Some Falcons Take Flight

Slava Trukhno seems to be turning some kind of a corner. It looks like his role on the Springfield Falcons has increased and he is a strong option currently on the powerplay. This follows a rather slow start to his pro career.

Trukhno is one of several Oilers prospects in the AHL trying to build a resume strong enough for a recall to the Edmonton Oilers. It’s extremely unlikely that call will come this season but his improvement lately can’t have gone unnoticed by coaches and management.

In the summer when we were talking about the Falcons possible roster my expectation was that Trukhno was “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.”

That proved to be a little aggressive, since Trukhno is well behind the Vic Ferrari 1/1 line in the sand. He has struggled for playing time for much of the year and despite showing flashes only recently has shown any sustain game over game.

Here are the Falcons forwards prospect numbers in the last 4 games:

  1. Trukhno 3-2-5, -1
  2. Schremp 1-3-4, -2
  3. Reddox 0-2-2, +3 (missed 1g)
  4. Pouliot 1-1-2, +1 (called up after 3g)
  5. Goulet 2-0-2, E
  6. Bodie 1-0-1, +1 (in 1gp)
  7. McDonald 0-1-1, -4
  8. Sestito 0-0-0, -1
  9. O’Marra 0-0-0, -2 (in 1gp)

It’s a very small sample size obviously and in the ebb and flow of a long season it’s impossible to get a clear indication of a prospect’s arrow during a 4-game stretch. Still, I think it’s a bit of a tell in terms of recent playing time and who might be stepping forward. Encouraging signs from Trukhno, Reddox (as usual) and Goulet. Some real concern for Colin McDonald. College players do sometimes his a wall but -4 in a 4-game period where your club has been competitive (Falcons are 2-2) can’t be good.

Here are Trukhno’s 07-08 stats by month:

  • Oct 8gp, 2-1-3, -2
  • Nov 6gp, 1-1-2, E
  • Dec 11gp, 1-5-6, -1
  • Jan 11gp, 1-2-3, -6
  • Feb 8gp, 1-2-3, -5
  • Mar 3gp, 2-2-4, E

Has he turned the corner? We need to see this trend over a longer period, but it sure looks like it.

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18 Responses to "Some Falcons Take Flight"

  1. Mr DeBakey says:

    Some real concern for Colin McDonald

    The Oiler’s RW depth is scary-bad.
    I guess Goulet is playing well, but is too slow.
    McDonald, Rohlffs, Bodie – meh

    I heard a bit of Van Wilder’s play-by-play
    of last night’s Bears game.
    He mentioned that LA is eyeing Ian Mcdonald
    I’m wondering why the Oilers are not talking to him?
    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php3?pid=55479

    There looks to be 3 Bears who could step up a level. Mcdonald is one, and
    -Aaron Sorochan who dressed for one Oiler game ths year
    - Harlan Anderson dominates when he’s out there. 1.23PPG ths year. He is 25 tho’.

    Three Bears, I wonder if there is a story in that

  2. DBO says:

    LT.

    Real hard on for trukno hey?!? Have never seen him play, but from your posts i hope he turns out. Just wonder where he fits with all the youth we do have. Is he a better scorer then Schremp? Is he a better physical player then Reddox? Is he a better two way player with upside then Nash? The scary/great part about the Oil right now is that we have so much young talent I just wonder where we’ll put all these kids. We can’t go with a whole team under 27, so where could trukno, and most of our youth actually play? Or more importantly when? here’s hoping a 3 for 1 deal happens this summer.

  3. Lowetide says:

    DBO: Yeah, I like Trukhno a lot. If we make a list of possible strengths a player might have, Trukhno has a crooked number in most of them. I’ve been paying attention to prospects for a long time and it’s usually the case that the “wider range” prospects end up having a career even if it isn’t in a primary or top 2line role. Ethan Moreau would be an example of what I’m talking about.

    As for Trukhno specifically, here’s his draft day scouting report: Team leader, plays with an edge. Competes both ways. angerous off the rush, loves to cut to the middle. Can pass and shoot on the fly. Adjusted extremely well to North American game. One of the Rockets best players. Slightly deficient skater, bit of a wide tracker. Makes up for it with strength, hockey sense, puck control. He was 6-1, 195 and 18 years and 4 months on draft day.
    His stats were 64gp, 25-34-59, 57pims his draft year in the QMJHL.

