WISHING AND HOPING

Before Hockey’s Future and Guy Flaming and before we thought of ways to apply Bill James’ math to hockey, there wasn’t much going except wishing and hoping. Today, we have NHLE and save percentage and a reasonable model that indicates forward progress during entry-level deals. It isn’t perfect, but there is some logic and reason applied to these things.

That said, it is still extremely difficult to predict the actual players who will emerge from a minor league system. The AHL is the melting pot. Some make it, some do not. Every few seasons, I like to break down a specific minor league team (Oilers) and compare it to the past. Today, we look at the first Bakersfield team and compare it to the past.

Most Promising Players at the time

  • 99-00 Hamilton Bulldogs: Daniel Cleary, Michel Riesen, Dan Lacouture, Chris Hajt, Alex Henry
  • 03-04 Toronto Roadrunners: Jani Rita, Tony Salmelainen, Joe Cullen, Doug Lynch, Jeff Woywitka.
  • 07-08 Springfield Falcons: Rob Schremp, Liam Reddox, Marc Pouliot, Theo Peckham, Devan Dubnyk.
  • 14-15 Bakersfield Condors: Griffin Reinhart, Laurent Brossoit, Anton Slepyshev, Jujhar Khaira, Jordan Oesterle.

Your mileage may vary on the current crop, but the old timey group represents the style at the time. Entry-level players are very important to a minor league team, with 20-year olds the key group (and their performance a major indicator). That’s why Edmonton’s galling tendency to slow-play the kids is so mysterious.

The 20-Year Old Regulars

  • 99-00: 4 regulars: LW Michel Riesen (29-31-60), C Peter Sarno (10-36-46), LW Jason Chimera (15-13-28) and D Alex Henry (1-0-1).
  • 03-04: 2 regulars: D Doug Lynch (11-25-36), D Jeff Woywitka (4-22-26), and part-time forward C Dan Baum (4-6-10), D Mathieu Roy (0-2-2).
  • 07-08: 2 regulars: LW Slava Trukhno (13-20-33), D Theo Peckham (6-5-11) and part-time forward F Ryan O’Marra (2-7-9).
  • 15-16: 2 regulars: C Kyle Platzer (6-11-17), C Bogdan Yakimov (5-10-15) and early callups Leon Draisaitl (1-1-2) and Darnell Nurse (0-2-2)—along with part-time forward Greg Chase (1-6-7).

The guys who post good numbers at 20 (Michel Riesen, Doug Lynch) in the AHL should become capable NHL players, but the best NHL player from this group (Chimera) had a fairly pedestrian AHL debut—but he played in 78 games. Among the 2015-16 regulars, Platzer has the best chance to make it in my opinion, and his point-per-game ratio (.354) is in the same range as Chimera (.359) at the same age. What does it mean? Well, Chimera spiked to 78gp, 29-25-54 in year two at the AHL level so maybe we should be looking for a substantial increase in boxcars.

