SEND MORE KLEFBOMS

NHL teams are like that giant damned plant in Little Shop of Horrors: They have to be fed. Young talent must arrive in a timely fashion. Oscar Klefbom was an AHL rookie with Martin Gernat, David Musil and a cup of coffee from Jordan Oesterle. That trio was one year behind Martin Marincin and Brandon Davidson. Klefbom emerged from the group and that makes sense—being the only first-round selection. Marincin and Davidson have a good chance to enjoy NHL careers, Musil and Gernat are not trending in the same fashion.

I’ve long believed there is a pool of players who qualify as depth NHL players and can be counted on to fill minutes while the difference makers get some rest. I would include one fourth-line forward and the two extra forwards, plus probably No. 6 and No. 7 defensemen, as well as the top 3F and top 2D on all or most AHL teams. Let’s say that’s 300 skaters, with half in the NHL and the other half in the AHL. We can argue the line in the sand but the overall point remains. There are useful players in the AHL and expendable players in the NHL every year.

The website Prospect-Stats gives us some information that may be valuable when looking for specifics in that useful pool. An organization with a need (but no desire to give up a lot in trade for it) might find that needed piece via waivers. Here are the top 10 prospect AHL defenders and their estimated 5×5 time on ice per game. I used that because I think it’s the purest way to measure these men. Your mileage may vary.

Photo by Rob Ferguson

AHL DEFENSE, ESTIMATED 5X5 TOI

  1. Anthony DeAngelo, NY Rangers 17.86
  2. Vincent LoVerde, Toronto 17.84
  3. Gustav Olofsson, Minnesota 17.68
  4. Chris Bigras, Colorado 17.60
  5. Franko Corrado, Pittsbugth 17.58
  6. David Warsofsky, Pittsburgh 17.51
  7. Jordan Oesterle, Chicago 17.28
  8. Steven Kampfer, NY Rangers 17.19
  9. MacKenzie Weegar, Florida 16.99
  10. Tyler Wotherspoon, Calgary 16.90
  11. Source

DeAngelo just got traded so it’s unlikely he will be available, LoVerde was just signed by Toronto in what is a continuing thread of astute moves. Olofsson is 22 and looks to be a quality prospect, don’t know if he would be available. Bigras plays for a team with so few defensemen it’s unlikely you’d see him dealt. Pittsburgh is the current champion in inexpensive depth, but you might be able to pluck one of these men via waivers. Jordan Oesterle is in Chicago now and we’ll see if he can build a career. Kampfer has been around an NHL job forever, Weegar is a RHD who scored 14 goals a year ago, he would be a player of interest for me.

Wotherspoon has always struck me as a player the Oilers might have an interest in. On his draft day,, I wrote the following:

  • D Tyler Wotherspoon: Size and mobility, plus he’s improved a great deal in the last two seasons. Oilers love big men with good speed again–they went away from it for awhile, drafting defenders like Taylor Chorney–but I think guys like Wotherspoon are the future of the Oilers blueline. Source

It took a few general managers and coaches, but the Oilers still like big defenders who have good speed. Wotherspoon is waiver eligible and he plays on a deep team at his position. There might be an opportunity via waivers. Weegar is possibly even more attractive, as he is a righty and has puck-moving ability.

FISH WHERE THE FISH ARE!

Somewhere, in another organization, lies the answer to a roster problem. A righty defender with a fine shot from the point, a righty center who can penalty kill and skate well. Where does one look? The Houston Astros of 45 years ago have the answer.

They happened to procure a generation of first basemen who could hit homers, get on base a lot via base-on-balls, hit for a little lower batting average than was socially acceptable and tended to spend about 5 years longer in the minor leagues then they would have today. Among the men on that list were John Mayberry, Cliff Johnson, Mike Easler, Nate Colbert, Keith Lampard; Bob Watson was similar but didn’t walk as much, there were a ton of these guys who signed with Houston in the late 60′s. There are other examples in sports history, but what’s important for us to learn about this is that when this happens.

Johnson spent years in the Astros system trying to earn a major league chance. Houston drafted him in 1966, but didn’t become a regular in the majors for a decade. Why? He was drafted as a catcher but I never read one word about his ability at the position. With the bat? Giddyup. One year he hit 20 homer runs in fewer than 400 ab’s in the Astrodome (Grand Canyon). Houston had an incredible procurement department in those years, grabbing talent from every available stream. Couldn’t use them all, didn’t optimize the return, teams just plucked them away as the need arose.

