OILERS PROSPECTS 31-40 (winter 2016): THE DISTANT BELLS

We are now down to the final 11 names who can be regarded as prospects for the Winter 2016 list. Some of these young men are stragglers who should (and could) be much higher, but are not getting at-bats at the AHL level at this time. Others are pro additions to the  roster who were never meant to be NHL prospects, but rather AHL help to fill in the holes each season. Finally, we have a few signings from previous management who are not yet off the books.

  • No. 31 (No. 31 Winter 2015) LD Ben Betker, Bakersfield Condors. Big defender (6.06, 228) who has good mobility for his size. Is showing well with the Condors, after playing most of last season in the ECHL. He is currently 15gp, 1-2-3, and Prospect-Stats estimates his even-strength ice time at 13:19. If that number is correct, Betker would rank No. 7 in TOI per game among regulars (normal for a rookie). Lots of developing to do, but he is a tower and that has appeal.

  • No. 32 (No. 17 Winter 2015) LD Joey Laleggia, Bakersfield Condors. Small defender with skill, he appears to be something of a tweener. His boxcars (22gp, 2-5-7) are down from a year ago, and his pre-season performance with the big club showed real chaos. He is in the final year of his entry level deal, and at 24 his time should be now. Unlike some of the players listed 31-40, he is getting a push. Prospect-Stats estimates him at over 18 minutes a night even strength. Things do not appear to be going well at this time, I am not certain what could be altered to get him back on track as an Oilers prospect. This is not the career path of a future NHL player.

Photo by Mark Williams, all rights reserved

  • No. 33 (No. 19 Winter 2015) R Greg Chase, Bakersfield Condors. Playing an estimated 7:53 per night in the AHL, Chase is 13gp, 1-1-2 so far this year. One year (after this one) on his entry-level deal, he needs to play more but is blocked by a combination of AHL veterans and other prospects. The Condors RW depth chart (Taylor Beck, Josh Currie, Patrick Russell, Chase) should not be to much to overcome, but so far Chase is often the odd man out. At some point this season, he may get a chance to increase his role, but this has been a very quiet second pro season so far.

  • No. 34 (No. 35 Winter 2015) G Zach Nagelvoort, Michigan Wolverines. Nagelvoort’s numbers are improved this season, but playing time remains an issue. He is 5gp, 2.52 .927 this year, those are good numbers—but he is one of three men in a goalie rotation. The other two prospects are younger, and both have played more this season (although not by much). I am unsure about his future based on the numbers (he is in his senior year) but the Oilers may have an opening next fall behind Nick Ellis in Bakersfield so a strong finish may help his chances of getting signed.

  • No. 35 (NR Winter 2015) C Jere Sallinen, Bakersfield Condors. The KHL and Sm-Liiga veteran hasn’t been in the news much since arriving in North America. Has one even-strength point (a goal) and is playing about 10:30 a night at evens. He is 21gp, 2-0-2 so far this year, and his contract (one year) seems unlikely to be renewed based on performance so far.

Photo by Mark Williams

  • No. 36 (NR Winter 2015) R Patrick Russell, Bakersfield Condors. Patrick Russell is the fourth of the four college men signed last summer. Foot speed is his issue, and it is a problem based on visual and anecdotal. If he can improve his speed, there is some evidence of offense with him. Currently 22gp, 0-4-4, his estimated TOI 5×5 is about 10:40 a night. Long view is probably wise.

  • No. 37 (NR Winter 2015) RD Vincent Desharnais, Providence Friars. Impossible to know if he is going to make an impact, stay-at-home college blue are terribly difficult to track even with years of evidence. He is 12gp, 1-0-1, we are in the early stages of evaluation.

  • No. 38 (NR Winter 2015) L Joey Benik, Bakersfield Condors.

Joey Benik is the first player on this year’s list who is neither a draft pick nor a member of the 50-man list. He is one of the few forwards with a scoring touch (his four goals in 18 games ranks Benik No. 5 among prospects in Bakersfield) and gets reasonable minutes based on Prospect-Stats. No promises that he is a scoring Arcobello, and I did move him down the list because he is not on the 50-man list, but Benik is more interesting than a few of these fellows.