The Regulars 21-25

  • 99-00: D Chris Hajt(21) (0-8-8), RW Dan Cleary(21) (22-52-74), C Brian Swanson(23) (19-40-59), LW Dan Lacouture(22) (23-17-40), D Brad Norton(24) (5-12-17), D Sergei Yerkovich(25) (2-28-30), D Alex Zhurik(24) (2-16-18), D Ryan Risidore(23) (3-13-16), D Matthieu Descoteaux(22) (5-7-12), D Elias Abrahamsson(22) (1-3-4), D Kevin Bolibruck(22) (1-4-5), G Eric Heffler(23) 3.13 .910, D Alain Nasreddine (24) 1-6-7.
  • 03-04: RW Tony Salmelainen(22) (19-25-44), LW Jani Rita(22) (17-24-41), C Joe Cullen(22) (14-16-30), C Mike Bishai(24) (11-22-33), D Bobby Allen(25) (5-10-15), LW Nate DiCasmirro(25) (17-18-35), C Chad Hinz(24) (11-23-34), C JJ Hunter(23) (12-16-28), RW Sean McAslan(23) (12-15-27), RW Michael Henrich(23) (14-10-24), RW Brad Winchester(22) (13-6-19), G Mike Morrison (24) 2.52 .913.
  • 07-08: C Rob Schremp (21) 20-50-70, C Marc Pouliot (22) 20-22-42, LW Liam Reddox (21) 16-25-41, LW Jean-Francois Jacques (22) 11-14-25, RW Colin McDonald (23) 12-11-23, F Tim Sestito (23) 6-9-15, Stephane Goulet (21) 9-5-14, LW Troy Bodie (22) 7-6-13, D Mathieu Roy (24) 2-8-10, Sebastien Bisaillon (21) 3-7-10, Tyler Spurgeon (21) 1-7-8, D Danny Syvret (22) 2-15-17, C Fredik Johansson (23) 4-1-5, C Jonas Almtorp (24) 2-2-4, D Bryan Young (21) 0-4-4, Jeff Deslauriers (23) 2.91 .911, Devan Dubnyk (21) 2.99, .908.
  • 15-16: C Jujhar Khaira (21) 10-17-27, Anton Slepyshev (21) 13-8-21, Mitch Moroz (21) 5-5-10, Griffin Reinhart (21) 2-8-10, Braden Christoffer (21) 1-4-5, Dillon Simpson (22) 4-16-20, David Musil (22), 3-11-14, Laurent Brossoit (22) 2.66, .920, Joey Laleggia (23) 8-19-27, Jordan Oesterle (23) 4-21-25, Tyler Pitlick (23) 7-14-21.

Some players from the first three teams made the NHL as actual players: Dan Cleary (Bulldogs), Brad Winchester (Roadrunners) and Devan Dubnyk (Falcons) with a few others who could qualify depending on your line in the sand. Is there a Cleary on the Condors team from a year ago? I think it is more likely that Brossoit and or one of the defenders make the grade and play north of 300 NHL games in the future. Who would you pick from that list as most likely to play 300 NHL games in the future?

Anyone Else?

  • 99-00 featured RW Alexandre Volchkov(22) (2-6-8) and there was a big whoop about him once upon a time (He was a top 5 pick in 1996). RW Vlad Vorobiev(27) (9-9-18) and RW Max Spiridonov(21) (5-2-7) were on that team. So was Paul Comrie(22) (3-3-6) and who knows what he might have done and what his being an Oiler would have meant to his brother. LW Sean Selmser(25) (14-12-26) played 1 game.
  • 03-04 featured LW Jamie Wright(27) (23-27-50), D Mikko Luoma(27) (3-16-19), G Steve Valiquette(27) (2.59).
  • 07-08 featured a few older players, including D T. J. Kemp (26) (6-36-42), C Ben Simon (29) 12-10-22, D Allan Rourke (28) 3-11-14, D Rick Berry (29) (2-8-10).
  • 15-16 featured Andrew Miller (25) (15-24-39) and Brad Hunt (27) (13-28-41).

We talk about this in the Farm Workers post every spring, but modern NHL teams rarely find future NHLers in this age group—making the minutes devoted to men like Matt Ford even more curious.

Hamilton Bulldogs since 1999

  1. Jason Chimera 951
  2. Daniel Cleary 938
  3. Dan Lacouture 337
  4. Alex Henry 177
  5. Brad Norton 124
  6. Alain Nasreddine 74
  7. Brian Swanson 70
  8. Michel Riesen 12
  9. Peter Sarno 7
  10. Chris Hajt 6
  11. Matthieu Descoteaux 5
  12. Sean Selmser 1

I did not include Alexei Semenov on this list (he was a late signing) but he got into 211 NHL games. The 1999 Bulldogs would deliver two players with careers that passed 900 games. Did the Condors have that kind of future torque on the roster a year ago? If you have to pick one name to last over 900 games, who would it be? Pick a fast train, folks.

Toronto Roadrunners since 2003

  1. Brad Winchester 390
  2. Jeff Woywikta 278
  3. Tony Salmelainen 70
  4. Jani Rita 66
  5. Mathieu Roy 66
  6. Bobby Allen 51
  7. Steve Valiquette 46
  8. Mike Morrison 29
  9. Dan Smith 22
  10. Mike Bishai 14
  11. Peter Sarno 7
  12. Mikko Luoma 3
  13. Doug Lynch 2

This was not a strong group in terms of future NHL success, Winchester was a fourth-liner and Woywitka never did get untracked. I will battle to the end on Lynch, though. That guy would have had a career if not for injury.