I’m not saying Tyler Wotherspoon is Cliff Johnson, but he might be a useful NHL talent available for only a waiver claim.

HE SHOOTS, HE SCORES

Kailer Yamamoto will be here in a week, it’s going to be a lot of fun watching his skill set and imagine him alongside all the other ridiculous skill on Oilers future. I’ve mentioned it before, but there’s a chance he gets nine games with the big club at the beginning of the year. Yamamoto’s biggest sin is that he is not a proven NHL scorer, but you can say that about Jesse Puljujarvi, Anton Slepyshev and Drake Caggiula, too. A player to watch beginning Day One at rookie camp.

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23 Responses to "SEND MORE KLEFBOMS"

  1. dustrock says:

    I remember Klefbom’s performance at the Worlds and thought “my god, they got it absolutely right for once”.

  2. OriginalPouzar says:

    A nice start for Yamamoto yesterday in pre-season.

    I look for him to dominate the WHL and start in Buffalo at the WJHC this year.

    We should see him in an Oilers uni for the first time in a game on Friday – looking forward to it.

    LT, any visibility in to an timing of an official rookie camp roster from the team?

  3. Lowetide says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    A nice start for Yamamoto yesterday in pre-season.

    I look for him to dominate the WHL and start in Buffalo at the WJHC this year.

    We should see him in an Oilers uni for the first time in a game on Friday – looking forward to it.

    LT, any visibility in to an timing of an official rookie camp roster from the team?

    My guess is Tuesday.

  4. RexLibris says:

    Wotherspoon would slot into a competition bracket alongside Auvitu, though by all accounts JA has a different skill set.

    By memory, I never really noticed physical play from him, or at least enough of it to warrant it being a major consideration.

    I’d be fine looking at him or another possible 3rd pairing blueliner because of the Sekera injury, but picking up Wotherspoon on waivers wouldn’t, in the end, be that great a loss to the Flames. He’s been leapfrogged by Kylington, Andersson and Kulak.

  5. Lowetide says:

    RexLibris:
    Wotherspoon would slot into a competition bracket alongside Auvitu, though by all accounts JA has a different skill set.

    By memory, I never really noticed physical play from him, or at least enough of it to warrant it being a major consideration.

    I’d be fine looking at him or another possible 3rd pairing blueliner because of the Sekera injury, but picking up Wotherspoon on waivers wouldn’t, in the end, be that great a loss to the Flames. He’s been leapfrogged by Kylington, Andersson and Kulak.

    Yes, that’s exactly the Astros situation. Wotherspoon has less value to Calgary but would rank higher on many depth charts, including Edmonton.

  6. John Chambers says:

    LT, if we want more Klefboms we likely need to expend a first round pick on a high-skill D who can skate.

    I think there’s a connection between this need (especially if they’re right-handed), and how Chiarelli offloads RNH’s contract.

    Just like when Pitt traded Staal for a Centre and a high-pick spent on a D, the Oil could do themselves well by acquiring a defensive Centre and a possible Klefbom for his Nugeness.

  7. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lowetide: My guess is Tuesday.

    Good stuff.

    Come on Safin…..

  8. PunkInDrublic says:

    Quick question for you kind folks….

    I’ve cancelled tv and am now streaming with Chromecast. Don’t miss it at all other than hockey.

    For the upcoming NHL season, I was going to use Sportsnet Now. NHL Gamecenter seems to have too many blackouts.

    Do any of you have experience with SN Now? Is it worth the cost or am I better using Reddit-based streams?

    Sorry for the thread jack LT.

  9. russ99 says:

    I’ve said it before many times, we’re not going be a quality organization until we stop rushing first round picks to the bigs.

    Last year being the worst, a 18 year old with AHL eligibility kept on the big club half a year with low usage and burning a year of his ELC.

    Had the Oilers not trusted him with Bakersfield, why not send him to Sweden to play in an equivalent men’s league to develop his offense?

    Yamamoto may have some gamebreaking skills and impressive wheels, but rushing him to the NHL is folly. Another year in Spokane would be for his and our organization’s benefit.

  10. OriginalPouzar says:

    There is almost no chance that Yamamoto will play regular season NHL games this year – almost none.

  11. Lowetide says:

    OriginalPouzar:
    There is almost no chance that Yamamoto will play regular season NHL games this year – almost none.

    The path is there. Lights out in Pentiction, coach gets curious and gets him some icetime in a game with a skill center and maybe he scores an electric goal. I think Peter Chiarelli will send him out before anyone gets any ideas and Yamamoto dominates the WHL.