  • No. 39 (No.34 Winter 2015) L Braden Christoffer, Bakersfield Condors.

Braden Christoffer is in the AHL full time this year, but offense remains in issue. He is 21gp, 1-1-2 so far, and overall with Bakersfield he has posted 2-5-7 in 54 games. Christoffer is a rugged 5.10 winger who doesn’t score a lot, so projecting him beyond the AHL is impossible.

No. 40 (No.39 Winter 2015) L Evan Campbell, UMass Lowell River Hawks.

Evan Campbell is 23 and in his final NCAA season. His peak in college came in 2014-15, when he scored 27 points in 34 games. This year, he is 1-3-4 in 17 games and there are 10 forwards who have more points than Campbell.

Photo by Mark Williams. All rights reserved

  • No. 41 (No. 22 Winter 2015) G Eetu Laurikainen, Norfolk Admirals

Signed in May 2015, I still don’t know if this was MacT’s final signing, or the first one for Chiarelli. Either way, he played reasonably well last season in Finland and Bakersfield (.907), but is strictly ECHL this season and struggling (.881). It is unlikely he will be on this list a year from now.

There are a few players in the system (Jaedon Descheneau, etc) who are of interest, but I decided to cut the list here. The complete list for 2016 Winter, by position, along with their possible futures, will be published Thursday.

Graduating from one year ago (with last year’s winter ranking) are:

  • No. 1 C Connor McDavid, graduated to the NHL. Now at 79 games (88 points).
  • No. 2 C Leon Draisaitl, graduated to the NHL. Now at 143 games.
  • No. 3 D Darnell Nurse, graduated to the NHL. Now at 96 games.
  • No. 7 G Anders Nilsson, traded at the deadline (pick was Graham McPhee) and now with Buffalo Sabres. 62 NHL games.
  • No. 8 D Brandon Davidson, graduated to the NHL. Now at 67 games.
  • No. 10 R Iiro Pakarinen, graduated to the NHL. Now at 80 games.
  • No. 24 L Kale Kessy, Oilers did not retain him, he is now in the Winnipeg Jets organization.
  • No. 26 C Andrew Miller, he moved on to the Carolina Hurricanes organization. Now at 15 NHL games.
  • No. 29 L Josh Winquist, he moved on to the Islanders organization this past summer.
  • No. 30 C Alexis Loiseau, AHL contract the Oilers set free. Now in ECHL.
  • No. 33 D Brad Hunt, went unsigned and is now in the St. Louis Blues organization. Now at 25 NHL games (four this year with STL).
  • No. 36 G Keven Bouchard, Oilers did not sign him, he went back to junior.
  • No. 38 D Martin Gernat, Oilers dealt him to Anaheim in the Patrick Maroon deal, he now plays in the Czech league.
  • No. 40 G Ty Rimmer. He was not on the 50-man list and was not signed by Bakersfield. Not playing this year.
  • No. 40 C Marco Roy. Former second-round pick, Bakersfield signed him but he moved over to the Vancouver Canucks organization this past summer.

Winter 2015 was the best list since 2010, probably the best list since 1982 (or so). Wrap on Thursday.

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45 Responses to "OILERS PROSPECTS 31-40 (winter 2016): THE DISTANT BELLS"

  1. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Thanks for the writeup LT, always nice to check in on the prospects.

    Chase is disappointing, but I think we’re getting to the point where the “blame the lack of playing time” argument is going out the window (which you seem to be acknowledging to a certain extent). Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully in agreement with the idea that the Oilers organization is doing it somewhat wrong at the AHL level with their over-playing of veterans, but at a certain point a player needs to push past that if they are going to be anything.

    Chase was an intriguing prospect with some questions marks (chiefly attitude) on draft day. Looks like the question marks win this round, as they usually do.

  2. Lowetide says:

    Cash: Very fair, I think Chase should be able to push past the group in front of him. He looked good at TC 2015, has faded since then. The AHL is a tough league, may be his outer marker as a pro.

