LABOR DAY BLUES

I thought of making this an open letter to Keith Gretzky, but suspect he may have already figured it out. One of his main jobs (as I understand it) will be in the procurement—development area. I have long believed the Oilers use AHL veterans in important spots far too much, and we saw it again last season.

CONSIDER THIS

The Bakersfield Condors played 68 games a year ago, meaning that there were 204 games played by what we might call the 1line. The top two lines would occupy 408 games. Let’s see how those games were divided up:

  • Matthew Ford, Ryan Hamilton, Andrew Miller, Zack Boychuk=184 games. Miller was loaned to Charlotte, Boychuk loaned back. This is a veteran AHL line that performed at a high level, but also robbed up and coming players of playing time in skill minutes.
  • Rob Klinkhammer, Phil McRae=62 more games on skill lines. Klinkhammer might be a 4line option in the NHL, but he was an impact AHL player and used in a prominent role.
  • That means the total games were used on veterans (from the 408 game pool) is 246—or 60 percent.

The Ontario Reign won the Pacific Division, let’s see how many of those 408 games were devoted to players who we could reasonably consider AHL veterans.

  • AHL veterans Sean Backman (68 games), Kris Newbury (34), Brett Sutter (17)=119 games.
  • Prospects Nic Dowd, Michael Mersch, Justin Auger, Adrian Kempe, Jordan Samuels-Thomas=291 games.

The Ontario Reign—who won the division—used AHL veterans on the top two lines (or what I estimate as the top two lines) just 29 percent of the time.

KHAIRA WILLIAMS 3

Jujhar Khaira is close to an NHL job. He might be closer if usage was more focused on prospects. His rookie AHL season saw very little playing time and even less of a feature role. Photo by Mark Williams

ONE OTHER PROBLEM

If we combine the top-five 22-and-under forwards for each team, we get this:

  1. Michael Mersch (22) 52, 24-19-43
  2. Justin Auger (21) 68, 19-17-36
  3. Josh Winquist (21) 35, 8-22-30—AHL-only contract
  4. Adrian Kempe (18) 55, 11-17-28
  5. Johnny Brodzinski (22) 65, 15-13-28
  6. Jujhar Khaira (21) 49, 10-17-27
  7. Josh Currie (22) 53, 10-14-24—AHL-only contract
  8. Marco Roy (20) 42, 8-12-20—AHL-only contract
  9. Anton Slepyshev (21) 49, 13-8-21
  10. Valentin Zykov (20) 43, 7-7-14

ACTUAL OILERS FORWARD PROSPECTS SCORING 2015-16

  1. Jujhar Khaira (21) 49, 10-17-27
  2. Tyler Pitlick (23) 37, 7-14-21
  3. Anton Slepyshev (21) 49, 13-8-21
  4. Kyle Platzer (20) 48, 6-11-17
  5. Bogdan Yakimov (20) 36, 5-10-15
  6. Mitchell Moroz (21) 40, 5-5-10
  7. Greg Chase (20) 19, 1-6-7
  8. Braden Christoffer (20) 33, 1-4-5

INDEPENDENT EVIDENCE

In order to suggest a player deserves a push, it would be a good idea to show something resembling evidence. We do not have actual time-on-ice, but Eric Rodgers does an excellent job of estimating each year. Let’s have a look (these are estimated minutes and points-per-60 in all situations):

  1. Josh Winquist (15:31) 3.35
  2. Andrew Miller (20:22) 2.62
  3. Matt Ford (18:44) 2.55
  4. Tyler Pitlick (15:57) 2.13
  5. Jujhar Khaira (16:09) 2.05
  6. Kyle Platzer (10:33) 2.02
  7. Ryan Hamilton (16:45) 1.97
  8. Anton Slepyshev (13:26) 1.91
  9. Josh Currie (14:34) 1.86
  10. Marco Roy (15:32) 1.84
  11. Bogdan Yakimov (15:49) 1.58
  12. Mitch Moroz (15:13) 0.99
  13. Kale Kessy (13:24) 0.96
  14. Braden Christoffer (14:49) 0.61

I would argue that the Edmonton Oilers needed to sign Josh Winquist to an NHL contract; give Kyle Platzer and Anton Slepyshev more playing time; reduce playing time for Matt Ford, Andrew Miller and Ryan Hamilton. When we talk about how the AHL playing time is gifted, it is vitally important to keep your eye on the ball.

It matters not at all how many minutes Matt Ford, Andrew Miller and Ryan Hamilton get, with all due respect. Have a look at those Ontario Reign kids and their boxcars. That is the goal, and the Oilers prospects are not getting their at-bats. If Kyle Platzer plays 68 games next season in Bakersfield, and Eric Rodgers tells me he is averaging 18 or more minutes a night, I will know Keith Gretzky sees things as they really are, in real time.

We wait.

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97 Responses to "LABOR DAY BLUES"

  1. Klima's_Bucket says:

    The NHL is not a development league.
    The AHL is a development league.

    Sadly, the Oilers have had those two backwards for far too long.

  2. frjohnk says:

    9.Anton Slepyshev (21) 49, 13-8-21
    10.Valentin Zykov (20) 43, 7-7-14

    That trade may come down to these two.

  3. Lowetide says:

    tcho:
    Is this piece intended as a rejection of Staples’ view?

    http://edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/nhl/cult-of-hockey/edmonton-oilers-farm-teams-have-not-blocked-development-of-prospects

    Not at all. I have discussed this subject many times. I honestly try to stay away from David’s articles, don’t want to bias my own writing.

  4. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Lowetide,

    Are there other people’s articles you try to stay away from?

  5. Lowetide says:

    Klima’s_Bucket:
    Lowetide,

    Are there other people’s articles you try to stay away from?

    Yes. I don’t read much anymore, because imo people come here for original content and it is impossible not to be influenced. That is why I thoroughly enjoy the CofH prospect items, because I am not in the middle of ranking and there is no possible impact.

  6. kinger_OIL says:

    – Great post LT! – In a vacuum I agree. But in order to get fans into the seats you need to win, (and have fights)

    – The AHL is a development league to be sure, but the product has to be entertaining. Know Your Client: Winning + fights draw the Cali crowd. 26 year olds are better than 19 year olds.

    – There’s the rub….Hockey is entertainment.

