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)
- G Laurent Brossoit. Projects as NHL backup, could be back in the AHL.
- G Eetu Laurikainen, AHL backup, he is signed for next year.
- D Griffin Reinhart, cap and other youngsters could keep him in Bakersfield.
- D Jordan Oesterle, AHL D, NHL time. RFA. Suspect he signs.
- D Joey Laleggia, AHL D matriculating.
- D Dillon Simpson, AHL D, matriculating.
- D Ben Betker, AHL D, matriculating.
- C Jujhar Khaira, could be in the NHL this fall.
- C Bogdan Yakimov, may be a tweener next year.
- C Kyle Platzer, AHL C matriculating.
- L Jere Sallinen, you can never have too many Finns.
- L Mitch Moroz, AHL winger/enforcer, matriculating.
- L Braden Christoffer, rugged winger, matriculating.
- R Anton Slepyshev, talented winger should push for NHL time.
- 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
- 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.
- L Chase Witala, Prince George Cougars. He is a speedy offensive winger with a good shot, hit 40 goals this season.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- D Jason Fram, Spokane Chiefs. A good puck-moving defender with some skating issues.
- 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).