  3. frjohnk says:

    Thanks again for doing this.

    Quick question.

    Are there any players who were ranked in your 31-40 list over the years, now in the NHL or who at least had a cup of in the NHL?

  4. Centre of attention says:

    A little off topic (its draft related, so no completely) but I am really curious about what people’s opinions are regarding the top forwards of the 2014 draft.

    If you were to rank the top forwards of the 2014 draft (taking into account their NHL performance thus far) in order how would they look?

    My top 5 is:
    1:Draisaitl
    2:Pastrnak
    3:Nylander
    4:Bennett
    5:Ehlers

    To be honest its really close between Pasta and Draisaitl. You could almost call them 1 / 1A.

    Very curious to see what everyone else thinks. 🙂

  5. frjohnk says:

    Centre of attention:
    A little off topic (its draft related, so no completely) but I am really curious about what people’s opinions are regarding the top forwards of the 2014 draft.

    If you were to rank the top forwards of the 2014 draft (taking into account their NHL performance thus far) in order how would they look?

    My top 5 is:
    1:Draisaitl
    2:Pastrnak
    3:Nylander
    4:Bennett
    5:Ehlers

    To be honest its really close between Pasta and Draisaitl. You could almost call them 1 / 1A.

    Very curious to see what everyone else thinks.

    Hah, I was thinking along the same lines today.

    We got the best forward in 14 and best player in 15.

    Because Draisaitl is a center most of the time, ( and starting to kick out the jams) I think that widens the gap between him and the rest on your list even more, all who mostly play wing. Bennett and Nylander do play a bit at center, but they are mostly on the wing.

    I think Id go

    Draisaitl
    Pastrnak
    Ehlers
    Bennett
    Nylander

    All great talents and there is still miles to go.

  6. Lowetide says:

    frjohnk:
    Thanks again for doing this.

    Quick question.

    Are there any players who were ranked in your 31-40 list over the years, now in the NHL or who at least had a cup of in the NHL?

    No, none that I can find. The 21-30 group has produced a few, usually late developing players like Zack Stortini, Brandon Davidson and Tyler Pitlick. People often hold them out as errors, but I don’t think that is true. The point to be learned about Brandon Davidson isn’t that he is Brandon Davidson, but that he BECAME Brandon Davidson. He beat the draft number, he beat Logan’s Run.

    Jeff Petry was a mistake on my part. I had him mid-teens or low tens he should have been higher.

  7. Centre of attention says:

    frjohnk: Hah, I was thinking along the same lines today.

    We got the best forward in 14 and best player in 15.

    Because Draisaitl is a center most of the time, ( and starting to kick out the jams)I think that widens the gap between him and the rest on your list even more,all who mostly play wing.Bennett and Nylander do play a bit at center, but they are mostly on the wing.

    I think Id go

    Draisaitl
    Pastrnak
    Ehlers
    Bennett
    Nylander

    All great talents and there is still miles to go.

    It’s interesting that you rank Nylander so low.

    Why may I ask is he below Bennett/Ehlers at this point? Lack of games played?

    I would bet good money Nylander will be a better scorer than either of those two given time.

    I always thought Bennett was going to be a big-time scorer in the NHL. Like a 60-70 point guy. I guess he’s taking the Nuge path to a 200 foot game(minus the red-hot rookie year), so we will reevaluate in a few years.

  8. Lowetide says:

    5×5/60

    Sam Bennett 2.01
    Leon Draisaitl 1.81

    Wait five years, gents. Bennett is a younger man, and we don’t know what we don’t know.

  9. godot10 says:

    Hypothesis on why Klefbom has been wobby (apart from being injured most of last season, and thus, being rusty)

    Klefbom has always been the better defensive defensemen on the pairing he has played on until this season. His frame of reference playing the game is has changed. His partner has alway tended to be the one leading the offensive charge, whereas with Larsson, Klefbom is the guy leading the offensive charge. He is used to covering for the other guy, and making those reads, rather than being the guy who needs to be covered for.

    i.e. he is used to picking up the first prime attacker. now he has to choose to pick up the secondary or tertiary attackers.