  4. DBO says:

    So based on your analysis, and others would you say he is robbie Schremp with a little less scoring, but more two way play, grit and has the ability to compete physically? if that’s the case, once again Schremp will not have a place on the big team. Here’s hoping some GM has the love for Schremp that some of the fans do and takes him with a few other pieces for a top 6 forward.

  5. Lowetide says:

    dbo: Well all of that is based on Trukhno turning out. Right now his scoring number is a huge concern for him as a prospect. Say what you will about Schremp but his point per game number in the AHL at age 20 (.768) is I believe the strongest in recent memory for an Oiler prospect coming to the AHL at tha age. Trukhno’s number (.447) pales in comparison.

    But they are not similar players so comparing them is difficult. I believe a good comp for Trukhno is Jason Chimera who (although he had tremendous speed) didn’t light up the AHL in terms of points early on.

    Just for fun, here’s the CHL numbers for recent Oilers prospects in their (17-year old) draft year:

    Sam Gagner (06-07) 53gp, 35-83-118 2.23ppg
    Ales Hemsky (00-01) 68gp, 36-64-100 1.47ppg
    Rob Schremp (03-04) 63gp, 30-45-75 1.19ppg
    Marc Pouliot (02-03) 65gp, 32-41-73 1.12ppg
    Jarret Stoll (99-00) 71gp, 37-38-75 1.06ppg
    Liam Reddox (03-04) 68gp, 31-33-64 .941ppg
    Slava Trukhno (04-05) 64gp, 25-34-59 .922ppg
    Tyler Spurgeon (03-04) 49gp, 8-16-24 .490ppg
    JF Jacques (02-03) 67gp, 12-21-33 .493ppg
    Zack Stortini (02-03) 62gp, 13-16-29 .468ppg

  6. doritogrande says:

    I make one little post, and you’re back to letting Trukhno hump you? Boy, when you get it bad for some guys you go all out.

    Yeah, he’s had a nice little 4 game point streak, but couple that with the 3 previous scoreless games from him, and we get the kind of inconsistant player that will have a hard time making the NHL. Maybe it’s the minutes he’s getting, but that argument ends up with us admitting that he doesn’t have the confidance of the Bucky.

    He’s hit the “Rob Schremp” stage of his career. It’s probably going to take til year 3 before he gets any sort of look at NHL action, barring some sort of colossal attack of injuries not seen since, well, last season. These *are* the Edmonton Oilers, after all.

  7. jon k says:

    From watching Trukhno play a few times, I still stand by my belief that he’s not a player. Just doesn’t seem to have the speed, intensity, or offensive skills to make it. He has decent enough complementary offensive instincts and I think that’s why he seems fine on PPs and likely flourished playing with Claude Giroux.

    As for McDonald, currently worst +/- on the Falcons at around -20. Likely not the Pisani-type player we thought possible.

    As for our RW depth, I think that a free agent signing at RW is still likely this summer. I think Lowe might try to throw money at Hossa, and failing that will more likely end up with someone like Ryder, Jason Williams, or Demitra. Should be interesting.

  8. Lowetide says:

    dorito: I’ve liked him all down the line, what post that you made are you refering to? I won’t bother to post links or anything but am pretty certain someone can back me up on the statement that Trukhno is a guy I’ve liked since the day he was drafted.

    jonk: I understand your point, he looked plodding on one of the days I saw him at TC. However, since this blog is basically all about not trusting the “saw him good” crowd I think we probably disagree on Trukhno.

    As to dorito’s point about Schremp hitting the “Rob Schremp” stage of his career that is a positively noxious statement. If both make it, one will probably be a one dimensional money pit on a good day and the other will help his team win.

  9. Dennis says:

    LT: I usually defer to you when it comes to prospect talk but I think you’re taking a wide berth if you consider Truk’s paltry offensive output to register as “turning the corner.”

    Pouliot was a guy that didn’t look like anything until the second half of his rookie AHL season but I think Truk’s even far off that pace, isn’t he?

    I guess you might use the TTC phrase because you think he has enough secondary skills to make it as a forward 7-12 but for a guy that supposedly had some bigtime O skills, this season has to be considered a disappointment unless he goes near a PPG in his ~last 15 games or so plus hopefully playoffs.