  7. Caramel Batman says:

    Last night’s thread didn’t get a lot of traction but it should, specifically, Marc Arcobello.

    Arcobello should be in the NHL. Arcobello is an NHL quality hockey player, better than many players who will play in the NHL this year. The Oilers specifically could use him.

  8. Edmonton_fan says:

    Draisaitl playing now: https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/tv/

    Draisaitl just scored.

  9. Lowetide says:

    Caramel Batman:
    Last night’s thread didn’t get a lot of traction but it should, specifically, Marc Arcobello.

    Arcobello should be in the NHL.Arcobello is an NHL quality hockey player, better than many players who will play in the NHL this year.The Oilers specifically could use him.

    Yeah, I was pretty disappointed that people feel Mark Arcobello doesn’t represent success. This is what NHL teams are hoping for from these players, Oilers fans appear ready to throw them back. Complementary players acquired for zero assets are really important.

  10. Mr DeBakey says:

    kinger_OIL: Great post LT! – In a vacuum I agree. But in order to get fans into the seats you need to win, (and have fights)

    “The Ontario Reign—who won the division—used AHL veterans on the top two lines (or what I estimate as the top two lines) just 29 percent of the time.”

    * * *

    1.Josh Winquist (15:31) 3.35

    Is this where I come to complain about the Sallinen contract?
    [Answer: every damn day]

  11. pocession charge says:

    The one item that Staples correctly identifies is that the coach is going to play the guys who he thinks will win. It’s in the best interest of his career to win games. The only way to avoid this is to keep 26+ year olds off the roster.

  12. jm363561 says:

    Yes, I totally agree – excellent post. On occasions I will log on and moan about the zillions of posts about what players to trade for vs the minimal attention to developing our own. For the Oilers to succeed we need more Davidsons, Eberles Klefboms, Marincins, Rieders, Petrys, and, errhh, all those other non Top 10 picks whose names escape me.

    Of course, it would help also if we could retain them.

    Go ALander, you can do it. Just imagine you are playing for Sweden and Todd Nelson is coach.

  13. tcho says:

    Edmonton_fan,

    (Thanks for this) Drai – goooooooooaaaaaaaal! Seemed like the German team had him out for the entire powerplay.

  14. Little Poteet says:

    Edmonton_fan:
    Draisaitl playing now: https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/tv/

    Draisaitl just scored.

    Thanks for the link! Drais goal was a good shot

  15. Oilspill says:

    Development vs winning. Tough to differentiate and keep fans.

  16. rich says:

    Seems to me that somewhere along the way, the initial push in OKC was to win games in order to draw fans. When MacT replaced Tambi, his charge to Nelson was to start playing the kids.

    This pattern of playing AHL vets in key forward positions has been going on for a long-time in this org. Have to wonder looking back on it how much this impacted Yakimov (among others). Was he mad at Fleming/etc. and decided to go back to Russia because they refuse to give him a chance to develop?

    That said, it also appears that the org has taken the right approach about playing more kids on defense – which makes me really wonder why they are so schizo in the approach to the prospects.

    Strange development system.

  17. fifthcartel says:

    No idea why they’ve run their AHL team like this unless they actually believe prospects have to “earn their spots”. They’re never going to beat out 28 year old AHL veterans. You have that team so you can feed your prospects ice time to see what they are.

    Brad Hunt getting every PP opportunity doesn’t do much for the Oilers when the AHL is where you can see if Dillon Simpson, Griffin Reinhart, or even David Musil can hack it on a pro powerplay.

  18. Water Fire says:

    Lowetide: Yeah, I was pretty disappointed that people feel Mark Arcobello doesn’t represent success. This is what NHL teams are hoping for from these players, Oilers fans appear ready to throw them back. Complementary players acquired for zero assets are really important.

    I apologize for not being more artful in my response, didn’t mean to cause a negative reaction.

    Arco was a good signing and a success in that he worked his but off and made it far enough that teams wanted to give him a try, and I agree finding free cheap agents that help is found money and a key to advancing the dial.

  19. stevezie says:

    pocession charge,

    I saw an interview with Marty McSorely a few years ago where he said he got out of coaching because he hated being told to coach for reasons other than “to win”.

    Many a development league team knows what it is.

    There are paying fans and you should be competitive. Or at least competent. But it remains a development league. I think fans get that (ask people who miss the trappers.)

    Lowetide,

    I’ll see your disappointed and raise you “baffled”.

  20. Woogie63 says:

    68 games on the Cali league means lots of practice time, this can not be under estimated in the development of a prospect. The NHL travel schedule really reduces practice time.

    I am sure the coach is creating competition at every position, this what they do.

    If “Simpson” can’t beat Hunt out for the 1 PP he is not going to contribute in the NHL.

  21. John Chambers says:

    fifthcartel,

    I really wanted to see Laleggia run the pp – hope he gets a chance with Hunt gone.

  22. Water Fire says:

    As for the Condors, I also hope Gretzky changes usage. It’s so boneheaded I choose to avoid thinking about it.

    The coaches probably want to win in hopes of making the NHL, because it’s the guys who win there that get picked. They will play who gets it done the best.

    Perhaps the answer is to hire a guy or gal who doesn’t want to make the big show, and base that person’s success on development and sending up players that help and stick. And likely offer them security once they are proven so they don’t have to worry about changes in the org. People want to meet their ambition and know that they can provide for themselves and family.

  23. Water Fire says:

    stevezie: I’ll see your disappointed and raise you “baffled”.

    It depends on what context you look at it in.

  24. Water Fire says:

    stevezie: I saw an interview with Marty McSorely a few years ago where he said he got out of coaching because he hated being told to coach for reasons other than “to win”.

    Stevezie beat me to it.

  25. Pouzar says:

    Edmonton_fan: Draisaitl just scored.

    Without Hall?

  26. Edmonton_fan says:

    Pouzar: Without Hall?

    Draisaitl has two goals & two assists. The 3rd game is not over yet…

  27. Pouzar says:

    Edmonton_fan: Draisaitl has two goals & two assists. The 3rd game is not over yet…

    Very nice!

  28. knighttown says:

    See, it’s not this cut-and-dry for me as I keenly remember the darkest years where the Oilers players got their teeth kicked in at the NHL, AHL and WHL level. If I recall correctly we had one year where the Oilers organization finished dead last in all 3 leagues. And I can tell you, no good comes of going 10-and-50 either.

