Sunday Minor League Update

I’m going to try to do this every Sunday. It’s usually a quiet time in my house (I got a second computer will all the bells and whistles now my kids call the one I’m working on “the typewriter” and refuse to use it. The old man is a freaking genius) and once the major league season starts I usually lose interest so hopefully this will allow me to keep track.

First, a little background. For pro hockey players, minor league games are like sorties. Get some experience, knock out enough bridges and when someone breaks their foot blocking a shot you might get the call. That’s the carrot.

However, TOO MANY games in the minor leagues and you’re a future construction worker. Sounds harsh, because it is. Don’t kid yourself, for every AHL winger age 21 there are thousands of kids who washed out in midget hockey who would give their left nut to be in their place. Money isn’t everything, baby.

So, to lay the ground work, here’s a list of Oilers forwards (the ones who established themselves) drafted since 1990 and their GP totals in the minors. It gives a nice “line in the sand”:

  1. Jason Arnott (1st rd-1993) 0 games
  2. Ales Hemsky (1st rd-2001) 0 games
  3. Mike Comrie (3rd rd-1999) 0 games
  4. Ryan Smyth (1st rd-1994), 9 games
  5. Boyd Devereaux (1st rd-1996), 14 games
  6. Shawn Horcoff (4th rd-1998), 26 games
  7. Miro Satan (5th rd- 1993), 39 games
  8. Martin Rucinsky (1st rd-1991), 42 games
  9. Kirk Maltby (3rd rd-1992), 73 games
  10. Jarret Stoll (2nd rd-2002), 76 games
  11. Georges Laraque (2nd rd-1995), 144 games
  12. Fernando Pisani (8th rd-1996), 172 games
  13. Tyler Wright (1st rd-1991), 176 games
  14. Brad Winchester (2nd rd-2000), 181 games
  15. Jason Chimera (5th rd-1997), 233 games

And now a list of current prospects (forwards only) and guys who are on the big league roster (but not yet established) and their GP totals (roster players in bold):

  1. Sam Gagner 0 games
  2. Andrew Cogliano 0 games
  3. Fredrik Johansson 1 game
  4. Colin McDonald 1 game
  5. Slava Trukhno 2 games
  6. Patrick Thoresen 7 games
  7. Troy Bodie 68 games
  8. Rob Schremp 71 games
  9. Liam Reddox 72 games
  10. Stephane Goulet 73 games
  11. Robert Nilsson 98 games
  12. Marc Pouliot 98 games
  13. Jean Francois Jacques 101 games
  14. Zack Stortini 115 games
  15. Kyle Brodziak 173 games

Of the four prospects who are near 100 games or over that total, Brodziak and Nilsson have the strongest hold on NHL jobs. As for early returns on the minor league team, a few items:

  • Dubnyk had a nice showing in relief of JDD, his SP is .941 (16/17)
  • Trukhno scored in his first game
  • Jacques went 1-1-2 in his first AHL game this season. Sidd Finch
  • Colin McDonald got an assist in his first game
  • Schremp is 2gp, 0-1-1 as is Patrick Thoresen
  • The Falcons are carring 27 players, so a bunch will be sitting every game.
  • Among those who haven’t played are Jonas Almtorp, Ryan O’Marra, Geoff Paukovh, Theo Peckham.

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30 Responses to "Sunday Minor League Update"

  1. PunjabiOil says:

    I just don’t understand why

    Jonas Almtorp, Ryan O’Marra, Theo Peckham are HS.

    At the AHL, it’s all about developing your prospects, not winning.

  2. Lowetide says:

    Well it might be injury, but I have to tell you Almtorp should be playing if healthy. Peckham is a 19-year old kid and you can’t blame a rookie coach for trying to get off the mark quickly in any league, and O’Marra is first year pro coming off an injury with his skillset duplicated by AHL vets.

    But the Almtorp HS x2 is a head scratcher for me. Maybe he showed Bucky too much skill. :-)

  3. Black Dog says:

    The other question is 27 players? That can’t be normal, is it?

