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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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)