Training Camp Hopeful #5: Colin McDonald

That’s Colin McDonald getting himself into a really good position to make a play during a pre-season game. McDonald was part of the fateful 2003 entry draft and has not developed as hoped in the days since.

McDonald has some nice things (size, a plus shot) and some things that hold him back (he doesn’t really use his size, not enough base hits in that bat of his) and he’s pretty old for a prospect (25 in one month).

McDonald was one of three Falcons to score 10 goals or more a season ago, and as we’ll discuss below things got better when Rob Daum took over as head coach.

  • What NHL role could he eventually qualify for? Daum used him in a penalty killing role and he faced (according to JW’s stuff) pretty stiff EV competition. So there might be something to build on, and he did score a little more under Daum (28gp, 5-7-12).
  • Where could he find a job on the 09-10 roster? I’m not going to suggest he’ll break camp with the big club but the depth chart isn’t bursting with responsible men and should he perform well in a PK role during pre-season McDonald might be a callup option when injuries hit. The Oilers on RW feature skill (Hemsky, Nilsson), gritty role players (Stortini) and a veteran with a wide range of skills (Pisani). As luck would have it, the veteran with a wide range of skills is injury prone and there’s not much on the roster to fill the role. McDonald has no chance of filling that role, but Pisani’s replacement (Pouliot? Penner? Stortini? Brule?) will leave a void when moving up the depth chart.
  • Where is he on the depth chart entering camp? Well, we’d have to rank him behind the 11 forwards who have jobs (Hemsky, Horcoff, Penner, Gagner, Cogliano, O’Sullivan, Moreau, Pisani, Stortini, Nilsson, Pouliot) and 8 who are at the head of the line (Jacques, Brule, Potulny, Minard, Stone, Reddox, MacIntyre, Schremp) among minor leaguers. So that’s 19 before we hit the outskirts of Springfield. I’d rate him ahead of men like Paukovich, Trukhno, Lerg, Lefebvre, Ryan O’Marra. So we’ll say just inside the top 20 among the pro’s (we won’t include Eberle).
  • That’s like 10 guys who can play right-wing who are ahead of him. Reddox is the guy who’ll eat his lunch from that group of 8 in the middle there. He can penalty kill, played tougher competition in the minors and has already started the long and difficult step from minor to majors. And he’s doing it at a much younger age. After that, it’s a big cluster of players and with a new coach coming in you never know. It would help if he could score a little.
  • There’s no bloody way Pat Quinn makes Colin McDonald an NHL player. When Craig MacTavish got his first NHL job as a head coach, he elevated a bunch of AHL forwards. Their names? Brian Swanson, Michel Riesen, Daniel Cleary, Dan Lacouture, Domenic Pittis, Brad Norton. Lacouture and Norton (who was a defenseman but hired to play LW, but never played with the Oilers due to a suspension in pre-season) made the club because MacT wanted some rugged wingers. Pittis could play center and they needed a tackle dummy for big Georges. Swanson, Riesen and Cleary played on a successful line the season before in Hamilton. It’s a new day for these guys, and in McDonald’s case this training camp might be his best shot to make the NHL. He needs to impress and he’s in a position where they’re going to give him some at-bats.

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24 Responses to "Training Camp Hopeful #5: Colin McDonald"

  1. Mr DeBakey says:

    8 who are at the head of the line (Jacques, Brule, Potulny, Minard, Stone, Reddox, MacIntyre, Schremp)

    I see Mcdonald in that group of 8,
    [Schremp is ahead of nobody]
    ahead of Stone, behind Potulny & Minard

  2. knighttown says:

    I know its not Oiler stuff per se, but when we're discussing Colin McDonald I hope you don't mind if we diverge from time to time.

    Disturbing news out of TO today that Paul Kelly has been fired as head of the Players Association. It seems an extreme hard liner group led by Eric Lindros and ex-CAW chief and ultra-aggressive Buzz Hargrove are behind things. One report has Kelly leading an audit that discovered Lindros' misappropriation of union funds during his tenure as ombudsman.

    I can't see this as being anything but bad news for those who want to see NHL hockey next year as Kelly was seen as a moderate with a strong relationship with the league. If Hargrove and Lindros maintain control and try to bully a strong group of owners who destroyed the union last time there will be games missed.

    On the flip side, yet another Bettman-approved owner, Len Barrie is out the door with the stink of scandal enveloping him. Accounting issues…check Mirtle's site for more details. Barrie, DelBaggio, McNall, Melnyk, Spano, Kumar, Rigas and the Samuelis. Obviously some of these cases were more extreme than others but is it unfair to say that both the NHL and NHLPA are governed by crooks?