    The other night I think I counted 11 forwards dressed. I can’t understand it.

    I hate to say trade for the sake of clearing room but sooner or later Lowe has to move some guys – they have no flexibility in terms of moving guys.

  4. Ribs says:

    “Rob Schremp switched to #24 for the evening instead of his regular #44 after his white game jersey didn’t arrive at the MassMutual Center.”

    Looks like Joey needs his own farm team.

  5. doritogrande says:

    “At the AHL, it’s all about developing your prospects, not winning.”

    Do you really believe this?

    I’d much rather our prospects develop in a winning environment learning from vets than play every single one of our prospects every game and watch them bomb because they can’t handle the pressure of losing at this level. I come from a city with one of the strongest AHL franchises in the league (Manitoba Moose) and I can tell you that from how they handle their operations, Vancouver has done an excellent job with this franchise when they signed an agreement to partner the teams. They’ve created a winning environment here in Winnipeg mixing kids and vets. Winnipeg in turn has brought some very promising talent in themselves who have gone on to garner NHL contracts because they were given a chance in Winnipeg (Alex Burrows is a great example, Max Fortunus should get a look at no less than a 2-way AHL/NHL deal next year). Vancouver has also provided us with top-calibre AHL talent to benefit the youngsters in their prospect pool like Brad Moran. Playing with a crafty playmaker definitely benefits the Jaffrays and Hansens of the Moose and gives the parent team a better idea of how they will fit into the Canucks planning.

    I pray Edmonton takes similar steps with the Falcons in the years to come.

  6. Lowetide says:

    dorito: I haven’t looked, but the next obvious question is “how many actual NHL players does this system produce?”

    I’d always like to see the prospects play, but you do want to create a team that is at least competitive with the Rourke’s and Simon’s.

    Do the Moose have more than average in terms of AHL veterans? Does that make for better NHLers?

    I don’t know the answers, just asking the question.

  7. Asiaoil says:

    First off I see no room now or in the future for Schremp on the Oilers. Hopefully he plays well this year and we can deal him in the new year or at the deadline for something useful. Same with Almtorp – where exactly will this kid ever fit into our system? Definitely time to deal some youth for picks to thin the orchard otherwise fruit will die on the vine.

    Other than building Schremp’s trade value – IMHO we only have a handful of priority kids to develop. Everyone else is secondary and I’d put Smid, Dubnyk, Trukhno (you must be happy for him LT), JFJ, O’Marra and Peckham on the priority list.

    …and just for you LT – how is this for a comparable for your man McDonald – Sean Donovan?

  8. mattwatt says:

    Sidd Finch. Lowetide, You never stop amazing me with your knowledge.

    Only thing though is that Sidd Finch had a succesful camp (with the Mets I believe?) JFF is really yet to have one of those.

  9. Lowetide says:

    Asia: Yeah, I’m pleased with Trukhno’s start, but am hoping he gets clearance from the other guys quickly enough to play everyday. He’s a HS today apparently.

    mattwatt: Actually, he’s had two good tc’s. He made the team last year and this year. I saw him at the Calgary pre-season game and he looked very good. Physical, blocking lanes in the neutral zone, passing well.

    He’s a guy I’d wait 300 games for (AHL games I mean). Suspect the Oilers will trade him though, they have a ridiculous number of options at LW.

  10. Lowetide says:

    Dubnyk looks to have had a huge day in the AHL. This would have to be considered his best day as a pro, he got the W while his team was outshot 37-16. They won in OT, and here is the current line on the 2 AHL goalies:

    JDD 1-0, 3.55 .900
    DD 1-1, 1.54 .944

    Schremp scored the OT winner, McDonald picking up an assist. Stortini and THoresen were the other scorers.

    Asia: I like that comp, here’s hoping he can cover it.

  11. PunjabiOil says:

    Dorito:

    The Roadrunners in Edmonton under Geoff Ward tried the same strategy – in my opinion, giving the ice-time to the J.J. Hunter’s, Ben Simon’s, Liam Reddox’s and Tim Sesito’s is a waste of resources.