    One might actually like to see Sekera/Larsson and Klefbom/Benning for awhile (and Davidson/Gryba)…and pressbox Russell.

  10. Yeti says:

    godot10,

    Excellent points.

  11. Centre of attention says:

    Lowetide:
    5×5/60

    Sam Bennett 2.01
    Leon Draisaitl 1.81

    Wait five years, gents. Bennett is a younger man, and we don’t know what we don’t know.

    I was just asking for *current* rankings.

    Definitely think Bennett has more there. Like I said I always thought he had the big box cars in him. We’ll see how she goes.

  12. Lowetide says:

    Centre of attention: I was just asking for *current* rankings.

    Definitely think Bennett has more there. Like I said I always thought he had the big box cars in him. We’ll see how she goes.

    Ah. Current rankings Leon is tough to beat, between he and Pastrnak for 1-2. I will go Ehlers, Bennett and Nylander after that.

  13. stush18 says:

    godot10,

    He’s also only 140 games into his career. Give another 150
    And I bet we see a top pairing stud.

  14. who says:

    Centre of attention:
    A little off topic (its draft related, so no completely) but I am really curious about what people’s opinions are regarding the top forwards of the 2014 draft.

    If you were to rank the top forwards of the 2014 draft (taking into account their NHL performance thus far) in order how would they look?

    My top 5 is:
    1:Draisaitl
    2:Pastrnak
    3:Nylander
    4:Bennett
    5:Ehlers

    To be honest its really close between Pasta and Draisaitl. You could almost call them 1 / 1A.

    Very curious to see what everyone else thinks.

    Don’t you think ehlers has accomplished more than Nylanderor Bennet to this point. A lot of the Jets offense seems to run through him.

  15. Atc-Nate says:

    Lowetide:
    5×5/60

    Sam Bennett 2.01
    Leon Draisaitl 1.81

    Wait five years, gents. Bennett is a younger man, and we don’t know what we don’t know.

    No argument here LT… if we remove Leon’s rookie year, I wonder what his 5×5 numbers look like, or was it this year that you posted?

  16. treevojo says:

    At what point does Justin Shultz become a case study on how not to handle a blue chip college defence man?

    His confidence must be through the roof right now.

  17. Pescador says:

    stush18:
    godot10,

    He’s also only 140 games into his career. Give another 150
    And I bet we see a top pairing stud.

    Man I hope your right, I also believe there is more then just a little riding on it.
    If Oscar doesn’t reach the ceiling that most of us think he has,
    then what?

  18. Pescador says:

    treevojo:
    At what point does Justin Shultz become a case study on how not to handle a blue chip college defence man?

    His confidence must be through the roof right now.

    2 years ago

  19. Centre of attention says:

    who: Don’t you think ehlers has accomplished more than Nylanderor Bennet to this point. A lot of the Jets offense seems to run through him.

    yeah maybe I’m undervaluing Ehlers a bit here.

    This is why I ask for others opinions! 🙂 It opens the floor for intelligent debate / conversation.

  20. treevojo says:

    And shortly after I write that that other ex oiler college defence man gets his 3rd goal in 3 games playing for the red white and blue.

  21. stush18 says:

    Pescador: Man I hope your right, I also believe there is more then just a little riding on it.
    If Oscar doesn’t reach the ceiling that most of us think he has,
    then what?

    Well I think chia is building more of a defense by committee approach. Similiar to what Vancouver ran on their cup run. i don’t know if one dman is necessarily key.

    Hopefully him, nurse and davidson continue to develop, and Jones, bear, berglund, and maybe paigan can develop into useful pieces.

    Everyone’s down on chia, but honestly I’ve never been happier with our drafting. Especially on defense.

    We need another impact forward next draft though. Preferably a righty

  22. treevojo says:

    Pescador: 2 years ago

    Nah I think it will take some time with sustained success showing his ceiling before you can really dig deep into it.

    Woodguy mentioned the other day about guarantees some of these college guys have been getting from the teams “winning” their services.

