JOE FRIDAY

Among the players coming to Oilers camp who are considered locks to land in Bakersfield, Joe Gambardella intrigues me most. His age (23), position (center) and resume (strong college career) are all good arrows and his NHLE (39.5) is very strong. The underlying math for college men is sparse, but the numbers we do know about this player are quality.

Lambert’s numbers reflect a pretty damned good hockey player and his line (described here) was the talk of college hockey last spring. It was a forechecking possession line and Gambardella’s job was to be aggressive and work like a demon. It’s likely those skills will be on display in Penticton and then main Oilers camp this month and Todd McLellan is going to notice.

If we make a list of Oilers forwards after the top 12F, names like Jujkhar Khaira, Iiro Pakarinen, Ty Rattie and Brad Malone appear. I think Gambardella should be right in that mix, with his ability to play center an added advantage. If we see him hang around late in training camp, then a recall in-season is possible. His NHLE is just shy of Drake Caggiula’s from a year ago  (44). Spencer Foo, a highly sought prospect over the summer, had an NHLE of 30.8. Folks, Gambardella is a good prospect. He is best described as a two-way forward, a lock for top 6F in Bakersfield and he should post strong boxcars. Went 6gp, 1-2-3 at the end of the AHL season, so 35-40 points in 68 games seems possible in the minors.

  • Ryan Lambert: The game Lowell brings to the table every season is hard forechecking and cycling, but few lines have done it to the level of perfection Gambardella, Smith, and Edwardh brought this year. They create so many own-zone turnovers that end up in the back of the net, and leave opposing coaches shaking their heads. Coaches tend to categorize these things as uncharacteristic mistakes, and to some extent that’s true. But the mistakes are very characteristic of what happens when you play the River HawksSource

I bet Todd McLellan will notice. We’ll see if Gambardella can bring it at the NHL level, but Bakersfield is the first stop. Gambardella chose his NHL team well, as the Oilers’ 2012, 2013 and 2014 entry drafts created a substantial need for useful forwards with NHL potential.

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8 Responses to "JOE FRIDAY"

  1. OriginalPouzar says:

    I wonder if he will prove to be a “real prospect”.

    Do we have any sense on his PK ability? I’m wondering if he will compete with Malone for the call-up is our PK is struggling (which is somewhat anticipated in my mind).

    Looking forward to seeing him at Penticton – I think he’ll put up some boxcars given his age.

    Will be curious to see if he gets a preseason game (other than the split squad).

  2. stush18 says:

    OriginalPouzar,

    Might be tough to find a spot in preseason games, other than the split squad game.

    Mcdavid
    Nuge
    Drai
    Strome
    Letestu

    Will all prolly play centre in pre season, with caguilla and jokinen possibly getting some at bats too.

    I’m guessing next year he’ll be given every shot to make the squad

  3. Lowetide says:

    It will be fascinating to see how many games he gets preseason. Here are last year’s numbers:

    https://www.nhl.com/oilers/info/pre-season-stats-2016

  4. defmn says:

    Lowetide,

    So four pre-season games is the tell?

  5. Lowetide says:

    defmn:
    Lowetide,

    So four pre-season games is the tell?

    Oh no, I don’t think there’s a magic number. I have Gambardella playing one NHL game in my RE, that could happen in March. He has a chance to catch the eye of management and coaching staff in Pencticton, maybe that gets him an extra game in preseason once main camp starts. He can play center or wing, has the skills (based on reports) to PK, so we’ll see. I don’t go in with any expectations for him in training camp.

  6. John Chambers says:

    Joe will be the Letestu replacement after this season.

    I bet Gambardella plays have the season as #1C in Bakersfield and the back half of the season in the bigs platooning on the 4th line.

  7. OriginalPouzar says:

    John Chambers:
    Joe will be the Letestu replacement after this season.

    I bet Gambardella plays have the season as #1C in Bakersfield and the back half of the season in the bigs platooning on the 4th line.

    You think he’s going to leapfrog Khaira?

  8. megahurts says:

    I think Lowetide is a lot more of an insider then he ever wants us to believe. With his take on how the Nuge-at-right-wing might come from a legit place to his verbal on Drew Remenda is probably buds with Todd and now two mentions of McLellan possibly liking Gambordella? The first mention of Auvito which turned into a signing, and that surprise McDavid interview which i’m sure many other media would kill for?

    Anyways I love it. Keep killing it Lowetide

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