OSCAR, THE CONDORS AND OBSCURE ALTERNATIVES

The Edmonton Oilers passed along some bad news today, as it appears Oscar Klefbom has joined the long list of players we won’t see before Christmas.

That is a bitter pill, it sounded like there was a possibility we would see him on this road trip. The Oilers need Klefbom badly—anyone watching last night’s game could tell you that much—and the number of quality players on the IR is approaching epic proportions.

I mentioned this on the Lowdown this morning, but when Oscar does return, the idea of running him with Andrej Sekera as a top pairing has some appeal. Brandon Davidson and Eric Gryba could be another pairing, and I think Darnell Nurse with Nikita Nikitin or Justin Schultz is also interesting.

JONATHON MARTIN

Bob McKenzie has an article up about college free agents, looks like a decent crop and an area we should pay attention to—Oilers have grabbed men like Justin Schultz, Jordan Oesterle, Andrew Miller, Mark Arcobello, Taylor Fedun, Bryan Lerg and Ty Conklin as college free agents over the years.

More interesting to Oilers fans is a man named Jonathon Martin, who is 20, 6.02, 212 and playing WHL hockey for the Swift Current Broncos. He is a free-agent, and as McKenzie says he is an interesting prospect for NHL teams:

  • NHL scouts are trying to determine whether he’s a legit pro prospect or a mature 20-year-old, who’s able to physically dominate much younger and less physically mature competition with a game that won’t translate at the next level. Source

This has been an area of aggressive procurement for Edmonton and their AHL teams in the past couple seasons. Josh Winquist, Mitch Holmberg and most recently Braden Christoffer have caught the eye of Oilers management, specifically Bob Green. May not result in anything, but a good read by Mr. McKenzie and I will say he fits the Peter Chiarelli forward model.

draisatl miller

CONDORS PLAY TONIGHT

Bakersfield is in action tonight, I will have updates throughout the evening in the comments section. I have been reading here and there about the quality of prospects in Bakersfield right now and would like to address it. The Oilers have recalled Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse from the minors, but there are some good players in Bakersfield right now, tonight. Laurent Brossoit may not be playing (injury) but a quick look at the December performances and names attached give us an idea about men on the farm and who we might see in the coming year.

DECEMBER CONDORS

  1. D Brad Hunt 4, 0-5-5
  2. R Matt Ford 4, 3-1-4
  3. C Josh Currie 4, 3-1-4
  4. D-L Joey Laleggia 4, 2-1-3
  5. C Andrew Miller 4, 2-1-3
  6. R Greg Chase 4, 1-2-3
  7. D Griffin Reinhart 4, 0-3-3
  8. D Jordan Oesterle 4, 0-3-3
  9. D Dillon Simpson 4, 0-2-2
  10. L Braden Christoffer 2, 0-1-1
  11. L Ryan Hamilton 3, 1-0-1
  12. L Anton Slepyshev 4, 1-0-1
  13. C Bogdan Yakimov 4, 1-0-1
  14. C Marco Roy 4, 1-0-1
  15. L Kale Kessy 4, 1-0-1
  16. C-R Kyle Platzer 4, 0-1-1

I have underlined the players that may be of value to the Oilers as prospects (the others have value, but as veteran mentors, in the ‘Crash Davis’ role if you will). When someone like me posts on these players (as I am doing currently in the top 20 series) you would do well to remember there is no scouting behind the words, not years of experience in viewing AHL prospects and projecting them forward. I rely on stats, verbal from onlookers and comparables to project these players, and the rankings are presented in a manner that acknowledges the limitations of our ability to project them.

An example? In the summer of 2003, Fernando Pisani was 35 games into his NHL career. We were still somewhat unaware of him as a player, although he was on his way to taking Daniel Clearly’s 3RW job on the team. I was a mod at HF during that time, and posting a ‘Summer Top 20’ much as I do today. He was 25, too old to be a prospect by my reckoning, and so did not make my list:

  1. Jarret Stoll
  2. Jani Rita
  3. Marc Pouliot
  4. Raffi Torres
  5. Jesse Niinimaki
  6. Jeff Deslauriers
  7. Doug Lynch
  8. Kenny Smith
  9. Matt Greene
  10. Mikhail Joukov
  11. Ivan Koltsov
  12. Brock Radunske
  13. Colin McDonald
  14. MA Bergeron
  15. Ty Conklin
  16. Fredrik Johansson
  17. JF Jacques
  18. Dwight Helminen
  19. Tony Salmelainen
  20. Kalle Olsson