    Very hard to support…

  3. Bar Qu says:

    The problems that the NHLPA has re-created for itself are staggering. They have un-done all the good publicity they generated in the last 12 months, took their focus off safety for their members and to top it off are listening to the least useful 'members' (do Lindros, Hargrove and Pink count?) of the PA. Things could not be worse if you had a junior high students' council managing things.

    And I think Macdonald will be a total non-factor for the Oil this year, for what it's worth.

  4. DBO says:

    The union: hard to argue they are crooks. Now they get Buzz involved and it'll only end badly. Strike in 2011, crooked players fleecing the union and they dumped the one guy they unanimously appoved a few years back who was going to clean up the union and make it better. now they dump him when he digs too deep. man that is crooked.

    As for bettman, he's got to go. hell, hire Paul Kelly. he's a lawyer who has played and coached hockey. We are a gate revenue league, not a tv league. Bring in owners who will fill a building. Hamilton/toronto is an easy option. Seattle might even work. Quebec and Winnipeg are small but could fill 16000 people every night.

    The NHL is the #6 sport right now, behind the big 3, nascar and college sports. Forget the big TV deal, focus on the gate.

    As for the Oil: forget prospects makign the team, sign a few cheap vets to round out the roster and actually give us a chance to make the playoffs. At this point Malhotra can be had for around a $1 million, so can Dominic Moore. Blair Betts can be had for the league minimum. you bring in 2 of those for the price of Robert Nilsson (who you send to the minors) and suddenly you have a legit shot at the playoffs.

    O'Sullivan-Horcoff-Hemsky
    Penner-Gagner-Cogliano
    Moreau-Malhotra-Pisani
    Jacques-Betts-Stortini

  5. Peter says:

    You know there isn't much going on when we're talking about Paukovich and McDonald getting a shot with the Oilers. McDonald is an average AHLer, and Paukovich isn't even that far. There's no way either guy will make it to last cuts. Talk about Nathan Perrot all you want, and the elevation of an AHL line when MacT took over – even using these guys as call-ups would indicate mild brain damage. You might as well call up Ryan O'Marra. Neither of those 2 will have NHL contracts with the Oilers next year. I'd rather talk about Rob Schremp, a guy who, for all his faults, actually has talent.

  6. Jonathan Willis says:

    The NHLPA is priming for another labour war. Pink and Hargrove are both hard-line veterans of previous labour battles, and Pulver and Penny served for years under Goodenow. Lindros, for his part, was one of the most vocal NHL'ers during the lockout.

    It could kill the league.

  7. Bruce says:

    When Craig MacTavish got his first NHL job as a head coach, he elevated a bunch of AHL forwards. Their names? Brian Swanson, Michel Riesen, Daniel Cleary, Dan Lacouture, Domenic Pittis, Brad Norton.

    … of whom exactly one went on to have an NHL career of any significance, and that took five years and two changes of address before he really came into his own. Please, spare me another influx of minor leaguers like that.

    I like the Malhotra/Moore/Betts route, especially with prices plummeting. At least one of them.

  8. Bruce says:

    Due respect to Dan Lacouture, who can certainly call 337 games with six NHL teams a career. 45 career points and a net -44 suggest he wasn't a (positive) difference-maker.

  9. kris says:

    Thanks LT,

    These are cool posts. You never know when a rash of injuries will hit, and if that happens McDonald or Paukovich could see time in the show. It's good to know how they'd perform if that were the case.

    —-

    That story knighttown tells about why Kelly was fired doesn't make any sense to me, but Mirtle has a post up speculating about it, so I guess it might be true.

    But is the idea that they fired Kelly because Kelly had discovered Lindros was fleecing the NHLPA? I mean, do players love Lindros so much that they'd defend him sso vigorously even when he's been stealing from them.

    The whole thing is weird.

  10. digger says:

    Like Damien Cox mentioned in his article today, it looks like the NHLPA has been taken over by guys that are still fighting the 2004 lockout.

    It makes it hard to even care about the upcoming season when you hear news like this. It's like trying to enjoy yourself on a carnival ride at the fair, when you know at closing time you have to head back home, and dad's drunk and fighting with mom again.

  11. Ed says:

    have to admit I'd rather be hearing stories about horcoff at camp mandelbaum and in mexican stick factories than hearing about him getting mixed up in the politics of the nhlpa.

  12. Phil says:

    As luck would have it, the veteran with a wide range of skills is injury prone

    This falls under the if-it-wasn't-for-bad-luck-we'd-have-no-luck-at-all category?

    (I really wanted to say that this is 'shit luck', but it's probably still too soon…)

  13. Bruce says:

    As luck would have it, the veteran with a wide range of skills is injury prone

    You talkin' 'bout Pisani? Or Moreau? Or Horcoff? Or Souray? Or Visnovsky? Or (sigh) Khabibulin? Cuz every one of those vets has lost significant time to injury in the last two seasons.

