They get traded for pitching. Since hockey’s version of pitching is goaltending (don’t ask me it just is) then Schremp should be traded sometime in September for goaltender Antti Niemi.
Maybe he makes the Oilers on the 4th line, as an energy winger who combines with Pouliot or Brodziak and Zack Stortini in the role that may have gone to Curtis Glencross.
Here are the possible 08-09 Springfield Falcons and reasonable expectations for each of them should they spend the season in the minor leagues.
- Jeff Deslauriers (24): At least one Oiler exec (KP, surprise) said he could be on the club even if they carry three goalies on the big roster. If he is on the AHL roster it will mean he’s cleared waivers and 30 NHL teams didn’t think he could help them. Reasonable expectations: Solid numbers in 10-15 NHL games and perhaps a quality conditioning stint in the minors. It’s sink or swim time for this player, with the organization seemingly convinced of his ability and the numbers suggesting otherwise.
- Devan Dubnyk (22): Watching goalies develop is like watching the America’s Cup yacht race: you can’t really tell who’s ahead and it’s very, very boring. Unless you’re actually in the race, of course. Dubnyk’s SP scorecard is all over the place (he was .700 one night and .966 the next). Reasonable expectations: More than 40 games in the AHL and a more consistent record. This is a big year for the big man.
- Bryan Pitton (20): First year pro is coming off his final junior season in which his .911SP put him in a tie for 9th overall in the OHL. As a point of comparison, Dubnyk’s final junior season SP was .912 (12th overall) and Deslaurier’s was .916 (3rd overall). Reasonable expectations: Plenty of work with good results in the ECHL and perhaps a few starts in the AHL.
- Glenn Fisher (25): Although he was not qualified by the Oilers, Guy Flaming has mentioned he signed a contract (it’s in a May 30th post on Guy’s site). So it must be a AAA contract that keeps Fisher off the 50-man list. Fisher did not have a terrific season in 07-08. You never know with goaltenders. He posted a .919SP his final college season so there’s talent here. Reasonable Expectations: Survival in pro hockey. He may spend the entire season as backup to Dubnyk in Springfield or he might be back in the ECHL helping out Pitton. Either way, he needs to show something this season.
- Mathieu Roy (25). Has 30 games of NHL experience and is old enough now to assume the 7D role without concerns about his development. Has some quickness issues but has a cap friendly salary. Reasonable Expectations: With the one-way deal and being waiver eligible, we should expect a full season with the big club, even if there’s a bunch of healthy scratches thrown in. Injuries will also be a factor for Roy.
- Josef Hrabel (23). I have him here because he’s been playing in the high Euro leagues for several years now (well over 100 games in Russia and Czech Republic combined) and he should be able to step past the raw rookies quite quickly. Hrabel is now listed as 6-1, 180 and can pass the puck. Oilers have suggested he could be a top pairing D in the AHL as soon as this season. Reasonable Expectations: He should be smoother and better able to handle AHL competition from the starting gate (among those who haven’t seen AHL action before) and would have to be considered a possibility for recall.
- Theo Peckham (20). Played well and received rave reviews one year ago, but there’s room for improvement and certainly development time in the minors will make him a better player when he finally arrives. Reasonable Expectations: A more prominent role in the AHL with a better plus minus number and perhaps some powerplay time.
- Sebastian Bisaillon (21). This guy has all kinds of positive arrows if he can stay healthy. I don’t know what’s more impressive, his PP totals in 21 AHL games (2-4-6) or his EV totals is 21 AHL games (1-5-6). Either way, we should brace ourselves because at least offensively this fellow may be better than the college trio (Chorney, Wild and Petry) and he’s pretty much the same age. Reasonable Expectations: If he stays healthy he could post 40+ points in the AHL which would make him the next Marc-Andre Bergeron. Some NHL time is also possible.
- Taylor Chorney (21). The Oilers have force fed young defensemen (Greene, Smid) since the break for cap purposes. The big league roster sets up now in a way guys like Chorney can be brought along at a more reasonable pace. Brian Lee was a teammate of Chorney’s at North Dakota and is probably a nice comparable since they’re the same age. Offense may come slowly since the Falcons will have other powerplay options and Chorney’s learning curve away from the puck is going to be fairly steep. Reasonable Expectations: A full, healthy season in the AHL, with a plus minus in the middle of the D pack and enough offense to justify his draft number.
