Falcons 08-09 F (Reasonable Expectations Reviewed)

This is Ryan Potulny. One of the major questions about this season revolves around the fact he spent only 8 games with the Oilers. His season was easily the best among forwards, but Potulny played 70 games in the AHL and was 20 points better than #2 scorer Rob Schremp on the club.

I think the Oilers will probably have another look at Potulny in the fall. Although he’s 22 months older than Schremp, Potulny is a shooter on a club looking for one and this past season’s goal total (38) ranked third in the entire American Hockey League.

The forwards who played on the farm this season are a lot closer to professional extinction than they were a year ago, and I think that statement applies to all of them save Potulny, Ryan Stone and Liam Reddox.

It was an awful season for the forwards. One more quick note: all the reference to toughness of opposition comes from Jonathan Willis’ outstanding work here. I’m extremely confident that we’re getting a much better picture of these minor league players because of AHL Qualcomp.

  • Ryan Potulny: Fall ’08 Reasonable Expectations: If he plays in the AHL all season he could score 30 goals. ACTUAL: Scored 38 goals on 244 shots and delivered a quality minor league season. Potulny was the best forward on the team by a mile and deserves a long look at fall TC.
  • Rob Schremp: Fall ’08 Reasonable Expections: I think it’s completely reasonable to suggest Rob Schremp will lead the AHL in scoring this season. ACTUAL: I admit that statement looks like the rantings of a crazy man now, but Schremp finished in a tie for 7th in points the previous season. This season he finished in a tie for 113th. His EV/game numbers over the last three seasons are going the wrong way: 06-07: 69gp, 8-17-25 .362 07-08: 65gp, 8-20-28 .431 08-09: 69gp, 3-16-19 .275. Not much to say, except that if he becomes a useful NHL player at any point from this moment forward it will represent an outstanding accomplishment. No one even mentions his skating anymore and I saw a shift during the regular season in which he had that wide-track back in spades. Does he work on this stuff now? Is it even worth it at his age?
  • Ryan Stone: He wasn’t on the team last fall so there were no expectations. Stone’s season overall (77gp, 17-39-56, 117pims) and his size (6.02, 200) make him an obvious candidate for an NHL team looking to add some grit while still having enough skill on all 4 lines to generate EV offense. He could be a roster player in 09-10.
  • Vyacheslav Trukhno: Fall ’08 Reasonable Expectations: He should be able to establish himself on the top 2lines and as a viable option on the 1st powerplay. ACTUAL: Trukno’s numbers were off, but his EV performance remained about level. He appears to have been demoted from the PP at some point and that had a big impact on his numbers. I’d say he failed on the powerplay and somewhat established himself on the top 2 lines (he finished 4th in team scoring).
  • Gilbert Brule: Fall ’08 Reasonable Expectations: A full AHL season in multiple roles, perhaps 10 games in the NHL. ACTUAL: He covered the NHL bet (11gp, 2-1-3) and his AHL numbers were okay (39gp, 13-11-24) but unspectacular. He could be something, but there’s little to suggest he was a recent lottery pick and not much to strongly recommend him as a future NHL player.
  • Colin McDonald: Fall ’08 Reasonable Expectations: If he gets to play with skilled men all season and a lot of PP time then 15-20 goals is reasonable. This is his time, though. If he struggles the Oilers have all kinds of options available. ACTUAL: McDonald’s positive is that he played much of the year on the “tough minutes” line and had a -8 for the season. His offense is still shy and I’d guess he’ll never hit enough for the show but this was a good season.
  • Tyler Spurgeon: Fall ’08 Reasonable Expectations: A healthy AHL season and based on a tremendous TC he may get a cup of coffee in the NHL. ACTUAL: He had a very good training camp and spent the season playing against the league’s best, coming out with a solid -4. Like McDonald, I wonder if he’ll hit enough for the big leagues but he’s in the conversation now.
  • Bryan Lerg: Fall ’08 Reasonable Expectations: A 20-goal season in the AHL. ACTUAL: Lerg scored 9 goals in 42 AHL games, which works out to about 17 over a season. I think he should have been better, as he played against mid-level competition and was 22 years-old entering pro hockey. A disappointing year, and he could easily be flushed during what will be a summer of change.
  • Derek Bekar: Fall ’08 Reasonable Expectations: A depth player who may or may not play a lot this season. It depends on the kids. ACTUAL: He was way better than a depth player, popping 9 goals in half a season and grabbing a +1 on a club that was beaten to a pulp at EVs. He was born in 1975 so may not return, but one of the things that shouldn’t be forgotten about this Springfield team is Derek Bekar’s performance (despite the fact he played the softs).
  • Guillaume Lefebvre: Fall ’08 Reasonable Expectations: You never know. He might find a role. Nick Fotiu did. ACTUAL: He may have a career. He played against the toughest possible opponents and although -13 at EVs he emerged as an enforcer who can play a regular shift. It’s not at all clear to me that Steve MacIntyre is a better player, as an example.
  • Ryan O’Marra: Fall ’08 Reasonable Expectations: Playing well in that 4line role and then showing enough to move up the depth chart when injuries and callups begin. This is an excellent slot for him, here’s hoping he takes advantage. ACTUAL: He had another bad year and at this point must be close to a NP. O’Marra played the softs to a -12 and scored 1 goal in 62 AHL games. He doesn’t deserve a pro roster spot.
  • Liam Reddox: Fall ’08 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. ACTUAL: He played only 14 games in the AHL (5-4-9 -3) against tough opposition. The rest of the year saw him playing 46 games in an Oiler uniform (5-7-12 -6) and looks like he may have an NHL career.
  • Geoff Paukovich: Fall ’08 Reasonable Expectations: A full AHL season, 10 goals, 100 pims and anything close to middle of the pack in the plus minus column. ACTUAL: He scored 4 goals in a full (46 games) season with 51pims and a -11 against mid-level competition. It’s hard to see an NHL career from here.
  • Jordan Eberle: No expectations since he didn’t play until the end of the season, but Eberle’s cup of coffee in the minors is worth mentioning. He went 9gp, 3-6-9 and although it it extremely unlikely he’ll play one NHL minute next season that little 9-game audition was impressive.
  • Tim Sestito: Fall ’08 Reasonable Expectations: Continuing his move up the organization’s depth chart and waiting for his chance. A little more offense would help. ACTUAL: Played on the checking (tough minutes) line all year and was -14 and lacked offense (5-3-8). Sestito also played one game in the NHL.
  • JF Jacques: No expectations because we didn’t know if he’d play this season. Jacques has mastered the AHL and any more time there will have to do with depth or injury. He could also be playing for another team in the minors next season.
  • Stephane Goulet: Fall ’08 Reasonable Expectations: 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. ACTUAL: He didn’t get the at-bats again this season, but at this point everyone has to have lost interest. When you are an overlooked option for the length of an entry-level contract there must be something wrong.

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