TRAINING CAMP HOPEFUL NO. 3: MITCH CALLAHAN

Mitch Callahan has been a consistent player in the AHL for the past several seasons. His style of play (rugged with an agitating demeanor) fits the Chiarelli Oilers well and we could see him in Edmonton this winter. Whether he’s Reggie Dunlop meets Crash Davis in the minors or the new Matt Hendricks in the NHL, Callahan is going to be a fun player to track in the Oilers organization. His resume is fascinating.

  • Per 82 AHL games: 21-21-42 (95pims)
  • NHLE: 82gp, 10-10-20

Ty Rattie’s NHLE (27 points) is clearly superior to Callahan’s but these men won’t be applying for the same jobs in Bakersfield or Edmonton. Callahan can play either wing and plays a strong two-way game. Is his overall skill level enough to get him past names like Rattie and Jujhar Khaira and into the NHL?

RE 17-18: 6GP, 0-1-1 (.167)

  1. What role will Callahan apply for? Gritty role player, ala Matt Hendricks. Callahan has a lot of the same elements as Hendricks. One of the interesting things about Callahan signing in Edmonton: He turns 26 this fall, while Hendricks didn’t become an NHL regular until age 28.
  2. Does he have a real chance? Yes, I think he does. Callahan may not get the first opportunity, but if the penalty killing falters, Brad Malone is ineffective or Jujhar Khaira can’t claim 4L, then Callahan will be in the mix with names like Iiro Pakarinen.
  3. What makes him attractive for this roster? He has utility, is a righty shooter and is used in all areas at the AHL level. He is a winner, including a WHL championship and a couple of Calder Cups (including this spring). Oilers value that, I believe.
  4. What will his role be in Bakersfield? He could play on a suffocating forecheck line with Joe Gambardella, but the feature wingers might end up being Joey Laleggia and Ty Rattie. I’m unsure if any of these righty wingers can play center so that’s an option if one of them has that gear. Callahan can play either wing if that becomes an issue.
  5. What one thing will get him to the NHL? His gritty play and willingness to do whatever it takes. Callahan is a pretty smart player too, based on reports.
  6. What will keep him from getting an NHL look? If Khaira plays well, the club can find six forwards who can penalty kill (three pairs) and everyone stays healthy, he’s blocked. Edmonton doesn’t have a lot of Callahan’s though, he has a chance.
  7. When will we know he has a chance? If Callahan is still hanging around later in camp and playing with the NHL roster, he’s in the mix. Watch Khaira’s usage, too, there is probably going to be something around Khaira, Pakarinen and Callahan. That’s my guess.
  8. How many players can he reasonably be expected to pass in one winter? The Oilers wanted Callahan, will pay him $225,000 to play in Bakersfield. Only Ryan Stanton and Ty Rattie will be paid more among the AHL-NHL free agents signed on July 1 in that cluster. I think he may be this year’s Taylor Beck but we could look back five years from now and wonder why we weren’t thinking Matt Hendricks.

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31 Responses to "TRAINING CAMP HOPEFUL NO. 3: MITCH CALLAHAN"

  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    Its so nice to know that I can come on at this time and there will be a new blog to read – what a great site!

    I’ve never really thought of Callahan as anything more than an AHL veteran to help in Bakersfield. Now that I’ve read the above I wonder if he has a chance be one of those value contracts we need on wing over the next few years?

  2. Bag of Pucks says:

    Speaking of Hendricks, does he get a ‘SailOn’ LT, or is that dependent on an official retirement announcement first?

    Possibly he’s looking for a PTO?

  3. OriginalPouzar says:

    Bag of Pucks:
    Speaking of Hendricks, does he get a ‘SailOn’ LT, or is that dependent on an official retirement announcement first?

    Possibly he’s looking for a PTO?

    I read a little while ago that there was at least one team that “had interest” – I think it was the Wild but I could be wrong on that. “Had interest” could mean a variety of things.

    I could see Matty getting a PTO somewhere.

    Matty always seemed to have a good game or two coming off a stretch as a healthy scratch – he could be a decent 13 if they are able to manage his games to apx 30.

  4. Clay says:

    Just curious – what was blocking him from NHL time in Detroit? Speed issues? Too many utility guys ahead of him? I don’t know Detroit’s prospect pool very well.

  5. stush18 says:

    No matter what you think of chiarellis moves, I don’t think it can be denied that he has created depth at every position across the team. Everyone is competing for roles on the team.

    Callahan is looking at Pak and JJ.

    Rattie is here to push JP imo.

    Stanton to compete with gryba/avihutu.

    Pasquale with brossoit.