- Bryan Young (22). I’d call him Chris Hajt but he’s already surpassed Bill’s son in terms of NHL experience. Class stay-at-home type wasn’t consistent a year ago and will probably be asked to take on a larger role this season (he’s now played in over 100 AHL games). Reasonable Expectations: Top 4D in Springfield and perhaps a cup of coffee in the NHL.
- Cody Wild (21). One of the things we can probably predict right now is that one of these offensive defensemen is going to end up with disappointing offensive totals. Not everyone can be on the powerplay and someone has to play defense. Wild has a dozen games AHL experience but Chorney has the organizational push behind him so this season may be a struggle for him. Reasonable Expectations: A healthy season (that goes for all these rookies) and learning how to make defensive decisions at a higher speed.
- Jordan Bendfeld (20). The Oilers have stated that they feel he’s a kid they feel can play for them in Springfield. Whether that’s this season or down the line is another matter. A very tough player, that will be his role if he makes the show (the new Pierre Bouchard). Reasonable Expectations: A full season in the ECHL with a possible callup to the AHL.
- Mike Gabinet (27). No matter how much development the Oilers want to accomplish in a single AHL season they need veterans who can compete in a very tough league. Although Gabinet lacks a lot of AHL experience he’s played in Finland and the ECHL. He was drafted in 2001 by the Kings (237th overall) and is the first of three players listed here who will do plenty of heavy lifting while the kids learn on the job. Reasonable Expectations: Crash Davis.
- TJ Reynolds (27). Big defender who turned pro in 2002 and looks like he’s found a home in Springfield. Played 24 games with the Falcons last season and would have played more if he’d been able to stay healthy. Reasonable Expectations: Depth defender.
- Brad Farynuk (26). He was leading Stockton in scoring when recalled to Springfield where Farynuk played a more defensive role. Reasonable Expectations: Depth defender.
- Gilbert Brule (21). He’s got a huge advantage over most of the other Falcons: he’s a MacT type player. I define a MacT type as being a player who cheats a little on leather over wood but can still deliver enough to make a difference. In money terms, his gross dollars may not be as high as Schremp’s but his bottom line kicks ass. Oilers need to be patient with this player, as Doug MacLean is an idiot. Reasonable Expectations: A full AHL season in multiple roles, perhaps 10 games in the NHL.
- Jakub Micflikier (24). 5-8, 180 and pure skill, Micfliker is another in a long line of undersized skill guys who never get anywhere in the Oilers organization (the previous guy was Martin St. Pierre and the first guy was Ken Berry). His numbers suggest he’ll have some success in the minors. Reasonable Expectations: A top 6 role with the Falcons and an impressive point total.
- Ryan O’Marra (21). I keep seeing posts talking about his “lost season” being no big deal and about O’Marra being groomed as a shutdown center for 3line duty. I don’t think so. The Oilers sent him to the ECHL, which is the equivalent of rubbing his nose in poop. O’Marra will need to have an exceptional camp followed by a solid year in order to get back in the good books, and unlike the Islanders system, Edmonton has another guy on deck who can crush a fastball. O’Marra is in trouble as a prospect. Reasonable Expectations: A complete AHL season without getting sent to the ECHL or traded. Seriously.
- Tim Sestito (24). I have a friend who played pro hockey a long time ago. Whenever we talk about hockey he makes me feel like I’ve never seen the game the way it actually plays out. He loves guys like Sestito even though the math says throw them in the ditch. It may have to do with role players, penalty killing, macho crap or barking at windmills but either way the Oilers have the same mindset. Sestito=good and everything about the parent club’s behaviour says it’s true. If there were an expansion draft they’d protect him over Trukhno I’m convinced of it. Reasonable Expectations: The math won’t like it but he’ll play a full season with a callup to the show possibly in the cards.
- Tyler Spurgeon (22). Years ago in the town I grew up in one of the town kids got an invite to the St. Louis Blues training camp. They sent him home the first day because he’d had a knee injury. Pro sports and injuries don’t mix. Spurgeon is a huge question mark. Reasonable Expectations: A healthy AHL season.
- Ben Simon (30). Simon is one of those guys who serves as mentor and coach-saver. If this were 66-67 he’d be drafted by St. Louis and play 5 years but as it is Simon isn’t close to getting the call. He’s played 81 more NHL games than I will, though. Reasonable expectations: Another season of hard work.