    Players would play their heart out and be overmatched, then get promoted and get overmatched at that level and all they ever learned was losing. And management commented on this so Right or wrong, the genesis of this “vet movement” started in those dark years.

    I remember being truly happy when the Oilers started to spend a few bucks to bring in the vets in the AHL and the team started being competitive.

    My summary take?

    If you have the talent to be an average team at worst playing your prospects that should be your goal. If your team slides into the Bataan Death March teams we’re so used to its imperative to give them more veteran talent to avoid that at all costs.

    Bako right on that cusp. Made the playoffs two years ago and missed this year while playing veterans which tells me the kids aren’t good enough either. If they pulled the vets our AHL team would be deplorable and you’d break some of these kids.

    So what it all comes down to is drafting once again. If you drafted kids that were good enough to compete in the top 6 in the AHL at 21 you wouldn’t need to bring in 26 year olds to do so.

    That’s also why you see the seemingly different strategies in the development of the defense and the offense. They aren’t supplementing the defense with many veterans because the kids are good enough.

    Because we draft first every year and pick forwards who move directly to the NHL our forward prospects suck and would drown at 21 playing top 6 minutes…therefore sinking the team and hurting the development of the defense kids.

    I know there’s a lot of circular logic in there but I do think goal 1 has to be fielding a competitive team, optimal goal 2 is fielding a competitive team led by kids.

  29. Edmonton_fan says:
  30. Pouzar says:

    Edmonton_fan:
    Pouzar,

    Third period starting shortly… https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/tv/livestream-3/

    Great feed thx

  31. Derek says:

    Edmonton_fan:
    Pouzar,

    Third period starting shortly… https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/tv/livestream-3/

    Are there any highlights for this game and GERs previous contests?

  32. elgruntus says:

    Maybe it has more to do with talent than ice time? You can’t turn water into wine, even if you wait three years. You can’t turn Moroz into Lucic either. We cheer like hell for our prospects because they are ours, but if JJ isn’t miles ahead of Matt Ford by his third year, it’s not because of playing time.

  33. Pouzar says:

    Great game…people should tune in 2-2 now

  34. Pouzar says:

    Derek: Are there any highlights for this game and GERs previous contests?

    Not that I can see.

  35. Derek says:

    Pouzar:
    Great game…people should tune in2-2 now

    The two undefeated teams in their pool going head to head. Germany vs Latvia, in Latvia.

  36. wheatnoil says:

    Does Eric or anyone else have eTOI for teams other than the Condors?

  37. Lowetide says:

    Bogdan Yakimov scored in his first KHL game today. I wrote this about Anton Slepyshev

    http://oilersnation.com/2016/9/4/anton-slepyshev-and-the-2016-17-oilers

  38. Edmonton_fan says:

    PP Germany

    Kuhnhackl scores – Draisaitl assist

  39. Lowetide says:

    wheatnoil:
    Does Eric or anyone else have eTOI for teams other than the Condors?

    I used Erics for Condors but this is a league wide estimation

    http://www.ahl.prospect-stats.com/ES.html

  40. wheatnoil says:

    Lowetide: I used Erics for Condors but this is a league wide estimation

    http://www.ahl.prospect-stats.com/ES.html

    Wonderful! Thanks!

  41. Pouzar says:

    Wow Drai sets up Rieder with a guy draped all over him. Classic Drai there.

  42. Edmonton_fan says:

    Germany penalty

    Germany wins – series is over. Stats can be found here: http://groupe.pyeongchang2018.iihf.hockey/en/statistics/#players

    Draisaitl tied for first with 2 goals & 3 assists…

  43. Water Fire says:

    knighttown:
    See, it’s not this cut-and-dry for me as I keenly remember the darkest years where the Oilers players got their teeth kicked in at the NHL, AHL and WHL level. If I recall correctly we had one year where the Oilers organization finished dead last in all 3 leagues. And I can tell you, no good comes of going 10-and-50 either.

    Players would play their heart out and be overmatched, then get promoted and get overmatched at that level and all they ever learned was losing. And management commented on this so Right or wrong, the genesis of this “vet movement” started in those dark years.

    I remember being truly happy when the Oilers started to spend a few bucks to bring in the vets in the AHL and the team started being competitive.

    My summary take?

    If you have the talent to be an average team at worst playing your prospects that should be your goal. If your team slides into the Bataan Death March teams we’re so used to its imperative to give them more veteran talent to avoid that at all costs.

    Bako right on that cusp. Made the playoffs two years ago and missed this year while playing veterans which tells me the kids aren’t good enough either. If they pulled the vets our AHL team would be deplorable and you’d break some of these kids.

    So what it all comes down to is drafting once again. If you drafted kids that were good enough to compete in the top 6 in the AHL at 21 you wouldn’t need to bring in 26 year olds to do so.

    That’s also why you see the seemingly different strategies in the development of the defense and the offense. They aren’t supplementing the defense with many veterans because the kids are good enough.

    Because we draft first every year and pick forwards who move directly to the NHL our forward prospects suck and would drown at 21 playing top 6 minutes…therefore sinking the team and hurting the development of the defense kids.

    I know there’s a lot of circular logic in there but I do think goal 1 has to be fielding a competitive team, optimal goal 2 is fielding a competitive team led by kids.

    Good points. I think part of the problem was the poor drafting and deployment over the years where the first rounder too often went to the NHL and the rest were weak prospects that didn’t help the AHL team.

    Maybe that’s why Chia went after so many college guys in that the AHL isn’t a huge jump for them and they are older players than the junior drafted guys coming in but still real prospects. The Condors have a lot of quality now in younger guys with a shot still.

    I think they could play with only Hamilton as a mentor and be very good.

  44. Derek says:

    Team Germany players dancing on the ice while the German fans sing for them. The rest of the arena is empty. Haha this is hilarious.

  45. godot10 says:

    rich:
    Seems to me that somewhere along the way, the initial push in OKC was to win games in order to draw fans.When MacT replaced Tambi, his charge to Nelson was to start playing the kids.

    This is NOT true. Only the first year in OKC did Tambellini have a team overloaded with veterans. The next two seasons (i.e. after the NHL’ers left in the 3rd season) were not veteran top heavy.