    It would be interesting to know what was guaranteed to Justin.

  23. Centre of attention says:

    Frank Seravalli ‏@frank_seravalli 8s9 seconds ago
    Jaromir Jagr has done it, tying Mark Messier for second on the #NHL’s all-time points list.

  24. Centre of attention says:

    Oesterle scores.

  25. Centre of attention says:

    Dustin Nielson
    ‏@nielsonTSN1260
    Ducks lost to the Habs tonight. Anaheim and Edmonton now with identical 17-12-5 records. Oilers +8 goal differential, Ducks -2.

    The goal differential tells the real story in the long run.

  26. Lowetide says:

    Reinhart scores.

  27. who says:

    Centre of attention: yeah maybe I’m undervaluing Ehlers a bit here.

    This is why I ask for others opinions! 🙂 It opens the floor for intelligent debate / conversation.

    Good topic. Interesting thing about your list of five is that Drai might be the most boring to watch. He probably can’t match the high end speed of any of these other guys. You have to understand the game a little to really appreciate all the subtle little passes he makes, particularly on his backhand, and the tremendous vision he has.

  28. Pescador says:

    treevojo: Nah I think it will take some time with sustained success showing his ceiling before you can really dig deep into it.

    Woodguy mentioned the other day about guarantees some of these college guys have been getting from the teams “winning” their services.

    It would be interesting to know what was guaranteed to Justin.

    They didn’t need to guarantee anything to Justin, there was no one else.
    Very important point made by Woodguy: “In Pittsburgh, Shultz is one of the most sheltered Dmen in the NHL” he has limited minutes 5×5 & has the easiest zone starts, according to Darcy.
    My point is 2 years ago there was no one here to shelter him & that was the development problem.
    So we agree that proper deployment was to blame (among many,many other things).
    Conversely I believe that is one of the reasons Benning is showing so well.

  29. Centre of attention says:

    who: Good topic. Interesting thing about your list of five is that Drai might be the most boring to watch. He probably can’t match the high end speed of any of these other guys. You have to understand the game a little to really appreciate all the subtle little passes he makes, particularly on his backhand, and the tremendous vision he has.

    To be honest Draisaitl is fast, but not quick.

    Hockey people often say there is two types of speed: fast and quick.

    Some guys (McDavid, Crosby, Duchene, etc) are both quick and fast.

    Drai is fast, when he gets up to speed he can really fly down the wing. It just takes that big frame a couple extra moments to shift into gear, know what I mean?

    A guy like Ehlers can take 2 steps and be going full tilt.

    Draisaitl is really fun to watch when he some how sneaks his way right into the slot and snaps home a quick shot or deflection.

    Like how do you miss that huge fucking German dude standing in the slot? Like HELLO Mr. Defenseman?!

    I hope they never catch on (-:

  30. Lowetide says:

    Reinhart goal now credited to Khaira, and now Slepyshev has tied it. 3-3.

  31. treevojo says:

    Pescador: They didn’t need to guarantee anything to Justin, there was no one else.
    Very important point made by Woodguy: “In Pittsburgh, Shultz is one of the most sheltered Dmen in the NHL” he has limited minutes 5×5 & has the easiest zone starts, according to Darcy.
    My point is 2 years ago there was no one here to shelter him & that was the development problem.
    So we agree that proper deployment was to blame (among many,many other things).
    Conversely I believe that is one of the reasons Benning is showing so well.

    With Letang out I don’t think there is much left on that d for shelter.

    He played over 21 mins tonight with 2 pts and a +3.

    He now sits at +21 on the year second behind Ryan suter in the nhl.

    I know that +- isn’t a great individual stat.

    Anyway I don’t really know where I am going with this but it seems as though the last 10 years of dressing an ahl squad consisting of has been veterans and gifting prospects ice time has turned out well for the teams picking up our prospects for pennies on the dollar and turning them into useful nhl players.

  32. stush18 says:

    Back to prospects, I am kind of surprised you have betker this low LT.

    I think he has a good shot at being an Eric gryba, but I think his skating is even better.