    Anyone with any uncertainty on this team has competition to push them. It’s refreshing.

  6. stush18 says:

    Clay:
    Just curious – what was blocking him from NHL time in Detroit?Speed issues?Too many utility guys ahead of him?I don’t know Detroit’s prospect pool very well.

    As a massive Detroit fan, I would say lack of skill coupled with Holland signing every aging vet ever.

    I’m sure you could confidently slide him onto a fourth line. Coaches love their vets though.

  7. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    stush18:
    No matter what you think of chiarellis moves, I don’t think it can be denied that he has created depth at every position across the team. Everyone is competing for roles on the team.

    Callahan is looking at Pak and JJ.

    Rattie is here to push JP imo.

    Stanton to compete with gryba/avihutu.

    Pasquale with brossoit.

    Anyone with any uncertainty on this team has competition to push them. It’s refreshing.

    It’s interesting that you see things that way.

    It could be argued that the one thing Tambellini did quite well was restock the depth in the tweeners category.

    Chia is doing that, as well.

    Further up the order, however, it’s not so clear that he is doing that.

    Natural scoring RW on this team: JP and….

    Sure, it’s better than MacT handing Leon the 2C role before he had played a single NHL minute against everyone’s objections or being comfortable with the D group he had.

    Additions like Jokinen and Auvitu are solid. But the right side looks bare. It would have been nice to have a vet scoring option there like Williams.

    If Rattie is your insurance for JP that’s not exactly a sure thing either.

    Chia also talked about making room for some of the younger guys, rather than having them seize roles here above incumbents. If JP is ready and they don’t miss Eberle, great. But if he is ready like Reinhart was ready (and I’m not saying JP is going to be a bust) then you’re jeopardizing your season.

    I see your point of view and agree to an extent but there are a few gambles being made with this roster, too.

  8. treevojo says:

    stush18: As a massive Detroit fan, I would say lack of skill coupled with Holland signing every aging vet ever.

    I’m sure you could confidently slide him onto a fourth line. Coaches love their vets though.

    It seems your destined to have only one good team to cheer for at a time.

  9. Chachi says:

    I love that the new standard for Chiarelli is absolute undisputed perfection. No uncertainty at any position on any part of the roster is acceptable. Every single free agent past and present must be signed for less than they received and for less years than they would be willing to accept or Chiarelli is a failure. If a trade works out, it was an obvious move and Chiarelli gets no credit for it. If a trade doesn’t work out, well, that figures because all Chiarelli does in trades is piss away value with a fire hose. I have read that he is both building the team to win “only” one Stanley Cup and that he isn’t cashing in enough prospects and draft picks to win in the last year of McDavid’s entry level contract. This is exhausting.

  10. treevojo says:

    Chachi:
    I love that the new standard for Chiarelli is absolute undisputed perfection. No uncertainty at any position on any part of the roster is acceptable. Every single free agent past and present must be signed for less than they received and for less years than they would be willing to accept or Chiarelli is a failure. If a trade works out, it was an obvious move and Chiarelli gets no credit for it. If a trade doesn’t work out, well, that figures because all Chiarelli does in trades is piss away value with a fire hose. I have read that he is both building the team to win “only” one Stanley Cup and that he isn’t cashing in enough prospects and draft picks to win in the last year of McDavid’s entry level contract. This is exhausting.

    At least there is always one constant around here.

    Chachi is always wrong.

  11. Pescador says:

    Chachi,

    I like these new standards,
    If your feeling tired, try increasing your fibre.
    I mix my Metamucil with rum, now I’m drunk & regular.
    never felt better.

  12. BONE207 says:

    Pescador:
    Chachi,

    This is exhausting.

    I like these new standards,
    If your feeling tired, try increasing your fibre.
    I mix my Metamucil with rum, now I’m drunk & regular.
    never felt better.

    Sometimes the things that are learned here are not the kind of things that one tells the world about. I guess the hours spent with LT will allow us to be smarter in silence.

  13. stush18 says:

    treevojo: It seems your destined to have only one good team to cheer for at a time.

    Honestly it is so frustrating being a fan of the wings. I have no idea what Holland has been doing

  14. stush18 says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker): It’s interesting that you see things that way.

    It could be argued that the one thing Tambellini did quite well was restock the depth in the tweeners category.

    Chia is doing that, as well.

    Further up the order, however, it’s not so clear that he is doing that.

    Natural scoring RW on this team: JP and….

    Sure, it’s better than MacT handing Leon the 2C role before he had played a single NHL minute against everyone’s objections or being comfortable with the D group he had.