    The RW depth chart has an uncertain future. Yamamoto may be the most offensively capable youngster. The story is there to be written.

  12. Coffeys_Messy_eh says:

    PunkInDrublic,

    This depends on where you’re located. I’m an out-of-market fan, and Gamecentre is not bad. They drastically reduced blackouts (for me) and the stream quality/delay issue was largely addressed also.

    I have not seen many good things about SN Now. I believe I remember seeing Kent Wilson tweet negative things about it several times.

  13. jtblack says:

    Lowetide,

    I agree …. with both of you! I think letting kids develop and dominate with their peer age group helps them long term. The jump from Junior to NHL is mammoth. If (when) Kailer goes back to Junior, everyone will be more than OK with that. LT’s point is that Kailer has the high end skill and if he clicks with McD or Leon, the spot is there for the taking …. Tcachuk surprised last year and played well; so it can happen, it’s just extremely rare …

    IMO we hope for a good Penticton camp and main camp; then Kailer is sent down and tears up the WHL and has an important role at WJ’s. Comes to camp next year expecting to make the big club.

    Cheers.

  14. OriginalPouzar says:

    Lowetide: The path is there. Lights out in Pentiction, coach gets curious and gets him some icetime in a game with a skill center and maybe he scores an electric goal. I think Peter Chiarelli will send him out before anyone gets any ideas and Yamamoto dominates the WHL.

    The RW depth chart has an uncertain future. Yamamoto may be the most offensively capable youngster. The story is there to be written.

    Yes, it would surprise anyone I wouldn’t think if he scored a beauty goal or two in pre-season – he’s a talented player and early preseason is generally some pretty watered down talent.

    He is clearly an important offensive youngster for this organization which is another reason why he simply shouldn’t be rushed to the NHL this year – we need him going forward and need to protect ourselves with this prospect. There is very little shelter for him on the wing this year – it would not be a great situation for him to play in.

    Now, if he is lighting up the preseason games, game after game, including the end games, then he may force a decision but, as talented as he is, that seems a bit unlikely.

    I expect a very good performance from him in Penticton and a good camp – let him marinate in Spokane this year (and BUF) and let him turn pro next year.

    We need that contract to slide – unless he’s ready to score 50 points this year – it needs to slide.

  15. OriginalPouzar says:

    IMO we hope for a good Penticton camp and main camp; then Kailer is sent down and tears up the WHL and has an important role at WJ’s.Comes to camp next year expecting to make the big club.

    This is exactly what I foresee.

  16. OriginalPouzar says:

    Does Spokane have playoff/Memorial Cup aspirations this year?

  17. Jaxon says:

    RHD Targets:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1td9GB1crdPqFZB6MlW-C5tNbSNbwJ7gyDTDSeR4uQXQ/edit?usp=sharing

    NHL UFAs:
    Cody Franson

    NHL RFAs without new contract:
    Damon Severson
    Nikita Zadorov

    AHL RFAs without new contract:
    Robbie Russo

    WHL Free Agents:
    Aaron Irving
    Clayton Kirichenko

    AHL Only Contract:
    Darren Raddysh (1 yr w/ Chicago’s AHL team)

    POSSIBLE DEADLINE TARGETS:

    1 YR Left on UFA Contract:
    Erik Gudbranson
    Christian Folin
    Paul Postma

    RFAs with 1 Year Left:
    Dylan Demelo
    Scott Mayfield
    Ryan Pulock
    Brandon Montour
    Colin Miller
    Steven Santini
    Ryan Sproul
    Alex Petrovic
    Madison Bowey

  18. Jaxon says:

    I think when trying to figure out when Yamamoto is likely to make the jump we should look at size-production comparables from the WHL. His closest comparables are Nicolas Petan, Tyler Ennis, Tyler Johnson and Brendan Gallagher. His offence lies somewhere between Petan and Ennis. Ennis didn’t make it until his draft+3 season. Petan didn’t become a pro until his draft+3 season and still spent some time in the AHL in his draft+4 season. Same with Gallagher, didn’t turn pro until Draft+3 and didn’t become an NHL regular until his draft+4 season. Johnson spent 3 years in the WHL, and 2 more in the AHL before becoming an NHL regular in his draft+6 season. The evidence is stacked pretty high against a player of Yamamoto’s size (he’s smaller than all these comparables) making it in his draft+1, or even draft+2 season, even with his great production (2nd most on this list). Possible? Yes. Likely? No.

  19. trencan says:

    John Chambers:
    LT, if we want more Klefboms we likely need to expend a first round pick on a high-skill D who can skate.

