AMBULANCE BLUES

To paraphrase Neil Young, nothing’s more valuable than a friend with the nerve to tell you when you’re pissing in the wind. At Christmastime 2010, I wrapped up my Winter Top 20 by saying:

  • This is the strongest group of Oiler prospects I can recall. The 79-81 Oilers top 20 would have been better but after that this group must be the best. Potential and upside fall under the “If Wishes were Horses” category and we must know that some of these young men will falter. I think Oiler fans deserve good news by the tonne at this point in franchise history, so this list celebrates the future whatever it may be for the Copper and Blue. Source

That was a helluva list, the Winter Top 20. In all, 17 of the 20 men from that list made the NHL for at least a game. Seven years later? They’re all gone.

2010 WINTER TOP 20

The Oilers benefited from some strong early careers, specifically Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Jeff Petry and Devan Dubnyk. Note: Jeremie Blain is the player not listed here and the third man (Martindale, Roy) who didn’t appear in an NHL game.

I look at the rest of this list and think of opportunities lost. Linus Omark was a one dimensional player, but that dimension has great value. Teemu Hartikainen was dispatched in favor of Jesse Joensuu, but was that wise? And what of Magnus Paajarvi, he of the great speed? Martin Marincin remains a fringe player in Toronto but his numbers show he’s an effective NHL player, Brandon Davidson is finding his way and Devan Dubnyk has recovered his career in a big way. I think the theme from this top 20 should  be ‘missed opportunity’ these years later.

2016 WINTER TOP 20

The Top 20 from last winter (2016) shows some promise. The wingers are going to be important and there are some viable options. Defense has been a primary focus since 2015, goaltending too. Peter Chiarelli absolutely hammered procurement on defense since arrival.

SUMMER 2017 TOP 20

This is the latest list, looks pretty balanced from here. Special attention paid to RW, leaving (imo) LW the area of greatest need for next summer at the draft. How many names here will play in NHL games? 17? We’re now entering an era that will not include lottery picks, the days of the 2010 Prospect list are down the line. Important to cash those picks in the second and third round. Ostap Safin finished the Four Nations Cup with four points in three games, he’s going to be a fascinating player to follow this winter. Second-round talent for sure.

That may offer us a clue about Benson at the rookie and main camps. I’m pleased the organizations appear to have the right goal in mind, getting this player completely healthy and then having him play a full WHL season. Godspeed, Tyler Benson.

This is an excellent look at Joey Laleggia’s season, he is a player to watch during training camp and in preseason. I can’t see him making the opening night lineup but goal-scoring wingers are always worth paying attention to in training camp. He is ineligible for waivers, so there’s no pressure there for the organization.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Edmonton’s 2010 prospect depth chart is all gone now, having been cashed by new general managers attempting to remake/remodel. We’re quickly moving away from the days when the Top 20 Prospects updates were the centerpiece of this blog, because the future is now. That said, names like Benson and Laleggia and Bear and Gambardella can still find a way to contribute in a support role. The heart of the order is close to capacity. Finally.

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40 Responses to "AMBULANCE BLUES"

  1. Goilers99 says:

    ORIGINALPOUZAR, you ok?

  2. frjohnk says:

    Goilers99:
    ORIGINALPOUZAR, you ok?

    Ha ha. Best comment of the day.

  3. dustrock says:

    Wow, Benson is young and presumably in great shape. Wonder how long it’s going to take him to feel “normal” on the ice now.

    It’s been months and months.

  4. frjohnk says:

    With Bensons injury history and Maksimov being a right winger, left wing looks pretty bleak. Right wing is flush with nice prospects.

  5. Lowetide says:

    frjohnk:
    With Bensons injury history and Maksimov being a right winger, left wing looks pretty bleak.Right wing is flush with nice prospects.

    Both Maksimov and Safin may end up at LW, plus recent graduates like Caggiula and Slepyshev can play there. I do agree it’s an area of weakness and suspect we’ll see a high draft pick LW in 2018.