Springfield Falcons

  1. Devan Dubnyk 298
  2. Zack Stortini 257
  3. Marc Pouliot 192
  4. J-F Jacques 166
  5. Theo Peckham 160
  6. Troy Bodie 159
  7. Colin McDonald 145
  8. Rob Schremp 114
  9. Patrick Thoresen 106
  10. Tim Sestito 101
  11. Liam Reddox 100
  12. Mathieu Roy 66
  13. Jeff Deslauriers 62
  14. Danny Syvret 59
  15. Ryan O’Marra 33
  16. Bryan Young 17
  17. Sebastien Bisaillon 2

This group is mostly about failure but Devan Dubnyk turned out very well and is the best Oilers draft pick (goalie division) since Grant Fuhr. Among the kids who came to the Oilers via draft since the turn of the century, I really thought Marc Pouliot would make it. It make come as a surprise to you.

Bakersfield Condors

  1. Leon Draisaitl 109
  2. Darnell Nurse 81
  3. Griffin Reinhart 37
  4. Jordan Oesterle 23
  5. Jujhar Khaira 15
  6. Anton Slepyshev 11
  7. Laurent Brossoit 6

I included Leon and Darnell here, you may choose to exclude them (both men began the year in the AHL). If you had to pick just one man here to reach Jason Chimera’s GP total, who would it be? I would pick the German. I also think this Condors team may produce a few 300-game guys. However, I have said the exact same thing before.

 

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61 Responses to "WISHING AND HOPING"

  1. Richard S.S. says:

    I think we need to add a qualifier, baring career-ending injury.
    Leon Draisaitl should easily exceed 800 games played, all as an Oiler.
    Even poor mediocre Goalies, who can play at the NHL level, have long careers. Laurent Brossoit should exceed 300 games played, playing with many teams.
    Griffin Reinhart is possibly a very good defenseman who can’t skate with Darnell Nurse’s speed. Darnell Nurse is a very good skater who might be a very good defenseman. I think they will both exceed 300 games played, but maybe not always with the Oilers.
    This will be the year we find out how good Anton Slepyshev is. I think he’s closer than the other two.

  2. Centre of attention says:

    Ralph does indeed have Sekera playing the right side when he’s with Chara. For what it’s worth.

  3. lynn says:

    I’m a Jujhar Khaira fan; I hope he has a few seasons in the NHL as a full-time player. It would make his leaving Michigan Tech after one season a decent choice.

  4. Water Fire says:

    I think I will look at prospects in two tiers, those that exceed their odds and those that contribute significantly in their role in the NHL, which I will start gauging as 5 seasons or I’ll call it 400 games.

    For the first tier it is a scouting and personal success, for the second tier I’m looking for guys that are good enough to become established players that other teams want and so can sustain at least a minimum career.

    I hope Gretzky has the Condors as a development team, especially since it is going to be very hard soon to get on to the NHL team, it’s young and their aren’t a lot of holes anymore.

  5. Centre of attention says:

    Loc
    ‏@loc8ingoil
    Draisaitl not playing?

    Mark Spector ‏@SportsnetSpec 2m2 minutes ago
    Mark Spector Retweeted Loc
    Just two shifts in 2nd. Thought he was pretty good in 1st. Will monitor/

    It begins

  6. Professor Q says:

    McDavid has been really strong defensively so far.

    Also, what are the chances that Draisaitl and Nurse get any more AHL prep time?

  7. stush18 says:

    Man the verbal surrounding the oilers this year might be worse than any other year. Mcdavids injury prone, nuge is a third line centre, the oilers stil don’t have better than a number four dman, they need to trade for Ben bishop, lucic is washed up he could hardly score last year, fuck I could go on.

    This is the only place that can keep me sane. I can’t wait to see everyone’s faces when this season gets going. F#ck em all

  8. Professor Q says:

    I don’t understand the “McDavid is injury prone” narrative.

    He’s only been injured twice in his hockey career.

