Reasonable Expectations (Review) for Springfield Falcons

This is Slava Trukhno. He’s one of my favorite Oiler prospects for lots of reasons, mostly having to do with skill. He’d be my bet for “breakout player” at the AHL level for 08-09. Trukhno scored at a very nice rate after Marc Pouliot was called up to Edmonton and allowed the Russian to have the big minutes and the better linemates. He is (apparently) very good on the powerplay so should be able to score at decent rates in the AHL this season with more minutes.

I think it’s a good idea to have a “line in the sand” for each player for the upcoming season. Point totals or plus minus aren’t especially important (who could be that specific?) but if a prospect is going to progress on a line that eventually sees them play in the NHL then each season should be at least somewhat predictable. If players do not reach this line in the sand, then they obviously lost ground in the previous season.

This post is a quick review of each Falcon this past season, and I’ll follow it up with a post that looks forward to 08-09.

GOALIES
  1. Jeff Delauriers (23)-Last Summer’s Expectation: Reasonable expectations: Keeping the top AHL job and making NHL debut. He improved his SP year over year (.908 to .912) and moved into the top 20 in the AHL in that category (16th). I think you’d have to say this was a successful season for him and he did get called up (but didn’t get into an NHL game). The organization is making noises about him staying up with the big club even if it means rolling with three goalies this year.
  2. Devan Dubnyk (21)-Last Summer’s Expectation: At 21, he should be able to push by JDD this season. His .904SP ranked him 8th among AHL rookies and 33rd overall in 07-08. He got into 33 games and did have periods of time when he was the #1 goalie (10 games in February). Consistency is his problem and this is a pivotal season but I think you can argue he met our expectations.
  3. Glenn Fisher (24)-Last Summer’s Expectation: Solid pro debut in ECHL and possibly some time in Triple A. Fisher had a subpar year based on expectations. His .903SP in the ECHL put him in a tie for 27th overall and trailed his G partner by (.909) quite a bit in that category. He did get a cup of coffee in the AHL but was not qualified by the Oilers this summer. There is a rumor he will be signed by Springfield but won’t be part of the Oilers 50 man list.

DEFENSE

  1. Tom Gilbert (24)- Last Summer’s Expectation: If he keeps playing at last year’s level, Oilers will either have to make room or trade him. He looks NHL ready. Gilbert had a terrific season that saw him emerge as one of the most valuable defensemen on the big club. He cashed in with a huge contract and looks to be a big part of the Edmonton Oilers for the next several seasons. Huge gains from last summer.
  2. Mathieu Roy (24)- Last Summer’s Expectation: Another season in the AHL and injury callup. Well he played in the AHL and he was indeed an injury callup. Roy’s problem is injuries and although he has a one-way contract with the Oilers for 08-09 I wonder just how much he can be counted on. A question mark due to concussions and being injury prone.
  3. Danny Syvret (22)- Last Summer’s Expectation: An offensive season in the AHL that reflects what he managed in junior. Despite being a much heralded junior (OHL First All-Star Team-2005; Canadian Major Junior Defenseman of the Year-2005; Canadian Major Junior First All-Star Team-2005; Memorial Cup Tournament All-Star Team-2005) he never really fit in with the Oilers. His numbers were better this past season but the Oilers sent him away (for Potulny) in the spring. If there was a victim of the “no farm team” era the Oilers went through in the last few seasons, it would be Danny Syvret.
  4. Allan Rourke (27)- Last Summer’s Expectation: Veteran AHLer plays tough minutes and helps the prospects develop. He did much more than that, in fact playing in the NHL with the Oilers for a time (13 games, he played well enough for David Staples to write about him quite often). I believe he signed in Germany for next season, hopefully for good money.
  5. Brian Young (21)- Last Summer’s Expectation: A year in the AHL getting pro experience. Young ran hot and cold this past season but did cover the bet. He had a period where his plus minus was dreadful but recovered nicely and the season would have to be considered a success. Got into a couple of NHL games too.
  6. TJ Kemp (26)- Last Summer’s Expectation: Can’t imagine the set of circumstances that would see him in the NHL this season. He had a huge offensive season but didn’t look like he helped much away from the puck based on stats. The Oilers didn’t call him up and with the plethora of puck moving defenders coming on board this season he’ll be on another AHL team in the fall. From the Ralph Keller family of AHL defenders.
  7. Theo Peckham (19)- Last Summer’s Expectation: First year pro, and more positive comments from scouts and coaches. Struggled some but once again impressed with calm feet and physical style. Added a skill (bomb from the blueline) and looked composed in his NHL debut. Career path looks NHL worthy.
  8. Sebastien Bisaillon (19)- Last Summer’s Expectation: Lots of defenseman lose a ton of offense going from junior to pro, but he’s a player worth watching and the Oilers have had significant success in the Quebec league in the Prendergast procurement era. I should also have mentioned lots of defensemen get hurt going from junior to pro, as his season was dominated by injuries. Having said that, his offense stayed and he’s a quality prospect.