    MacT screwed things up in the 4th season in OKC with the unheard of two year NHL contracts to Ryan Hamilton and Will Acton, on top of Ford and Pinnezotto, and dumping Grebeshkov and Larsson on the blue line from the NHL team.

    And then the following year, in addition to Hamilton and Acton being on the 2nd year of their contracts, he re-signed Hunt, signed Jason Williams and Ford and Pinnezotto again.

    Tambellini’s 2nd and 3rd year (after the NHL’ers left) in OKC were mostly ELC contracts.

  46. godot10 says:

    Pouzar:
    Wow Drai sets up Rieder with a guy draped all over him. Classic Drai there.

    Krueger gets those two guys this week! along with Kopitar and Josi! #GoTeamEurope #GoRalphGo

  47. godot10 says:

    You can’t develop elite talents in the NHL if your NHL team sucks.
    You can’t develop anyone in the AHL if your AHL team sucks.

    You need enough good players to be minimally competitive at any level, or no development will occur.

  48. Water Fire says:

    godot10:
    You can’t develop elite talents in the NHL if your NHL team sucks.
    You can’t develop anyone in the AHL if your AHL team sucks.

    You need enough good players to be minimally competitive at any level, or no development will occur.

    I think the Condors have many skilled and useful players for this season, and may have some elite talent for a while at least depending on who makes the NHL team. Maybe not a champ team but not a poor team.

  49. rich says:

    godot10,

    You may be right on the facts, but (been Google searching for the quote, not found it yet), I do remember the media reports where MacT did tell Nelson he needed to play the kids more in the coming season, that there was a need for a change in org philosophy.

    Mind you, this was after MacT hired the Eakins over Nelson. Nelson was not happy – and it could very well have been “spin” to justify what turned out to be terrible decision. But that point was brought up.

    Forget who did the analysis that LT had on this sight (think it was last summer) on how much different org’s played prospects season by season but it did question the Oiler’s overall handling of prospects and who was producing points (not the kids).

  50. Chachi says:

    godot10: Krueger gets those two guys this week!along with Kopitar and Josi! #GoTeamEurope #GoRalphGo

    Hopefully they play the minimum number of games and Drai is back in Edmonton uninjured well before the ridiculous tournament is over. #Don’tGetInjured #WhoGivesAShitAboutRalphFuckingKrueger?

  51. godot10 says:

    Chachi: Hopefully they play the minimum number of games and Drai is back in Edmonton uninjured well before the ridiculous tournament is over. #Don’tGetInjured #WhoGivesAShitAboutRalphFuckingKrueger?

    Krueger still boasts the best points per game achieved during the perpetual rebuild. Hall had his best season ever under Krueger. Went supernova. 2nd in scoring in the Western Conference in an all Western Conference schedule. The only season that Yakupov’s play resembled his potential.

  52. Water Fire says:

    Chachi,

    Many among us love the underdog. Krueger, Nelson, many tweeners, waiver wire players that aren’t the rare good ones teams hope don’t get claimed, guys that bounce around teams which means something isn’t NHL right with them, one way guys nobody keeps.

    I think the team gets better when an Oiler player is better than his opponent more than 50% of the time and I don’t mean simply CF% / FF%. The result I want shows in the win column (I’m not trying to discrediting stats, I luv them).

    One that comes to mind is Rundblad. Talented, but if Chicago couldn’t make it work while having a need, nobody could. It’s a real thing IMO.

  53. godot10 says:

    rich:
    godot10,

    You may be right on the facts, but (been Google searching for the quote, not found it yet), I do remember the media reports where MacT did tell Nelson he needed to play the kids more in the coming season, that there was a need for a change in org philosophy.

    MacT TALKED a lot. It was mostly BS. His actions did not match his words (almost ever), if you have to ask the question.

    In his first season as GM he saddled OKC with Hamilton, Acton, and Hunt…all with two year contracts. And Horak and Pinnezotto. Had so many D on one way contracts, that Grebeshkov and Larsson ended up in OKC. So he dumped 3 veteran D, on a team that already had Taylor Fedun, and when Marincin and Davidson were in their 2nd season, and Klefbom and Musil and Gernat were rookies.

    Plus he dumped Rajala, after a stunning half season in OKC.

  54. wheatnoil says:

    Lowetide: I used Erics for Condors but this is a league wide estimation

    http://www.ahl.prospect-stats.com/ES.html

    Using this website, if you look at all the forwards in the AHL who are 26 years of age or older, Bakersfield had 2 of the 4 in terms of ice time (minimum 20 games played).

    Rob Klinkhammer (at ~22 min) and Matt Ford (at ~21 min) are first and fourth respectively in the entire AHL among forwards 26 years of age or older who played at least 20 games.

    That’s a lot of development time spent on a 29 and 30 year old, one of whom didn’t even have an NHL contract.

    Edit: Andrew Miller was 26th in the league and Ryan Hamilton was 41st.

    This is in a 30 team league.

  55. Woogie63 says:

    John Chambers:
    fifthcartel,

    I really wanted to see Laleggia run the pp – hope he gets a chance with Hunt gone.

    I don’t understand this quote. If Laleggia ran a better PP he would have played more.

  56. rickithebear says:

    godot10: MacT TALKED a lot. It was mostly BS. His actions did not match his words (almost ever), if you have to ask the question.

    Sather said macT arranged for the 2nd best HSCA goalie in the game.
    Sather said he only completed the trade cause MacT committed to assets and was still with team.

    PC in latest interview stated Mact and buchberger were the influence behind the NCAA UDFA signings.

    MacT turned over 17 positions. in 18 months and made mistakes but learned from them.

    in the end he chased
    HSCA Dmen
    HSCA goalies.
    UFA defence
    BPA in Draft
    College UFA

    Successful choices:
    Hendricks top 20 PK; FO Fwd
    Draisatl 5th best PvP center even production last year.
    Pakirinen top 50 PK fwd
    Pouliot #49 EVP/60 fwd 2yr w/ oilers.
    Mcdavid won the lottery as GM

    Fayne 1st comp; top 80 HSCA and top 50 SA D w/ above average D partners
    Nurse

    Talbot

    In the system:
    Slepyshev
    Caggulia
    Oesterle
    Broissoit

    Shove your bullshit and look at our roster and system.
    and
    who got them!

    MacT does not win Lottery as GM.
    Do we get PC?

