THE WHL AND THE OILERS (FREE AGENT EDITION)

The Edmonton Oilers will be on the lookout for talent this spring, as the lean pickings from their own 2014 draft put them in a procurement bind. When they signed Braden Christoffer in the fall, the club was looking for rugged forwards who could play that style. This spring? That, and more. Peter Chiarelli has already signed Jere Sallinen for the pro depth chart and there are more on the way. In the first of a series of posts, I will look at some of the players we might see here in the fall—either on an NHL deal (like Christoffer) or on an AHL deal (Josh Winquist).

2016-17 BAKERSFIELD CONDORS (A PROJECTION)

  1. G Laurent Brossoit. Projects as NHL backup, could be back in the AHL.
  2. G Eetu Laurikainen, AHL backup, he is signed for next year.
  3. D Griffin Reinhart, cap and other youngsters could keep him in Bakersfield.
  4. D Jordan Oesterle, AHL D, NHL time. RFA. Suspect he signs.
  5. D Joey Laleggia, AHL D matriculating.
  6. D Dillon Simpson, AHL D, matriculating.
  7. D Ben Betker, AHL D, matriculating.
  8. C Jujhar Khaira, could be in the NHL this fall.
  9. C Bogdan Yakimov, may be a tweener next year.
  10. C Kyle Platzer, AHL C matriculating.
  11. L Jere Sallinen, you can never have too many Finns.
  12. L Mitch Moroz, AHL winger/enforcer, matriculating.
  13. L Braden Christoffer, rugged winger, matriculating.
  14. R Anton Slepyshev, talented winger should push for NHL time.
  15. R Greg Chase, minor league winger, matriculating.

Men like Marco Roy, Josh Winquist and Josh Currie could be signed,either to NHL or AHL deals. There should be a college signing soon (UND has a defenseman worth monitoring) and the Oilers could sign Zach Nagelvoort or Tyler Vesel but it doesn’t look like there is a strong candidate from the draft list of previous seasons.

WHL FREE-AGENT CANDIDATES

  1. D Macoy Erkamps, Brandon Wheat Kings. He is a puck-moving defender who spiked in a big way this season—almost a point-per-game for the Wheaties. He is 6.0, 198, a righty, and there is zero chance the Oilers don’t know about him. Question is do they like him? Smarter people than me have mentioned he would be a nice fit with the organization’s needs.
  2. L Chase Witala, Prince George Cougars. He is a speedy offensive winger with a good shot, hit 40 goals this season.
  3. G Landon Bow, Seattle Thunderbirds. He is sporting a .938SP this season, and he is a tall drink of water to boot. Seattle is a good team this year, and he has spiked since coming over from Swift, but he is certainly worth a long look—especially for an organization so weak at the position. Inconsistent before this season.
  4. D Colton Waltz, Saskatoon Blades. He was invited to rookie camp last year, and is in Bakersfield now on an ATO. A lefty, he is 6.01, 198. Second-pairing in Brandon last season, appears to be a shutdown style D. Here’s what I wrote about him last fall after rookie camp: He’s 20 (turns 21 in January) and that extra little experience showed compared to youngsters like Leveille. I like his size (looks bigger than 6.01, 198), don’t know if there’s a player there.
  5. R Cole Sanford, Regina Pats. He was in Edmonton for the rookie camp last summer/fall, I wrote about him here. He didn’t rip it up during 2015-16, but he is a scorer. Undersized.
  6. C Matt Needham, Kamloops Blazers. He is a smaller (5.10, 184) center but is a very good skater. Production was down slightly this season.
  7. C Jordan Tkactch, PA Raiders. Not much on him, he is undersized (5.11, 196) but isn’t an imp or anything. Good offense, suspect speed is an issue or he skates funny. Either way, he can impact the GF.
  8. R Carson Stadnyk, Everett Silvertips. He is 6.02, 185, has legit scoring ability (20 goals or more three years in a row), has good speed and plays an aggressive style.
  9. L Nick Zajac, Saskatoon Blades. Unusual set of skills, he is 5.10, 180 and plays a tough game (91 pims). Appears to be similar to Christoffer.
  10. D Jason Fram, Spokane Chiefs. A good puck-moving defender with some skating issues.
  11. R Beau McCue, Tri-City Americans. Physical player with a good shot, skating an issue.

