FARM WORKERS 2016

Every year for many, I like to look back on the past season and compare it to Brian Conacher’s brilliant book and his description of minor league rosters 50 years ago.

  • Brian Conacher: As in other areas of modern society, hockeys teams too have their generation gaps. This situation stood out on the Rochester team in 1965 which consisted of three groups: the veterans (had all resigned themselves to making the best of their minor league hockey careers), the young ones (who have stars in their eyes and are in the AHL for just a little time, or so they think) and the group somewhere in between (these players kept hoping that a break would come their way and they might get their chance in the “big tent”).

Last year’s look is here, giddyup.

 

  1. Men who are over 30 and come out of the minors to establish (0r re-establish) themselves are pretty much a thing of the past. You’ll find the odd goalie or defenseman but unlike the orginal 6 era very few teams have enough depth and free agency makes it impossible to keep them on the farm. Which is a good thing. Condors 2015-16: No 30-year old farm workers this year, although Ryan Hamilton and Matt Ford played major roles in Bakersfield. Rob Klinkhammer is 29 and played 14 NHL games this season, but he did that at the NHL level before being demoted. Most of the men who would have played in the AHL 30+ are now either in Europe or getting out of the game.
  2. Pretty much everyone who is in the AHL past (say) 21 has some issues and is going to do some meandering (this is universal from 1965 through 2009). Condors 2015-16: Yep. Leon Draisiatl and Darnell Nurse scooted early (six games each) and they are 20. Among the 21 group, Griffin Reinhart, Bogdan Yakimov, Anton Slepyshev and Jujhar Khaira show promise but are likely to spend time in the AHL at 22. Past that, all players are working on something—and that includes prospects like Dillon Simpson, David Musil, Laurent Brossoit, Joey Laleggia and Jordan Oesterle. Honestly, if you took those five names and bet on all five equally, chances are one of those bets would work out (play 100 or more NHL games). The trick? Identifying the right guy, and honestly if the player plays his 100th game a decade later (hello Taylor Chorney) then we have to agree that is not success.
  3. We shouldn’t expect Rob Schremp to play more career games than Sam Gagner or Andrew Cogliano. Whatever that line in the sand is, that line sticks. Condors 2015-16: Making it to the NHL at age 18-20 means a long career is very likely—even if you encounter issues. Sam Gagner has had all kinds of trouble since being dealt by Edmonton, but he played in his 600th game this year.
  4. No minor league regular is likely to do anything incredible like play in 1,000 NHL games. It is a rare thing for a player to spend a couple of seasons in the minors and then go on to a 1,000 NHL game calibre career. Condors 2015-16: If a player spends most of their entry-level deal in the minors, as Jujhar Khaira is doing now, his NHL career starts at 23. With NHL teams so eager to dump veterans as soon as they begin to fade (30, for normal humans), playing 500 is probably Khaira’s outer marker (not saying he gets there, but that is the likely tally if he makes it).
  5. If you haven’t established yourself as a prospect of interest by 22 you are in trouble. The players who have graduated to useful NHL careers have at least played some NHL games by the end of their entry level deals. Condors 2015-16: I think this is a really important item. Of the group currently in their entry-level deal (who also played for the Condors this year) are Leon Draisaitl, Darnell Nurse, Jujhar Khaira, Anton Slepyshev, Griffin Reinhart, Jordan Oesterle, Iiro Pakarinen, Laurent Brossoit. That is basically the heart of the order in terms of Oilers prospects.
  6. Exceptions are college men. Playing 4 NCAA seasons means turning pro at 22, meaning a “late start” for some quality prospects. Condors 2015-16. Too true. Mark Arcobello, Justin Schultz, Andrew Miller and others show the rule to be true, and I think Jordan Oesterle may do it, too. Among the college men who fit this description for Bakersfield are Dillon Simpson and Joey Laleggia, plus this fellow they just signed (Joey Benik) is probably going to have a better pro career than most of the 2014 Oilers draft. Please, please, please sign the college men.
  7. A large group of players on the current team could be described in the “tweener” division. History tells us we’ll have our answers on men like Brandon Davidson and Tyler Pitlick very soon. Condors 2015-16: I identified Brandon Davidson as a guy who looks like a tweener, and he should be the poster man for ‘you never know’ for the next decade or more. Among the tweeners I see on the current Condors? Brossoit, Simpson, Kyle Platzer, the Russians, maybe Khaira although he has made nice progress in areas of concern (mostly offense).
  8. If we make a list of the minor league RFA’s each summer, we can probably as a group pick the cuts and be fairly close. That 50 man list gets a haircut every summer. Condors 2015-16: Edmonton will likely walk Tyler Pitlick, Adam Clendening and Niklas Lundstrom, and I imagine Kale Kessy and David Musil are probably looking at new towns. Jordan Oesterle will return, suspect that it is written in stone.
  9. Daniel Cleary, Fernando Pisani and Jason Chimera became productive players in the toughest league on the planet. THEY are the stars in this study. Condors 2015-16: This is the most important thing about looking at the minors. People rip on Anton Lander, but that is they kind of player the minor leagues produces. Among the younger set, I would identify Jujhar Khaira, Bogdan Yakimov and Anton Slepyshev among forwards, and Jordan Oesterle, Dillon Simpson among defenders. It isn’t sexy like the lottery, but these are important pieces.
  10. For Rob Schremp fans, there’s exactly ONE pure offensive player who made it: Mike Walton. BARONS 14-15: They all go straight to the NHL if they can post numbers like Leon. And they don’t come back. So, if we are looking for Anton Slepyshev to be an NHL player, chances are he is going to need an extra gear or two to make it.
  11. The future NHLERS are……..If I’m a betting man, these are the winners from the current group to be the new Cleary and Chimera. Here are the names I’ve mentioned over the years (a sample):
  • 2011: Theo Peckham and Devan Dubnyk. Well, DD made it, lost it, made it again.
  • 2012: Linus Omark, Magnus Paajarvi, Anton Lander, Teemu Hartikainen and Tyler Pitlick. The Swedes are still hammering away.
  • 2013: Magnus Paajarvi, Anton Lander, Teemu Hartikainen and Martin Marincin. I think Paajarvi, Lander and Marincin are all in there punching.
  • 2014: Martin Marincin, Oscar Klefbom and Mark Arcobello. Klefbom looks like a lock for NHL employment if his health stays, and Marincin has played well enough to earn another year in the show.

