The Bakersfield Condors are back in action tonight, the Christmas break over in a quick hurry for the minor leaguers. The team is off to Ontario this evening with some lineup changes—something we could see in Edmonton after the break. Have a look at the top line tonight.
- L1: Joey Laleggia—Jujhar Khaira—Anton Slepyshev
- L2: Ryan Hamilton—Josh Currie—Greg Chase
- L3: Scott Allen—Kyle Platzer—Patrick Russell
- L4: Mitchell Moroz—Jere Sallinen—Joel Rechlicz
- D1: Griffin Reinhart—David Musil
- D2: Dillon Simpson—Jordan Oesterle
- D3: Mark Fraser—Bryce Aneloski
- G1: Laurent Brossoit (Nick Ellis)
More points to get through than Carter has pills, so let’s go:
- With the Oilers roster probably due for a shuffle, interesting that Anton Lander isn’t in the starting lineup this evening.
- Joey Laleggia back at LW? This became a story last season, Scott Zerr on the Lowdown predicted as much due to chaotic play and a little while after it happened (in 2015-16). This is the first I have seen of it this year, it may be an actual position change or it could be injury (as is the case with Lander, although we hope that is not the case).
- Actual prospects getting a push! The entire 1line is prospect driven, Greg Chase is on the 2line and at least two of the three third liners are prospects. Moroz on 4line and Sallinen was signed as a possible NHL option so plenty up front.
- Who sits among forwards? Besides Lander, Joey Benik and Braden Christoffer seem to be the prominent players.
- Who sits among defenders? Ben Betker.
Lots of interesting things to ponder about tonight’s game, I will have updates but am having wine. So spelling may be an issue.
NHLE’S AT CHRISTMAS
- Anton Lander 32-32-64
- Taylor Beck 18-43-61
- Anton Slepyshev 29-19-48
- Ryan Hamilton 14-18-32
- Jujhar Khaira 13-15-28
- Josh Currie 8-5-13
- Scott Allen 4-8-12
- Joey Benik 8-2-10
- Kyle Platzer 2-6-8
- Mitchell Moroz 2-5-7
- Greg Chase 3-3-6
- Patrick Russell 0-6-6
- Braden Christoffer 1-2-3
- Jere Sallinen 3-0-3
There are some actual NHL prospects here, beyond Lander and Beck, who I count as being pro players beyond prospect status. Anton Slepyshev hasn’t played there much, but is bringing it in a big way. Jujhar Khaira has progressed with added playing time and I think Las Vegas probably has a file on him. Would not be surprised to see him in Edmonton in the early months of 2017.
The rest? Well, it is encouraging to see Chase and others get a push. Look, history tells us they will (as a group) grow into useful pro players in a league below the NHL, but for heaven sake these kids deserve their entry-level at bats. Encouraging lineup tonight.
- Jordan Oesterle 10-12-22
- David Musil 2-10-12
- Joey Laleggia 3-8-11
- Griffin Reinhart 0-11-11
- Ben Betker 3-5-8
- Dillon Simpson 2-3-5
- Bryce Aneloski 0-3-3
So difficult to know enough about these players to project them into the NHL. I will say Jordan Oesterle and his speed have always impressed me, but injury and coverage issues have him here. David Musil is steady Eddie with a little more offense this year, Joey Laleggia is playing at forward tonight and that is rarely a good thing. Could he make the transition? Carl Morton made it as a pitcher and he changed pretty damned late as I recall. Griffin Reinhart is back healthy again and showing an offensive pulse, also on the top pairing tonight.
- Tyler Benson 8-20-28
- Aapeli Rasanen 4-14-18
Both of these young men are showing well, Rasanen may be getting a push alongside Eeli Tolvanen. Simon Boisvert has mentioned to me a couple of times that the Oilers would be well served by getting Benson to a better WHL team.
- Tyler Vesel 13-24-37
- Aidan Muir 4-22-26
- Evan Campbell 2-5-7
- Graham McPhee 0-6-6
Good arrows for Vesel full stop, and Muir had a nice rebound season going before his injury. McPhee is just getting started, I always assume a freshman forward in college is getting by on about 7 minutes a night.
- Bogdan Yakimov 6-9-15
This number isn’t as tragic as it looks, Yakimov is playing just 8:50 a night. You double his playing time and the season’s numbers would look a lot better. Now, asking why he isn’t playing more is fair game.
- Caleb Jones 2-19-21
- Ethan Bear 7-13-20
- Matthew Cairns 0-5-5
- Markus Niemelainen 0-2-2
Jones and Bear are being touted as real offensive options, but we should remember that Darnell Nurse was about where they are at the same age (NHLE for Nurse: 5-16-21). Good vibrations from those two, but good to remember that offense from defensemen relies on power-play opportunities. Much too early to know a lot about Cairns and Niemelainen, although the Finn’s boxcars are disappointing.
- William Lagesson 2-6-8
- John Marino 2-3-5
- Vincent Desharnais 3-0-3
Three different stories here. We know that much of Lagesson’s value comes in the defensive part of the game, but Marino’s reputation is as an offensive player. As I mentioned above, much of the boxcar push for blue comes with the man advantage. That may come for Marino, although he plays for a team that boasts Adam Fox—who is a year younger. Desharnais is a story that will roll out over time.
- Ziyat Paigin 5-11-16
- Filip Berglund 0-10-10
Two intriguing players here, and in both cases we get to look at time on ice (which is the important part of the equation that is unavailable for junior and college types). Paigin is averaging 15:19, a full six minutes less than one year ago. His points-per-60 (in all disciplines) has been reduced from 2.46 one year ago to 0.98, and we can assume that much of the sag in offense comes on the 5×4.
Berglund’s points-per-60 number is 1.30, and that comes from 26gp, 0-5-5 in 8:54. His totals are fairly encouraging, led by the fact he is playing in the SHL this season. Good arrows.
Christmas had some unusual rumors involving players who range from David Jones to Jesse Puljujarvi, but the position they play (RW) perhaps offers up a blues clue. I think swapping in Anton Lander and Anton Slepyshev makes sense if there are internal moves to be made, with Drake Caggiula and Jesse Puljujarvi as likely candidates for Bakersfield.
Iiro Pakarinen may be close to a rehab assignment to the AHL, he and Tyler Pitlick have been sharing the same parking spot at work for coming up on two years now. Matt Benning may return this week, we never hear about Mark Fayne but he is also in photo. Darnell Nurse has another nine weeks or so to go, based on initial reports.
Added to the drama is the quick change artist that is Todd McLellan, who put the ipod on shuffle and came up with new line combinations. Maroon—McDavid—Draisaitl is unsafe at any speed for the opposition, wonder if the Oilers run that trio when we get back to camp.