HEAD-TO-HEAD GRIFFINS V. BARONS 2015

A year ago, we looked at the minor league teams of Detroit and Edmonton and reached an interesting conclusion. The look is here, and the conclusion was:

  • The Oilers are not in Detroit’s league in terms of development, but they are improving. This isn’t a MacT versus Tambellini issue, both men had the task of crawling from the wreckage of the team put to sleep a decade ago. That kind of shortsighted move by ownership (EIG) cost Edmonton a generation of talent, and impacted kids from 2002 to 2007. Not having structure, having to rebuild what other teams had established and cultivated for decades, had a tremendous impact on the prospects and the NHL team.

Let’s see how things look one year later.

THE GRIFFINS

  1. L Anthony Mantha, 19. 62GP, 15-18-33. Monster junior seasons have fans excited about this player. He scored .5 points-per-game as a rookie pro, no screaming hell but he survived and of course we have not TOI. Still regarded as a big time scoring prospect.
  2. C Andreas Athanasiou, 20. 55GP, 16-16-32. Rookie pro impressed with speed and skill. I have to say he has the look of one of those two-way steals Detroit somehow finds.
  3. D Ryan Sproul, 21. 66GP, 5-19-24. This is a 6.03, 185 offensive defenseman who had a strong debut in 2013-14 but fell off a little this past season. We’ll see, it’s a marathon not a sprint.
  4. D Xavier Ouellet, 21. 52GP, 1-15-16 and 21 games in Detroit (that’s substantial). Another puck mover, The Hockey News says he can run a power play and the Red Wings appear to like him a lot.
  5. R Martin Frk, 21. A higher pick (second round in 2012) who is falling off (spent some time in the ECHL this season). I remember he was regarded as a draft steal after falling that day.
  6. D Alexey Marchenko, 22. 51GP, 3-17-20 and 12 games in Detroit. Bigger defenseman with puck-moving ability, his boxcars are nothing special. Red Wings gave him a push, we’ll see.
  7. C Tomas Nosek, 22. 55GP, 11-23-34. Undrafted free-agent from Czech, he has good size and is regarded as a good play-making center. First AHL season solid if unspectacular.
  8. L Teemu Pulkkinen, 22. 46GP, 34-27-61 and 34 games in the NHL. The Hockey News describes him as an extremely skilled winger with slick moves, this was a fourth-round pick in 2010 that came through.
  9. R Landon Ferraro, 23. 70GP, 27-15-42 and another cup of coffee with Detroit (3 games). He improved offensively and made some overall progress, still think there’s a chance with this player. We’ll see.
  10. R Mitch Callahan, 23. 48GP, 16-22-38. The Hockey News describes him as an energy guy with skating issues.He took a step forward this season, this was his fourth AHL season. Probably a long shot but you never know.
  11. D Nick Jensen, 24. 75GP, 6-21-27. College defender took a nice step forward this past season and will certainly be a player to watch in the coming year. A little older for a prospect but he’s worth a mention.

