Sunday Minor League Update

This is Viacheslav Trukhno (#58) during his impressive training camp for the Oilers. He showed very well (3gp, 1-2-3, leading scorer among players who didn’t make the big club) after a slow start in camp and hopefully will do the same in his first AHL season.

The slow start is already a part of the resume. 9gp, 2-1-3, minus three. He was a healthy scratch on Saturday, and listed in the game notes as an “extra forward” in the Friday game. The AHL dresses 11 forwards like the NHL did 35 years ago, so Trukhno’s playing time was likely far less than the guys on the three lines. This is a major step down from earlier in the season when he drew quality linemates, regular shifts and tons on PP time (on the point). All this after scoring his first pro goal in his first AHL game. That night he was on a line with Patrick Thoresen and Liam Reddox.

The season is still very young, and the major concern I had for him (injury) hasn’t been a problem. Trukhno is no doubt working his way back to a regular shift and with the team struggling (0-3-2 in their last 5, including a loss both Friday and Saturday) it’s a good guess there will be some lineup shuffling by coach Buchberger.

In the summer, I looked at “reasonable expectations” for all the minor league LWers in the Oilers system. With regard to Trukhno, I said “Slava Trukhno (20)- Has a wide range of skills, including size, skill and grit. He’s my pick to be the ‘Patrick Thoresen’ this fall. Reasonable expectations: He’s a longshot to make the big club, but I think he’ll have a better offensive season as a 20-year old in the AHL than any Oiler prospect (at the same age) in recent history.”

It looks like a tall order currently, but I think it’s still completely reasonable. IF Slava Trukhno is going to have an NHL career he needs to have some kind of impact at the AHL level this season. Here’s a list of Edmonton Oilers’ prospects (since 2000-01) who played 30+ games in the AHL at age 20. I have ranked them by percentage of overall team points (and adjusted for fewer games played if required), which is a little unusual but some of these teams were simply awful offensively and I believe we need to adjust for “ballpark effects”:

  1. Marc Pouliot (05-06) 65gp, 15-30-45. PPG: .692 (24.6%)
  2. J.F. Jacques (05-06) 65gp, 24-20-44. PPG: .677 (24%)
  3. Kyle Brodziak (04-05) 56gp, 6-26-32. PPG: .571 (22.7%)
  4. Rob Schremp (06-07) 69gp, 17-36-53. PPG: .768 (22.3%)
  5. Jarret Stoll (02-03) 76gp, 21-33-54. PPG: .771 (20.4%)
  6. Jani Rita (01-02) 76gp, 25-17-42. PPG: .553 (17.9%)
  7. Tyler Spurgeon (06-07) 34gp, 5-10-15. PPG: .441 (12.8%)
  8. Slava Trukhno (07-08) 9gp, 2-1-3. PPG: .333 (11.5%)
  9. Dan Baum (03-04) 37gp, 4-6-10. PPG: .270 (9.9%)
  10. Zach Stortini (05-06) 64gp, 2-8-10. PPG: .156 (9.4%)

Anything over 20% of overall team offense (player points divided by team goals over gp total by player) appears to get you some kind of consideration as an offensive prospect. The ranking here is a bit unfair because Stoll was on a deep, deep team and I know for an absolute fact he didn’t get the cherry minutes on that shared (with Montreal) team in 02-03. Having said that, Brodziak’s 04-05 team couldn’t hit the ocean from three feet so adjusting in this fashion is imo the more reasonable option if we’re trying to level the playing field.

Back to Trukhno: WAY too early to suggest he can’t get above that 20% line, and it’s still completely possible for him to top this list. His competition currently on LW is Rob Schremp (he played LW last night), JF Jacques, Ben Simon and Ryan Flinn.

If Trukhno can’t work his way into that depth chart, he’s in a lot of trouble. I like him a ton as a prospect even with this start. Prospects with a combination of skills that includes size, skill and grit are incredibly valuable.

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14 Responses to "Sunday Minor League Update"

  1. PDO says:

    LT, not to pick on you, but as Truhkno is one of my favourites too… ;)

    The slow start is already a part of the resume.

    Isn’t that unfair, being he was somewhere around 3 PPG last season before the concussion in the month of October?

  2. Lowetide says:

    Yeah, I meant this season with the first day or so of Oilers camp. I came back from the scrimmage he was in and was really disappointed with him, thought he was hurt or something. But he played well in Joey Moss and then showed really well in pre-season.

    It’s also imo a matter of Jacques getting sent down and now Schremp moving over there.

    He was outstanding for that three month period last fall, wasn’t he?

  3. MikeP says:

    Dan Cleary always lit it up early in the season too, and now he’s on his third team since 2003. Good for him, he’s turned it around – sort of a Shaun van Allen type career for him – but I suspect the earlier Trukhno figures it out as those two did, the better for his career.