  57. Lowetide says:

    wheatnoil: Using this website, if you look at all the forwards in the AHL who are 26 years of age or older, Bakersfield had 2 of the 4 in terms of ice time (minimum 20 games played).

    Rob Klinkhammer (at ~22 min) and Matt Ford (at ~21 min) are first and fourth respectively in the entire AHL among forwards 26 years of age or older who played at least 20 games.

    That’s a lot of development time spent on a 29 and 30 year old, one of whom didn’t even have an NHL contract.

    Edit: Andrew Miller was 26th in the league and Ryan Hamilton was 41st.

    This is in a 30 team league.

    Yep. Development has to be primary.

  58. Lowetide says:

    rickithebear:

    MacT turned over 17 positions. in 18 months and made mistakes but learned from them.

    I think MacT has a lot of the things that a good GM might require, but lacks experience. The handling of Jeff Petry is a prime example.

  59. TO10801 says:

    Filppula could be a nice addition as 3C and could probably be had for cheap to help TB be cap compliant. Yak could go back to offset his cap hit?

  60. rickithebear says:

    Lt; glad you see the player that Khaira was in NCAA.
    Kessler level!

    Recognizing the Constatine affect.
    Organizations have there tendencies.
    you want players to avoid certain organizations.

    understanding the failed 1st development year.
    His top 10 forward in AHL pacein the games with above average AHL talent.

    His pace and ability to perform with top end NHL Forwards.

    I hope we get to see some PK time for him.

  61. commonfan14 says:

    Lowetide: I think MacT has a lot of the things that a good GM might require

    Glasses?

    (I’m sorry.)

  62. commonfan14 says:

    Pouzar: Edmonton_fan: Draisaitl just scored.
    Without Hall?

    Actually lol’d at that one.

  63. Woodguy says:

    Woogie63,

    If “Simpson” can’t beat Hunt out for the 1 PP he is not going to contribute in the NHL.

    knighttown,

    So what it all comes down to is drafting once again. If you drafted kids that were good enough to compete in the top 6 in the AHL at 21 you wouldn’t need to bring in 26 year olds to do so.

    I used to have this opinion as well.

    After grinding through a bunch of teams that were good at producing NHL players, but not necessarily winning, I’ve changed that opinion.

    If you expect a 21 year old who’s never played pro to beat out a 27 year old yet, you’ll never turn any *maybe* prospect into a NHLer.

    27 year olds are bigger and have ~6 year pro experience, they will be better.

    The “poster-boy” team for this was the 12-13 Norkolk Admirals.

    They finished the season 37-34-5 and missed the playoffs.

    Their top 10 scorers were:

    Patrick Maroon 24yrs 50pts
    Sami Vatanen 21yrs 45pts
    Peter Holland 21yrs 39pts
    Devante Smith-Pelly 20yrs 32pts
    Kyle Palmieri 21yrs 25pts
    Nate Guenin 29yrs 24pts
    Chris Wagner 21yrs 21pts
    Josh Brittain 22yrs 19pts
    Luca Caputi 23yrs 18pts
    Emerson Etem 20yrs 16pts

    Could the Ducks have hired vets who could out-score these guys and make the playoffs?

    Easily.

    Instead they gave the at bats to the kids (and 1 AHL vet who revived his NHL career for a bit) and the reward was NHL games from many of them as well increased trade value.

    They graduated a few players from that team, but kept at it the next year:

    Emerson Etem 21 54
    Devante Smith-Pelly 21 43
    Max Friberg 20 40
    Rickard Rakell 20 37
    Chris Wagner 22 28
    Alex Grant 24 27
    Dave Steckel 31 25
    Jesse Blacker 22 24
    Steven Whitney 22 23
    Kevin Gagne 21 22

    This team actually made the playoff and even won a round.

    When CBJ changed their AHL affiliation from Springfield to Lake Erie they actually played their kids more and won it all last year:

    T.J. Tynan 23 yrs 46
    Michael Chaput 23yrs 45
    Daniel Zaar 21yrs 43
    Josh Anderson 21yrs 39
    Alex Broadhurst 22yrs 36
    Sonny Milano 19yrs 31
    Oliver Bjorkstrand 20yrs 29
    Trent Vogelhuber 27yrs 27
    John Ramage 24yrs 27
    Kerby Rychel 20yrs 27
    Michael Paliotta 22yrs 23

    There are 3 AHL rookies in the above list too.

    NHL teams invest a spot on the 50 man NHL roster into these kids, that is very valuable.

    NHL teams invest ELCs into these kids, that is also very valuable and expensive.

    To then not invest AHL TOI when they are already investing a spot and $$$ is frankly ridiculous.

    Play the kids, play the kids, play the kids.

    Don’t expect them to be better than 27 year olds because they won’t be.

    Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose, but you will always be producing more NHL players from the AHL than those who don’t.

  64. Woodguy says:

    Also,

    By my count the Ducks and Lightning currently led the NHL in “former AHL players currently in the NHL” (I could be wrong, DET is close)

    All of these teams tend to play the kids and damn the consequences.

    DET added more vets recently to their AHL team and I don’t think that’s the right thing to do.

  65. oilswell says:

    The NHL is not a development league. The Oilers didn’t ice enough veterans to shelter the Halls, the Nugent-Hopkinses, the Draisaitls, and so on until they could develop.

    Which is it? They can’t both be true. To my ears it seems like every NHL coach talks about developing young players and doing it while they’re on an NHL squad. Perhaps the issue is always ensuring young players face appropriate levels of competition?

    The Oilers ruin young players by playing them against top NHL competition. The Condors ruin young players by not playing them against the top AHL competition.

    Why is the principle opposite in the two leagues?

    I am not sure what to believe on this question, probably because I’m not well enough informed but possibly because we just don’t have enough public data to assess it even if we could. But perhaps it is worth a bit of discussion about what it takes to develop players to their top potential?

    One proposal I’ve heard that makes sense to me: they need the right level and type of competition and team mates, coupled with the right practice and coaching. I think GMo brought up the “Zone of Proximal Development” (ZPD) but the principle is pretty simple and broadly understood. Maybe you’ve found out that you learned tennis much more quickly by playing against peers slightly better than you? Sure a pro could probably teach you a lot, but how quickly are you going to develop playing games for real against them? And how much would you develop as a player playing against beginning 6 year olds? Not practicing, playing. Now imagine trying to develop your doubles game with a beginner and against a pro. If you can’t be convinced this is not an optimal development context we can probably agree there’s not much else to talk about together on this topic, so you should probably stop reading this post.