    Organization’s generally have an idea of who has a legitimate chance of moving up. You better darn well be giving future Oilers in Trukho and O’Marra the at-bats instead of sitting them in the press-box. On what basis does that progress their development?

    On a related note, Dubnyk supposedly played very well today (2nd star). Schremp with a GWG, as per BBO on HF.

  12. PunjabiOil says:

    McDonald – Sean Donovan?
    _________

    I haven’t seen McDonald play – does he have the footspeed?

  13. Josh says:

    I am about 95% sure this is an AHL rule….

    Veteran Rule: A limit is set on the number of “veterans” a team may dress for a game. The AHL considers a “veteran” any player who has played, as of the start of the season, more than 260 regular-season games combined in the AHL, NHL, IHL, or any European elite league. In 2006-07, teams may dress a maximum of 17 skaters (plus two goaltenders) for a regular-season AHL game. Of these 17 skaters, no more than five may be classified as “veterans.”

  14. PunjabiOil says:

    Definitely time to deal some youth for picks to thin the orchard otherwise fruit will die on the vine.

    _____

    Excellent line.

  15. PunjabiOil says:

    JDD still hasn’t taken the next step. As a 4th year pro, with his 1 year contract expiring in July, should the Oilers salvage any value they can via trade?

    I still like the Schremp + Greene for Montoya + pick deal.

    We only have one legit goaltender prospect in our system. We need insurance in case Dubnyk falters (although I don’t anticipate that he will)

    I’d give Dubnyk 1 more season after this one in the AHL, before graduating him and rolling with a Garon/Dubnyk tandem….

  16. Mr DeBakey says:

    Stockton’s training camp is running this week-end.

    Rohlfs, McFlickier, Fisher and Huxley are all there.

    An interesting name is Pat Conacher Jr trying out ‘tween the pipes.

    In an interview, the Thunder coach mentions a D named Brock Wilson – good speed & Size from Merrimack College.
    He hints at a little Chaos though.

  17. Asiaoil says:

    PJO – Montoya has been good but not great so I see no need to trade for him when we have Dubnyk. Let’s see who is considered the better prospect after this season.

    Agree on JDD though – the progress has been slow and modest which bodes poorly for this longterm upside. He may be a late bloomer – but the chances of him being an impact starter are really very small and shrinking every year. Steve Valiquette is probably a pretty good comp – and if he’s lucky – JDD will probably knock around the AHL/NHL for a few years more before settling into a backup role.

    Nice to see Schremp light it up a bit – he’s gotta keep building trade value because I can’t see any future for him as an Oilers with Cogs, Nilsson and Gagner ahead of him.

    JFJ – I just get the feeling that one day this kid will figure it out in the NHL and I would hate to let him go before that happens. I’m willing to be very patient with this guy since his trade value is modest at best right now.

    McDonald – he does seem to have a good shot, good wheels and a bit of a nose for the net. If he can learn to play water-tight defense he may be a very useful 3rd line player down the road.

    ….and not to forget MAP. Nice to see him play well last night and I’m looking forward to a Sanderson-MAP-Cogs 4th line with Pouliot dishing sweet passes to the speedsters on the wing – this line should be adequate defensively as well.

  18. Black Dog says:

    asia – agreed with most if what you said except for the Almtorp point – I will admit that I don’t know him from Adam but from all reports he can play without the puck – if he can PK and handle that type of work there’s a spot for him on the fourth line somewhere down the road I would think – I haven’t heard much bad about him.

  19. Dennis says:

    It looks like we’re carrying too many guys down at the kid level. There’s no question that you need some vets down there because you need the kids to see some guys who make all the right plays and it’s nice for them to get a taste of winning early on, but it also appears that we’ve got too many of our own kids that need to be developed.

    Toss Thor and JFJ into that mix and there’s too much wood for the stove.

    As a final note, it is kinda cool to have our own AHL team again. I just wish we had better stats to pick apart, ie TOI and ST time.