  10. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: Yeah, that’s why I said we’d need to see this over a longer period. It’s basically 4 games (two weekends) and he could go on a long dry spell to end the season and never be heard from again.

    Having said that, this surge had to be expected based on his resume and it’s reasonable to assume that he will end the year with something of a flourish.

    For reference, Pouliot’s splits with Trukhno’s by month in brackets:

    Oct: 8gp, 2-2-4 -5 .500 (.375)
    Nov: 15gp, 1-9-10 -4 .667 (.333)
    Dec: 14gp, 4-4-8 +1 .571 (.545)
    Jan: 10gp, 2-5-7 -1 .700 (.273)
    Feb: 13gp, 6-7-13 E 1.0 (.375)
    Mar: 5gp, 0-3-3 +2 .600 (1.33)

    Pouliot played on a team that scored 2.81 per game, Trukhno plays on a team that scores 2.7 goals per game.

  11. Bank Shot says:

    How much of a wider range of skills does Trukhno have over Schremp?

    It’s obvious that Trukhno is much more willing to go into the corners and muscle guys off the puck/ protect the puck with his body, but I haven’t seen the guy throw a body check as of yet.

    Does Trukhno play on the PK at all?

    If he doesn’t then he’s got a pretty tough road ahead, as he may not be a great fit for the bottom six.

  12. Lowetide says:

    Bank Shot: Trukhno isn’t going to PK yet (20 year old rookie, that job would fall to Ben Simon or someone like that) but I don’t think it’s out of the question that he could do it based on what we read.

    Trukhno is getting more PP time lately based on what we’ve read.

  13. doritogrande says:

    LT, the post I’m referring to is right below, in the BJ vs Oilers thread:

    doritogrande said…
    Hey LT, your other man-crush had a goal and an assist in Springfield’s 4-2 win tonight. JD also stopped 37 of 39.

  14. Lowetide says:

    Dorito: Ah, gotcha. Yeah I’m certainly guilty of thinking Trukhno has a future. He has not stepped forward this season but I like him fine as a prospect.

  15. Dennis says:

    LT: where did you dig up those old game-by-game stats from Pouliot??? You must’ve kept a file from his ’06 season, did you? I am impressed, sir:)

    Anyway, 23 points in his last 28 games as an AHL rook on a team with a pop-gun offense so two March’s past there was legitimate reason for optimism.

    On Truk, its a shame we don’t get a look at their TOI but you can’t imagine he saw a lot of time this year. After an early look up top, JFJ and MP came back to SF and Schremp’s been there all along. Not to mention Thor popping in and out. That’s a lot of guys who years ahead of you there and unless you were really something special, it would be hard to pass guys.

    Sizing up the way things look and looking at the pipeline you hope that Truk has an ’09 like Reddox had in his second pro season in ’08. Plus, looking ahead to next year, I don’t think anyone’s really coming out besides possibly Nash, right? So let’s say Scremp’s back there, one of JFJ or MP, plus second year pros in Reddox and Mcdonald. That means you can mark Truk down for top six time and that’s the time for him to post a good-to-very good PPG rate.

    Sound about right? Am I missing one of the Euros making a jump, ie Bumagin? Or perhaps another collegiate like Vande Velde?

  16. Black Dog says:

    He still has a ways to go but a slow start to his career doesn’t mean that career is over. Theo Peckham started this season in the ECHL and just had a nice little debut. Wasn’t Liam Reddox is the ECHL last year??

    Unless your name is Iginla or Sakic or Hemsky you’re going to take your lumps in the minors (and for those guys they took them in the show). Trukhno does not look to be a future star but just because he’s had a rough first year as a pro does not mean he has no future.

    Patience, patience.

  17. Black Dog says:

    Vande Velde as long as he doesn’t drive it into the water, Dennis. But yeah, you have to figure that Trukhno will get some of that primo ice time next year – Thor is gone, have to figure one or both of MP or JFJ will be, or Schremp, Reddox may make the jump.

    Lots happening on the back end but pretty thin up front, especially on the wing.

  18. Dennis says:

    I was waiting for someone to make the golf joke, Pat;)

    A goal, an assist and a +2 again tonight for Truk.

    And, like we said, Pat, lots of ice for him next year.

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