    Additions like Jokinen and Auvitu are solid. But the right side looks bare. It would have been nice to have a vet scoring option there like Williams.

    If Rattie is your insurance for JP that’s not exactly a sure thing either.

    Chia also talked about making room for some of the younger guys, rather than having them seize roles here above incumbents. If JP is ready and they don’t miss Eberle, great. But if he is ready like Reinhart was ready (and I’m not saying JP is going to be a bust) then you’re jeopardizing your season.

    I see your point of view and agree to an extent but there are a few gambles being made with this roster, too.

    Meh. It’s easy to say “we should have grabbed Williams”

    But that contract looks like he’s settling down, not making a run for it. And I think giving the young guys a chance early in the season is the right move. But they aren’t being gifted spots.

    And im just going to black out the tambo years.

  15. stush18 says:

    Bold off-season thought.

    JP is sent down at the start of camp. Rattie wins a spot on a scoring line and runs with it, and slepyshev is traded for help with a draft pick after JP rips up the minors and rattie scoring a bunch.

  16. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    Chachi:
    I love that the new standard for Chiarelli is absolute undisputed perfection. No uncertainty at any position on any part of the roster is acceptable. Every single free agent past and present must be signed for less than they received and for less years than they would be willing to accept or Chiarelli is a failure. If a trade works out, it was an obvious move and Chiarelli gets no credit for it. If a trade doesn’t work out, well, that figures because all Chiarelli does in trades is piss away value with a fire hose. I have read that he is both building the team to win “only” one Stanley Cup and that he isn’t cashing in enough prospects and draft picks to win in the last year of McDavid’s entry level contract. This is exhausting.

    You okay, man?
    Hoping you didn’t get that from my post because I said nothing of the kind.

    Seems you are exhausting yourself fighting some giants that might just be windmills. And there’s stronger stuff than metamucil to fix that!

    🙂

  17. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    stush18: Meh. It’s easy to say “we should have grabbed Williams”

    But that contract looks like he’s settling down, not making a run for it. And I think giving the young guys a chance early in the season is the right move. But they aren’t being gifted spots.

    And im just going to black out the tambo years.

    Like Williams. Like. It was an example.

    Chia is adding depth, yes, but he has said he wanted to make some room for the younger guys. That doesn’t necessarily jive with your observation, that’s all.

    I think the Oilers are lucky to have what I think is a competent, average NHL GM. For years we had the wooden spoon of GMs so this is refreshing.

    When you have a McDavid in the fold being an average GM is all you need. Don’t fuck it up!

    And maybe he will turn out to be better than average going forward. And that’s great. We forget he hasn’t finished putting his stamp on the team. Once Nuge goes we can assess Chia more completely.

    So far he has been fine overall, I’d say. Improved the team, better balaance, a couple of great trades, a couple of meh trades, one awful trade and Hall and Eberle trades I am not counting in any of the above.

  18. Side says:

    Chachi:
    This is exhausting.

    Don’t forget – Todd is also terrible coach.

    #EvenBylsmaWonACup

  19. stush18 says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker): Like Williams. Like. It was an example.

    Chia is adding depth, yes, but he has said he wanted to make some room for the younger guys. That doesn’t necessarily jive with your observation, that’s all.

    I think the Oilers are lucky to have what I think is a competent, average NHL GM. For years we had the wooden spoon of GMs so this is refreshing.

    When you have a McDavid in the fold being an average GM is all you need. Don’t fuck it up!

    And maybe he will turn out to be better than average going forward. And that’s great. We forget he hasn’t finished putting his stamp on the team. Once Nuge goes we can assess Chia more completely.

    So far he has been fine overall, I’d say. Improved the team, better balaance, a couple of great trades, a couple of meh trades, one awful trade and Hall and Eberle trades I am not counting in any of the above.

    I think they look at the team that finished 8th in goals for and figured they didn’t need to add another goal scorer. Even with eberle shipped out, I think strome/jokinen will easily replace and out produce what eberle did. I’m expecting growth out of slepy and caguilla, and I’m sure kassian is not going to have so many goals overturned.

    Really it’s easy to expect the oilers to score even more goals next year. We just won’t see much change in the differential because sekera has been injured. I’m expecting goals against to rise next year, but the oilers will score more.

    Anyways, I think chiarelli saying he expects the young guys to push for spots next year is his way of showing them some faith. At the same time he’s brought in players that could compete for those same spots, so I don’t believe they are being gifted spots. Or at least it doesn’t appear that way, which might be all the team needs.

  20. Chachi says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker): You okay, man?
    Hoping you didn’t get that from my post because I said nothing of the kind.