This year, I will choose Griffin Reinhart, Jordan Oesterle, Jujhar Khaira and Anton Slepyshev. I could add Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse, but they didn’t spend much time in the minors this year. If Nurse returns to the AHL next year, we can discuss him in the No. 2 portion of the post. David Musil could be included, and maybe he finds another organization or the Oilers trade some lefties. The problem is that all NHL teams have these players types, and I am unsure that Musil offers the kind of game that stands out from the crowd.

The Edmonton Oilers have to draft players who they can grind into useful NHL men, and then hold on to them. The Daniel Cleary’s and Jason Chimera’s are on the way, with Brandon Davidson perhaps the first of several to support the gifted jacks and kings. I know many of you blame the scouts, but for me the lesson of this season—the lesson of Brandon Davidson—is the players are fine, but the organization doesn’t believe in them enough, and doesn’t develop them using established good practices.

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38 Responses to "FARM WORKERS 2016"

  1. Centre of attention says:

    “One more quick ref’s note: We’re hearing that inexplicable review on goaltender interference in L.A. last Saturday — when Milan Lucic skated through Laurent Brossoit’s crease and kicked his heel, causing him to fall before a Kings goal was scored — is being admitted to as a major mistake in the video review process.

    Somehow, the on-ice officials never got the replay that showed the slew-foot, even though those of us at home saw it many times. If true, that is inexcusable. The officials should have seen it live and called tripping, or at least if one referee missed it, one of the four officials should have brought it up when they huddled post-goal.

    So the system failed on three levels, proving that the video review process still has some work to do.”