  9. Centre of attention says:

    Mark Spector ‏@SportsnetSpec 6m6 minutes ago
    Draisaitl on Europe bench, looks like he’s waiting for is turn.
    Two shifts in 2nd period.

    its ok people

  10. Richard S.S. says:

    Professor Q:
    I don’t understand the “McDavid is injury prone” narrative.

    He’s only been injured twice in his hockey career.

    He was injured intentionally the last time, 2 on 1.

  11. Woogie63 says:

    Is Matt Bartowski an upgrade on Gyrba?

  12. Professor Q says:

    Richard S.S.: He was injured intentionally the last time, 2 on 1.

    While irrelevant to my statement, I suppose I see it that way as well.

    However one could argue that the first injury was also intentional, being from a fight.

  13. Professor Q says:

    Also, Lowetide: the site seems to be messed up and not displaying all of the comments on desktop (Chrome).

    Mobile seems okay, but there might be issues here that I’m missing as well…

  14. Zelepukin says:

    Nuge is a beauty. Stripped and out-muscled Kopitar on that back check. Our boy is finally getting his man-strength.

  15. hunter1909 says:

    Gaudreau’s only scoring because it’s an exhibition game. Once the real games start he’ll be a non-factor.

    Trolling is soo easy.

  16. hunter1909 says:

    stush18:
    Man the verbal surrounding the oilers this year might be worse than any other year. Mcdavids injury prone, nuge is a third line centre, the oilers stil don’t have better than a number four dman, they need to trade for Ben bishop, lucic is washed up he could hardly score last year, fuck I could go on.

    This is the only place that can keep me sane. I can’t wait to see everyone’s faces when this season gets going. F#ck em all

    Talbot’s a bum.

  17. LadiesloveSmid says:

    McLellan REALLY not showing any favouritism, putting McDavid in the last 20 seconds of every PP

  18. Soup Fascist says:

    It pains me to say it …,,but so far Johnny Hockey is the King of “Pre-Psuedo-Tournament Exhibition Games played against a mish mash of players from non-traditional hockey countries”.

    No question.

    Calgary, “pay dis man hees money”.

  19. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Drai gets the dash 2 and 6 minutes of playing time. Didn’t think he played poorly at all.

  20. Klima's_Bucket says:

    LadiesloveSmid,

    Yeah, someone get Ralph on Skype.

  21. LMHF#1 says:

    Chris Hajt and Alex Henry…man…

    Nothing against them personally, but they represented everything that was wrong with scouting at the time in that they were presented as having high ceilings.

    Anyone who hadn’t been NHL-brainwashed…even a kid…could see these guys had very little to give. Yet, there they were. Lead boots, lead hands, no hope.

  22. hunter1909 says:

    I dunno. These young guns remind me too much of the Oilers – expect the big boys to hammer them into the ice.

  23. Eastern Oil says:

    Klima’s_Bucket:
    LadiesloveSmid,

    Yeah, someone get Ralph on Skype.

    I will call as I’m from Ontario, I doubt he answers skype calls from Alberta area codes anymore.

  24. Lackadaisical says:

    Nuge is looking great! Glad to have a hockey fix, but I can’t wait for this season to start.

  25. stush18 says:

    Todd giving it to his own team. Hates the “bar-down mentality” they have.

    God the oilers team last year must have been killing him lol

  26. Frank the dog says:

    Nobody worried about CMD not scoring?

  27. Lowetide says:

    Mark Spector ‏@SportsnetSpec 1h1 hour ago

    McDavid on having no points: “Why would I be worried? We’re two games into this.”

  28. Lowetide says:

    Mark Spector ‏@SportsnetSpec 58m58 minutes ago

    Krueger says Draisaitl seemed tired from Olympic qualifying. Team needed to get older players going, and Draisaitl lost ice time due to that

  29. jimmers2 says:

    stush18,

    I didn’t hear the interview, can I ask you what TMac was getting at by “bar-down mentality”?

  30. Professor Q says:

    Frank the dog:
    Nobody worried about CMD not scoring?

    I’m not. He’s still getting amazing chances despite not finishing, and has been really good defensively, taking on Kopitar and seemingly giving him a lot of trouble.

