The Oilers top 20 this winter can be divided into four distinct groups: top drawer (1-2), arrows in the right direction (3-6), good and bad all together (7-17) and then the guys who have some pretty big issues but enough positives to beat the churn (18-20).
The funny thing about this year’s list is that I’m not at all certain Jeff Petry at #7 is a better bet than Sebastien Bisaillon at #16. Seriously. Both men have positives and negatives in their game and both of them will have to climb over kids with better draft pedigree in order to make the show.
Bisaillon was undrafted but not unknown when the Oilers signed him to a professional contract. His scouting report said “is a very good puck-mover from the back end, and also owns plenty of offensive potential. Has a hard, accurate shot from the point. Needs a lot of work on his defensive-zone coverage in order to eventually see regular minutes at the NHL level. Is a little undersized.”
He was an emergency recall in 06-07 and then began his pro career in 07-08 with a strong start in the AHL. A dreadful injury that could have had an impact on his career cut his first pro season short but he recovered in time to start this season with Springfield. Despite very impressive numbers he finds himself in the bizarre healthy scratch rotation with Cody Wild and Bryan Young, which believe me runs counter to the math in regard to which defender should be sitting. Bisaillon can put up points as we can see from his first two pro seasons:
- 07-08: 21gp, 3-7-10 -3
- 08-09: 22gp, 4-6-10 +6
Of those 20 points, he’s scored 4 of 7 goals on the PP (2 per season) and 5 of the 13 assists (2 last year, 3 this season) with the man advantage. So that’s 45% of his AHL offense coming from special teams which is approaching Rob Schremp (before this season) territory. No biggie, defensemen get lots of their points from the man advantage but it does give us a hint about how he might be used if he arrives in the NHL at some time.
Bisaillon has been partnered with pretty much everyone but for quite some time (before last night when they switched up) has been a third pairing option with Josef Hrabal. This makes sense based on what we know about him (it looks like he’s from the MA Bergeron chaos tree, maybe a little more organized and certainly bigger but he’s no mountain either) and when paired with Taylor Chorney (as he was last night) disaster happens although we don’t know how much of that is about Bisaillon.
With that as the backdrop, here are the current numbers (stats and plus minus) for Falcon blue:
- Peckham 23gp, 4-7-11 +2 (toughest minutes)
- Bisaillon 22gp, 4-6-10 +6 (easy minutes)
- Chorney 26gp, 0-7-7 -16 (tougher minutes)
- Wild 15gp, 1-4-5 +6 (easy and part time minutes)
- Jake Taylor 12gp, 1-3-4 +4 (toughest minutes w/healthy)
- Roy 17gp, 1-3-4 -11 (toughest minutes)
- Robbie Bina 11gp, 0-3-3 -2 (easy minutes)
- Hrabal 13gp, 0-1-1 +2 (easy minutes)
- Bryan Young 15gp, 0-0-0 -2 (tougher minutes)
If you have any insight that challenges above please pass it along. My info is based on AHL.com boxscores (they give pairings for all GF and GA), the Falcons site (always nice to visit 1996) and what I can read in the Springfield newspapers (they’re pretty good) online.
I think Bisaillon’s a player. In fact, it isn’t clear to me that he has less value than any of the three college kids or Hrabal or anyone not named Theo Peckham or Alexandre Plante. His career path has some similarities to Marc-Andre Bergeron’s and his offense through basically half an AHL season compares well to MAB at the same stage:
- Bisaillon 43gp, 7-13-20 .465
- Bergeron 50gp, 2-13-15 .300
Now we don’t know TOI totals and PP TOI numbers but he’s performed well offensively in a good league at a young age. And that has value.