SKYLINE PIGEON

Yesterday, we looked at the best teams of the 1980s and 1990s in terms of Oilers farm clubs—those were my choices—and today we look at the first two decades of this century.

2001-02 HAMILTON BULLDOGS (BEST OF THE 00S)

  • L Jason Chimera: He has played 951 NHL games and another 69 in the playoffs. His speed was always a calling card and no doubt contributed to his staying power. Scored 20 last season, age 36.
  • D Marc-Andre Bergeron: He played 490 NHL games and 57 in the playoffs. Because of the playoff play (Roloson injury) there is a tendency to devalue his contributions—he was a legit NHL player.
  • R Fernando Pisani: He played 462 NHL games and is the most famous playoff Oiler of this century. An effective two-way winger the Oilers have not yet replaced.
  • G Ty Conklin: He played in 215 NHL games, and two in the playoffs. I will spend the rest of my life trying to forget one of those playoff games.
  • D Alexei Semenov: He played 208 NHL games, and eight more in the playoffs. A giant defender who offered defense-first but mobility was an issue.
  • D Alex Henry: He played 177 NHL games, mostly as an enforcer on defense.
  • D Sven Butenschoen: He played in 140 NHL games, mostly as a 6-7D.
  • G Jussi Markkanen: He played in 128 NHL games, and another seven in the playoffs. I have only fond memories of him as an Oiler.

2013-14 OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS (THE TENS)

  • C Anton Lander: He has played in 193 NHL games, while not yet establishing himself as a regular. Tough thing to do, this coming season is a big one for his career.
  • D Martin Marincin: He has played in 150 NHL games and is finally getting some traction as a player in the league. This blog and other suggested he had a good chance, the Oilers thought otherwise.
  • C Mark Arcobello: He has played in 139 NHL games, and emerged as a useful player during a time when Edmonton had few worthy options at his position.
  • D Oscar Klefbom: He has played 107 NHL games, and has the look of a decade or more solution on defense. His speed and range of skills is close to complete.
  • R Linus Omark: He has played in 79 NHL games, and I think he would have had a more substantial career had he played for a more organized team.
  • D Brandon Davidson: He has played in 63 NHL games and looks like a real gem. Davidson’s rookie season shines like a diamond compared to other rookies over the last decade.

There are others (Laurent Brossoit, Jordan Oesterle) who may eventually reach the 50-game mark (I used 50 games since this team has had so little track).

THE 2015-16 BAKERSFIELD CONDORS

  • C Leon Draisaitl: He has played in 109 NHL games and would have to be considered a good bet for a substantial NHL career. He lasted six games in the AHL.
  • D Darnell Nurse: He has played in 71 NHL games and appears destined for a long NHL career in Edmonton.
  • D Griffin Reinhart: He has played 37 games in the NHL, and his draft pedigree basically guarantees he will pass 100. Will it be in Edmonton?
  • R Tyler Pitlick: He has played 27 games in the NHL. There is a tendency to disregard him due to all of the injuries, but he is 24 and has at least one more chance. 
  • D Jordan Oesterle: He has played 23 games so far in the NHL. Oesterle’s speed is exceptional, meaning he should have a long career in the game. The question is how many will be in the NHL?
  • C Jujhar Khaira: He has played 15 games and is one of the most promising AHL players in the system. Offense will be an issue, but he looks like a reasonable bet for a checking job.
  • R Anton Slepyshev: He has played 11 games and has a great deal of talent. His size/speed/skill combination means he will get several chances from the Oilers or another NHL team.
  • G Laurent Brossoit: He has played six games and one suspects he will add to the total this coming year. Brossoit has two solid AHL seasons on his resume, it is reasonable to expect him to push for employment in 2016-17.

Some of these players were also on the 2013-14 team, but have not yet reached 50 games. I think last year’s Bakersfield squad has a good chance to be the best of the decade due to the presence of two top 10 overall selections. Thoughts? Other suggestions?

Finally, taking all teams mentioned into account (the Wichita Wind and Cape Breton Oilers from yesterday) who is your choice for best minor league team in Oilers history? Or do you have another candidate?