    If we’re on the same page then the key question surrounding the AHL prospects is this: are the players being given or denied minutes they’re ready for developmentally?

    Putting this question another way: why do we think Winquists and Platzers are not benefitted more by playing behind quality veterans?

    For bonus marks, use Darnell Nurse’s first NHL season in your answer.

  66. rickithebear says:

    Can people explain to me!

    Draisatl was in the top 30 COMP of centers.
    A power vs Power center.
    He was the #5 PvP center with 2.20 EVP/60.

    And

    People want to Play him on the wing.

    I am sure Sutter has been tearing himself up, weather he should play the 7th best producing PvP center kopitar on the wing.

    Kevin lowe stated the team watched there top end wingers leave cause of lack money.
    they were competitive but could not be pushed over the top.
    thinking top end forwards were the answer.

    so under Katz
    they chased and picked top end forwards in the draft.

    the end they realized:
    you build from the net out
    with strong Dmen
    and Strength down the middle.

    Talobot (MacT)

    Davidson (tambo) – Larsson (PC)
    Klembom (Tambo) – Fayne (Mact)
    Sekera (PC) – Nurse ( MAcT)

    Pouliot ( MacT) – Mcdavid (Mact) – Kassian (PC)
    Lucic (PC) – RNH (Tambo) – Eberle (Tambo)
    Maroon (PC) – Draisatl (MacT) – puljujarvi (PC)
    Hendricks (MacT) – Letestu (PC) – Pakarinen (MacT)
    Khaira (Tambo)

    i look at that list and remember cup winners often take 14 years to build a team from scratch.

    look at the F….. leafs.

    last playoff series win in 03-04

    none in the post 05-06 era.
    1 playoff year.

    look at the assets from each era:
    Ferguson era 2003 to 2008
    Burke era 2008 to 2013
    Nones 2013 to 2015
    Shannahan 2014 to 2016

  67. Mr DeBakey says:

    oilswell: The Oilers ruin young players by playing them against top NHL competition. The Condors ruin young players by not playing them against the top AHL competition.
    Why is the principle opposite in the two leagues?

    Because the best player in the AHL is the 625th best player in the NHL!
    Where do I pick up my prize?

  68. wheatnoil says:

    wheatnoil,

    Fun stat. Using estimated TOI, I can do a similar calculation to what LT has done here except I can look at it as % of total TOI. So, for each team below, here is a look at the percentage of their total available forward TOI used up by players above each age.

    Bakersfield
    >30 years old: 19.2% of total forward estimated TOI
    >26 years old: 33.2%

    Toronto
    >30 years old: 0.5% of total forward estimated TOI
    >26 years old: 19.6%

    Ontario
    >30 years old: 9.1% of total forward estimated TOI
    >26 years old: 19.8%

    Providence Bruins
    >30 years old: 3.3% of total forward estimated TOI
    >26 years old: 23.8%

    Grand Rapid Griffins
    >30 years old: 8.6% of total forward estimated TOI
    >26 years old: 40.1% (!)

    San Diego
    >30 years old: 7.5% of total forward estimated TOI
    >26 years old: 24.4%

    Syracuse
    >30 years old: 8.8% of total forward estimated TOI
    >26 years old: 23.2%

    Bakersfield plays their vet forwards more than any team so far except for the Grand Rapid Griffins, coached by one Todd Nelson. That >30 number is pretty inexcusable.

    I can probably do the whole league pretty quickly and maybe I’ll get to it later. Any requests for specific teams?

  69. Woogie63 says:

    Woodguy,

    Thanks Woodguy

    I guess my counterpoint is how good is Andrew Miller Mathew Ford, Ryan Hamilton, Zach Boychuk (124 games) Phil McRae and Brad Hunt, this group has a total of 211 NHL games.

    Older yes, but a group a future NHL should comfortably compete for ice team with.

    IMO the a few older guys can help with the development. They teach how to prepare, eat and train to be in the NHL.

  70. Klima's_Bucket says:

    wheatnoil: I can probably do the whole league pretty quickly and maybe I’ll get to it later. Any requests for specific teams?

    I’d like to see Florida’s farm team please.

  71. wheatnoil says:

    Klima’s_Bucket: I’d like to see Florida’s farm team please.

    Portland Pirates
    >30: 0%
    >26: 22.7%
    (They have one guy that is 25.9, so if I included him it would be 24.8%)

  72. Woodguy says:

    Woogie63:
    Woodguy,

    Thanks Woodguy

    I guess my counterpoint is how good is Andrew Miller Mathew Ford, Ryan Hamilton, Zach Boychuk (124 games) Phil McRae and Brad Hunt, this group has a total of 211 NHL games.

    Older yes, but a group a future NHL should comfortably compete for ice team with.

    IMO the a few older guys can help with the development.They teach how to prepare, eat and train to be in the NHL.

    The age difference and pro hockey experience is massive.

    Expecting a 20/21 year old to be as good is not reasonable.

    A few very, very good ones might be, but the rest won’t and if you want to mine gold from the rest you have to give them TOI knowing they won’t be as good.

  73. Woogie63 says:

    wheatnoil,

    Our first round picks are playing in the NHL does that influence the number for Bakerfield?

  74. Lowetide says:

    rickithebear:
    Lt; glad you see the player that Khaira was in NCAA.
    Kessler level!

    Recognizing the Constatine affect.
    Organizations have there tendencies.
    you want players to avoid certain organizations.

    understanding the failed 1st development year.
    His top 10 forward in AHL pacein the gameswith above average AHL talent.

    His pace and ability to perform with top end NHL Forwards.

    I hope we get to see some PK time for him.

    Yeah, he is the most difficult prospect to mark since forever. I don’t think he has slept in the same bed twice since draft day!

  75. wheatnoil says:

    Woogie63:
    wheatnoil,

    Our first round picks are playing in the NHL does that influence the number for Bakerfield?

    Yes, it absolutely does. However, it doesn’t excuse the team hiring 30+ year olds and playing them the sheer number of minutes they are instead of younger players. Having a few vets is fine. Giving 20% of your forward minutes in a developmental league to guys who won’t develop for your team is poor asset management.