  31. JimmyV1965 says:

    Sadly, Drai has not looked good in either game. He’s much too slow and is easy to knock off the puck. Although he protects the puck well with his big wingspan, he’s very weak in the corners. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is. Does this mean he’s washed up? Of course not. But it is a bit concerning. On the other hand, RNH had been truly outstanding. Johnny Hockey is interesting too. He leads the team with 4 pts but his game is very quiet. You don’t notice him at all and then he pops one in. Not sure if this is good or bad. He definitely doesn’t drive play like McDavid or Hall.

  32. JimmyV1965 says:

    Frank the dog:
    Nobody worried about CMD not scoring?

    Not at all. Looks amazing out there. Just not getting points.

  33. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Frank the dog:
    Nobody worried about CMD not scoring?

    doesn’t work with Eichel and they keep trying to force it, also kept getting PP2 minutes after MacKinnon-Drouin got their minute and a half

  34. Lowetide says:

    If only this was a tournament of small sample sizes.

  35. LadiesloveSmid says:

    Lowetide:
    If only this was a tournament of small sample sizes.

    the only real reason I’d want McDavid to have any points is so everyone would shut up about wonder kid being “blanked”

  36. hunter1909 says:

    Re McDavid: Is it officially time to panic?

  37. JimmyV1965 says:

    Lowetide:
    If only this was a tournament of small sample sizes.

    You’re right of course. My concern with Drai is mounting though. It’s been quite awhile for him now. Looked bad in the spring too.

  38. JJS says:

    hunter1909:
    I dunno. These young guns remind me too much of the Oilers – expect the big boys to hammer them into the ice.

    Perhaps the Oilers from 2 years ago but Lucic, Maroon, Nurse and Kassian have changed the Oil dynamic significantly IMO. Nuge and McD are demons on the back check and Drais is a big man who will command space down the middle.

    I do agree with your sentiment however and think the NA team will suffer against a team like Canada/US. Too many skilled players who play a heavy game over every inch of ice. Not to mention winning 70% of the faceoffs. One equalizer may be speed. Team Canada lacks a bit of overall team speed – especially from the blue line. They could really use PK Subban/Keith back there. Man oh man I miss Niedermayer …

  39. G Money says:

    I would not worry too much about Padawan Connor. Two games without scoring is completely meaningless in variance terms – even more so in exhibition season.

    Especially when your shot metrics look like this:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CsH2TYeUIAAd0I-.jpg

  40. Bank Shot says:

    JJS: Perhaps the Oilers from 2 years ago but Lucic, Maroon, Nurse and Kassian have changed the Oil dynamic significantly IMO.Nuge and McD are demons on the back check and Drais is a big man who will command space down the middle.

    I dunno. I like McDavid as much as anyone, but I feel like his work rate on the defensive side of the puck could be higher.

    I’m sure he will get better with age, and I hope one day he is talked about as a two way force as well as a top point getter. I don’t see him being there yet.

  41. theDjdj says:

    We’re like newborn parents. McDavid’s playing exhibition matches in a pre-season tournament. He looks good. Coach isn’t playing him 20min and 1st PP

  42. ashley says:

    I’ve seen enough. What kind of package do you think we could get for McDavid? #sellhigh¡

  43. rickithebear says:

    Gaudreau:
    21 yr season:
    Home 3rd comp .45 evppg
    Road 3rd comp .45 evppg
    22 yr season
    Home 2nd/3rd comp 1.25 evppg
    Road 1st comp .25 evppg

    Looking at his PvP that .25 evppg is why he is not signed.
    Do not think for sarcomd he has proven he can win a series
    Going PvP with only 3 games at home.

  44. Suntory Hanzo says:

    jimmers2,

    Generally means being too fancy. Like always trying to snipe so the puck is off the bar and in. “Bar Down”

    part of the lingo. great with the Hockey Guys from Letterkenny. Right around the 5 minute mark

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x49qjrb

  45. Lowetide says:

    ashley:
    I’ve seen enough.What kind of package do you think we could get for McDavid?#sellhigh¡

    Maybe we can get Hall?

  46. G Money says:

    Suntory Hanzo: great with the Hockey Guys from Letterkenny

    Bar Down Sunzy!