- Rob Schremp (22). First things first: Rob Schremp is not Superman. He is not the most talented player in the history of the game to play his career in the minor leagues (that honor belongs to Guyle Fielder). He was cursed by two things: a parade of talent in Ourtown not seen in many years at his position and skill set, and a management team gunshy about how to treat talented munchkins who have a chip on their shoulder. A lot of what has happened with Rob Schremp has to do with how the Mike Comrie scenario played out imo. The Oilers were run over by Comrie/Winter and it won’t happen again. I’d say he’s about 70% of Mike Comrie and if he’d arrived in fall 2000 Schremp would be on his third team by now. Reasonable Expectations: An NHL job with another team, a 4th line job with the Oilers or leading the AHL in scoring. No middle ground.
- Ryan Potulny (24). A proven, established AHL scorer who might have a legit shot with the big club. He had 201 shots on goal in 07-08 (in 58 games) and that alone makes him an interesting player for the Oilers. Reasonable Expectations: If he plays in the AHL this season, he’ll need to clear waivers. If he does and plays a full season in Springfield, he could score 30 goals.
- JF Jacques (23). I’m going to include him here and on the post for the Oilers expectations because of the injury concerns. He is a unqiue talent and could be sent out for conditioning purposes and stay the entire season in the minors. Reasonable Expectations: You can’t expect back injuries to stay away, so we’ll say “if healthy” he should cream AHL pitching.
- Bryan Lerg (22). Pure scorer in college, Lerg is so unique among the Oilers grinders and playmakers he’ll no doubt be on the first powerplay in Springfield’s opening scrimmages. We have no idea about how he’ll handle the rough going but if he can take punishment without getting hurt (and make plays, obviously) the Oilers may have something here. Reasonable Expectations: A 20-goal season in the AHL.
- Slava Trukhno (21). More of a powerplay specialist than we thought he was based on scouting reports, Trukhno seemed to find his way as he moved up the depth chart. This will be a huge season for him as he was average or below in all categories. Reasonable Expectations: He should be able to establish himself on the top 2lines and as a viable option on the 1st powerplay.
- Geoff Paukovich (22). Now that Troy Bodie is gone he’ll be the top option for Coke Machine. He was -21 in Stockton on a team that looked to be about 25 goals in the red at EVs so he wasn’t alone but he wasn’t helping. Reasonable Expectations: A full AHL season, 10 goals, 100 pims and anything close to middle of the pack in the plus minus column.
- Garet Hunt (21). Undersized chainsaw fighter. Reasonable Expectations: Blood.
- Liam Reddox (22). It’s tempting to suggest he’ll fall back a little but often when the light goes on it stays on. Draft pedigree isn’t as important when you’re 22 and this guy has a chance (a chance!) at going north with the big club. Reasonable Expectations: If he is on the farm I’d expect he’s a feature player on the top line and delivering on all cylinders.
- Stephane Goulet (22). He’s got some unique qualities (didn’t get a lot of PP time but scored pretty well at EVs based on suspected playing time) including scoring one fewer EV goals than Colin McDonald in half the games played. Interesting prospect, he’ll need to show quite a bit to earn a contract beyond next season. Reasonable Expectations: 15-20 goals and a huge step forward. Unlike some of the other prospects in the system, Goulet’s performance suggest the talent is there but he needs the at-bats to prove it.
- Colin McDonald (24). He didn’t show enough this past season to suggest he’s a player of special interest and I don’t really see where he can improve enough to be successful. He played a lot, took a lot of shots, spent some significant time of the powerplay and still didn’t deliver runs. As a prospect, he’s in trouble. Reasonable Expectations: A small increase in goals (say 15) and an improvement in plus minus. If he’s the scorer the Oilers management is suggesting he’ll be then McDonald needs to double his goal total from 07-08.
- David Rohlfs (24). Big winger who played in the ECHL last season (16-16-32) and his -2 looks very good on that club. Reasonable Expectations: A full season in the lineup, offensive totals similar to his ECHL numbers and enough positives from the coaching staff to earn another contract.
- Jamie Bates (23). We don’t know much about him. Falcons GM Bruce Landon is quoted as saying “from all scouting reports, Jamie is a big and strong forward who works extremely hard.” Sounds a little Slapshot to me but you never know. Scored at a point-per-game clip in college and is listed at 6-3, 195. Reasonable Expectations: A complete wild card.