  20. Dennis says:

    Also wanted to say that I’ve been a fan of JFJ since I saw him play down here in his first pro game with the Dogs but if he can’t get his mind right to play a crash and bang role, then it’s not gonna happen for him with the Oilers.

  21. Asiaoil says:

    Give the kids a chance to play for their AHL slot – then send a couple dmen (2 of Bisaillon, Young, Syvret) and a couple of forwards (2 of Paukavich, Goulet, Reddox, to Stockton in another week or two. Then just worry about giving Smid, Dubnyk, Trukhno, JFJ, O’Marra and Peckham minutes.

  22. Black Dog says:

    Peckham and Paukovich were sent to Stockton today.

  23. doritogrande says:

    LT, in response to your question, off the top of my head there’s Alex Burrows, Kevin Bieksa, Alex Edler, Mason Raymond, Ryan Kesler, Alex Auld, Artem Chubarov who have gone on to good things in the NHL in the last 4-5 years, and I truly believe it all stems from having solid veterans mixed into the lineup. Such players like Mike Keane for example, make the Moose just that much more competetive at key times during the year, and having a vet like Wade Flaherty in goal for the last 3 years has solidified the nets to the point where it helps the kids up front win games.

    For the majority of the last 3 years, Manitoba has run with rosters of 6 or sometimes 7 veterans (dressing only 5 per game, as per league rules) and keeping the rest around the young guys as PB influences. It’s a great system if you can get it.

  24. Asiaoil says:

    Peckham and Paukovich to Stockton is a start – but Bisaillon and another young forward will also need to go. I’m a bit surprised about Peckham – but he’s a long-term project and he’s better off playing lot in the ECHL than sitting in the AHL. Stockton is a good situation as well.

  25. Lowetide says:

    The only thing I’d add is that if we made a list of guys who needed 500 at-bats in the early ’00s Pisani may not have been on the list. If the Oilers thought them worthy of a pro contract, I’d think they would want to give them every opportunity.

    One more thing: Asia has made an excellent point in this thread re: Schremp. I can’t imagine how he can find a place on this roster anytime soon.

    How many one dimensional skill guys spend 100 games in the AHL and then become Mike Comrie anyway?

  26. Asiaoil says:

    “How many one dimensional skill guys spend 100 games in the AHL and then become Mike Comrie anyway?”

    Not many LT – and I would have no problem packaging Schremp and Grebeshkov to an asset poor team for picks in the next draft.

  27. Bill Needle says:

    “I just don’t understand why

    Jonas Almtorp, Ryan O’Marra, Theo Peckham are HS.”

    Maybe they’re just crappy hockey players.

  28. PunjabiOil says:

    Somewhat related:

    _____

    Marc Pouliot must have felt like gramps playing with Sam Gagner, 18, and Andrew Cogliano, 20, in the Oilers’ game against the Flyers. He’s all of 22. Pouliot had a strong 10 minutes on the fourth line. “He made plays. Pouliot has a ways to go, but it looks to me like he’ll get there. He thinks offensively with those kids. I saw some heady plays with them on the cycle,” said MacTavish.

  29. Ducey says:

    “How many one dimensional skill guys spend 100 games in the AHL and then become Mike Comrie anyway?”

    Who knows, had Comrie spent time in the minors he might have developed another dimension a be less of a twerp.

    Its a little early to be worried about guys sitting out. Its a long season, especially for college guys who are used to playing 30 games.

    Playing the young “prospects” at the expense of the veterans sounds good, but ignores the reality of minor league hockey – it can be a violent world. You need the veterans to take/ give the punches in the head. I bet they are sitting Almtorp to let the sutures heal after installing the swivel in his neck.

  30. Bank Shot says:

    I haven’t seen McDonald play – does he have the footspeed?

    Nowhere near Sean Donovan. McDonald looked to me to have about average speed. He didn’t really stand out as being a cut above.

    Peckham being sent to the ECHL is probably a good thing for him. That guy is all kinds of raw.

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