  47. G Money says:

    Reilly – We’ll see what you’re calling us after I bury a couple bardown wristers.
    Jonesy – Half clapper, top cheddar
    Reilly – Biscuits, top titties, bar downski’s
    Jonesy – ALWAYS bardownski’s
    Reilly – Pull out the guns, safety’s off
    Jonesy – Fuckin’ safety off boys

  48. godot10 says:

    G Money:
    I would not worry too much about Padawan Connor.Two games without scoring is completely meaningless in variance terms – even more so in exhibition season.

    Especially when your shot metrics look like this:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CsH2TYeUIAAd0I-.jpg

    Who is that Ryan Murray guy? -)

  49. G Money says:

    godot10,

    Never heard a him.

  50. ashley says:

    Lowetide: Maybe we can get Hall?

    One-for-one. That’s how all the stars get traded these days.

  51. Tire Fire says:

    Suntory Hanzo:
    jimmers2,

    Generally means being too fancy. Like always trying to snipe so the puck is off the bar and in. “Bar Down”

    part of the lingo.great with the Hockey Guys from Letterkenny. Right around the 5 minute mark

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x49qjrb

    Everybody knows it don’t count if it’s not bar-downski.

    Love that show. Have a Brit friend that lived here for a while and is obsessed w it.

  52. Suntory Hanzo says:

    Whenever I see the EU jerseys, I think of Westjet. Can’t figure out why.

  53. BONE207 says:

    Do not think for sarcomd

    I have trouble thinking for myself let alone this sarcomd guy

  54. BONE207 says:

    Suntory Hanzo:
    Whenever I see the EU jerseys, I think of Westjet. Can’t figure out why.

    I think of Hartford Whalers. One finned whale though.

  55. BONE207 says:

    as for picking 900 game players off the Bakersfield list. I’d bet that at least 3-4 of them make it near there. Sure would bode well for the future of the Oilers if they could continue the drafting of better prospects than the ones they have since the 80 ‘s overall. SOme incredibly distant bells

  56. stush18 says:

    G Money:
    Reilly – We’ll see what you’re calling us after I bury a couple bardown wristers.
    Jonesy – Half clapper, top cheddar
    Reilly – Biscuits, top titties, bar downski’s
    Jonesy – ALWAYS bardownski’s
    Reilly – Pull out the guns, safety’s off
    Jonesy – Fuckin’ safety off boys

    Haha It’s funny to say but we completely used to talk like that. Still do when you’re hanging out with your buddies from the glory days

    Jesus it’s a wonder I didn’t get the shit kicked out of me more often

  57. stush18 says:

    jimmers2:
    stush18,

    I didn’t hear the interview, can I ask you what TMac was getting at by “bar-down mentality”?

    Like people said, trying to be too fancy. Passing up shots, overskating pucks.

    Every player thinks he can play like this. Be interesting to see how much Tmac lets the horses run. I really wouldn’t mind seeing them run and gun this whole tourney.

  58. russ99 says:

    Hey LT;

    What’s the deal with training camp this year?

    It’s getting to be mid-September…

    Assuming the assistants will be running things until McLellan is done with World Cup duties.

    Are our players participating in the World Cup going to get a break after their teams are eliminated?

    Should be interesting.

  59. jimmers2 says:

    Suntory Hanzo,

    Thanks very much. I guess it has been a while since I hung around at a rink. And the tv here is permanently welded to cartoon channels.

  60. kinger_OIL says:

    russ99:
    Hey LT;

    What’s the deal with training camp this year?

    It’s getting to be mid-September…

    Assuming the assistants will be running things until McLellan is done with World Cup duties.

    Are our players participating in the World Cup going to get a break after their teams are eliminated?

    Should be interesting.

    – I;’ve got tickets to the young guns vs. Sweden: should be fun to watch

    – I hadn’t realized the final is best-of-3. That’s just dumb right before a season starting.

    – So basically 40 guys (assuming it goes to 3 games), will be coming back to their teams, tired, and not playing NHL hockey (games seem like track meets, which is fun to watch, but not NHL)

    – Just dumb. How much you want to bet one player gets injured as well: just dumb.

  61. Pouzar says:

    DON’T TRADE NUGE.

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