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43 Responses to "SKYLINE PIGEON"

  1. OF17 says:

    To me, it looks like the 15/16 team is the leading candidate, mostly on the backs of Draisaitl, Nurse, and Reinhart, but Klefbom, Davidson, and Marincin could make that 13/14 team win in time. Chimera and Pisani would be fantastic adds to the current team, but I don’t think they’re of the Klefbom/Draisaitl quality.

    It’s a little cheap because of the lockout year, but how about the 12/13 Barons? Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Schultz, Marincin, Paajarvi, Davidson, Arcobello, Lander. That’s a ton of quality.

  2. Lowetide says:

    OF17:
    To me, it looks like the 15/16 team is the leading candidate, mostly on the backs of Draisaitl, Nurse, and Reinhart, but Klefbom, Davidson, and Marincin could make that 13/14 team win in time. Chimera and Pisani would be fantastic adds to the current team, but I don’t think they’re of the Klefbom/Draisaitl quality.

    It’s a little cheap because of the lockout year, but how about the 12/13 Barons? Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Schultz, Marincin, Paajarvi, Davidson, Arcobello, Lander. That’s a ton of quality.

    That 12-13 team was a gooder.

  3. Colieo87 says:

    hi LT and everyone. item for sale.

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    autographed young guns canvas. take a look.

  4. season not played says:

    Lowetide: That 12-13 team was a gooder.

    Interestingly enough, with all that “talent” on the 12,13 team, I don’t believe they were sitting in a playoff spot when the lockout ended. The former core put up some nice scoring numbers but didn’t have what it takes to win games at the American League level. Or some other excuse, I’m guessing not a good enough supporting cast. I do believe after the stars left, that team pulled itself together, stopped concentrating on individual statistics and went on to make the playoffs. I could be wrong though, didn’t really research it.

  5. cc says:

    LT:
    Goal (2): Cam Talbot, Jonas Gustavsson
    Defense (7): Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Andrej Sekera, Mark Fayne, Brandon Davidson, Darnell Nurse, Jordan Oesterle
    Center (5): Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Mark Letestu, Anton Lander
    Left Wing (4): Milan Lucic, Benoit Pouliot, Patrick Maroon, Matt Hendricks
    Right Wing (5): Jordan Eberle, Jesse Puljujarvi, Nail Yakupov, Zack Kassian, Iiro Pakarinen

    A little late to the show on this response LT and I don’t completely disagree with your assessment in terms of depth, but will stop short of the suggestion we will be designated to watching a losing team once again this winter.

    We do need to strengthen the line-up in a few spots, but only a few. My thoughts:

    1. Top four D-man in Fayne’s spot. This may be the place Oesterle or Nurse occupy in a year or so, but someone in the meantime would solidify this group.

    2. Right wing – Even if Puljujarvi plugs and plays filling the second spot we need two real bodies on the right side. Unless Yak all of a sudden assimilates four years of learning into his game. This is our weakest spot IMO.

    3. Centre is solid, unless one can replace Letestu with a Shaw type player. Is there anyone in Bakersfield on the horizon?

    4. Left wing – I see this as a solid group as well. If we can duplicate Hendrick’s in a younger body, I’m for it.

    88 points this season, my prediction.

  6. Lowetide says:

    season not played: Interestingly enough, with all that “talent” on the 12,13 team, I don’t believe they were sitting in a playoff spot when the lockout ended. The former core put up some nice scoring numbers but didn’t have what it takes to win games at the American League level. Or some other excuse, I’m guessing not a good enough supporting cast. I do believe after the stars left, that team pulled itself together, stopped concentrating on individual statistics and went on to make the playoffs. I could be wrong though, didn’t really research it.

    Of course, the AHL was full of brilliant young NHL players in the minors. Detroit and Tampa Bay had loaded teams too iirc. But I do remember that they took off like a rocket after the recalls.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Centre of attention: This is kind of off topic, but remember the Oil change episode from the lockout where they all go for a bike ride and get sushi? Everyone else gets their order on time, and the waitress just completely ignores Nuge and he has to remind her he ordered.

    Is that just a snap shot of Nuges entire time in Edmonton? He does all his chores without complaining, only for a large portion of Edmonton to completely forget his contributions.