    Seems you are exhausting yourself fighting some giants that might just be windmills. And there’s stronger stuff than metamucil to fix that!

    No, not really ok. Good to know that my thoughts on the discourse now prevalent in discussing the Oilers here and other places can be twisted into me embarking on some kind of Quixotic quest to waste time. Thanks for that. I used to mock the saying “Oilers fans deserve the Oilers”, but now I know it to be true.

  21. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    stush18,

    Big fan of the Jokinen signing. And I do expect more results from Slepyshev. He has got a good shot and a knack for finding the seams. I expect 15+ goals from him.

    I don’t mind if he gets a long look in the top 6. And they run Jokinen-Nuge-JP third line but reduce the TOI facing the tough and give some to Lucic-Drai-Slepy

    Of course they probably will have totally different lineups.

  22. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    Chachi: No, not really ok. Good to know that my thoughts on the discourse now prevalent in discussing the Oilers here and other places can be twisted into me embarking on some kind of Quixotic quest to waste time. Thanks for that. I used to mock the saying “Oilers fans deserve the Oilers”, but now I know it to be true.

    Ummm. Was just joking, buddy.

  23. NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker) says:

    Chachi,

    Point being to pick your battles because there’s too much out there to take on otherwise and you will burn out.

  24. stush18 says:

    Honestly the only players I can see regressing significantly are letestu, maybe maroon, and the loss of sekeras goals.

    At the same time, I’m expecting mcdavid, slepyshev, caguilla, kassian, JP, benning, nurse, and Russell to outproduce what they did this year.

    Nuge, lucic, drai, Klefbom and larsson will probably produce similar to what they did last year.

    I have no doubt strome/jokinen will outproduce what eberle/pouliot produced.

    The rest are fringe players that don’t really matter, they are easily replaced every year.

  25. Pescador says:

    Side: Don’t forget – Todd is also terrible coach.

    #EvenBylsmaWonACup

    Terribly mediocre as it were

  26. Chachi says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):
    Chachi,

    Point being to pick your battles because there’s too much out there to take on otherwise and you will burn out.

    That’s good advice.

  27. stush18 says:

    NYC-Back-to-Tokyo Oil (Gentleman Backpacker):
    stush18,

    Big fan of the Jokinen signing. And I do expect more results from Slepyshev. He has got a good shot and a knack for finding the seams. I expect 15+ goals from him.

    I don’t mind if he gets a long look in the top 6. And they run Jokinen-Nuge-JP third line but reduce the TOI facing the tough and give some to Lucic-Drai-Slepy

    Of course they probably will have totally different lineups.

    I’m still a fan of maroon-nuge-mcdavid.

    Mcdavid is going to see the toughs this year. He’s going to be shadowed like Kesler did in the playoffs.

    I just let mcdavid roam. Nuge covers the defensive end.

    Lucic-drai-slepy were a force in playoffs, and I’d like to know if they can produce long term results without being caved on the shot clock.

    The oilers have said they like strome at centre. So I think he spends a lot of time there, rotating on faceoffs with jokinen, depending on which side of the ice they are on.

    Maroon-mcdavid-nuge
    Lucic-drai-slepy
    Caguilla-strome-jokinen
    JJ-letestu-kass
    Pak

    Klefbom-Russell
    Nurse-larsson
    Ahvitu-benning
    Gryba

    That’s what I’m thinking we will start the year with. Top line gets toughs, second and fourth line split remaining toughs. Third line gets soft comp.

    Strome takes letestus spot on the PP. Nuge, letestu, jokinen, kassian, mcdavid, caguilla on the PK. JJ and Pak filling in now and then

  28. Pescador says:

    Chachi,

    Hang in there Velvet Rogers,
    The Oilers are contenders, Rejoice!!
    The way we got here and how we should proceed is a debate with no winner.
    I believe you are a minority within the majority,
    Most fans with half a brain agree with your perspective but say little if anything.
    Of course “learned fans” sadly are themselves a small minority.

  29. kgo says:

    Off topic,

    I haven’t seen this defense of the early pouliot buyout….what if gets hurt in next year’s playoffs and could not be bought out before McDavid’s contract kicks in?

  30. frjohnk says:

    kgo:
    Off topic,

    I haven’t seen this defense of the early pouliot buyout….what if gets hurt in next year’s playoffs and could not be bought out before McDavid’s contract kicks in?

    LTIR

  31. Eastern Oil says:

    BONE207: Sometimes the things that are learned here are not the kind of things that one tells the world about. I guess the hours spent with LT will allow us to be smarter in silence.

    I have always been told by people that I seemed much smarter when I was silent….

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