In the next couple of weeks I’ll be doing a “Winners and Losers” edition of Sunday Minor League Report. Consider this a prelude. Often minor league rookie seasons are more “shades of grey” than “black and white” but in the case of Colin McDonald (#18, in photo) it is almost all black.
McDonald is not 20 (like Trukhno), not +12 (like Reddox) and doesn’t have 115pims (doesn’t bend it like Peckham). He is 23, -21 and nothing stands out on his stat line. So there’s really no way to connect him as a comp to any of the recent Oiler drafts who graduated to the AHL and established themselves as NHL players. Here, let’s list all of the forwards who were Oiler draft picks, graduated to the AHL for a time, and with the ones who spent time in the NHL in bold:
- 00-01 Shawn Horcoff 24gp, 10-18-28 (1.17) -7
- 00-01 Fernando Pisani 52gp, 12-13-25 (.481) +2
- 03-04 Joe Cullen 69gp, 14-16-30 (.435) +11
- 07-08 Colin McDonald 60gp, 11-12-23 (.383) -21
- 03-04 Brad Winchester 65gp, 13-6-19 (.292) -9
- 04-05 Dwight Helminen 41gp, 2-7-9 (.220) -4
To answer your first question, that was Joe Cullen’s high water mark. He never followed it up with anything close but did get signed by Ottawa as a free agent fall 2005 on the strength of a pretty nice first AHL season (he plays in Germany now based on hockeydb).
McDonald’s draft day bio: Owns projectable size and a nice touch around the net. Needs to prove he can put up numbers against stiffer competitive (he was playing in the NEJHL and on the way to NCAA). He has an interesting offensive upside, but will need time to develop.
McDonald’s AHL numbers by month seem to be going the wrong way:
- October 8gp, 1-5-6 .750 E
- November 13gp, 3-3-6 .461 -5
- December 6gp, 2-0-2 .333 +2
- January 12gp, 2-2-4 .333 -5
- February 0-0-0 .000 -2
In looking at prospects over a long period of time you begin to spot trends. All but the very best begin to leak oil (at least a little) early on and those that miss the show usually make it obvious by three years after their draft year. Some you wait on for longer because of draft pedigree or they went to college or they got hurt or you “saw them good.” In April 2005 (on hfboards) I wrote about McDonald “Still lots to like but he is 20 now and there isn’t any talk of him being signed after 2 college seasons. Lots of the really good college kids come out at this exact point in their development. He got hurt, no big deal but imo he hasn’t covered the bet.” Nothing really has changed. I’ve also suggested in the past that his best available comp is Brad Winchester and that still rings true. In December, I picked him as the Oilers 15th overall prospect and suggested “I think we can safely assume Colin McDonald is unlikely to be a scorer of note at the NHL level, and he seems to be an average AHL player at age 23.”
Even that may have been too kind.