Guidance for this list courtesy Guy Flaming and other input via various sources. WHL From Above remains a key element in identifying player styles and history. If you see value in this, I will post on the OHL and QMJHL, perhaps a college list as well (although we have already discussed the college kids at length).

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30 Responses to "THE WHL AND THE OILERS (FREE AGENT EDITION)"

  1. John Chambers says:

    Man they could use a few more pivots in the system.

    I realize the big club now boasts a ‘big 3’ at centre, but prospective skaters from the farm to take an NHL shift in the event of injury pretty much starts and stops with Yakimov, which should give Peter Chiarelli pause.

    Heck, even someone to push Bogdan for playing time is a must.

  2. reckless restraint says:

    Check out Niagara IceDogs over-agers Stephen Harper for your OHL post. Has Chiarelli written all over him.

  3. kdunbar says:

    reckless restraint,

    And can play regularly because he is no longer Prime Minister. ?

  4. fifthcartel says:

    reckless restraint,

    I heard his play was too conservative.

  5. Johnny Larue says:

    kdunbar:
    reckless restraint,

    And can play regularly because he is no longer Prime Minister.

    And I here he also plays right wing

  6. Woodguy says:

    OHL and The Q would be welcomed as well.

  7. jimmers2 says:

    Johnny Larue,

    I heard that while he started out as a Leafs fan and then warmed up to the Flames, he is in fact a fan of the Senators since a whole lot of his buddies play for them now..

  8. Mr DeBakey says:

    For the most part that looks like a list of guys who will be helping the Golden Bears back to greatness.

    D Macoy Erkamps, Brandon Wheat Kings. He is a puck-moving defender who spiked in a big way this season—almost a point-per-game for the Wheaties.

    Ethan Bear
    0.551 ppg in 2014-15
    0.942 ppg in 2015-16

    Macoy Erkamps
    0.456 ppg in 2014-15
    0.986 ppg in 2015-16

    Listed first for a reason, I see.

  9. kinger_OIL says:

    Darn!: I put my best post right at the end of last one!. Our depth here: little to hope about. If Griff and Nurse were the top D next year though, this would be a lot better Condor depth: This is my post:

    – Great write-up LT! LT says: In what has been a wildly disappointing season
    – I do not want to appear smug, but they are within a few points of where I predicted. LT (and most here) predicted north of 85 points. If I thought this was a playoff team this year, I guess I would be disappointed as well

    1) Talbot, struggled for quite awhile, which was to be expected, when you give a career back-up on a Cup team the starting job for the worst team in the NHL (see Bunny Laraque amongst many). There was some good work identifying Talbot as a good bet (but turns out he was not the best). There was no consideration given to the likelihood that he would struggle (which he did), or that combining him with a KHL special was not a good combo. Talbot and Nillson and now Brossoit is still one of the worst G tandems in the league

    2) How can you be disappointed when you starting D consisted of:
    a) one bonafide top-4 pick-up in Sekera (expected to be the best D on team)
    b) A guy who maybe played top-4 mins for 40 of his 80 game in the NHL in Klef
    c) A rookie (Griff),
    d) A plug from another team who was barely bottom-6 (Gryba)
    e) Fayne: miscast as a top-4 D on this bad team, coming from an aweosme D team to a gong show
    f) Jultz: enough said
    – That is a last place team Defense. How can you be disappointed

    – The Steve Austins did what they did: and again were not able to play 70+ games each: they are rarely all healthy at the same time. The roster sucked, again, and they have not been able to move the needle in the past with a crap roster: why expect that this was the year they would put the team on their back and just win.

    – McDavid was awesome: more so than anyone expected so even with his lost games, Chia was on record as saying he figured Conner would be 50 points, so his net contribution after injury = push

    – Drai did way better, which was awesome for a bit, but he did not bring it for 82 games, so net fine

    – Davidson performed at the level that one hoped Griff and or Nurse did: so good depth there

    – Honestly LT, you are only disappointed as you and the blog all wished blindly for great things. But for the most part, you are all just blind OIL fans, and that is what a fan is: fanatical

    – You are getting so much better this season of seeing things as they are, and depending on what happens this off season, it is incumbent upon you to do an honest assessement of where this team is entering next season. Put down your fan hat, and be cold rational.

    – This was a lottery team in my mind going into the year. They now have a year under the new management belt, and McDavid,and lots to move the dial this off-season.

    Why be disappointed: this team sucked, and I guess if you look back, you knew better (93 points- come on!)

    – P.S.: I love the OIL, and am a huge fan of the team and this blog: keep up the good work!