    At least the new GM and Coach noticed, we can thank our lucky stars for that fact. If it hadn’t been for the organization realizing what they had, we would be doing Matt Dumba’s RE this year. And it wouldn’t be fun at all.

    I do remember that episode! Nuge may have gotten very lucky last season, his subpar year may have kept him on the team (not enough trade value).

  8. Centre of attention says:

    Lowetide: I do remember that episode! Nuge may have gotten very lucky last season, his subpar year may have kept him on the team (not enough trade value).

    I also think the Coach noticed what was missing when Nuge was either ill or not in the line up.

    Stauffer hinted he had a pretty bad sickness for almost a month during the beginning of the year. Combine that with Eberle/Pou trading time on IR and you have a perfect storm for a Nuge under performance. Every time he came back he was immediatly tasked with all the same duties, never just eased back into the line up either.

    I honestly think they should of shut him down after that Murphy head shot. But they didn’t, because Oilers. I think they were in the middle of “showcasing” at that point, I remember Friedman mentioning that the entire league groaned when Nuge got that concussion. (30 thoughts end of march) He was on a roll at that point. Nuge embarrassed St Louis with a power-play clinic just a couple nights earlier where he picked up two PPG’s, one of them being a disgusting wrist shot from the left circle. By the way, the kid can shoot.

    I love me some Nuge. He is my candidate for the “Brandon Davidson Emergence Award” people keep talking about here. 22 goals and 64 points*

    *If healthy 😉

  9. Mr DeBakey says:

    R Linus Omark: He has played in 79 NHL games, and I think he would have had a more substantial career had he played for a more organized team.

    As I read this I thought:
    “…had he played for a more organized organization”
    or, a step further
    “…had he played for an organization with more organization”

    Not criticizing, I’m just a smartass every now and then.

    * * *
    I was looking at the line-ups for the 80s AHL Oilers, Halifax & Cape Breton, and I remember Dan Currie.
    The guy had 29, 36, 47, 50 & 57 goal seasons and barely got an NHL sniff.
    22 games over 4 seasons.
    The 80s were a funny time.

  10. Lowetide says:

    Mr DeBakey:
    R Linus Omark: He has played in 79 NHL games, and I think he would have had a more substantial career had he played for a more organized team.

    Not criticizing – but as I read this I thought:
    “…had he played for a more organized organization”
    or, a step further
    “…had he played for an organization with more organization”

    Cuz I’m a smartass.

    Ha! I actually wrote it ‘had he played for a more organized organization’ but changed it when editing.

  11. G Money says:

    Lowetide: Nuge may have gotten very lucky last season

    Not sure anyone could use the word ‘luck’ to describe Nuge’s season, unless you prepend it with ‘bad’, ‘terrible’, ‘horrible’, or ‘awful’. Any combination of those works too.

    Mind you, it was good luck for us as fans.

    It is almost certainly good luck for the Oilers, as it quite possibly kept them from shooting off their one remaining foot.

    Good luck for Nuge himself not to be traded?

    Well, maybe we should ask Jultz about that …

  12. Centre of attention says:

    http://oilers.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=890712&navid=DL|EDM|home

    Interesting Q&A with Aapeli Rasanen. Sounds like he might be going to North Dakota after a year in the USHL. Apparently Drake Cagguila is selling him on it.

    I really liked this answer:

    Q: How do you think you can best contribute to the success of this team?

    Aapeli: I’m a 200-ft player. I can contribute on both ends. I’m good at face-offs and am an all-around center. I’m more of a playmaker, but I am a bigger guy and should play more physical.

  13. LadiesloveSmid says:

    It took attaching Teravainen to Bickell’s hip to dump his 1 yr 4M salary out of Chicago, dumping Fayne if EDM could find a 2RD may be wishful thinking. It’s too bad the rangers are seemingly trying to be in contend mode every season, would love Klein at 2RD. Wonder how he runs by Woodmoney metrics and when WG&GM get the WOWYs running how he fared with Yandle/McDonagh over Staal/Skjei

  14. haters says:

    Please hurry September

  15. Stelio Kontos says:

    Maybe I missed it, but has anyone done an intelligent guess at McDavids points next year? Maybe a regression using second year top picks?

