, we’re just going to sign on the dotted line with Todd.”

    Likely a bit more subtle than that, but that may be the thrust of it. Also, with rumours that DeBoer was being interviewed too (hell, maybe even other people who weren’t leaked), it does sound like Chiarelli is at least going through a process.

  40. Dashingsilverfox says:

    wheatnoil: Who says they’re not?

    . Also, with rumours that DeBoer was being interviewed too (hell, maybe even other people who weren’t leaked), it does sound like Chiarelli is at least going through a process.

    And that’s the best news in a decade.

  41. square_wheels says:

    Dashingsilverfox,

    Damn right it is. Any business worth its salt must follow a process, full stop.

  42. wheatnoil says:

    Dashingsilverfox,

    Agreed.

  43. Richard S.S. says:

    Dashingsilverfox,

    Sign Babcock and everything Edmonton does will be seen and discussed endlessly by people who have ignored Edmonton for many years. Signing McLellan is normal business and might keep Edmonton out of the brightest lights. Never, ever again will Edmonton be ignored. The Team just needs to decide how bright the lights.

  44. square_wheels says:

    Wait a sec, did we all just agree with DSF ?

    Thankfully the father in law filled the beer fridge for seeding, so I’m deep enough into some Rickards blonde to not argue

  45. Hammers says:

    Sorry I haven’t read the comments but LT you said it the players are fine but the organization did nothing to develop them . Sorry but for me that sums up what has been happening . We have had and lost actual players . We have even in my opinion screwed over a few kids players . Actually when you say the organization didn’t develop or give the rightl time to some players you for me hit the nail on the head . This business of sports runs on so many intangibles controlled by Management and if they screw it up your in deep do do . That has been the Oilers for to long . Hopefully things they are a changing. Sometimes I wonder who runs the asylum . Should we evaluate by the player ,the system used , the managers decisions , the coaches decisions . How does each one of us perceive value no matter the coach the players or even al the so called experts . Can we turn the next corner, if not it will be another shit show .

  46. Ben says:

    I’m actually pretty anxious for the Oilers to get this coaching position resolved as soon as possible, because if I have to listen to Stauffer make that “Todd from Saskatchewan” joke one more time I’m gonna crap an entire mediterranean chicken pizza.

  47. square_wheels says:

    Ben,

    Mediterranean chicken…..? I woulda thought another BP gem like the Meateor or a Spicy Perogy.

  48. cabbiesmacker says:

    Richard S.S.:

    McLellan has been watching and coaching two of his potential players through two weeks or more of high intensity pressure at the highest level – the best in the World verses the best in the World.

    I said, Pardon? Two weeks of highest intensity hockey with Best in world vs Best in world?

    My ass.

    More like two weeks of European Vacation where nobody truly gives a rats ass while they play out hockey’s version of the third most important way to wrap a season. Sure it’d be nice to win and all but if it doesn’t happen? Who really cares?

    And please, lets not forget why McLellan is even there. His team with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Brent Burns, etc etc couldn’t even make the playoffs.

  49. oliveoilers says:

    Gordies Elbow: Good news on Todd McLellan. While I think that Babcock is a great coach, McLellan has been coaching in the WC since June 2008. I think that it gives him a unique perspective.

    Check yer facts, bucko. I’m sure Detroit was a WC team until this season. In fact, the argument could be made that the unique perspective would be Babcock’s, what with coaching a season in the EC and the rest in the WC with Detroit since 2005 and with Anaheim for 3yrs before that.

    In summary, I think Babcock would know how to win in the WC with a physically smaller team at least as much as McLellan.

  50. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Richard S.S.: But does Babcock still go if he’s still in the Playoffs?

    Good question. Kinda like an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. What happens?

  51. Halfwise says:

    Klima’s_Bucket: Good question. Kinda like an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. What happens?

    You get a fast moving standstill. Or else you find out that either the immovable thing or the unstoppable thing wasn’t really what you figured.

  52. Rocknrolla says:

    Ben:
    I have met the girl of my dreams!

    But rather than ask her to marry me, I’ve decided to challenge her on a one night stand and an open relationship. Let you know how it works out.

    Potential post of the week here Ben….spit out my wine…

  53. stush18 says:

    Klima’s_Bucket: Good question. Kinda like an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. What happens?

    Are we talking about Oilers fans calling for the head of lowe?
    Because we still dont have an answer.

  54. stush18 says:

    cabbiesmacker: I said, Pardon? Two weeks of highest intensity hockey with Best in world vs Best in world?

    My ass.

    More like two weeks of European Vacation where nobody truly gives a rats ass while they play out hockey’s version ofthe third most important way to wrap a season. Sure it’d be nice to win and all but if it doesn’t happen? Who really cares?

    And please, lets not forget why McLellan is even there. His team with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Brent Burns, etc etc couldn’t even make the playoffs.

    I dont know if i buy this verbal about mclellan not being as good of a coach because his teams never won. I put that on management for not finding defensemen, and the players themselves.

    San jose had very good teams, but just lost out to better teams. We buy the theory that they choked because they were a very good team for a long time with no stanley cup appearances.

    2010-lose to chi in wcf. This was a pickem series
    2011-lose to van in wcf. This was a pickem series
    2012-upset by st louis in 1st
    2013-Lose to la in 2nd. This was a pickem series
    2014-lose to la-an upset to stanley cup champs?

    I dont see anything mclellan could have done differently to win. As we say, it was a counflip, and mclellans teams lost, but not because of coaching.

  55. Woodguy says:

    Ben:
    I’m actually pretty anxious for the Oilers to get this coaching position resolved as soon as possible, because if I have to listen to Stauffer make that “Todd from Saskatchewan” joke one more time I’m gonna crap an entire mediterranean chicken pizza.

    I laughed.

  56. Genjutsu says:

    This has been quite a time for us all. The Shawshank tunnel was longer and more putrid than anyone of us could have imagined. However it’s over.

    Finally.

    We are here.

  57. Genjutsu says:

    Also not sure if anyone has said this but we got CMD!!!

    WHOOOOOOT!

  58. Tarkus says:

    Well well…apparently, the putative #1 pick next year might be taking his game out of North America entirely:

    http://www.thescore.com/nhl/news/762088

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