I have studied the draft for a long time, and observed prospects and their development for decades. I can tell you that sweeping statements about an entire roster of AHL players should be disregarded as garbage immediately. If I say ‘this prospect needs to pick up the pace if he is going to be a top six defenseman’ and state it as opinion, then you may weigh those words with the credibility you have gifted my opinion. If I say ‘this guy cannot play and there is nothing to see here’ you can and should disregard everything I have said before or since UNLESS I can show you a long history of projecting AHL players to NHL success. The internet is long on talk and short on reason and knowing one’s place in the world. I hope I have reflected my place in this conversation correctly, and hope you ask the same of others. Thanks for reading.

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43 Responses to "OSCAR, THE CONDORS AND OBSCURE ALTERNATIVES"

  1. RexLibris says:

    Hi LT,

    Just a quick question: would a reference here to Man Games Lost be useful?

    The site tracks mgl and uses a CorsiRel metric to establish the relative impact of injured players for each team.

    The Oilers are among the league leaders in that category and what they’ve accomplished thus far under the circumstances is pretty damned incredible, especially when laid out visually as MGL does.

    http://www.mangameslost.com/category/nhl/

    Recommend to anyone on twitter to follow them.

  2. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Klefbom’s new status means only one sure thing — he is ineligible to play tomorrow night in Chicago. If they need roster space to activate Pouliot and time to evaluate the status of Khaira, Pakarinen, Klinkhammer, that is one way of doing it. Since the move is retroactive to the injury itself last Friday, Klef could return to action as early as Saturday in Colorado. Or he could step in on the 21st vs. Winnipeg.

    His role is such that as soon as he is ready he’ll be back in there, and decisions on those other dudes will be made or accelerated to fit his scehdule and not the other way round. By Saturday the Oil could easily place Pak or Klink on IR retroactive to Tuesday, or ship out Khaira to make room.

    I agree that with just two more games between the Avs game and the four-day break, it is most likely we won’t see Oscar again until after Christmas, but it isn’t cast in stone. Hoping for the best here, Oilers really miss him.

  3. Mr DeBakey says:

    “the others have value, but as veteran mentors, in the ‘Crash Davis’ role if you will”

    Except for Josh Currie.
    I had never heard of him, so looked him up
    Undersized
    Undrafted
    23 Years Old
    Just a Charlottetown boy trying to work his way up the hockey food chain

  4. khildahl says:

    RexLibris,

    Wow. The chart really hammers it home. That’s insane.

  5. PeOiler says:

    Mr DeBakey,

    Good Island kid Josh Currie. Always scraping and clawing his way to the next level. I will never forget his OA season in the Q. 67gp – 46g – 55a – 101pts. Played Pp, Pk, top opposition and took every face-off. Much love for the guy who got my 8 year old hooked on live hockey.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Here is an example of prospect information and analysis that is done properly imo.

    http://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/yakimov-pitlick-reinhart-leading-the-way-for-bakersfield-right-now

    Lots of opinion, but nothing that suggests knowledge beyond the boundaries of what we could consider reasonable.

  7. pocession charge says:

    Mr DeBakey

    Just a Charlottetown boy trying to work his way up the hockey food chain

    But probably won’t add up to a hill of potatoes.

  8. Woogie63 says:

    Big Heavy men contributing at the NHL level right now;

    Driasaitl, Gazdic, Khaira, Pakarinen, Klinkhammer, Davidson,Gryba, Klefbom, Nikitin, Nurse.

    Big heavy men contributiat the AHL level and could be called up to start an NHL career,

    Yakimov 6’5″ 232
    Slepyshev 6’2″ 214
    Musil 6’4″ 207
    Reinhart 6’4″ 212
    Pitlick 6’0″ 202

    Big heavy men that are still learning at the AHL level

    Kessy 6’3″ 212
    Moroz 6’2′ 214

  9. Dr. Taboggan says:

    Woogie63,

    Yikes. Define ‘contributing’. Gazdic is consistently one of the worst Oilers. Gryba does not know how to handle the puck and Nikitin has spent most of the year in the AHL. This hardly qualifies as contributing.

