The Bakersfield Condors play their first game of the 2016-17 AHL season tomorrow night. Normally I would post a GDT but the Oilers play tomorrow night and that takes precedence. Instead, here is a quick update on the players, their range as prospects, and who might be an Oiler at some point this season.
- 1—G Eetu Laurikainen
- 2—LD Mark Fraser
- 3—LD Dillon Simpson
- 4—RD Matt Benning
- 5—LD Ben Betker
- 6—LD David Musil
- 7—C Jujhar Khaira
- 8—LD Griffin Reinhart
- 11—W Joey Benik
- 12—L Ryan Hamilton
- 14—C Kyle Platzer
- 15—LD Jordan Oesterle
- 17—LD Joey Laleggia
- 18—C Josh Currie
- 19—L Mitch Moroz
- 21—C Zach Pochiro
- 22—R Joel Rechlicz
- 23—L Braden Christoffer
- 25—R Greg Chase
- 28—LD Mikael Tam
- 29—L Scott Allen
- 31—G Laurent Brossoit (recalled today)
- 34—G Nick Ellis
- 36—R Patrick Russell
- 39—R Jaedon Descheneau
- 40—L Jere Sallinen
- 41—R Taylor Beck
Edmonton recalled Laurent Brossoit this afternoon to backup Cam Talbot while Jonas Gustavsson recovers from injury. The Oilers recalled Eetu Laurikainen from Norfolk Admirals to replace him, while also sending Matt Benning to the minors. He is the only RHD in Bakersfield, although Frankie Simonelli is just a call away (Norfolk) if required. He will wear No. 4.
The 20-Year Old Regulars
None. Edmonton begins the year without a 20-year old regular, amazing when you consider the AHL is the bridge from junior to the NHL.
The Regulars 21-25 (18)
- C Kyle Platzer (21) (6-11-17), R Greg Chase (21) (1-6-7), C Jujhar Khaira (22) 10-17-27, L Mitch Moroz (22) 5-5-10, D Griffin Reinhart (22) 2-8-10, L Braden Christoffer (22) 1-4-5, D Ben Betker (22), C-R Josh Currie (23), D Dillon Simpson (23) 4-16-20, G Eetu Laurikainen (18, 3.42 .907), D David Musil (23), 3-11-14, D Joey Laleggia (24) 8-19-27, D Jordan Oesterle (24) 4-21-25.
- New Additions: R Jaedon Descheneau (21), C Zach Pochiro (22), C-L Jere Sallinen (25), R Taylor Beck (25), D Mikael Tam (25).
This group of prospects represents the most promising group in Bakersfield. In the annual item Farm Workers, we have established two things to be true about this age group in the AHL:
- Pretty much everyone who is in the AHL past (say) 21 has some issues and is going to do some meandering.
Last fall, Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse (both 20) spent little time in the minors before their recall to the NHL. Men like Griffin Reinhart and David Musil were unable to make that grade, and now spend what might be another season in the minors attempting to grind their skills into something NHL teams can utilize.
- If you haven’t established yourself as a prospect of interest by 22 you are in trouble.
I think this is a big one. Men who are 22 or greater this year include Griffin Reinhart, Jujhar Khaira, Mitch Moroz and Jordan Oesterle. How many have a clear path to the NHL? I think the answer is none, your mileage may vary. Kyle Platzer and Greg Chase are not yet 22, but it is pretty clear that all of these young men are under the gun in terms of finding an NHL career. A big season for all of them.
The Regulars 26-35 (3)
- L Scott Allen (26), R Joel Rechlicz (29), D Mark Fraser (30), L Ryan Hamilton (31).
It is very unusual for a 30-year old AHL player to get the call, but it does happen. Rob Klinkhammer played 14 NHL games this past season at 29, before shooting lights out for Bakersfield. He was more of an NHL player fading from the big leagues though, not really a minor leaguer catching on. Fraser could get some NHL time, I bet, and something tells me they like Scott Allen.
- G Nick Ellis (22), D Matt Benning (22), R Patrick Russell (23), F Joey Benik (24).
This is an interesting group, who combined with Drake Caggiula (who made the Oilers but has not played with the club due to injury) represent a big part of Peter Chiarelli’s recruitment summer. We discussed this subject in Farm Workers:
- Exceptions are college men. Playing 4 NCAA seasons means turning pro at 22, meaning a “late start” for some quality prospects.
Jordan Oesterle qualifies for this too, although he has been in the minors for a couple of seasons now. If we are honest, the exciting portion of the Condors prospect group is from the college signings—and the prospects who were in the AHL last season may take a back seat to Caggiuila and Benning. In a way, Chiarelli has upgraded the prospect list and cut off a large group of draft picks/prospects, which may or may not include Griffin Reinhart.
- No minor league regular is likely to do anything incredible like play in 1,000 NHL games. It is a rare thing for a player to spend a couple of seasons in the minors and then go on to a 1,000 NHL game calibre career.
This applies to Griffin Reinhart, suspect his opportunity to post a big number (his Dad played 648 NHL games but could have played longer without chronic back pain) lies in a strong season in 2016-17. Your view on the odds of that happening probably guides the discussion.
THE FUTURE NHLERS ARE….
If we are using the Scott Cullen line in the sand (100 games), then I think Griffin Reinhart, Laurent Brossoit (recalled today), Matt Benning and Jujhar Khaira are the most reasonable bets. I also think that (among the current Condors) the most interesting prospects are the college men, and believe it is curious that both Khaira and Jordan Oesterle were sent down so early in camp. I think the answer has to do with Caggiula and Benning, and that is the big story to follow in Bakersfield this winter.
TOP BAKERSFIELD PROSPECTS BASED ON POSSIBLE FUTURE
- C Jujhar Khaira, Edmonton Oilers (15, 0-2-2) and Bakersfield Condors (49, 10-17-27).
- LD Griffin Reinhart, Edmonton Oilers (29, 0-1-1) and Bakersfield Condors (30, 2-8-10).
- RD Matt Benning, Northeastern (41, 6-13-19)
- G Laurent Brossoit, Edmonton Oilers (5, 3.61 .873) and Bakersfield Condors (31, 2.66 .920).
- LD Jordan Oesterle, Edmonton Oilers (17, 0-5-5) and Bakersfield Condors (44, 4-21-25).
- LD Dillon Simpson, Bakersfield Condors (57, 4-16-20).
- LD Joey Laleggia, Bakersfield Condors (63, 8-19-27).
- R Patrick Russell, St. Cloud State (41, 20-21-41).
- RC Kyle Platzer, Bakersfield Condors (48, 6-11-17).
- R Greg Chase, Bakersfield Condors (19, 1-6-7) and Norfolk Admirals (43, 18-19-37).
- L Jere Salinen, Jokerit (50, 8-11-19).
- G Nick Ellis, Providence (36, 1.80 .936).
- D David Musil, Bakersfield Condors (67, 3-11-14).
- W Joey Benik, St. Cloud State (41, 23-25-48).
- L Mitch Moroz, Bakersfield Condors (40, 5-5-10).
- G Eetu Laurikainen, Bakersfield Condors (18, 3.42 .907).
- D Ben Betker, Bakersfield Condors (14, 0-2-2) and Norfolk Admirals (49, 3-14-17).
- L Braden Christoffer, Bakersfield Condors (33, 1-4-5) and Norfolk Admirals (24, 13-5-18).