  16. Centre of attention says:

    Stelio Kontos:
    Maybe I missed it, but has anyone done an intelligent guess at McDavids points next year? Maybe a regression using second year top picks?

    I don’t think “regression” is in McDavids vocabulary. I think he will be even better next season. I don’t even know if that’s possible but he’s done nothing but exceed my expectations so why be pessimistic now? I’m thinking around 32 goals and 80 points, give or take a couple depending on health.

  17. G Money says:

    LadiesloveSmid,

    I’m not familiar enough with his game to know if he’d help on the PP, but his WoodMoney’s seem to confirm your thought process that he’d be a sturdy 2nd pair RD:

    http://i.imgur.com/oUuwKRF.png

    He’s neither sheltered nor thrown to the wolves.

    He holds his own against Middle, snacks on Gritensity players, and struggles against the best.

    Very typically “decent second pair” pattern.

    Although his numbers are not terrific against the Elite, his ‘rels’ in that regard are generally above water, which says to me that a lot of his not-great Elite numbers are heavily influenced by team effect.

  18. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Stelio Kontos:
    Maybe I missed it, but has anyone done an intelligent guess at McDavids points next year? Maybe a regression using second year top picks?

    LT’s McDavid RE is likely cooking

    I’m gonna go way more optimistic than CoA and say 94P if he stays healthy. 60 out of RNH and 45-50 out of LD.

    I don’t know how McDavid isn’t the best player in the league next year, honestly.

  19. G Money says:

    Stelio Kontos,

    I’ve only done that for draft picks (elite CHL NHLE), and they put McDavid at about 0.9 ppg, well above the standard NHLEs (but below what McD actually did).

    I fed that same data into a machine learning algorithm called a Support Vector Machine, which is a classifier (that is, after you’ve trained it, you give it real data it tells you what the closest match is to the training data).

    When not including age, it spit out Patrick Kane as the comparable, and including age, it picked Crosby.

    Not sure how difficult it would be to look at extending that to the second year.

    I am unfortunately buried in the middle of solving the rather difficult computational problem of generating WoodMoney WOWYs, so no cycles to spare.

  20. LadiesloveSmid says:

    G Money,

    4 of his last 5 seasons have flirted with 1.00 5v5 P/60, a lot of puck luck along with that recently but seemingly strong offence at evens. With you on the PP, looks like his biggest look this season with 32 mins there.

    Do you think playing maybe Sekera on PP1 and Klef on PP2 would cost them a ton of goals? Maybe McDavid-Eberle-Lucic-RNH-Draisaitl-Letestu-Pulju/Yak-Maroon/Pouliot as the 8Fs on a 4F-1D PP

  21. Centre of attention says:

    LadiesloveSmid,

    Stelio Kontos,

    http://lowetide.ca/2016/07/18/re-16-17-connor-mcdavid-hallelujah/

    Here is McDavids RE by the way, it was done much earlier in the summer. LT’s number is very similar to mine.

  22. G Money says:

    LadiesloveSmid,

    I hope McT experiments with that, but he doesn’t seem like an overly innovative coach. Detailed, systems-oriented, and a good teacher, but not a guy who’s breaking the mold.

    I think we may see Klef and Davidson on the PP1 and PP2 – both of them have underrated shots, and just having a real threat from the point would open up space in the middle for the skill guys to operate.

    G Money,

    I guess I should complete my thought process here.

    As my SVM spit out Kane and Crosby as comparables (and both of those guys turned out as good analogues to McDavid’s rookie season), it’s interesting to note that Crosby improved by 20% in his second season, while Kane stayed flat.

    So a really simplistic comparison suggests that McD’s 1.07 ppg might end up being anywhere from 1.07 to about 1.25 ppg his second year.

    Given his exceptionalism and the fact that I’m usually playing the role of Debbie Downer, I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s closer to 1.25!

  23. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Centre of attention,

    gee I only commented on it 3 times, you’d think my memory would last 3 weeks

    LT predicts 1.21 P/G, I say 1.15, you say ~1

  24. LMHF#1 says:

    Ah good. An appropriate spot for my annual ” the damn goal was Smith’s fault!!!!” comment.

