A quick glance at the current Oilers roster tells us that the parent club is borrowing a significant number of Springfield’s roster players from one year ago. Ryan Stone played 77 AHL games a year ago, Taylor Chorney 68, Gilbert Brule 39, JF Jacques 8, JDD 5.
The current Falcons are supposed to be a better, more competitive team than the one that got beaten about the face and hands pretty much every night last winter. They have more minor league veterans (Minard, Potulny, Linglet, Fretter up front and Armstrong, Arsene and Taylor on the blue among others) and despite starting 2-3 (pretty much the same as a year ago) the team looks more competitive this year.
The question for us (in the words of George Bush) “is our children learning?” The veteran AHLers are supposed to do the heavy lifting until the kids can swim, but the Oilers do have some quality players in Springfield this season.
- D Theo Peckham (3gp, 0-1-1 +3). Missed the first couple of games due to an injury that robbed him of training camp, Peckham has hit the ground running and leads the Falcons in plus minus. Chorney’s strong showing may mean he won’t get a recall this season, but the Edmonton Oilers have a quality prospect here and sooner or later he’ll be in the show.
- R Colin McDonald (5gp, 2-1-3 -2). Started well offensively last season too (4gp, 1-2-3) but he seems to be shooting a little more this season. The odds are against him, but McDonald has size and a plus shot so is a player of interest moving forward.
- C Ryan O’Marra (5gp, 1-2-3 -4). Tied for the worst plus minus on the team, he seems to be playing with McDonald a bit and that might be the checking line this season (Kip Brennan was the LW last night).
- C Geoff Paukovich (5gp, 2-0-2 +2). Played on the 4line last night, which may mean he’s playing against the soft parade. Results are good so far, especially considering he didn’t score his second goal last season until after Valentine’s day.
- L Liam Reddox (4gp, 1-1-2 -1). Apparently missed a game due to suspension. Reddox is kind of the forgotten man in the organization so far this fall, but remains a player with some NHL experience and could get the call should injuries hit the NHL wingers.
- L Bryan Lerg (1gp, 0-1-1 +1). In a bit of trouble as an NHL prospect. We know this because his only game action came because of the Reddox suspension. Played on the 4line but did get a point. I’d say there’s very little chance the Oilers re-sign him.
- D Johan Motin (4gp, 0-1-1 +1). Listed on the third pairing with veteran Chris Armstrong last night, Motin has played well based on reports but we should assume that he’s playing softer opposition.
- D Alex Plante (4gp, 0-0-0, -2). Played with Peckham last night, I’d think his plus minus will improve if that continues. Both Motin and Plante seem to be in about the same slot on the depth chart, this will be an interesting race this winter.
- G Devan Dubnyk (5gp, 2-3-0 4.09 .897). Boxcars aren’t pretty, and the current Falcons are supposed to better than the team from a year ago. However, last season’s GF-GA after 5 games (16-17) and shots for/against totals from 08-09 (128-171) compare well against this year’s model (17-20 and 147-196). Interesting numbers based on the prevailing wisdom re: the team being better, but it’s early and there’s a lot of season to come.
- L Slava Trukhno (5gp, 0-0-0 -1). He’s not playing well based on the numbers, and this despite getting some good opportunities (he played, or at least was listed on, the Potulny-Fretter line last night). The Oilers like his talent, and math loved him in junior, plus he always looked like one of the good ones in training camp each fall. However, we’re getting to the end of the entry level deal and no spark has ignited. If he continues to post zero’s, could we see another Hrabal/Mikhnov mid-season flight to the Motherland?