  6. OriginalPouzar says:

    Goilers99:
    ORIGINALPOUZAR, you ok?

    Dammit! I checked in at 8, 8:05, 8:10 – no blog.

    Did some food prep, cut up veggies, etc. and bamn, 4 comments ahead. I feel shame.

  7. deankb says:

    I like what the procurement department has been doing the last couple of years, except for one thing. I would draft 2 centers to every one winger. I would want my team flush with guys who can play center or be converted to wingers.

    Now if a very talented winger falls to you at your draft slot and you believe in the player then you have to take him, but my focus would continue to be build up the middle…

  8. OriginalPouzar says:

    That is some disappointing news for me on Benson – the verbal I had heard was that he’d be ready to go to start the season and now that seems in question.

    One of the most important prospect matters for me is for Benson to have a full year of hockey and re-establish himself as a real prospect.

    As we all know, drafting and development will be key for the next while – we need a steady stream of prospects graduating to value contracts. This will be made tougher with the contending nature of the hockey team and not only not acquiring extra picks at the deadline but also shipping picks out.

    Come on Tyler!

  9. OriginalPouzar says:

    I’m very excited to have Safin in North America this season and am intrigued by him and Maksimov – miles to go but these are exciting prospects.

  10. Lowetide says:

    All is not lost for Chiarelli on LW, I’m going to post a waivers article at ON some time today and depending on how things break the club might find themselves a gem like Josh Leivo.

  11. dustrock says:

    Lowetide: Both Maksimov and Safin may end up at LW, plus recent graduates like Caggiula and Slepyshev can play there. Ido agree it’s an area of weakness and suspect we’ll see a high draft pick LW in 2018.

    Wondered if we’d start to see more wingers play their off-side. It works for Draisaitl, who has a certain skill set, but I thought it might be an advantage, at least offensively.

    Need to translate the Arjen Robben Cut to the Middle to hockey.

  12. Lowetide says:

    dustrock: Wondered if we’d start to see more wingers play their off-side. It works for Draisaitl, who has a certain skill set, but I thought it might be an advantage, at least offensively.

    Need to translate the Arjen Robben Cut to the Middle to hockey.

    The first ROBBEN reference in the history of this blog! Music!

  13. Professor Q says:

    Lowetide: The first ROBBEN reference in the history of this blog! Music!

    Were they Robben you of that opportunity?

  14. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lowetide:
    All is not lost for Chiarelli on LW, I’m going to post a waivers article at ON some time today and depending on how things break the club might find themselves a gem like Josh Leivo.

    Do you project Jokinen moving to the right side?

  15. Lowetide says:

    OriginalPouzar: Do you project Jokinen moving to the right side?

    He can, I think the Oilers have a need for a little more offense from the bottom six.

  16. Soup Fascist says:

    I liked the Jokinen signing on its merits, but the nagging question I have is “why did Florida pay to send him on his way”?

    Have his boots left him completely? Low risk signing to be sure, but are we putting a lot of faith in a player who is well past his best before date that may not be able to keep up? Hoping for the best …..

  17. supernova says:

    LT,

    Looking at our Summer Goalies when was the last time we had that kind of depth & potential on goal?

    Ellis stands a chance at getting in NHL games
    Big years ahead for Wells & Skinner

    Was it back to Dubnyk / JDD ?

  18. supernova says:

    Lowetide: Both Maksimov and Safin may end up at LW, plus recent graduates like Caggiula and Slepyshev can play there. Ido agree it’s an area of weakness and suspect we’ll see a high draft pick LW in 2018.

    Isn’t LW the easiest spot to fill at NHL level. Can get replacement level or above players very easy

  19. OriginalPouzar says:

    Soup Fascist:
    I liked the Jokinen signing on its merits, but the nagging question I have is “why did Florida pay to send him on his way”?

    Have his boots left him completely?Low risk signing to be sure, but are we putting a lot of faith in a player who is well past his best before date that may not be able to keep up?Hoping for the best …..

