McDonald (and Tom Gilbert before him) is one of those guys who could surprise. Despite being drafted in 2003 we haven’t really seen the guy much and since his Providence club was a Punch ‘n Judy offensive team there’s a chance his offense is better than we think it is. He’s also a lot older than other kids turning pro (he’ll be 23 in September).
If McDonald does sign, he’ll be in competition for at-bats with a few guys who are trying to make it to the AHL level. I think he’s probably the best option of the ECHL and NCAA graduates, but it’s a pretty open contest.
Also, a kid like O’Marra is listed as a center but he could end up playing RW in the fall.
- Zach Stortini (22 in Sept)- Big kid might make the Oilers out of camp this fall. He’s certainly the best enforcer option in the system if MacT decides that not having BG last season had any impact. Stortini played 29 games with the Oilers last season so is no longer considered a rookie. Reasonable expectations: He’s a guy who could split his season between Springfield and the Oilers.
- Colin McDonald (23 in Sept)- I’m really looking forward to seeing what kind of pro career he’s going to have. On draft day McDonald’s bio suggested that he might make it as a checker if the goals didn’t come, and I suspect that’s what we’ll get with him. Reasonable expectations: A strong work ethic and an idea about how to play the game, plus a full 650 plate appearances in the AHL.
- Stephane Goulet (21)- Big winger scored 15 goals in the ECHL last season. He has good footspeed and was a scorer (51 goals final year of junior) in junior. Reasonable expectations: Spending the entire season in the AHL and showing offense similar to his ECHL season.
- Troy Bodie (22)- Huge winger got into 14 AHL games but spent most of the year in Stockton. Famous junior player whose style used to be called “north and south winger”, which is to say he patrols his wing and isn’t too fancy. Reasonable expectations: He should be able to grab a fulltime AHL job.
- David Rohlfs (23)- Big power winger who spent a significant amount of time in college playing defense. Had a fine offensive season (17-17-34) playing RW alongside TJ Hensick and Kevin Porter at Michigan. It’s important to remember that although Rohlfs (and McDonald) will be a first year pro, he’s a much older player than someone like Goulet and will likely move up the depth chart. Reasonable expectations: At least half the season in the AHL.
I think several centers (the deepest position at the AHL level this fall) will get a look at either wing this fall. Stortini may end up with the big club, and both McDonald and Rohlfs need to be signed by August 15th. Either way, several of the “coke machines” drafted 01-03 are going to be playing RW for Springfield sometime this season.