  10. jfry says:

    please post more like this! since you`re asking.

    would be particularly interested in all other leagues as well. NCAA. Europe, etc.

    these are great.

  11. Lowetide says:

    jfry:
    please post more like this! since you`re asking.

    would be particularly interested in all other leagues as well. NCAA. Europe, etc.

    these are great.

    I will try. The college stuff is pretty much going to happen right soon. If you want to read on guys who are going to be available tonight and tomorrow:

    http://www.sbncollegehockey.com/2016/3/9/11182480/top-nhl-free-agent-prospects-in-the-ncaa

    2, 5 and 8 on that list just became free-agent options, as Providence lost in OT

  12. Lowetide says:

    Oh and keep the name Ahti Oksanen in mind.

  13. Woodguy says:

    Macoy Erkamps was the highest scoring Dman on his team in his draft year and had a 16.6% IPP with 0.486pts/gm.

    He was not drafted.

    Darnell Nurse was the 2nd highest scoring Dman on his team in his draft year and had a 15.8% IPP with 0.603pts/gm and was drafted 7th overall.

    I’m not denigrating Nurse here, just using someone we all know to show how weird NHL drafting can be.

    Really can’t see why he wasn’t taken. Skating issue?

    Players with pretty much zero offence (which means 0 chance of being a NHLer) still get drafted and this guy doesn’t?

    Weird.

    Not sure why Erkamps exploded this year.

    He’s in his draft +3 year and he’s still in the CHL (Nurse’s draft class), playing for probably the most talented team in the CHL so that’s probably where it comes from, but brothers and sisters you fill the pipe with RHD.

    Here’s the most valuable commodities in the NHL imo:

    (assume are all NHL top 6, top 4 quality)

    RH C
    RH D
    LH C
    LD D

    There aren’t enough of these anywhere so you draft them, draft them, draft them and draft them.

    The draft is a free gold exercise.

    Take the most rare forms of it available when everything else is equal.

  14. Mr DeBakey says:

    I just spent a few minutes looking at an un-current Dub From Above.
    Well, I guess it depends on your definition of a few.

    Chase Witala
    1.01 ppg in 2014-15
    1.11 ppg in 2015-16
    can beat defenders off the rush or cause matchup issues by driving lanes with speed
    has a great shot…wrist shot has some zip thanks in part to a good release
    is an ideal give and go style scorer due to his quick feet and ability to get quick shots on net
    was counted on in all situations

    But also:
    Parker Bowles
    0.94 ppg in 2014-15
    1.33 ppg in 2015-16
    can beat defenders off the rush or cause matchup issues by driving lanes with speed
    has a great shot…wrist shot has some zip thanks in part to a good release
    is an ideal give and go style scorer due to his quick feet and ability to get quick shots on net
    was counted on in all situations

    Both were listed in “Honourable Mentions” last year.
    Bowles is 4 months older.
    The two are the same size
    Height 6.00 — Weight 170 [183 cm/77 kg].

  15. Woodguy says:

    Woodguy,

    There aren’t enough of these anywhere so you draft them, draft them, draft them and draft them.
    The draft is a free gold exercise.
    Take the most rare forms of it available when everything else is equal.

    This is why I was very happy to see Bear (who’s early returns are phenomenal for his draft spot) and Marino (ok draft +1 year, early days)

    Free gold.

    Make sure it counts.

  16. AsiaOil says:

    Always like the combo players – very flexible as extra F/D in the pressbox or in-game if a dman gets hurt.

    Lowetide: Ahti Oksanen

  17. Water Fire says:

    Woodguy:
    Macoy Erkamps was the highest scoring Dman on his team in his draft year and had a 16.6% IPP with 0.486pts/gm.

    He was not drafted.

    Darnell Nurse was the 2nd highest scoring Dman on his team in his draft year and had a 15.8% IPP with0.603pts/gm and was drafted 7th overall.

    I’m not denigrating Nurse here, just using someone we all know to show how weird NHL drafting can be.

    Really can’t see why he wasn’t taken.Skating issue?

    Players with pretty much zero offence (which means 0 chance of being a NHLer)still get drafted and this guy doesn’t?

    Weird.

    Not sure why Erkamps exploded this year.

    He’s in his draft +3 year and he’s still in the CHL (Nurse’s draft class), playing for probably the most talented team in the CHL so that’s probably where it comes from, but brothers and sisters you fill the pipe with RHD.