    Carry on.

  25. Stelio Kontos says:

    G Money:
    Stelio Kontos,

    I’ve only done that for draft picks (elite CHL NHLE), and they put McDavid at about 0.9 ppg, well above the standard NHLEs (but below what McD actually did).

    I fed that same data into a machine learning algorithm called a Support Vector Machine, which is a classifier (that is, after you’ve trained it, you give it real data it tells you what the closest match is to the training data).

    When not including age, it spit out Patrick Kane as the comparable, and including age, it picked Crosby.

    Not sure how difficult it would be to look at extending that to the second year.

    I am unfortunately buried in the middle of solving the rather difficult computational problem of generating WoodMoney WOWYs, so no cycles to spare.

    Fine, I’ll do your job for you for free! JK, I’ll try to do something intelligent when I get some free time in September.

  26. hunter1909 says:

    @ Lowetide:

    Why not spend a day running through every draft bust in each of their various permutations viz Lowe+MacT?

    From Jani Rita(the 2nd ranked non NHL prospect apparently who Lowe+MacT did some of their finest early work on), right up to the upcoming busts/sad stories of today. At this point Yakupov makes the grade.

  27. hunter1909 says:

    PS: Followed by a Lowe+MacT draft Analysis Special: Where Lowetide analyses, among other things, the 2003 draft.

    PPS: Then a day where there’s nothing but idiotic things that Lowe+MacT have said in public through the years; such as MacT’s dissing Rob Schremp as much as possible, Schremp getting sent back to the AHL despite scoring 3 freaking points in 4 games…

    And Lowe’s famous sneering at the toughness of the team – prior to their becoming the NHL 98 pound weaklings at the beach with a hot date to worry about after the rugby team shows up, lol.

  28. Lowetide says:

    Hunter: Sounds like you have a lot of work to do on your new blog! 🙂

  29. hunter1909 says:

    @ Lowetide:

    The Hunter1909 Oilers Death March takes up most of my time.

    Soon returning for a 3rd exciting…death march.

  30. JDï™ says:

    Here’s a great summer distraction: Dave Grohl’s Sonic Highways series.

    It’s very much not about the Foo Fighters, but about their travels around the country while they recorded an album. It highlights the musical history of each city, with extensive interviews of famous and unknown artists who tie in with that region. Each episode culminates in them performing the song they recorded. The profile on The 13th Floor Elevators from Austin was wonderful.

    He’s definitely not my favorite songwriter, but I seem to enjoy pretty much everything he does and he earns more of my respect with each new song or video.

    Sound City was a very enjoyable show as well.

  31. G Money says:

    hunter1909,

    Did you solve your hosting problem?

  32. Centre of attention says:

    Lowetide,

    http://www.hockey-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&match=combined&year_min=1995&season_start=1&season_end=-1&rookie=N&age_min=22&age_max=23&pos=D&is_playoffs=N&c1stat=games_played&c1comp=gt&c1val=100&c2stat=points_per_game&c2comp=gt&c2val=0.24&c3stat=points_per_game&c3comp=lt&c3val=0.34&threshhold=5&order_by=points

    Here is an interesting list to look at, credit Jonathan Willis. Its a look at age 22-23 year old D-men’s scoring rates. Adam Larsson is in some decent company, puck moving wise.

    Cherry picked examples in points-per-game:

    Keith: 0.32 PPG

    Wizniewski: 0.31 PPG

    Tyler Myers: 0.30 PPG

    Larsson: 0.29 PPG

    Ryan Ellis: 0.29 PPG

    Jason Demers: 0.28 PPG

    Michael Stone: 0.27 PPG

    If you factor in usage, you start to understand this young man has more to show than some want to believe. He has had almost zero power play time during this period of measurement. I’m sure some of the players on that list have seen frequent time on the first unit during those years.

    Something to ponder as the summer rolls along.

  33. AsiaOil says:

    I for one thank the NJD for doing everything humanly possible to suppress Larsson’s point production which allowed them to sign him to the cap friendly contract that we will enjoy. Release the PP/zone start hounds and there is potential for this trade to actually look good if the offense was indeed suppressed rather than just absent. Won’t know until they try.