    Damn leftorium. These guys gotta hop on with Winnipeg, they seem to have all the righties

  33. who says:

    Centre of attention: To be honest Draisaitl is fast, but not quick.

    Hockey people often say there is two types of speed: fast and quick.

    Some guys (McDavid, Crosby, Duchene, etc) are both quick and fast.

    Drai is fast, when he gets up to speed he can really fly down the wing. It just takes that big frame a couple extra moments to shift into gear, know what I mean?

    A guy like Ehlers can take 2 steps and be going full tilt.

    Draisaitl is really fun to watch when he some how sneaks his way right into the slot and snaps home a quick shot or deflection.

    Like how do you miss that huge fucking German dude standing in the slot? Like HELLO Mr. Defenseman?!

    I hope they never catch on (-:

    Agree with you on the two kinds of fast. I think it is the guys who can reach top end in two strides that really bring people out of their seats. I don’t think I will ever get tired of watching Connor separate from people with one or two strides. That breakaway last night was a perfect example. There were at least two Blues who had a better angle to that loose puck

  34. BornInAGretzkyJersey says:

    stush18,

    Agreed. Unfortunately those types of D-men don’t seem to be the preferred flavour these days, reliable or not. His skating is his best chance, then his positional play. I also like that he plays with that edge the hometown prefers.

  35. Centre of attention says:

    who,

    To each there own, everyone finds entertainment in their own way! 🙂

    I like watching sneaky plays develop. Sometimes the most intriguing things on the ice are happening quite a ways away from where the puck is,

  36. Lowetide says:

    Re: Betker. I have him running in place, which is kind of what he is doing. He did not dominate the ECHL, in fact stayed there for (basically) a full year. Which is fine, but in year two (he is now 22) pro he is about No. 7 in Bakersfield. So, while I too like his speed, there is a lot of his value that is defensive and at this point, age 22, he is a depth D in the AHL. We can project him as being better than a lot of big, defensive 22-year old D because of speed, but we have to have some evidence in order to move him up.

    Hopefully, that comes over the rest of this season.

  37. MrEd says:

    Tough night for LB tonight.
    Great night for Ellis.

    This becoming something to consider I think.

  38. MrEd says:

    Doobie vs. Bobrovski (and Price) for the Vezina so far…

  39. JDï™ says:

    When the bell begins to chime…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VUGv28yIiA

  40. GMB3 says:

    I honestly think that giving Slepy and Poo a run of 5 games with McDavid could potentially be our top line. I remember poo and McDavid making some sublime plays transitioning in the neutral zone with their speed, and he had a better set of hands than Lucic. Slepy is big and fast with good hockey sense, responsible, and the best release on the team. McDavid and him will find each other in the dangerous spots on the ice given some opportunity to mesh. Slepy has some high level puck skills and speed. This is what McD needs

    It’ll be a shame when Slepyshev goes back to the KHL.

  41. Hot Eire says:

    GMB3,

    8 SOG by Mr Slepychev last night too. Good arrow!

  42. spoiler says:

    Lowetide:

    Lowetide says:

    December 20, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    Re: Betker. I have him running in place, which is kind of what he is doing. He did not dominate the ECHL, in fact stayed there for (basically) a full year.

    I think that’s fair. but with a couple of caveats… first, that it’s difficult to know what’s a good performance in the E from a defensive defender. Second, that big fellas sometimes take a little longer to get there.

    Gonna need Pitlick patience to get the answers.

  43. jake70 says:

    Lowetide:
    5×5/60

    Sam Bennett 2.01
    Leon Draisaitl 1.81

    Wait five years, gents. Bennett is a younger man, and we don’t know what we don’t know.

    Ya got your Rumsfeld on…..:-)

    “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

  44. oiler69 says:

    Who is scott allen and how did he end up with the Condors – never heard of him before

  45. Lowetide says:

    Oilers69: Former Spruce Grove Saint, big, rugged winger who went to Alaska-Anchorage and then the ECHL. Caught on with Norfolk last winter, Oilers have him in Bakersfield now.

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