    It's quite sad, actually.

  14. Peter says:

    LT:

    I wouldn't say it's wholely untrue that MacT 'elevated' those players, but it's definitely a misleading statement. Riesen played 12 games, Swanson 16 games, Lacouture 37 before being dealt, and Pittis played 47. Only Cleary played a full season. (Interestingly, according to hockeyDB, Norton never played a game for the Oilers, ever.) I wouldn't consider 12-16 games as being 'elevated' to the NHL, particularly when Riesen played 69 AHL games and Swanson played 49 AHL games that same year. Brule played 11 games with the Oil last year, and no one really considered him to be on the team. Another thing – Riesen and Swanson put up numbers in the AHL – Riesen – 54 points in 69 games, Swanson 47 points in 49 games. McDonald's numbers are those of a 3rd line AHLer, and Paukovich, a 4th line AHLer. Please don't post about these 2 anymore because they have no future in the NHL. McDonald may become a good AHLer at best, while Paukovich is closer to the ECHL than the NHL.

  15. oil dude says:

    These are cool posts. You never know when a rash of injuries will hit, and if that happens McDonald or Paukovich could see time in the show.

    Yeah thats true, a year ago I would have dismissed the idea of these guys getting a game or two with the big club. But then we were graced with the presence of Tim Sesito, and the "house on the side of the road."

  16. Lowetide says:

    Peter: I think maybe you're misunderstanding the idea behind these series of posts. As I mentioned before, this is the group outide the bunch who are definitely going to get jobs and outside the group who wouldn't surprise if they won big league jobs.

    So, by definition I'm talking about long shots and discussing situations that might allow them NHL time.

    As for burying these men as AHL or ECHL players, I choose not to do that because history tells me a few slip through. I do understand your point though, it's pretty dry reading and totally agree this series isn't for everyone.

  17. Lord Bob says:

    Where is Allan Rourke these days, anyway?

  18. Lowetide says:

    oil dude: Exactly. It speaks to depth. When MacT broke camp with all of Swanson, Riesen, Cleary, Pittis, Lacouture and Norton (who made the team but didn't play due to suspension) it was because the choices were unusual (not enough actual NHL players).

    As is the case now.

  19. anonymous says:

    OT, Heatley speaks;)

    "At this point, it's not clear where I'll end up, but wherever it is, it will only be for the next two years, I'd like to be traded by 2012…who wouldn't want me for a guaranteed two years? I'm also giving them the chance to work on a really smokin' deal over the next two seasons, they won't have to scramble like Murray is right now."

  20. Mr DeBakey says:

    Meanwhile, news from the original home of pilsner:

    “HC Plzen has drawn a lot of headlines in the Czech hockey media during the off-season.

    First and foremost, HC Plzen has literally been on the verge of bankruptcy. The club hasn't been able to find any new main sponsor after the contract with Lasselsberger expired.
    ….
    In the end, Martin Straka stepped in and rescued the club. Straka covered the debt of CZK18 mio out of his own pockets. Earlier in May, Straka had also added CZK7 mio to the coffins, and he is now the majority owner of the club with a share of 70%.
    All in all, this leaves Martin Straka with no less than 4 key roles: He is the majority owner, the president, the GM and the key player of HC Plzen.”

    http://forums.internationalhockey.net/showthread.php?t=8421

  21. rickibear says:

    I can't see this as being anything but bad news for those who want to see NHL hockey next year as Kelly was seen as a moderate with a strong relationship with the league. If Hargrove and Lindros maintain control and try to bully a strong group of owners who destroyed the union last time there will be games missed.

    To heck with the owners. I would watch the same players play in another league run by the union.

    THE PLAYERS ARE THE PRODUCT.

    Owners are Shite.

  22. raventalon40 says:

    If the team is intent on adding size I could see Paukovich and McDonald making the team if a couple of other bodies end up moving.

  23. Peter says:

    Fair enough LT. I just don't see them getting called up in any situation, unless a severe rash of injuries struck to a specific group (Stortini, Jacques, Penner, Moreau). Many big men who show little or no offence at the NHL level still played quite well, near or above a point a game, at the AHL level.

    For guys who make the N without much AHL production, maybe they have stone hands but they are big bodies who can really skate, but I don't think that's the case either based on what I know about those 2. That was Troy Bodie, a guy we should have considered keeping over guys like McDonald, Paukovich, Rohlfs, etc. I know his contract was up and the others weren't, but he's a legitimate 14th NHL forward. Not a regular, but an adequate call up to replace the physical 13th forward should injuries strike.

  24. Mr DeBakey says:

    Let's compare AHL careers

    Troy Bodie
    133 games,42 points, .316 ppg

    Colin McDonald
    150 games, 45 points, .300 ppg

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