    I think there’s a connection between this need (especially if they’re right-handed), and how Chiarelli offloads RNH’s contract.

    Just like when Pitt traded Staal for a Centre and a high-pick spent on a D, the Oil could do themselves well by acquiring a defensive Centre and a possible Klefbom for his Nugeness.

    Good point. It is very simple, just draft with this high pick some D from Sweden. They have so many good players on this position. Previous draft – Brannstrom and Liljegren. Btw Liljegren was fantastic steal by Toronto, just like Arizona drafted Chychrun year before. Draft 2018 will be the year of Rasmus Dahlin (LHD). I can see many teams tanking this season in order to win the lottery because of him. I believe he is future franchise D if not generational talent among defenders. I have in my TOP 10 Draft 2018 also another swedish top RHD – Adam Boqvist. He was fantastic on Hlinka tournament together with Rasmus Sandin (LHD).

  20. jm363561 says:

    Jaxon:
    I think when trying to figure out when Yamamoto is likely to make the jump we should look at size-production comparables from the WHL. His closest comparables are Nicolas Petan, Tyler Ennis, Tyler Johnson and Brendan Gallagher. His offence lies somewhere between Petan and Ennis.Ennis didn’t make it until his draft+3 season. Petan didn’t become a pro until his draft+3 season and still spent some time in the AHL in his draft+4 season. Same with Gallagher, didn’t turn pro until Draft+3 and didn’t become an NHL regular until his draft+4 season. Johnson spent 3 years in the WHL, and 2 more in the AHL before becoming an NHL regular in his draft+6 season. The evidence is stacked pretty high against a player of Yamamoto’s size (he’s smaller than all these comparables), even with his great production (2nd most on this list). Possible? Yes. Likely? No.

    Totally agree. I posted some time ago Gaudreau’s time line – he played one NHL game in the three years following his draft. RNH took a terrible hammering in his first year from which he never really recovered. Just because Yamo has speed, skill, etc. does not mean his body can withstand the physical punishment an NHL player endures. Don’t even think about putting him out there.

  21. Rube Foster says:

    LT,

    Might one be able to connect a Jultz and Yak dot with a straight line to the dots representing Johnson, Mayberry, Easler or Geronimo?

    Holy smokes could the Astros of the 60’s and early 70’s find talent.

    They weren’t always great at holding on to that talent, they didn’t know what they had in Joe Morgan and let him slip through their fingers and Ceasar Cedeno’s knees did the rest to conspire against them, not to mention the Voodoo that cursed J. R. Richards.

    Not many folks rember Ceasar Cedeno, who had a terrific career. He was a generational talent who had injuries and the AstroDome compromise what could’ve been an awe inspiring career.

    Pray to Gord that McDavid doesn’t go all Ceasar Cedeno on us, that we don’t fritter away our Joe Morgan and that we find AB’s or materialize value from the Johnsons and Easlers bubbling under in our system.

  22. Lowetide says:

    Rube Foster:
    LT,

    Might one be able to connect a Jultz and Yak dot with a straight line to the dots representing Johnson, Mayberry, Easler or Geronimo?

    Holy smokes could the Astros of the 60’s and early 70’s find talent.

    They weren’t always great at holding on to that talent, they didn’t know what they had in Joe Morgan and let him slip through their fingers and Ceasar Cedeno’s knees did the rest to conspire against them, not to mention the Voodoo that cursed J. R. Richards.

    Not many folks rember Ceasar Cedeno, who had a terrific career. He was a generational talent who had injuries and the AstroDome compromise what could’vebeen an awe inspiring career.

    Pray to Gord that McDavid doesn’t go all Ceasar Cedeno on us, that we don’t fritter away our Joe Morgan and that we find AB’s or materialize value from the Johnsons and Easlers bubbling under in our system.

    Very fair. The Cedeno thought is an absolute sphincter tightener! I remember my Dad raving about Cedeno and the Astros getting on television a lot more because of him.

  23. Mustard Tiger says:

    PunkInDrublic:
    Quick question for you kind folks….

    I’ve cancelled tv and am now streaming with Chromecast. Don’t miss it at all other than hockey.

    For the upcoming NHL season, I was going to use Sportsnet Now.NHL Gamecenter seems to have too many blackouts.

    Do any of you have experience with SN Now?Is it worth the cost or am I better using Reddit-based streams?

    Sorry for the thread jack LT.

    Sportsnet now works great. The benefit is that it always works, you can pause and rewind, and you’re able to watch on your phone if you’re busy. If that’s worth the price to you, then do it

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