  76. Klima's_Bucket says:

    wheatnoil,

    Thank you sir.

  77. Dee Dee says:

    Rookies fresh out of Junior generally have the offensive skills required to play in the NHL but have to learn the defensive side of the professional game.

    The Oilers had far too many rookies that were dropped into major roles and were told to sink or swim, too many of them sank.

    Allowing a player to experience success at the AHL level and to hone their basic skills there is a far better way to handle things, for many reasons. A year or two or three in the minors lets them arrive in the Big League prepared for success, and it helps to manage the teams payrolls. The Oilers $6 Million dollar men were all making that wage on their 4th years. Subtract a year from the equation does wonders for the payroll.

    AHL Vets understand the system, and play the system, and can serve as role models to the Rookies.

    It’s the Rookies job to prove themselves better and FORCE their way to the head of the line and EARN their time, not be gifted minutes by virtue of being a high draft pick. If they can’t outplay an AHL vet how will they ever succeed at the NHL level?

    If a player is going to wash out and not make the cut it should be happening (ideally) in the minors.

    20% of first rounders, 56% of second rounders, and 70% of third rounders are not going to make it and culling those players in the minors makes for a stronger team.

    So probability theory says that most players aren’t going to survive and you can’t expect every single player to make it.

  78. Chachi says:

    godot10: Krueger still boasts the best points per game achieved during the perpetual rebuild.Hall had his best season ever under Krueger.Went supernova.2nd in scoring in the Western Conference in an all Western Conference schedule. The only season that Yakupov’s play resembled his potential.

    To borrow a line from you, he was a thoroughly mediocre coach who got thoroughly mediocre results. If you want to cannonize him for that you can, but he was never going to lead the Oilers to anything beyond what they have accomplished since his firing, which is nothing. Hall had a fine season under him and would go on to have other fine seasons under other coaches. Yak had an unsustainable shooting percentage under Ralph and despite the box cars, is a better all atound player now than he was under Ralph. If you want to lament the firing of a coach from the past ten years of suck it should probably be Tom Renney.

    And for those who have some kind of fond memories of Krueger as some genius coach who had the Swiss over-achieve in big tournaments have a look at his record. He coached them to a 4th place finish in the 1998 World Championships and they never finished higher than that in another tournament in which he coached. If you watched the games he coached they were some of the most gawd-awfully boring games I have ever seen. Of course he had no choice tactically because of the talent gap between his team and others, but it took no great imagination or genius to come up with the game plans he used. I am happy he has found success in other walks of life because he seems like a great man, but firing him did not hold the Oilers back in any way shape or form.

  79. Ryan says:

    Woodguy,

    Come on Mr Woodguy. =)

    I think collectively we need to find some common ground. On the one hand, sure the Oilers AHL affiliate is wasting valueable minutes on AHL vets. End of story.

    On the other hand, you have to also concede that due to poor drafting in the later rounds along with the litany of lottery picks, our AHL age prospect pool looks like a bag of hammers.

    At least three of the names on your list are first round picks and one other’s from the second round. Vatanen was a flat-out home run from the 4rth round.

    Anaheim stayed out of the draft lottery, made some very nice picks, and developed their players well.

  80. wheatnoil says:

    wheatnoil,

    Went ahead and did the whole league.

    For reference, including all estimated TOI for every forward in the AHL…

    >30 = 6.8% of total TOI
    >26 = 26.6%

    The 50% point is 23.7. Half of the forward TOI in the league is given players older than 23.7 and half below.

  81. hunter1909 says:

    Dee Dee: The Oilers had far too many rookies that were dropped into major roles and were told to sink or swim, too many of them sank.

    RNH is an example. I recall them worrying about him going back to junior in case some teenaged goon decided to take his head off; so instead they play him as a rookie in the NHL of all places where he stars for about 25 games before getting his head taken off. RNH never was the same offensive force afterward.

    RNH is still a very good player, but compared to what we saw early on in his rookie season I’d call that a(nother) waste of a 1st overall draft pick.

  82. Pouzar says:

    hunter1909: RNH is still a very good player, but compared to what we saw early on in his rookie season I’d call that a(nother) waste of a 1st overall draft pick.

    Go away. Seriously.

  83. Klima's_Bucket says:

    hunter1909: instead they play him as a rookie in the NHL of all places where he stars for about 25 games before getting his head taken off.

    His head was taken off?
    Or did he stumble awkwardly into the boards after toe-picking untouched?

  84. frjohnk says:

    If the Oilers have prospects that are not good enough at 21, 22 to outplay AHL vets and have lacked icetime.

    Then its simple.

    Draft better and/or sign shittier vets

    Get better prospects and lower the bar and then play the shit outta them.

    If we have prospects who are in the AHL who barely play and are eating popcorn some nights which is plainly a result of them not being good enough, stick em in the ECHL and give them more icetime.

    I do wonder if the Oilers would have signed less AHL vets and played the prospects more over the last few years, would the AHL have churned out more NHL players? or would have those prospects just played way too much over their heads and stunted their develop even more?

    Time and time again we see NHL teams fast track progress of prospects. Sometimes these prospects thrive in that situation and turn out good. Other times not so good. I think the same thing would happen to prospects in the AHL.

  85. stevezie says:

    I think that Woodguy is right (the AHL is a development league so you should prioritize prospect ice-time), but thay doesn’t exactly mean Knighttown et al are wrong.

    The three stars of his study were a ~.500 team, a playoff team and a championship team. They didn’t play the kids even if it meant being awful. Their prospects were good enough to be competent and/or the vets played enough to keep things respectable.

    I don’t think anyone would disagree that either a) getting your head kicked in every night is bad for a kid, or b) veteran guidance is good.

    We can have some vets. No one wants to go back to the .250 days on the farm. The kids just need to play.

    —-

    Players seemed to really, really love Ralph. He systems weren’t great and neither were his team results, but I’d hire him as an assistant. He may be Ted Nolan type.

  86. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Perhaps the cure is finding capable AHL vets that know their limits and buy into the team philosophy at the AHL level.

    Get guys that are solid 2nd pairing Dmen that could play top pair in a pinch to keep games from getting lopsided. But these guys also need to be able to check their ego at the door and drop down to 3rd pairing if that means giving a youngster more playing time at evens or even on special teams some nights.

