Smart hockey people tell us to watch the AHL kids in two parts: October through December and then January to April. Idea being it takes some time to settle in. We have the entire bucket from the first half and seven games of the second half. How are things going?
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- New Lowetide: Peter Chiarelli needs some answers from this week’s meetings
- New Corey Pronman: Top 50 NHL prospects (Oilers alert)
- New Lowetide: Procurement 2018: Oilers are going to need a bigger boat
- Lowetide: Hard target search 2018 deadline
- Lowetide: Oilers and the 2018 Entry Draft
THE CONDORS THREE
Caleb Jones has the fastest boots, giving him an edge and perhaps a quicker route to the NHL. Bear and Mantha have offensive potential, both men possessing massive shots from the point. I don’t think any of these gents is likely to spend much or any time in the NHL before the end of the season, but all three have some good arrows and a story to tell. Jones has turned a corner in January, we’ll check in a little later. One curio? Keegan Lowe. He was 21-17 through end December and is 8-1 in January, for an EV GF-GA total of 29-18 on the season (this is Eric Rodgers’ work and then me counting things up in the seven January games). There is a relationship between Lowe and good runs from Bear and Jones.
Jeff Veillette is a fine writer, a good person and a man who asks unique questions and then goes in search of an answer. That’s my kind of guy. He recently wrote a bible on the AHL and teams who are getting a lot of value out of their minor league teams. As you might guess, the Oilers are doing it wrong. Veillette’s measuring stick is (among other things) games played by age, with the prime group age 18 to 23.
The Edmonton defensemen are fine, Oilers have 61.7 percent of their total GP tied up in players aged 18-23, a number that ranks Bakersfield No. 10 among all AHL teams. Good number.
The forwards? Another story. Bakersfield’s F troop grabbed just 28.4 percent of the overall games played this year. That’s awful. Is that Peter Chiarelli’s fault? Let’s have a look. In order for it to be Chiarelli’s fault, the ‘window’ of forwards who could be included in the study would have to be drafted inside his time with Edmonton. That’s only partially true. The age 18-23 model is basically everyone in an entry-level deal, and since someone drafted in 2013 is in the final year of his entry deal, let’s look at forwards from the 2013-18 drafts.
- 2013 (MacT, Stu MacGregor). Marco Roy, Bogdan Yakimov and Anton Slepyshev all made it to pro, although Roy on an AHL-only deal. Yakimov is in the KHL, didn’t take a liking to the AHL. Slepyshev is about to get traded, I think he should be regarded as a success. Jackson Houck and Evan Campbell didn’t work out, but Edmonton signed Kyle Platzer and Greg Chase, both of whom have played in the AHL for the Condors this season.
- 2014 (MacT, Stu MacGregor). Leon Draisaitl was a lottery pick, after that the Oilers curiously went walkabout with tier two players Liam Coughlin and Tyler Vesel. Both men remain in college.
- 2015 (Chiarelli, Bob Green). Connor McDavid was the only forward chosen.
- 2016 (Chiarelli, Bob Green). Jesse Puljujarvi was chosen in the lottery, signed and would be considered a success in the Veillette study.
I think Chiarelli can be ticketed for dealing all of those 2015 picks, but the bizarre draft behaviour in 2014 and the poor quality of the 2013 selections have the Oilers here. Plenty of blame to go around. One area that I don’t believe should come under heavy criticism? The scouts. You can’t blame the scouts for trading No. 16 and No. 33, in fact the only area since 2015 where the scouts appear to have gone walkabout is 2016 third round (although I am bullish on Filip Berglund). Any hoo, the Oilers haven’t drafted enough forwards and will need to add some names to Kailer Yamamoto and Tyler Benson for the fall.
- Bruce Garrioch: The talk among league insiders is the San Jose Sharks, Florida Panthers, Winnipeg Jets, Pittsburgh Penguins, New Jersey Devils, Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks may all be in the market for a forward at the deadline. Source
Oilers clearly won’t be in the market for an expiring contract, but the Senators have several interesting options. I’ve written about Mike Hoffman and his skill set being a strong match for Connor McDavid, but Jean-Gabriel Pageau would be an excellent pickup who could help in all areas. The Senators want to offload dollars. If Ottawa is listening, the Oilers need to be pitching. I wonder if Dion Phaneuf is part of a deal? And no, I’m not trying to scare you, just looking at things from the other side.
Tyler Benson has been held without a point for the last three games, no biggie but one worries about injury recurrence. Benson was in Edmonton recently, and spoke to Tyler Yaremchuk about his situation, mentioning soreness at that time. Just the rigors of a long season? We wait.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy, fun show on TSN1260, beginning at 10. Scheduled to appear:
- Jonathan Willis, The Athletic. What to expect from the management meetings.
- Keegan Matheson, Blue Jays Reporter. Some big MLB stories breaking over the last 36 hours.
- Scott Cullen, TSN. Magical NFL weekend, trade deadline, Canada’s best NHL team.
- Ryan Holt, Condors PBP. How are the kids doing down on the farm?
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!