  4. Tyler says:

    Does this sentence from Staples’ blog strike anyone else as strange:

    “I had the pleasure of interviewing the blogger Allan Mitchell, better known as Lowetide the other day…”

  5. Lowetide says:

    tyler: My name is Lain Babcook, but I worked for many (over a decade)years on-air in Edmonton radio with the name Allan Mitchell and am still known professionally as Allan Mitchell.

  6. Dennis says:

    Just throwing this out there but there’s gonna be a “down on the farm” segment during one of the intermissions on the next Oilers telecast. Granted, it’s probably something that was filmed three weeks ago and we have so many other ways of picking information these days that I doubt they’ll tell us much we don’t already know, but it’s nice that the Oilers are finally starting to realize that they can fill some of the dead time with some prospect talk.

    It’s odd, given how they like to blow their own horn, that they haven’t already intergrated some minor league talk, at least their PPV casts. Can you just imagine Laforge saying, “the ’08 Oilers might be sub-standard, but just wait until ’09 when you’ll be watching guys like Trukno and Bryan Young.”!!

    Truk could be in tough down there this year, though. If you’re not on the top two lines, you’re not really seeing a lot of time and I’m not making excuses for why he couldn’t ascend past both, or either, of RS or JFJ but let’s be sensible here, the Oilers have more time left in his servicetime hourglass so unless he really pushes the issue, this season could be close to a write-off in terms of counting stats.

    Just one last thought on those stats. Both MP and JFJ put those numbers up on a split-affliate, which makes it even more impressive considering you know that the main team’s players will get a longer look. If we were running an org, that’s the way we’d do it too. It’s really the only sensible way to do things. I think everyone runs their minor league operation and expects some kind of loss and if playing Player A from the lesser affiliate might mean more wins and fans in the seats as opposed to playing Player B from the real team and developing him at the cost of a few points, you know how it will go.

    And while it’s now funny to think about JFJ being heralded as “Moreau with hands”, and yes it came from that notorious prolific gasbag, Kevin Pendergast, it’s easy for me to go back in time after that year and look at that kid scoring 24 goals in 60 odd games on a split affliate and see how people should’ve been excited about it. And in looking at MP’s numbers, it’s hard to believe that he isn’t a surefire NHLer by now considering that up until this year, he’d had always been steady.

    As for Rita, I still don’t know if I’m to the point where I can discuss it rationally:)

  7. danny says:

    I thought a MacT quote from the dailies could be thrown here.

    MacTavish tried J.F. Jacques but he’s only getting a lot of air miles going back and forth to the farm.

    “We had J.F. and we thought he’d help, but he struggles with the puck,” said MacTavish. “Ultimately the play ends up dying with him. Yeah, he might get a good bodycheck a game and he’s a good presence on the bench, but on the ice, he didn’t make any plays.”

  8. Ribs says:

    Heya, is there a link to the Staples article anywhere?

  9. Ribs says:

    …Nvermind.. found it.

  10. Lowetide says:

    It’s in there somewhere. Nice rundown on the Astros 1b for a decade or so there for those who followed baseball in that era.

  11. Ribs says:

    Cool stuff LT.

    Do you know when the Journal article will be in the paper? I’ll have to try to wrangle one up if I get a chance. Will it be published online as well? Or will you post it at all?

  12. Dennis says:

    Yeah, MacT was cutting up the Francos a little bit today, wasn’t he? My favorite part was when he said Pouliot probably isn’t a good 4th liner. I’m not saying I disagree with that, but I am saying that it’s not like I say Pouliot getting a shot with either of Hemsky or Horcoff so it’s not like MacT really tried to slot him in any spot other than the bottom six, either.

    As for JFJ, hey, I’m ready to give up on the kid too, but last going off, he was starting to hit. But now macT says, yeah, he’ll hit some people but he doesn’t know what to do with the puck. If you’re JFJ, you’re wondering what you have to do to stick.

  13. Lowetide says:

    ribs: I haven’t talked to him lately, but last I heard he said Monday’s Journal.

    Don’t know anything about online inclusion.

  14. MikeP says:

    Dennis: if you’re JFJ, you know that you need to hit and be able to know one end of your stick from the other. Derek Boogaard gets to keep playing because he hits, draws penalties, and has scored at least one NHL point.

    JFJ doesn’t stick because he doesn’t hit consistently, doesn’t draw penalties much, and has yet to get a point. That’s it, that’s all.

    I also assume MacT talks to his players outside of giving press conferences. I know that’s giving him the benefit of the doubt, but hey, *some* of his young players develop, so at least some of it has got to be on the player.

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