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/west-coast-bias-remembering-rexall-place/

    You have to be f*cking kidding me. How much shenanigans will be in the playoffs this year?

  2. Johnny Larue says:

    I disagree I think Musil a player. It might not be with the Oilers because of their left handed depth but I think he will have a long career. He is always referred to as the Condors best defence man

  3. pts2pndr says:

    Lat
    Why is it with the number of Russian players drafted the Oilers have not employed an assistant coach and or a linguist versed in Russian. It would seem given the investment to be a no brainer! I believe there is a player in both Yakamov and Slepeshev. In today’s world communication is most important! I have dealt with German students whose English seemed excellent on the surface but in reality more like 80 percent comprehension. Your insight would be most appreciated!

  4. Lowetide says:

    Johnny Larue:
    I disagree I think Musil a player. It might not be with the Oilers because of their left handed depth but I think he will have a long career. He is always referred to as the Condors best defence man

    I think he could be, too. Scott Zerr says he has been the best defender in Bakersfield all year. That said, we are watching a veteran version of Musil in Mark Fayne currently, and I wonder if that player type has high appeal. Maybe. I keep cheering for him, he was a fine Oil King.

  5. Lowetide says:

    pts2pndr:
    Lat
    Why is it with the number of Russian players drafted the Oilers have not employed an assistant coach and or a linguist versed in Russian. It would seem given the investment to be a no brainer! I believe there is a player in both Yakamov and Slepeshev. In today’s world communication is most important! I have dealt with German students whose English seemed excellent on the surface but in reality more like 80 percent comprehension. Your insight would be most appreciated!

    The Oilers are not an innovative organization. Your idea is a good one, doubt Edmonton has thought about it.

  6. leadfarmer says:

    pts2pndr,

    Well khabibulin did retire

  7. JDï™ says:

    Centre of attention: How much shenanigans will be in the playoffs this year?

    Hopefully a lot.

    I have no horses in that race, and would instead prefer it to be the low point for the league, so that we see them get shit right starting next season.

  8. hunter1909 says:

    Lowetide: The Oilers are not an innovative organization. Your idea is a good one, doubt Edmonton has thought about it.

    The Oilers are run as if they have 5-6 superstars who alone can effect outcomes, and anyone who is lucky enough(eg/ Lowe+MacT) to either be drafted or traded for had better join the program in a hurry before Messier decides to make another example out of an inferior/non-Don Cherry foreigner.

    This is only a theory, but 10 seasons out of the running opens up all kinds of possibilities.

  9. flyfish1168 says:

    Having some good veterans that buy into helping and developing is a must, no matter how gifted you are. A team needs these veteran types in the AHL and NHL level. That is why I really feel sorry for Hall. Yes Smyth was here, but he was not enough. Hall was played and was expected to do to much. JMHO

  10. Frank the dog says:

    You folks go right ahead but on principle alone I have no interest in an engineered all American Stanley Cup playoff series.
    It bad enough that not one Canadian team has won the cup since Bettman took over, but this is a new low. We can make all the excuses we like, the proof is in the pudding.

  11. Lowetide says:

    Bakersfield Condors ‏@Condors 44s44 seconds ago

    FORWARDS:
    Klinkhammer – Khaira – Pitlick
    Hamilton – Winquist – Ford
    Slepyshev – Yakimov – Boychuk
    Moroz – Platzer – Kessy
    DEFENSE:
    Simpson – Hunt
    LaLeggia – Musil
    Betker – Pageau
    IN NET: Laurikainen

  12. square_wheels says:

    Centre of attention,

    That’s putting lipstick on the pig that has been officiating all bloody year.

    Inexcusable isn’t anywhere close to how I feel about that play.

    Playoffs will be full of crease invasion nonsense. Duncan Keith might slash Dustin Brown’s head clean off his shoulders if LA plays their “heavy” 1980’s hockey and “accidentally” fall on Crawford’s knee.

    Bettman and his cronies only get my McD jersey cut and whatever Shaw pays them for my Sportnsnet channels. I will never pay for tickets to an NHL game again (and I refuse any gifts from vendors).