  10. Dr. Taboggan says:

    Woogie63,

    Khaira and Pak should be back in the AHL developing. I like the players but they could use some more seasoning.

  11. Ryan says:

    Bruce McCurdy:
    Klefbom’s new status means only one sure thing — he is ineligible to play tomorrow night in Chicago. If they need roster space to activate Pouliot and time to evaluate the status of Khaira, Pakarinen, Klinkhammer, that is one way of doing it. Since the move is retroactive to the injury itself last Friday, Klef could return to action as early as Saturday in Colorado. Or he could step in on the 21st vs. Winnipeg.

    His role is such that as soon as he is ready he’ll be back in there, and decisions on those other dudes will be made or accelerated to fit his scehdule and not the other way round. By Saturday the Oil could easily place Pak or Klink on IR retroactive to Tuesday, or ship out Khaira to make room.

    I agree that with just two more games between the Avs game and the four-day break, it is most likely we won’t see Oscar again until after Christmas, but it isn’t cast in stone. Hoping for the best here, Oilers really miss him.

    I wasn’t in favor of trading for Byfuglien before, but I’ve convinced myself that it’s just the right thing to do for a fanbase that hasn’t seen the playoffs since 2006.

    Byfuglien with Klefbomb along with Pouliot MacD and Yak…

  12. Ryan says:

    Okay, this is for a laugh.

    Sort of like those 649 commercials that say, “just imagine.”

    Hall-Drysaitl-Purcell
    Pouliot-McDavid-Yak
    Hendricks-Nuge-Eberle
    Klink/JJ-Testube-Pakarinen

    Kbomb-Burns
    Sekera-Byfuglien
    Nurse–Davidson

  13. Lois Lowe says:

    I will take Khaira any day over Klink. MOAR BIGGAR and better speed.

  14. Dr. Taboggan says:

    Ryan,

    It would be a Christmas miracle!

  15. frjohnk says:

    How is this for unicorns?

    Hall-McDavid-Stamkos
    Matthews-RNH-Yak
    Pouliot-Drai-Eberle

    Not that I think it would happen but how pissed would the Toronto media be if Stamkos (because McDavid) wanted to come here?
    and we won the lottery?

  16. Lowetide says:

    Kessy scores, 1-0 Condors.

  17. Dr. Taboggan says:

    frjohnk,

    I might be nitpicking but I think it is wise to keep Drai and Hall together.

  18. rich says:

    Bruce McCurdy,

    Also wonder if it might also be a roster move designed to give the team the max cap space should they be in a position to make a deal at the deadline.

    One of the things PC has been very aggressive about is creating flexibility under the cap this season. Gives him the bullets to fire if we’re still close enough to add someone later.

  19. Lowetide says:

    Slepyshev scores, from Fayne and Oesterle. Scrivens looking good, 2-0.

  20. Centre of attention says:

    Lowetide:
    Slepyshev scores, from Fayne and Oesterle. Scrivens looking good, 2-0.

    Was it pretty?

  21. Aron_S says:

    Hey LT,

    Selfish ask, but do you think you’ll do a full team RE update around the Christmas break or 40 game mark? I’d be curious to see where everyone is sitting relative to your initial reasonable projections.

  22. Lowetide says:

    Aron_S:
    Hey LT,

    Selfish ask, but do you think you’ll do a full team RE update around the Christmas break or 40 game mark? I’d be curious to see where everyone is sitting relative to your initial reasonable projections.

    Sure, if people think that has value. I am running close to par on Hall, so it would give me a chance to brag. 🙂

  23. jp says:

    Lowetide:
    Slepyshev scores, from Fayne and Oesterle. Scrivens looking good, 2-0.

    I was going to post earlier that Slepyshev has been awfully quiet since he was sent down (getting a little concerned about the guy). Lets hope this is the start of something – he sure could be a useful piece if he’s playing well.

  24. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Just like Talbot in Boston, Scrivens stops everything except the worst shot of the night, which he promptly sieves in to cut the lead to 2-1.

    It wouldn’t be the Oiler Way if we didn’t make it as tough as possible on ourselves.

  25. Bruce McCurdy says:

    rich:
    Bruce McCurdy,

    Also wonder if it might also be a roster move designed to give the team the max cap space should they be in a position to make a deal at the deadline.