BARONS

  1. C Bogdan Yakimov, 19. 57GP, 12-16-28 and one game in Edmonton. The giant Russian showed well in TC then headed to Oklahoma. It took some time, and his season was interrupted by injury, but the future looks good. Scored at the same rate as Mantha as a rookie pro.
  2. L Joshua Winquist, 20. 41GP, 8-10-18. He’s not technically an Oilers prospect. A late-season run (10GP, 3-5-8) suggests he may have more to give than the overall boxcars imply.
  3. C Jujhar Khaira, 20. 51GP, 4-6-10. Khaira impressed everyone with size, speed and skill in training camp. The offense didn’t come in the AHL and he’ll need to improve production in year two. Career projection better than Frk, but there is some danger here for Khaira’s NHL hopes.
  4. L Mitch Moroz, 20. 61GP, 5-3-8. Big winger was used sparingly at times this season. Three of his five goals came in the last 10 games after the first 50 games saw a lot of running in place.
  5. D Dillon Simpson, 21. 66GP, 2-14-16. Simpson improved markedly over the season, that’s identical to what he did as a freshman in college. His aptitude appears to be quite high, I’m encouraged by his progress.
  6. D David Musil, 21. 65GP, 2-9-11 and an NHL cup of coffee. I think this was a big season for Musil, who is putting himself in the conversation for ‘future defensive defenseman’ based on performance. He earned the NHL chance that was given.
  7. G Laurent Brossoit, 21. 49GP, .916 2.65 and one brilliant NHL game. Brossoit is the best goalie prospect in the Oilers system since Devan Dubnyk and has progressed in two consecutive pro seasons.
  8. D Jordan Oesterle, 22. 61GP, 7-16-23 and a look in the NHL. Puck-moving college defender has some chaos but you can see why the Oilers signed him. His foot speed is very useful on offense and defense.
  9. D Brandon Davidson, 23. 55GP, 4-6-10 and some NHL time. Emerged as a bona fide AHL defender for all situations and by season’s end was the man in OKC. That’s a big deal and at this point it’s probably reasonable to suggest he’s NHL-ready.
  10. R Iiro Pakarinen, 23. 39GP, 17-11-28 and an extended NHL look. I love his season so much, it shows the Oilers are looking everywhere for quality players. Pakarinen’s presence on the 50-man list is nothing but good news.

CONCLUSION

I’m interested in your opinion, but for me this looks like a close race. If there was an expansion draft and all of these men were available, I think Pulkkinen goes No. 1 for sure. After that? Solid young options on both sides and you could make a case for the Oilers having as many good arrows as Detroit from the AHL. Thoughts?

(Brossoit photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved)

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22 Responses to "HEAD-TO-HEAD GRIFFINS V. BARONS 2015"

  1. RexLibris says:

    If there was an expansion draft and all of these men were available

    I think there are a few more intriguing options on the Griffins roster if we were cherry-picking young talent, but agree that the Barons are closing. Stilltrailing but they can make out the license plate at least.

  2. gd says:

    Sometimes I think Detroit’s development system gets overrated. Their one strength is their Euro scouts find a great late gem once every two years and they seem to understand how to give those Euros an effective development plan. Their D development seems pretty mediocre. Brendan Smith was picked only one year after Petry, was annually a top 20 prospect and now he looks like he is a best case scenario to be Smid. They were lucky they were Dekayser’s favourite team or they could have one of the worse Ds in hockey.

    One interesting thing I find with Detroit is most of their best value picks like Helm, Nyquist, Bertuzzi appear to be the opposite of analytic picks, but would be the type of “seen him good” picks that we criticize. My gut says Detroit’s other strength is they seem to focus on skating ability way above size, and have a few exceptional scouts who are way above average at finding hidden gems.

  3. Lowetide says:

    RexLibris: I think there are a few more intriguing options on the Griffins roster if we were cherry-picking young talent, but agree that the Barons are closing. Stilltrailing but they can make out the license plate at least.

    I thought Mantha would have a better season, that was a surprise for me, Sproul’s numbers were a little disappointing too. Pulkkinen is the class of the group currently imo.

  4. Rondo says:

    gd,

    Sometimes I think Edmonton’s development system gets overrated.

  5. frjohnk says:

    Lowetide: I thought Mantha would have a better season, that was a surprise for me, Sproul’s numbers were a little disappointing too. Pulkkinen is the class of the group currently imo.

    He Broke his leg in training camp last September.

    So I’m sure that affected his season but even with that I would have expected better numbers in the AHL.

  6. Mr DeBakey says:

    On Jamisontide today, did anyone ever suggest Las Vegas Scorpions?
    If not, why not?

    Say no to the Posse, though you nailed it with the Guess Who.

    If not Scorpions, one of the old, gone Strip hotel names might work:

    The Las Vegas Stardust
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stardust_sign_015.JPG

    or

    The Las Vegas Mint
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_dunes.jpg

    Or something like that

  7. Lowetide says:

    Mr DeBakey:
    On Jamisontide today, did anyone ever suggest Las Vegas Scorpions?
    If not, why not?

    Say no to the Posse, though you nailed it with the Guess Who.

