There are seven men on the current 50-man roster—that is 14 percent, for the math challenged—who (in my estimation) have no chance of playing in an NHL game this coming season. That is no big deal—unless this is your third year of pro hockey and final one on an entry-level deal. If that is the case, then the chances of getting another deal at the end of the entry deal could be in doubt. Here is the list of players for whom I cannot see a pathway to the majors this winter.
ENTERING FIRST YEAR PRO
- G Nick Ellis—Despite a solid final season in college (.936SP), he is likely to play in Bakersfield and or Norfolk in the coming season.
ENTERING SECOND YEAR PRO
- R Greg Chase—I am uncertain what happened with this player. Offense did not spike final season junior, but he played well in Norfolk and they kept him there for quite a long time (he and Betker basically spent the entire season there). I believe he should still be considered a prospect, but NHL time? I cannot see it in 2016-17.
- LD Ben Betker—Giant blue is the end of the Leftorium and despite being 6.06 cannot see beyond all of the lefties above him on defense. I do think he should get more games in Bakersfield this season (just 14 a year ago).
- G Eetu Laurikainen—My guess is he could play in Bakersfield, Norfolk or Finland this coming season. If he is going to hang around for long, will need to improve on his AHL numbers (18, .907) from a year ago.
- L Braden Christoffer—He played in 33 AHL games (Chase’s total: 19) but didn’t get much done offensively (1-4-5). If he has NHL talent it does not show up in the numbers. Peter Chiarelli signed him, should keep that in mind.
ENTERING THIRD YEAR PRO
- C Bogdan Yakimov—Oilers have loaned his rights to a KHL team, so there is a good chance he will not be in an NHL uniform in the coming year. It is probably a good bet this will be his final season on the 50-man list for Edmonton.
- L Mitch Moroz—His first two seasons in pro hockey have been a disappointment. In 106 AHL games, he has 10 goals—miles from the kind of production that is going to earn a second contract. A big season ahead.
The odds of Yakimov and Moroz finding new homes in pro hockey in the summer of 2017 are fairly high in my opinion. Other prospects with expiring deals? Jujhar Khaira, Joey Laleggia, Griffin Reinhart, Dillon Simpson, Jere Sallinen, Tyler Pitlick.
Next, this is a more encouraging set of numbers for Puljujarvi than I thought it might be in a head-to-head look at these two players. Aleksandr Barkov is my JP comparable for offense, and that is a nice offense per 60 number. Add that to the impressive possession number and I do like what these totals are showing. PDO be damned, I remain thrilled about this selection.
- “I never had a year that was so stressful, yet so rewarding at the same time. It was the most fun year of my life. I really want to make sure I come into this year and keeping going where I left off and keep improving. The coaching staff played me to my strengths and allowed me to succeed.” Source
He is the new Pisani, swear to God. I will do his RE next week, but one of the key elements next season—and if the club can successfully use him RH on the second pairing, this defense may actually be labelled capable—for the first time in many years.
- Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
- Andrej Sekera—Brandon Davidson
- Darnell Nurse—Mark Fayne