    The assumed role is bottom 6 player that will provide some mentorship, 2-way play and PK.

    While he may be asked to play up the lineup, I don’t think the organization is relying on him for too much.

  20. stush18 says:

    deankb:
    I like what the procurement department has been doing the last couple of years, except for one thing. I would draft 2 centers to every one winger. I would want my team flush with guys who can play center or be converted to wingers.

    Now if a very talented winger falls to you at your draft slot and you believe in the player then you have to take him, but my focus would continue to be build up the middle…

    While I agree, I think you need to be careful and talk to your scouts.

    Ryan strome is very adamant that he plays much better at centre. The past two years they’ve been trying to shoehorn him onto the wing, and it hasn’t been working.

    When capuano was fired from the NYI, they put strome back at centre. Pts/fm climbed drastically.

    Small example, but it’s not as simple as being able to move the player

  21. flyfish1168 says:

    Soup Fascist:
    I liked the Jokinen signing on its merits, but the nagging question I have is “why did Florida pay to send him on his way”?

    Have his boots left him completely?Low risk signing to be sure, but are we putting a lot of faith in a player who is well past his best before date that may not be able to keep up?Hoping for the best …..

    I agree with you. I wonder the same too. One thing for sure is his performance dipped last year along did the Panthers. I’m just glad we are not paying too much for past performance here. Just hope he is fully recovered from injury and he can show some veteran leadership for Young JP. JMHO

  22. Lowetide says:

    supernova:
    LT,

    Looking at our Summer Goalies when was the last time we had that kind of depth & potential on goal?

    Ellis stands a chance at getting in NHL games
    Big years ahead for Wells & Skinner

    Was it back to Dubnyk / JDD ?

    I was thinking about it not long ago, especially the pro level. Tim Thomas and Steve Passmore were in the system at the same time but we didn’t know Tim Thomas was Tim Thomas.I think you’ve identified the right answer.

  23. trencan says:

    dustrock: Wondered if we’d start to see more wingers play their off-side. It works for Draisaitl, who has a certain skill set, but I thought it might be an advantage, at least offensively.

    Need to translate the Arjen Robben Cut to the Middle to hockey.

    The funny thing with this Arjen move is, that all defenders know what is he going to do (cut to the middle), but he scores no matter what.

  24. trencan says:

    Lowetide: Both Maksimov and Safin may end up at LW, plus recent graduates like Caggiula and Slepyshev can play there. Ido agree it’s an area of weakness and suspect we’ll see a high draft pick LW in 2018.

    With Pat Maroon leaving probably next season (and Benson injury), dont you think the solution could be RNH trade for young value contract LW ?

  25. Lowetide says:

    trencan: With Pat Maroon leaving probably next season (and Benson injury), dont you think the solutioncould be RNH trade for young value contractLW ?

    It could, but I think we might see a center-LW added ala Ryan Strome.

  26. stush18 says:

    trencan: With Pat Maroon leaving probably next season (and Benson injury), dont you think the solutioncould be RNH trade for young value contractLW ?

    I still think RNH goes for picks and a prospect. I really hope he doesn’t go at all

    Also, if we assume maroon, jokinen, and letestu are gone next year then we have

    Lucic-mcdavid-JP
    Caguilla-drai-strome
    Xxx-nuge-slepy
    Xxx-JJ-kass

    So do those three players equal RNHs salary next year? Do we try and keep one of those three? They’ll likely all be more expensive.

    I think

    Nuge-mcdavid-JP
    Lucic-drai-slepy
    Cags-strome-kass
    Xxx-JJ-xxx

    Looks a lot better. So much depends on these younger players.

  27. geowal says:

    Lowetide: The first ROBBEN reference in the history of this blog! Music!

    Love it!

  28. leadfarmer says:

    trencan: The funny thing with this Arjen move is, that all defenders know what is he going to do (cut to the middle), but he scores no matter what.