    If not Scorpions, one of the old, gone Strip hotel names might work:

    The Las Vegas Stardust
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stardust_sign_015.JPG

    or

    The Las Vegas Mint
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_dunes.jpg

    Or something like that

    Scorpions DID come up and that’s a very good name.

  8. Bag of Pucks says:

    The Scorpions?

    I can see the promotions now…

    “Bring in your copy of ‘Virgin Killer’ with the banned cover to win a free Oktoberfest stein and complimentary registration as a sex offender.”

    ‘This is Spinal Tap’ could’ve easily been ‘The Scorpions – Behind the Music.’

  9. 36 percent body fat says:

    Would be a lot better for oilers if we did not draft coke machines and ex oilers sons.

    Credit where it is due to Detroit, there guys were probably picked later in the draft than ours.

  10. wheatnoil says:

    Personally, I prefer the Vegas Purple Cobras.

  11. Hammers says:

    If there is an expansion draft should say when not if . I also feel players from the Oilers will go before any on your list . My guess is you loose 2 saving 1 after 1st is taken . Guessing but figure you protect 1 goalie , 4 D , 6 maybe 7 forwards . May depend on Bettmans cost to join the club . Once it happens and it will we once again take some losses . Just wait until that argument starts on Lowetide . 2 years max as Bettmans may want a big splash before retiring .

  12. Woogie63 says:

    21 names on this list how many play +200 NHL games?

  13. stush18 says:

    I would still take mantha 1st overall out of this group.

    Scored a goal a game in junior and was Canada’s best offensive player at the world juniors.

    He broke his leg heading into training camp and came back halfway through the season. If I remember correctly he started slow and came on at the end of the season. Oh and he’s a freaking giant who skates very well.

    I can see him turning into detroits next franzen, especially if he has to retire because of concussions.

    I’m also very high on sproul and oullette. I was hoping for him and a 2nd rnd pick for petty this year, but alas.

  14. Really? says:

    One huge difference between the Oilers and the Wings when comparing farm team talent is that the Wings have almost all their young talent on the farm while the Oilers have almost all their young talent in the NHL.

    As a result the Oilers development efforts are split between the AHL and the NHL. While there have been some significant failures, Hall, RNH, Eberle and Klefbom have done extremely well.

    It is not fair in the case of the Oilers to only look at developmental successes and failures at the AHL level.

  15. unca miltie says:

    Just got home and I want to chime in on your comment from the previous blog.

    Like your C-L-R… I grew up with C-L-R and so when I started coming to LT, I understood the system. IN my day, the centre was the leader of the line and so his name came first. It was Messier’s line or Gretzky’s line not Kurri’s or Andersons. It certainly was keon’s line not Mahovolich’s line.
    I have no grandkids playing hockey so have no idea what they do now.

  16. Kmart99 says:

    Using Jensen as the outer marker (age 24)…

    How do the Oilers currently stack up overall vs Detroit? If we don’t punish players for going pro? Include trades, signings, ahl only contracts… Just everyone 24 and under that is somehow in the system…

    Oilers:

    McDavid
    Eberle
    Hall
    Nurse
    Yakupov
    RNH
    Draisaitl
    Klefbom
    Reinhart
    Yakimov
    Winquist
    Khaira
    Moroz
    Simpson
    Musil
    Brossoit
    Oesterle
    Davidson
    Pakarinen
    Laleggia
    Miller
    Roy

    Detroit
    Tatar
    Jurco
    Sheahan
    Ferraro
    Mantha
    Athanasiou
    Sprou
    Ouellet
    Frk
    Marchenko
    Nosek
    Pulkkinen
    Callahan
    Jensen
    Paterson
    Nedomlel
    Nastasiuk
    Tvrdon
    Larkin
    Bertuzzi

    Oilers are not only ahead, it isn’t even close. The problem is the number of these players that are being asked to play nhl minutes for the oilers has been indefensible.

  17. Gerta Rauss says:

    This is 10 days old but I hadn’t seen this previously so I thought I’d throw it out there

    Lubo was always a long shot as a free agent but -if healthy- I thought he would have been a nice fit

    VISNOVSKY TO EUROPE?