CENTERS

  1. Rob Schremp (21)- Last Summer’s Expectation: Suspect Nilsson gets the NHL job out of the gate with Schremp ripping it up in Triple A. Remember, there was a time when Rob Nelson was going to be the first baseman of the future for the Oakland A’s, so it’s not always who goes north with the big club. At this point Schremp has been stepped over by so many prospects he must have athlete’s scalp. He had a quality AHL season and you could argue there isn’t much left to prove in the minors. The Oilers will either have to make room for Schremp or trade him.
  2. Kyle Brodziak (23)- Last Summer’s Expectation: Another quality run in the AHL and plenty of time in the show. Like Tom Gilbert, Brodziak arrived at training camp and made it impossible for the team to send him down. He was dominant, not just in practice or intra-squad games, but in exhibition games and then into the regular season. Textbook example of how to win an NHL job.
  3. Andrew Cogliano (20)- Last Summer’s Expectation: A solid year in the AHL posting good offensive numbers and earning rave reviews for how well he plays the game in all areas. He did all of that, except it was in the NHL. Cogliano made it obvious early on that he didn’t belong in the minor leagues and that his college training had him well prepared for the pro game. A quality talent and a fine rookie season.
  4. Ryan O’Marra (20)- Last Summer’s Expectation: A healthy AHL season. It was a ghastly year, in fact it was so bad I think it’s completely reasonable to wonder if he’ll ever recover with this organization. Made the ECHL all-star team which would be terrific except what the hell was he doing there? In a season when Oil prospects enjoyed tremendous highs, this was a devastating low.
  5. Tyler Spurgeon (21)- Last Summer’s Expectation: A full season in the AHL (he split time between AHL and Stockton last season). Injured again, didn’t play much. Very likely to join the long list of good prospects who never got off the ground at the pro level due to injuries.
  6. Jonas Almtorp (23)- Last Summer’s Expectation: He’s arriving in North America after 150 games in the Swedish Elite League (11-14-25 career totals) so he should hit the ground running. Based on age and level of experience, a very disappointing season. He is gone.
  7. Fredrik Johansson (23)- Last Summer’s Expectation: Hard to say. If he doesn’t get an AHL job, he might end up going back to the SEL. He played some in the AHL, even more in the ECHL. Joined Almtorp in not being qualified by the Oilers.

LEFT WING

  1. JF Jacques (22): Last Summer’s Expectation: No matter how many games he plays in the show this year, he needs to be better every shift. And it wouldn’t kill him to get a freaking point, either. Played another 9 games in the show without a point and the organization began to speak openly about the gap between AHL and NHL performance for this player. Injuries became a factor (back) and put his future in some doubt, but the most recent reports are positive. Apparently there’s nothing he can do to deter the faith Dennis, Tyler and I have in him. God knows he’s tried.
  2. Slava Trukhno (20): Last Summer’s Expectation: 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. He didn’t perform at a level close to expectation. He did play well on the powerplay and would appear to be somewhat one dimensional when compared to his draft day scouting report.
  3. Liam Reddox (21): Last Summer’s Expectation: He needs to be a lot better offensively, but he’s an interesting prospect who might be able to play the disturber role. Reddox was a revelation in Springfield and then played well in the big leagues. He’s put himself in a position to possibly make the big club in training camp this fall, an impossible dream one year ago.
  4. Tim Sestito (23): Last Summer’s Expectation: Role player in AHL. The organization loves the guy. He was the first prospect they signed this spring (signed to a two-year deal in March) and I bet he plays some in the NHL in the next two seasons.

RIGHT WING

  1. Zach Stortini (22): Last Summer’s Expectation: He’s a guy who could split his season between Springfield and the Oilers. He did better than that, playing almost the entire year in the NHL and playing at a level no one but MacTavish and Stortini’s Mom thought possible.
  2. Colin McDonald (23): Last Summer’s Expectation: A strong work ethic and an idea about how to play the game, plus a full 650 plate appearances in the AHL. -21 and 12 goals is not what anyone was expecting. The Oilers are saying things like he’ll be stronger and score more goals in 08-09 but we’ve heard that before. A very poor first pro season, I think he probably would have been better off coming out of college earlier. The new Brock Radunske. 169 shots on goal only positive I can find from his season.
  3. Stephane Goulet (21): Last Summer’s Expectation: Spending the entire season in the AHL and showing offense similar to his ECHL season. Interesting prospect. He scored 6 EV goals in 36 games and I don’t think he was on a high-skill line. Could be a hidden gem. I’d say he covered the bet despite some ECHL time.
  4. Troy Bodie (22): Last Summer’s Expectation: He should be able to grab a fulltime AHL job. Bodie did that and played fairly well, but not well enough to be qualified. Recently signed by Anaheim.
  5. David Rohlfs (23): Last Summer’s Expectation: At least half the season in the AHL. He managed only 2 games in the AHL and spent the entire year in the ECHL (16-16-32). Somewhat curious they would keep him and let the younger (and better) Bodie go, but it probably has to do with 50 contracts, Rohlfs still being under contract, and the fact that they’d made the decision on Bodie and wanted to give Rohlfs a full season at Triple A.

