Tom Gilbert is one of several players who is likely to be spending the 07-08 season in the AHL waiting for the call from Edmonton.
Gilbert is 24, so unlike a new pro like Andrew Cogliano the clock is ticking. One suspects the acquisition of Pitkanen and the UFA signings of Souray and Tarnstrom have had a major impact on Gilbert’s NHL chances this season.
The Oilers have spent some time, money and a high draft pick in recent days in an effort to bring in quality for their farm team.
- Jeff Deslauriers (23)- 2002 draft is still regarded by the organization as a potential NHL prospect. .908SP last season in the AHL represents his pro high water mark, but 20 goalies had a better number in the American League last season (all playing 25 or more games). I can’t name a quality #1 NHL goalie who took a similar route to the show. Reasonable expectations: Keeping the top AHL job and making NHL debut.
- Devan Dubnyk(21)- .921SP as a rookie pro was 3rd best in the ECHL. Asiaoil is our resident goalie expert and has convinced me that Dubnyk might be the real deal. I wish we had a reasonable idea about the leap from ECHL to AHL for goalies, but Dubnyk’s progress will give us some idea. Reasonable Expectations: At 21, he should be able to push by JDD this season.
- Glenn Fisher(24)- .919SP in college this past season, and he’ll be the only first year pro among the Oilers’ goalie prospects. The NCAA leader had a .935SP and Fisher was tied for 17th in college hockey a year ago. I have no idea how good a prospect he is, but if 16 guys were better it’s likely he won’t be an NHL starter anytime soon. Reasonable expectations: Solid pro debut in ECHL and possibly some time in Triple A.
- Tom Gilbert (24)- His scoring rate in the AHL (49gp, 4-26-30) and his NHL time (12gp, 1-5-6, minus 1) added to his age suggests it’s go time for Gilbert. A “perfect storm” offseason for the Oilers appears to have robbed him of his first real NHL shot. Reasonable expectations: If he keeps playing at last year’s level, Oilers will either have to make room or trade him. He looks NHL ready.
- Mathieu Roy (24)- He was bitter about being sent out last fall and he’s going to be in tough again this training camp. One thing he has going for him is that his skillset fits nicely with the Oilers most pressing need on D. But there’s no room. Reasonable expectations: Another season in the AHL and injury callup.
- Danny Syvret (22)- Syvret also got some NHL time in 06-07, but from what I saw he has strength issues to go along with the size problems. Far enough down the depth chart now that we can question if he’ll see the NHL this season. Hasn’t really delivered offense in the AHL (50gp, 4-14-18). Reasonable expectations: An offensive season in the AHL that reflects what he managed in junior.
- Allan Rourke (27)- He’s played over 400 AHL games and 42 in the NHL (11 last year), so Rourke is certainly a candidate for callup to the Oilers this season. Has size but apparently doesn’t use it enough and his numbers indicate he’s an average offensive player (50gp, 5-15-20) for the AHL level (76 AHL defenders had more than 20 points in 06-07). Reasonable expectations: Veteran AHLer plays tough minutes and helps the prospects develop.
- Bryan Young (21)- Spent time in three minor league outposts before getting called up to Edmonton this past season. Stay-at-home type was in the NHL because of a rash of injuries and if the Oilers are doing their job he won’t see the show this season. Reasonable expectations: A year in the AHL getting pro experience.
- TJ Kemp (26)- He’s an offensive defender (5-33-38 in 65gp), 5-11 and 200 pounds. Kemp finished tied for fifth among league D-men in assists and was named to the AHL all-star game. Reasonable expectations: Can’t imagine the set of circumstances that would see him in the NHL this season.
- Theo Peckham (19)- I have no idea how they identify the really good stay-at-home types early, but Peckham either has the best P.R. in the history of junior hockey or he’s really a good player. Reasonable expectations: First year pro, and more positive comments from scouts and coaches.
- Sebastian Bisaillon (19)- A prospect many of us may have overlooked even with his emergency callup, Bisaillon had a very interesting season in the QMJHL. His offense (12-40-52) put him 14th among Q defensemen in total points, and his 10 powerplay goals ranked him second among league defensemen in that category. Reasonable expectations: Lots of defenseman lose a ton of offense going from junior to pro, but he’s a player worth watching and the Oilers have had significant success in the Quebec league in the Prendergast procurement era.
The Oilers have also apparently signed defenders Matt Pepe and Nick Holden but I’ve been unable to confirm. I haven’t counted Denis Grebeshkov on this list because he’s likely to be an Oiler this fall (one way contract).