    I still happily pay for WHL games though.

  13. JDï™ says:

    Hmmm – seems that the AHL streams have dried up.

    Anyone have one for tonight’s game?

  14. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Friends,
    Where can I find how many points of Panarin’s that Kane contributed to?

  15. JDï™ says:

    http://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/cult-of-hockey-oilers-phenom-connor-mcdavid-first-3-time-winner-of-nhls-rookie-of-the-month-since-alex-ovechkin

    Nice breakdown by the Cult.

    Hey Bruce – you have a scouting report on Patrick from his games against the Oil Kings?

  16. jonrmcleod says:

    What’s crazy is that Panarin was playing in the KHL when McDavid was 12.

  17. Klima's_Bucket says:

    jonrmcleod,

    Agreed, the arbitrary cut off age is irrelevant.
    If McDavid can’t win the Calder because he hasn’t played enough games.
    Then Panarin shouldn’t win the Calder because he’s been playing professionally since McDavid was 12.

  18. MrEd says:

    Lowetide,

    I’m missing Pouzar. Dude.

  19. JDï™ says:

    jonrmcleod:
    What’s crazy is that Panarin was playing in the KHL when McDavid was 12.

    Crazier yet – McDavid was better then too!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tecey8f08O8

  20. MrEd says:

    Panarin is Makarov. All wrong.

    i do think that the Ghost is the Rookie of the Year.

  21. Lowetide says:

    1-0 Condors, SH goal by Klinkhammer from JJ and Craig Simpson’s boy.

  22. godot10 says:

    Lowetide: I think he could be, too. Scott Zerr says he has been the best defender in Bakersfield all year. That said, we are watching a veteran version of Musil in Mark Fayne currently, and I wonder if that player type has high appeal. Maybe. I keep cheering for him, he was a fine Oil King.

    Musil hits people. Fayne doesn’t.

  23. Lowetide says:

    2-0 Barons, Hunt scoring on the PP from Winquist and Hamilton.

  24. Lowetide says:

    Laleggia from Klinkhammer and SImpson, now 3-1/

  25. spoiler says:

    LT said…

    Brian Conacher: As in other areas of modern society, hockeys teams too have their generation gaps. This situation stood out on the Rochester team in 1965 which consisted of three groups: the veterans (had all resigned themselves to making the best of their minor league hockey careers), the young ones (who have stars in their eyes and are in the AHL for just a little time, or so they think) and the group somewhere in between (these players kept hoping that a break would come their way and they might get their chance in the “big tent”).

    I can’t even imagine what Conacher’s thoughts would’ve been if he had spent the time with Shore’s Springfield Indians instead.

    Shore probably would’ve had Conacher filling bags of popcorn just to get access…

  26. theres oil in virginia says:

    MrEd:
    Lowetide,

    I’m missing Pouzar.Dude.

    Same here. All the same, I’m glad he’s not around…for his own sake.

  27. LostBoy says:

    So, not that anyone asked/cares, but I posted in the last thread about our last in the league scoring from D, and also compared our D points to GF.

    I’ve been away from the internet for a couple of days fly fishing, and posted this on my return.

    Tonight I’m catching up, and read the following Bruce McCurdy post on Cult of Hockey:

    http://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/cult-of-hockey-chiarellis-challenge-is-to-improve-oilers-league-worst-defence-scoring-but-who-might-be-available

    Bruce makes *exactly the same points* with *exactly the same comparisons*. And he posted it yesterday, March 31.

    I’m just…this is….I don’t even know what.

    I just feel I have to say that I wasn’t misappropriating the info from the estimable Mr. McCurdy. I came up with it this afternoon as part of my ongoing reaction to our whole fix-the-defense problem.

    I feel like an idiot. But I swear, I had no idea Bruce had posted the same comparisons (down to the .51 [he had it .52] of cumulative defense points as a ratio of GF).

    This is…highly unusual.

