I am finishing up the RE numbers for 2016-17, and once again the AHL farm team will have a major impact on the proceedings. My estimates have 12 recalls—at least one player from every position—and of course some players will go up and down more than once during the year. As a preamble to this post, here is the complete recall list from a year ago (first recall only):
- October 19 Andrew Miller
- October 22 Iiro Pakarinen
- October 26 Darnell Nurse
- October 29 Leon Draisaitl
- November 12 Anton Slepyshev
- November 26 Jujhar Khaira
- December 5 Ryan Hamilton
- December 26 Brad Hunt
- January 13 Zack Kassian
- January 22 Griffin Reinhart
- February 10 Laurent Brossoit
- February 21 Jordan Oesterle
When I look for candidates for recall, last season’s performances have a major impact—along with age, spike in performance and professional experience. Eric Rodgers gifted us with AHL TOI estimates for Bakersfield along with NHLE here, and below—by position—is the heart of the Condors 2016-17 roster and the Oilers recall pool.
BAKERSFIELD RIGHT WINGERS
The look at recalls begins on RW, where a ragtag group of former draft picks will attempt to push through the competition and find the NHL. Added to the usual competition (Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, Zack Kassian, Iiro Pakarinen), top pick Jesse Puljujarvi will also be at training camp and will get a very long look. Recent signing Taylor Beck (2.14 points-per-60 according to Prospect-Stats—about equal to Pitlick) and college man Patrick Russell are also in photo—and both could find a way to the NHL in 2016-17.
Khaira stepped forward offensively last season, expect he is going to get at least one NHL look in the coming season. Edmonton has Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Mark Letestu and Anton Lander as center options—but I think JJ Khaira has at least a shot to win an opening night job. Yakimov and Platzer need the kind of season Khaira posted in 2015-16.
BAKERSFIELD LEFT WINGERS
Clearly the weak spot at the minor league level, LW received a lot of attention this spring, with the additions of Drake Caggiula and Jere Sallinen. Edmonton will run Milan Lucic, Benoit Pouliot, Patrick Maroon and Matt Hendricks in 2016-17 (likely), so the need for LW at the NHL level will not be as strong. Men like Anton Lander and Iiro Pakarinen could also fill on the port side. I think Caggiula will be a strong recall candidate by the All-Star break (or before).
Jordan Oesterle posted a strong season in Bakersfield during 2015-16, his recall obscures the strength of it (boxcars are outstanding, but in a little over one half a season). Edmonton has added Adam Larsson to Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, Brandon Davidson, Mark Fayne and Darnell Nurse, so some of these names will play in Edmonton during the winter. Mark Fraser was also added and could see playing time.
- Backup goalie—As we have discussed a few times during the last few days, Brossoit has enough potential to be (imo) a consideration for the job. Jonas Gustavsson could easily be sent down instead of LB.
- Depth defenseman—The Oilers will be running through defensemen a mile a minute I am sure, and someone has to be the 7D. Obvious candidates above and of course the summer isn’t over yet. Jordan Oesterle has a lot of good arrows.
- Center—I am not certain Anton Lander wins a job out of TC. You might see Jujhar Khaira grab the 13F job and double as 5C, leaving the 14F job to a winger.
- Left Wing—Matt Hendricks turned 35 in June, was drafted in 2000 and has outlasted a ton of picks from that year (including No. 1 overall). I think this season may see someone catch the veteran, and if the veteran holds his value all season a deadline trade could be in his future.
- Right Wing—A fluid position that could see any number of players emerge. For Slepyshev, who impressed Todd McLellan last fall, a summer of running up that hill is probably wise. Pitlick? Stay healthy young man!
One final note: Notice the top NHLE posted last winter via Rodgers numbers listed here? That’s right—Jordan Oesterle.