Okay, there’s the review. Some players (Gilbert, Brodziak, Cogliano, Stortini) ran all over the competition, while others (O’Marra, Trikhno, McDonald) gave up ground to the competition. I’ll have a new “reasonable expectations” post up for 08-09 Springfield later today or tomorrow, and incredibly Rob Schremp’s name will appear. Again.

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17 Responses to "Reasonable Expectations (Review) for Springfield Falcons"

  1. DBO says:

    So looking at the youth, we don’t have many 2 way center’s in the pipe. Would that be accurate? We seems to have skill players and grinders, but not many two way guys. So with our cap room, and Marty Reasoner sitting at home waiting for macT’s call, should we talke a chance on a Jason Williams for 2 years at $2.5 million? He becomes our third line center, plays with Cole and Pisani (and they eat up the comp)and can play second pp on the point with Gilbert. basically he becomes Stoll part 2 with more offence. Mirtle has a good post about GFON vs GAON (http://mirtle.blogspot.com/), and williams is right up there beside Sundin. I’d like to see it, we get a bit older at center and marty reasoner gets a two way deal and is an injury call up. Or is Williams too much of an unknown item in respect to a checking line role?

  2. Lowetide says:

    DBO: I think they’re going to give Brodziak or Pouliot a shot at that job this fall. If neither can grab it, they’ll probably address it in the spring at the deadline if they’re playoff bound.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Zach Stortini (22): Last Summer’s Expectation: He’s a guy who could split his season between Springfield and the Oilers. He did better than that, playing almost the entire year in the NHL and playing at a level no one but MacTavish and Stortini’s Mom thought possible.

    And Bruce ;)

    Nice review LT, and I think that the expectations were legitimate, and give us a really nice idea about who is climbing fast and who is greasing the exit rails.

    It was a tough year for two guys that I really like (Psurgeon and Goulet). I agree that Goulet could surprise, especially if put in an AHL scoring role.

  4. Coach pb9617 says:

    So looking at the youth, we don’t have many 2 way center’s in the pipe. Would that be accurate? We seems to have skill players and grinders, but not many two way guys.

    Riles Nash.

  5. John says:

    Excellent review. I LMAO at this: “Ryan O’Marra … Made the ECHL all-star team which would be terrific except what the hell was he doing there? …”

  6. dstaples says:

    I think it was Bill James who wrote about Leo Durocher, and that the skill of the great manager was to bring in talent young players in each placed he showed up and actually give them a chance to play, which led to good things.

    Perhaps MacTavish had no choice last season, but him rolling with Brodziak, Stortini, Cogliano, Gagner and the others last season showed a real faith for the ability of young talent to step up and meet the test of big league competition.

    Who was predicting all four would make such major contributions? No one.

    Only an optimist would expect similar big things from the likes of Reddox, Peckham, Schremp and Sestito this coming year, or soon after, but perhaps we have reason to be optimistic here.

    Great time to be an Oilers fan.

  7. Lowetide says:

    David Staples: I’d bet money he was talking about Earl Weaver. Earl wouldn’t let anyone start until they’d spent some time in the bullpen to get comfortable in the big leagues. Terrific arms, all spending time in middle relief. Earl’s teams would struggle in April and kill you in August.

  8. Jonathan says:

    Only an optimist would expect similar big things from the likes of Reddox, Peckham, Schremp and Sestito this coming year, or soon after, but perhaps we have reason to be optimistic here.

    Great time to be an Oilers fan.

    On the other hand, the idea of opening seven roster spots to rookies was painful enough the first time we did it- I really don’t want to go through that again.

    Because I’m an optimist ;)

  9. David says:

    How about two to four roster spots for kids, depending on how many step up and seize the opportunity.

  10. Jonathan says:

    How about two to four roster spots for kids, depending on how many step up and seize the opportunity.

    I like the idea of leaving one spot for Pouliot, and one spot for another forward, and then only letting the kids on to the team if they can force themselves into a role in camp. Roster spots should be earned, IMO.

  11. PDO says:

    Would Rob Schremp be a better player today if he was allowed to play in the AHL when he was 19?

  12. danny says:

    How about blogosheres golden boy Pouliot be added to the players that need to earn a spot? Other than a few stretches here and there he has been nothing ore than a project/ if he has another bad pre-season then he shouldn’t be handed anything IMO

  13. PDO says:

    He’s signed to a one-way deal.

  14. dstaples says:

    Lowetide: No, not Weaveer, though this may also apply to Weaver. The article was surely about Durocher and position players, not pitchers.

  15. Dennis says:

    I like MacT but he didn’t have any other Choice than to go with kids once first Souray and Horc went down; at that point, what else could he do?

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