  28. Магия 10 says:

    JDï™:
    http://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/cult-of-hockey-oilers-phenom-connor-mcdavid-first-3-time-winner-of-nhls-rookie-of-the-month-since-alex-ovechkin

    Nice breakdown by the Cult.

    For those scoring at home it is
    McDavid 3 Panarin 0 Ghost 0:

    October McDavid
    November Larkin
    December Gibson
    January Domingue
    February McDavid
    March McDavid

  29. Lowetide says:

    Yakimov from Klinkhammer and Slepyshev (EN) and the Condors win one.

  30. jp says:

    Lowetide:
    Laleggia from Klinkhammer and SImpson, now 3-1/

    Simpson’s on a bit of a run lately, is he not?

  31. Lowetide says:

    jp: Simpson’s on a bit of a run lately, is he not?

    he started the season 29, 1-5-6, and is 21, 2-10-12 since.

  32. Little Poteet says:

    Lowetide,

    Getting oesterle’s minutes and opportunities? No nikitin down there either for that span

  33. Professor Q says:

    Магия 10: For those scoring at home it is
    McDavid 3 Panarin 0 Ghost 0:

    October McDavid
    NovemberLarkin
    DecemberGibson
    January Domingue
    February McDavid
    March McDavid

    Thank goodness for those goalies. 😉

  34. Professor Q says:

    MrEd:
    Panarin is Makarov.All wrong.

    i do think that the Ghost is the Rookie of the Year.

    McDavid is much better.

  35. Bruce McCurdy says:

    LostBoy:
    So, not that anyone asked/cares, but I posted in the last thread about our last in the league scoring from D, and also compared our D points to GF.

    I’ve been away from the internet for a couple of days fly fishing, and posted this on my return.

    Tonight I’m catching up, and read the following Bruce McCurdy post on Cult of Hockey:

    http://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/cult-of-hockey-chiarellis-challenge-is-to-improve-oilers-league-worst-defence-scoring-but-who-might-be-available

    Bruce makes *exactly the same points* with *exactly the same comparisons*.And he posted it yesterday, March 31.

    I’m just…this is….I don’t even know what.

    I just feel I have to say that I wasn’t misappropriating the info from the estimable Mr. McCurdy.I came up with it this afternoonas part of my ongoing reaction to our whole fix-the-defense problem.

    I feel like an idiot.But I swear, I had no idea Bruce had posted the same comparisons (down to the .51 [he had it .52] of cumulative defense points as a ratio of GF).

    This is…highly unusual.

    No worries, mate. The same line of thought will produce similar stats — the numbers are the numbers — & most likely, similar conclusions. I consider your post independent confirmation of my own.

    PS: Thanks for reading!

  36. Bruce McCurdy says:

    LostBoy,

    PPS: The difference between your .51 and my .52 is most likely that you may have calculated against GF as shown in the standings while I calculate against what I call Real Goals, discounting ersatz shootout “goals” where no points are awarded. The standings show Oilers with 194 GF but 4 of those “goals” came in shootouts.

    99/194 = .51
    99/190 = .52

    In a similar vein, I tested your other data point, a league average of .67 defence points per goal. Using my numbers that figure is closer to .69, again suggesting I am using a lower divisor than you which would be explained by my discounting of shootout “goals”. It’s unimportant on one level — just a detail — other than it confirms our methodologies were slightly different as one would expect from independent studies. Put another way, it’s all good. 🙂

  37. SwedishPoster says:

    Lowetide: he started the season 29, 1-5-6, and is 21, 2-10-12 since.

    As a fairly strong believer in in-season developement, younger players who finish the season stronger than they start it, that’s encouraging. I think it was Todd Nelson who mentioned that guys like Klefbom and Marincin came on strong the second half of their AHL breakout season. Both followed up with being “too good for the AHL” next year. Hopefully the same goes for Simpson though he’s obviously a much lesser prospect to start so such developement isn’t likely but he might be ready for NHL cameos next year.
    Seems like Eetu stole the game last night. Let’s hope he goes on a hot run and leads them to a playoff spot, they should be a better team with the NHL guys coming down and might do some damage.

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