The Edmonton Oilers have been known to sign undrafted CHL players to NHL contracts (Braden Christoffer) and AHL-only deals (Josh Winquist, Jaedon Descheneau) and I think we may see one or more this summer. If you look at the Condors projected lineup for next year, it is pretty clear the team is going to need some help up front. I looked at things last season here, and let’s start with a projection of the 2017-18 Condors.
2017-18 BAKERSFIELD CONDORS (PROJECTED)
- Goal: Nick Ellis
- Left Defense: Dillon Simpson, Ben Betker, Caleb Jones
- Right Defense: Mark Fayne, Ethan Bear, Ryan Mantha
- Center: Kyle Platzer
- Left Wing: Joey Laleggia, Braden Christoffer
- Right Wing: Patrick Russell, Greg Chase
There is clearly a need to add talent. Edmonton has all manner of RFA and UFA talent, and it makes sense that Jordan Oesterle signs, but there are also question marks. Anton Lander? Iiro Pakarinen? Lots of things up in the air. Even a player like Mark Fayne, who I have listed, seems unlikely to return.
The Oilers have been aggressive in signing Ryan Mantha already and we have discussed some college free agents as possibles, but what about CHL kids? Let’s have a look at the WHL today.
WHL FREE-AGENT CANDIDATES
- R Tyler Wong, Lethbridge Hurricanes. A small (5.09, 170) forward who has two-way skills and no fear. Over 50 goals and 100 points, I imagine there will be competition for him.
- L Dawson Leedahl, Regina Pats. Big, rugged winger with skill and good speed. Came over from Everett and blossomed. He is 6.02, 194 and went 71gp, 35-54-89, 121pims. Sounds like a Chiarelli type.
- L Tyler Coulter, Brandon Wheat Kings. Sturdy (6.0, 209) winger with skill (30 goals) and speed, he is a shooter and that has to be a priority for the Oilers.
- L Evan Polei, Red Deer Rebels. A big man (6.02, 227) who improved as his WHL career went along. Scored 30+ this past season.
- R Chad Butcher, Medicine Hat Tigers. Small winger (5.10, 172) was a Penticton invite one year ago. Speed main weapon, he posted more than 100 points this year.
- C Austin Glover, Red Deer Rebels. A 6.02, 187 center with good speed and two-way reputation.
- R Zak Zborosky, Lethbridge Hurricanes. Good speed and skill, 41-goals this season.
- RD Aaron Irving, Everett Silvertips. The signing of Ryan Mantha makes it less likely for Irving to sign with the Oilers or Condors, but I bet he gets a deal somewhere.
- L Dominic Zwerger, Spokane Chiefs. Another winger with speed and skill, 75 points on the season.
- C Lane Bauer, Kamloops Blazers. I always liked him, smart center plays a responsible game.
- LD Chase Harrison, Regina Pats. He is 6.01, 185 and has two-way skills. Played on a strong team this year and that skewed the numbers, but he is a candidate for a pro deal.
We’ll have a look at the OHL and QMJHL in the coming days.