    Cause everyone is looking at where Lewandowski is

  29. trencan says:

    leadfarmer: Cause everyone is looking at where Lewandowski is

    Yes, good point, Lewy has killer instincts 🙂 I love that guy. But I believe Arjen makes that move more often in national team, where he has more important role, position and freedom than in Bayern. In Munich there is stronger discipline and game system, Dutch national team plays more technical football and Arjen often plays free role position.

  30. flyfish1168 says:

    Lowetide: It could, but I think we might see a center-LW added ala Ryan Strome.

    Taylor Hall, lol

  31. Lowetide says:

    flyfish1168: Taylor Hall, lol

    I wonder if he’d come back as a free agent. Seems impossible, but Comrie and Smyth returned.

  32. trencan says:

    stush18: I still think RNH goes for picks and a prospect. I really hope he doesn’t go at all

    Also, if we assume maroon, jokinen, and letestu are gone next year then we have

    Lucic-mcdavid-JP
    Caguilla-drai-strome
    Xxx-nuge-slepy
    Xxx-JJ-kass

    So do those three players equal RNHs salary next year? Do we try and keep one of those three? They’ll likely all be more expensive.

    I think

    Nuge-mcdavid-JP
    Lucic-drai-slepy
    Cags-strome-kass
    Xxx-JJ-xxx

    Looks a lot better. So much depends on these younger players.

    I would like to see RNH as Oiler as long as possible but salary cap is problem. I expect this scenario:
    2017/2018 – RNH, Maroon
    2018/2019 – Sekera
    2019/2020 – Russel
    2020/2021 – Lucic

  33. leadfarmer says:

    So who thought that Matt Hendricks would get another contract. Guy has been done for two years

  34. flyfish1168 says:

    Lowetide: I wonder if he’d come back as a free agent. Seems impossible, but Comrie and Smyth returned.

    i saw an interview with him and Whitney. Hall comments about chasing a cup and not worrying so much about money when he becomes a UFA. That statement might all change when he gets a little older. I do get the sense that he feels there is undone business here and time heals. Hopefully Hall and Kassian has made amends by then for him to want to come here

  35. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lowetide: I wonder if he’d come back as a free agent. Seems impossible, but Comrie and Smyth returned.

    He seems pretty jaded/bitter with the organization but you never know.

    On the other hand, I’m not sure how we fit in a $6M winger contract especially in light that, in a few years, said winger is going to be even more expensive.

  36. Katzes_Kats says:

    Sorry to bring the conversation back to yesterday, but with all these questions about LW coming up, I think it’s all the more prudent that Chia inquires about our friend AA in Motown. If you need a cheap LW, AA on a bridge seems perfect to me…

  37. jp says:

    Soup Fascist:
    I liked the Jokinen signing on its merits, but the nagging question I have is “why did Florida pay to send him on his way”?

    Have his boots left him completely?Low risk signing to be sure, but are we putting a lot of faith in a player who is well past his best before date that may not be able to keep up?Hoping for the best …..

    Definitely a concern, but he was stronger in the 2nd half last year for what it’s worth.

    Pre-ASB: 40-5-8-13 -10
    Post-ASB: 29-6-9-15 -5

    Full season 82-17-25-42 would be A-OK. And they played him 17+ min a night, so presumably he wasn’t stinking out the joint.

  38. Lowetide says:

    Katzes_Kats:
    Sorry to bring the conversation back to yesterday, but with all these questions about LW coming up, I think it’s all the more prudent that Chia inquires about our friend AA in Motown. If you need a cheap LW, AA on a bridge seems perfect to me…

    Agreed. He’s young enough to grow with the group, too.

  39. OmJo says:

    HOPE!

    Who would have thought the Oilers would be hopeless when HOPEful, and hopeful when HOPEless back in 2010?

  40. Lowetide says:

    OmJo:
    HOPE!

    Who would have thought the Oilers would be hopeless when HOPEful, and hopeful when HOPEless back in 2010?

    The sad thing is that I understood your point completely.

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