No sir. One must follow them religously, so as not to be surprised and overwhelmed when said prospects pull a “Vyborny” and come back to have long and successful careers with other teams.
Anyway, it was a pretty darn good season for some former Oilers’ kids so, let’s have a look.
Jani Rita: I counted the numbers at hockeydb twice to make sure, but it looks to me like Rita led the SM-LIIGA in goals scored this past season (32). Had a big time playoff too, so if he can back that up with another successful season he should be looking good for the NHL about the same time as Gary Bettman expands the league again.
Michael Henrich: Last I heard he was playing in Germany.
Michel Riesen: Scored at about a goal a game clip in the Swiss Cheese League, 37 in 44 games gave him the goal scoring championship.
Jesse Niinimaki: Played in the Swedish Elite League this past season, in fact was a teammate of new Oiler draft Linus Omark. Apparently has exceeded 125 pounds now.
Steve Kelly: Has been in Germany since they invaded Poland, but recently signed to play under Jacques Lemaire which is like going from the frying pan to the fire. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he has a second wind under Lemaire who can get exceptional performances out of people long forgotten (call it Dances with Walz).
Chris Hajt: Oh shut the hell up, you have favorites too you know. He played in Germany and Finland this season, thus sharing the gift of Hajt in many new places. Had he simply stayed in the organization, this would have been his chance to play at least 40 games with the Oilers. As an added benefit, he would have been a worse PP option on the point than Toby Petersen, not an easy thing to find at any time.
Mike Comrie: Now has 123 NHL goals, and trails only Ryan Smyth, Jason Arnott, Miro Satan and Martin Rucinsky among Oil drafts in the 1990s. He has now played for 4 different teams with a 5th one planned for opening night. The new Walt Poddubny.
Kari Haakana: Had a nice season in the SEL.
Tony Salmelainen: Got a full season in the NHL to show what he could do, and then got traded.