    Lubomir Visnovsky is also available as a free agent, but it appears his future is in Europe.

    Slovakian news outlet Sport.cas reported this past week that Visnovsky had received a contract extension from the Islanders, but the team has since decided to go in another direction.

    One such option could be the KHL, where Visnovsky spent half a season during the 2012-13 lockout. However, Visnovsky said the amount of travel is discouraging.

    He admitted he could consider retirement, too, as his back is still causing him pain. Before he does that, though, Visnovsky said he will explore his options and then make a firm decision on how to proceed

    http://www.msn.com/en-ca/sports/nhl/rumor-roundup-franson-ehrhoff-inching-closer-to-deals/ar-BBlikWL

  18. Bank Shot says:

    Kmart99:
    Using Jensen as the outer marker (age 24)…

    How do the Oilers currently stack up overall vs Detroit?If we don’t punish players for going pro? Include trades, signings, ahl only contracts… Just everyone 24 and under that is somehow in the system…

    Oilers are not only ahead, it isn’t even close.The problem is the number of these players that are being asked to play nhl minutes for the oilers has been indefensible.

    Yeah but between 2009-2013, that’s your age 20-24 group of players, the Red Wings had 3 first round picks and the Oilers had 7. 5 of those in the top ten.

    The Red Wings had 12 second rounders between 2000-2010. 66% have played over 100 games in the NHL (Jarnkrok will hit is this season).

    66% in the second round over a decade. That’s just phenomenal.

    I’m picking the Wings when it comes to drafting and development every time. It’s really not a fair comparison at all.

    In comparing the two crops from just the AHL, I’d say that Detroit’s forwards are so much stronger its not a close race.

  19. Kmart99 says:

    No question the wings are a superior draft and develop team over the Oilers… By a massive distance.

    But there’s also no question that Edmonton ‘s current group of players 24 yrs of age and under is miles ahead of Detroit’s. I’m not saying Edmonton is better at drafting and developing, I’m just saying that they have better youth at the moment. Through dumb luck and horrible hockey, but still better.

  20. Lowetide says:

    I’m not a math expert and have a hard time grappling with the verbal, but for me the argument against EDM in the second and third round (versus Detroit) is that the kids taken later by the Oilers had really no chance to emerge with the team in skill roles.

    In order for that to make sense, we’d need to see a lot of Rieder’s breaking through for other teams, and I believe that’s what we’ll see at some point. Stu MacGregor didn’t have a second or third round pick in 2008, grabbed Lander in round two 2009 but went major walkabout in round three, grabbed one (Marincin) of three successfully in 2010 and then by 2011 (for me) they were a better team at being risk averse.

    Bob Green’s first draft didn’t go walkabout until the last two picks, so the Oilers appear to have flushed their Niinimaki thinking completely. Now, a guy like Slepyshev should play in the NHL, don’t know if it’ll be in Edmonton though.

  21. SwedishPoster says:

    Detroits drafting record is impressive but it’s not exactly based on any kind of magic formula. They’ve focused on skill, skill, skating, skill. Especially in later rounds. They have understood that it’s easier to teach a skillplayer with limited defensive smarts to become an efficient two way player than to teach a smart two way player with limited skill to raise his skill level to an NHL standard.

    One of my most hated hockey clichés is “all tools no tool box” as an excuse that a player fails to make it. For two reasons, first of all it’s rarely true, it’s usually said about players with one standout skill that allows them to dominate at lower levels, that’s not all tools, that’s one tool and crappy scouting. Secondly, the other way around is imo much more common, a great toolbox, a well-coached player who lacks the high end skill to make it in the bigs but looks great when facing less developed players. Once they face elite talent they fade away.
    What is seen as hockey IQ in a player is very often just how well-coached a player is.

  22. stevezie says:

    Bag of Pucks:

    “Bring in your copy of ‘Virgin Killer’ with the banned cover to win a free Oktoberfest stein and complimentary registration as a sex offender.”

    Funniest comment in a ling time

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