    Here’s the most valuable commodities in the NHL imo:

    (assume are all NHL top 6, top 4 quality)

    RH C
    RH D
    LH C
    LD D

    There aren’t enough of these anywhere so you draft them, draft them, draft them and draft them.

    The draft is a free gold exercise.

    Take the most rare forms of it available when everything else is equal.

    What about BPA?

  18. GCW_69 says:

    Water Fire: What about BPA?

    Best is a subjective term.

  19. Woodguy says:

    Water Fire: What about BPA?

    What about it?

  20. JDï™ says:

    Woodguy: What about it?

    Bisphenol A. Bad stuff.

  21. jp says:

    Woodguy:
    OHL and The Q would be welcomed as well.

    Agreed

  22. Lowetide says:

    Oilers had a nice draft in 2015, despite all the traded picks. Wonder if they take a goalie in the second or third round this year, I would not.

  23. Woodguy says:

    Oil Kings go into Brandon and take two from probably the best team in the CHL.

    Unreal.

    That’s just great for them.

    I blame Erkamps.

  24. Lowetide says:

    Woodguy:
    Oil Kings go into Brandon and take two from probably the best team in the CHL.

    Unreal.

    That’s just great for them.

    I blame Erkamps.

    If he could arrange for a shoulder injury, I think the Oilers would be forced to sign him on general principles.

  25. JDï™ says:

    There’s a video on the Oilers’ site about McDavid’s draft experience. Not much substance to it really – mostly just a lot of aw-shucks moments, but I found it surprising when he said he went back to watch day two of the draft.

    Best player by a mile, first overall, already a superstar in the media with people like Larry King tweeting about him, and yet he still wanted to see some of his friends get drafted.

    This young man will probably be great at every role he takes on in hockey. Is it against the CBA rules to ask him to scout some junior playoff games this spring?

  26. frjohnk says:

    Lowetide:
    Oilers had a nice draft in 2015, despite all the traded picks. Wonder if they take a goalie in the second or third round this year, I would not.

    Our defense prospect depth looks decent from here.
    But not for skilled forwards or goalies ( not including LB here)

    Chia has selected a goalie (Subban) in the first round before. It’s possible the Oilers pick a goalie in the second or third round.

    But like you I’m in the “goalies are voodoo” camp. I don’t think using a second or third rounder is wise on a 17 yearold goalie.

  27. Ducey says:

    Van city with another loss. Outshot 37-15. GDs now -45. League low in GF.

    Good thing they held onto everyone at the deadline.

  28. Professor Q says:

    frjohnk,

    Maybe much more of a mix this year, then? More forwards, some D, and a goalie, with the top forward in the Top 4?

    Not a draft of pure F or G, obviously. :p

  29. square_wheels says:

    frjohnk,

    Professor Q:
    frjohnk,

    Maybe much more of a mix this year, then? More forwards, some D, and a goalie, with the top forward in the Top 4?

    Not a draft of pure F or G, obviously. :p

    Kamloops’ Connor Ingram is fascinating and he’s from the motherland ! suspect he falls out of the first round but likely won’t last the second.

  30. PerryK says:

    Woodguy:
    Macoy Erkamps was the highest scoring Dman on his team in his draft year and had a 16.6% IPP with 0.486pts/gm.

    He was not drafted.

    Darnell Nurse was the 2nd highest scoring Dman on his team in his draft year and had a 15.8% IPP with0.603pts/gm and was drafted 7th overall.

    I’m not denigrating Nurse here, just using someone we all know to show how weird NHL drafting can be.

    Really can’t see why he wasn’t taken.Skating issue?

    Players with pretty much zero offence (which means 0 chance of being a NHLer)still get drafted and this guy doesn’t?

    Weird.

    Not sure why Erkamps exploded this year.

    He’s in his draft +3 year and he’s still in the CHL (Nurse’s draft class), playing for probably the most talented team in the CHL so that’s probably where it comes from, but brothers and sisters you fill the pipe with RHD.

    Here’s the most valuable commodities in the NHL imo:

    (assume are all NHL top 6, top 4 quality)

    RH C
    RH D
    LH C
    LD D

    There aren’t enough of these anywhere so you draft them, draft them, draft them and draft them.

    The draft is a free gold exercise.

    Take the most rare forms of it available when everything else is equal.

    I don’t know what might have triggered his scoring, but he is a heck of a fighter! He had 5 doozies this year.

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