    One of the things PC has been very aggressive about is creating flexibility under the cap this season.Gives him the bullets to fire if we’re still close enough to add someone later.

    Putting Klef on IR doesn’t do a thing for the salary cap. Not unless it becomes (shudder) LTIR.

  26. admiralmark says:

    Ryan: I wasn’t in favor of trading for Byfuglien before, but I’ve convinced myself that it’s just the right thing to do for a fanbase that hasn’t seen the playoffs since 2006.

    Byfuglien with Klefbomb along with Pouliot MacD and Yak…

    Price?

  27. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Lame play by Pitlick in own zone — fails to handle the clearing pass up the boards, then fails to get to the shooting lane for the ensuing point shot. Tip, goal. 2-2, 5 minutes left.

    This team protects leads almost as well as the Oilers!

  28. Lowetide says:

    Ford from Yakimov and Hunt. 3-2 late. Lordy.

  29. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Lowetide:
    Ford from Yakimov and Hunt. 3-2 late. Lordy.

    A powerplay that actually clicked with the game on the line. Be still, my heart.

  30. LMHF#1 says:

    Dr. Taboggan:
    Woogie63,

    Khaira and Pak should be back in the AHL developing. I like the players but they could use some more seasoning.

    You crazy? They’re better than any of the veteran alternatives. They’re also learning from the likes of Hall and (soon) McDavid. No better spot than that.

  31. 31saves says:

    admiralmark,

    Add him too!

  32. Ivan says:

    Holy moly, Condors allowed 46 shots tonight. The Professor is making some progress, stopping 44 of them.

  33. Dr. Taboggan says:

    LMHF#1,

    True. I am just saying ideal situation those young men would be learning in the AHL not the NHL.

  34. stevezie says:

    What happened to yer boy Josh W?

  35. stevezie says:

    And do you think Hunt might have any value to a team with pp problems?

  36. frjohnk says:

    stevezie:
    And do you think Hunt might have any value to a team with pp problems?

    If he plays PK for the other team, yeah

  37. Lowetide says:

    Stevezie: Winquist is injured. I don’t think Hunt would have much value, way too much chaos.

  38. Halfwise says:

    stevezie:
    And do you think Hunt might have any value to a team with pp problems?

    In the land of unicorns the 4th line has a guy on it who can play PP quarterback or sub in for an injured top 9 winger. Laleggia is preparing for that role today,

    Hunt wasn’t an NHL D-man last year when they tried him with Jultz to start the season, but the smell of burning tires was all around the team from day one and it is hard to pin that on just him.

    So the unequivocal answer to your question is “maybe, for a while, after they put the McDavid band back together, but it’s risky.”

  39. blainer says:

    IMO you really should not have Jultz and Hunt on the same team.

    I would rather the team had sent Jultz to AHL instead of Fayne.

  40. Really? says:

    At the current time the D Corps of the Oilers is truly a mish-mash. The problem is heightened with the recent injury to Klefbom.

    Would you agree that it is time for Chiarelli to take steps, even small ones, to start to rectify the log jam?

  41. stevezie says:

    frjohnk,

    Well played.

    I know we’ve gotten a good look at him and said no thanks, but I wonder if his impressive AHL scoring could tempt someone who hasn’t seen him up close to take a flyer? I doubt you could get anything more than a roster space though.

  42. Surly says:

    Instead of man games lost to injury as a metric, I wish someone smarter than me (most on this blog) could use Avg TOI to somehow track an injury metric that reflects how important the injury is. A 22 min/night D-man or a 18 min/night C is far more impactful than a 7 min/night 4th liner.

    Would never work because TOI is at the control of the team, but I also wonder if this could somehow/someway factor into suspensions. a 3-game suspension to Ovechkin means a lot more than a 3-game suspension to John Scott.

  43. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Surly:
    Instead of man games lost to injury as a metric, I wish someone smarter than me (most on this blog) could use Avg TOI to somehow track an injury metric that reflects how important the injury is.A 22 min/night D-man or a 18 min/night C is far more impactful than a 7 min/night 4th liner.

    Would never work because TOI is at the control of the team, but I also wonder if this could somehow/someway factor into suspensions.a 3-game suspension to Ovechkin means a lot more than a 3-game suspension to John Scott.

    isnt that accounted for by the bubble size of that new site? Oilers had the biggest bubble in the league.

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