    The same goes for the forwards. Find solid players that can play on the top line but won’t bitch about being bumped down at times at evens as well as giving up some time on special teams.

  87. stevezie says:

    Klima’s_Bucket,

    I can see really good passers/playmaking vets being especially helpful to the kids.

  88. hunter1909 says:

    Pouzar: Go away. Seriously.

    Suck it up. I have an opinion. I’ll speak my mind.

    Add Sam Gagner to the list. As a rookie, he tears up the pre season so the bottom feeding Oilers “simply must” play him – so we’re treated to the spectacle of watching an undersized kid forced to play off against grown men. I saw Gagner last year with the Flyers and it was pathetic to see – the poor slob has lost most of his confidence.

    Add Magnus Pajaarvi Svenson – the kid gets a pre season hat trick and bang! He simply has to be on the big team but of course he’s not anywhere near ready without AHL time and so after being thrown to the wolves he too gets his confidence hammered into the ground.

    Now they talk about playing the rookie from Finland, like he’s joining a solid veteran lineup that can shelter him. Same old, same old.

    Klima’s_Bucket: His head was taken off?
    Or did he stumble awkwardly into the boards after toe-picking untouched?

    It was more than just that. Skinny teenagers not named Gretzky are simply incapable of playing with grown men. Oh well – just keep tossing them in, now that OIlers have accumulated a seemingly endless amount of top ten draft picks.

  89. Woodguy says:

    frjohnk,

    I do wonder if the Oilers would have signed less AHL vets and played the prospects more over the last few years, would the AHL have churned out more NHL players? or would have those prospects just played way too much over their heads and stunted their develop even more?

    I’m not sure you can stunt development with more time in a development league.

    Agreed that guys who can’t hack it in the AHL should go to the ECHL.

    Also agree that the Oilers need to draft better and I really like the last 2 drafts. I think Greene is pretty astute at what he does.

    Also,

    Last year Matt Ford had a better pt/gm than all the 12-13 Admirals who made it to the NHL except Holland.

    Its not tough to find 27-30 year olds who out score 20-22 year olds.

    Also,

    With all the 27-30 year olds driving the Bakersfield bus they still didn’t make the playoffs so it was a wasted year in so many respects.

    Kids not getting reps and no playoffs for the tweeners to go back to.

    Waste.

    Also,

    Thanks to Wheat for doing the work!

    Seeing this:

    Went ahead and did the whole league.

    For reference, including all estimated TOI for every forward in the AHL…

    >30 = 6.8% of total TOI
    >26 = 26.6%

    The 50% point is 23.7. Half of the forward TOI in the league is given players older than 23.7 and half below.

    and then this:

    Providence Bruins
    >30 years old: 3.3% of total forward estimated TOI
    >26 years old: 23.8%

    Make me feel good about K.Gretzky putting his hand on the tiller that runs the Condors.

    Its been a sore spot with me for years.

  90. Woodguy says:

    Klima’s_Bucket:
    Perhaps the cure is finding capable AHL vets that know their limits and buy into the team philosophy at the AHL level.

    Get guys that are solid 2nd pairing Dmen that could play top pair in a pinch to keep games from getting lopsided.But these guys also need to be able to check their ego at the door and drop down to 3rd pairing if that means giving a youngster more playing time at evens or even on special teams some nights.

    The same goes for the forwards.Find solid players that can play on the top line but won’t bitch about being bumped down at times at evens as well as giving up some time on special teams.

    The key might be finding a coach who isn’t trying to get to the NHL on the fast track and is cool playing the kids and taking more loses. (if they kids don’t perform well)

    No coach wants to lose, but you need one to buy in to what you are trying to accomplish.

  91. frjohnk says:

    Woodguy,

    I don’t disagree that we shouldn’t play the kids but only if they are capable.

    If we have a team that plays the vets but misses the playoffs and believing the prospects were not good enough to displace the vets, I would say the prospects would have way over their heads and I’m not sure gifting them minutes would have done much good.

    As you pointed out Wheat looked at other teams and showed they played the prospects more and some of these teams made playoffs.

    So if their prospects> than our vets
    And our vets> than our prospects.

    We got shitty prospects.

    I don’t really believe the major reason why the AHL oilers have not produced many NHLers is because of lack of ice time, it’s because they were shitty to begin with.

    An extra 3-4 mins a game might move the dial a bit.

    Or if they are completely drowning in those 3-4 minutes I’m not sure it does much good.

    I also think most of the development happens as these kids grow into mans bodies, working hard in practice on their weakensses and using video to understand the game better.

  92. fifthcartel says:

    I have an incredibly hard time believing that these prospects aren’t good enough to play big minutes in the minors.

    LA’s farm team, the Ontario Reign, had Justin Auger put up 36 points in 68 games. He’s 22 (was 21 majority of the season) and never put up more than .50 ppg in the OHL, yet seems to be doing fine getting at bats in the AHL. Jonny Brodzinski was around a ppg player in the NCAA in his early 20s and seemed to carve out a fine season scoring around 0.43 ppg for Ontario. He hardly lit the world on fire in college.

    Nashville’s farm system had numerous young prospects put up a lot of points. Trevor Murphy (D) never broke 30 points in the OHL until his final year and he managed to put up 32 (0.54ppg) points in his first pro season.

    There’s no reason not to give these prospects ice time. Other organizations are doing it and the Oilers are just behind letting them dwindle on the 3rd and 4th lines while AHL vets rule the day as Gerry Fleming tries to amass a nice win-loss record.

  93. omega4 says:

    Woodguy: think Greene is pretty astute at what he does.

    But didn’t he recommend trading for Reinhart?

  94. delooper says:

    godot10:
    You can’t develop elite talents in the NHL if your NHL team sucks.
    You can’t develop anyone in the AHL if your AHL team sucks.

    You need enough good players to be minimally competitive at any level, or no development will occur.

    I think that’s the rationale behind the Condors deployment of veterans vs. young players. The ability of the Condors to develop is constrained by the total level of patheticness of the team.

  95. How Do The Oilers Play their AHL Forwards? • The Oilers Rig says:

    […] couple weeks ago, Lowetide wrote a post about how the Oilers farm team overuses veterans. I linked to this one, but this has been something […]

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