  34. Centre of attention says:

    AsiaOil:
    I for one thank the NJD for doing everything humanly possible to suppress Larsson’s point production which allowed them to sign him to the cap friendly contract that we will enjoy. Release the PP/zone start hounds and there is potential for this trade to actually look good if the offense was indeed suppressed rather than just absent. Won’t know until they try.

    I don’t think Larsson will ever score 40 points, but I think he could be comfortably in the 30’s more than once during his time in Edmonton.

  35. BONE207 says:

    That Sekera room sure has a lot of smoke. I hope this has some fire after I’ve read it. People smiting each other with dead fish all over the place. I’m convinced, after watching the movie Concussion, that the Bear guy has CTE. When does training camp start? Will the poster here make it till then? August might be a hoot. Nagasaki anniversary tomorrow. Let’s hope it’s a little less dramatic here.

  36. Diesel says:

    Centre of attention:
    LadiesloveSmid,

    Stelio Kontos,

    http://lowetide.ca/2016/07/18/re-16-17-connor-mcdavid-hallelujah/

    Here is McDavids RE by the way, it was done much earlier in the summer. LT’s number is very similar to mine.

    Leftwinglock have him pegged for 34G 67A (101PTS).

    Take that as you will, but they are typically very accurate and rely heavily on data.

  37. OF17 says:

    Every so often, I remember that our forward corps boasts a generational 1C, a passable 1C, and a potential 1C. That’s center depth that most teams would kill for, and it’s worth remembering. We also have a proven 1LW and 1RW in Lucic and Eberle, proven 2LW and 3LW in Pouliot and Maroon, and two very talented wildcards at RW in Yakupov and Puljujarvi. Even without Hall, our forward corps is one of the better ones in the league.

    Backing them up we have a pair of dreamy Swedes that are good bets to form the backbone of our defense for the next 5 years at a combined ~$8 million. We have a very good #3D and a guy in Davidson who I honestly wouldn’t put a cap on at this point in time. Then there’s Talbot, a young, legitimate starting goalie signed to reasonable dollars who got better as the season went on.

    There’s a lot to like about this hockey club, a lot of pieces to be excited about. There are still too many what ifs to contend for anything, or really to be a shoe-in for the playoffs, but we get so focused on the holes sometimes we forget what we have. Ask a team like Columbus or Montreal how much they’d like to have just one of McDavid, Nuge, or Draisaitl, and then realize we have all three. We have it pretty good here, all things considered.

  38. russ99 says:

    Cape Breton for me.

    Last year’s Condors don’t really bear a mention, despite good prospects.

    Draisaitl and Nurse were in the NHL most of the year, Pitlick was hurt, and other than Slepyshev, no skill on the top lines, rather veteran AHL checkers.

    Broissoit was solid, but we’re yet to see that replicated at the NHL level and we’re in real danger of losing him to Las Vegas if he does better this year.

  39. russ99 says:

    OF17,

    Agreed. Plus the new jewel of an arena that will the envy of the league.

    There is a lot to be excited about.

    It’s just the 10 preceding years that puts a huge drag on patience and expectations.

    I’m hopeful for a better year but also realistic that we didn’t do enough to keep the puck out of our own net to make the postseason hopes anything more than a fleeting chance for 8th in March.

  40. jake70 says:

    The Moncton Alpines get no love (maybe deservedly – no post-season both years) for Oilers AHL affiliate. 1982-83, 83-84, then became the Golden Flames for Calgary until 1987. i remember as a kid listening to the games on radio – names like Rioux, Lamb, Cote, Habscheid come to mind. Thought it was so cool Doug Messier was the coach.

  41. hunter1909 says:

    G Money:
    hunter1909,

    Did you solve your hosting problem?

    Thank you for asking.

    If you want the answer, please email me at:

    hunter2909@Safe-mail.net

  42. semi legendary rot lobster says:

    BONE207: dead fish all over the place

    where is this place

  43. hags9k says:

    Both of those trades may work out well for Chiarelli.

    I think it’s unlikely the Oilers won’t be better with Larsson and Lucic for Hall.

    I know Chance was a favorite here but let’s give Chia a break until we see some hockey.

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