I’m still convinced Cody Wild is a better player than the Oilers imply. In spite of trips to the ECHL and comments from coaching and management types about the holes in his game, math likes Cody Wild and so he’s on the list again. The current crop of Falcons defenders is an interesting group of youngsters along with those tough hombres who probably run the league in the corners with their toughness and experience.
In a lot of ways the AHL is all about how quickly Wild (#37) can learn enough from Dean Arsene (#29) to make himself useful in the NHL. Wild doesn’t have draft pedigree and his skill set is duplicated by a higher pick (Chorney) so he’s going to have to be clearly better in order to move up the depth chart. Let’s start by listing two quotes from VIP’s in the Cody Wild career development plan.
- (08-09) Jeff Truitt: “You can just tell he’s got an offensive flair, he likes to jump into the rush. It’s a learning process no doubt coming out of college to the American League is obviously an adjustment for him. We’ve had him watch tape and he’s learning, it’s part of the education and process a first year player has to go through but he’s been a good student so far.”
- (09-10) Rob Daum: “Cody has the ability to make a brilliant play and then in the next shift defies any kind of hockey logic. That inconsistency is really a detriment to Cody’s game right now. The other thing is that he has to play with a little more edge to his game.”
Truitt would later send him to the pressbox and eventually the ECHL, while Daum used him quite a bit when he took over behind the Falcons bench late last season. This year, Wild has played in 20 of the club’s 28 games and has once again showed well offensively. His 6 powerplay assists rank him second on the Falcons and in the league’s top 30 overall in that category.
Last season Jonathan Willis ran the toughness of competition minutes and found Wild was at about the same level as Chorney (and that Chorney couldn’t handle them). This season we don’t have that information yet but do have the boxcar plus minus numbers and can draw some conclusions based on implied roles.
- Johan Motin 22gp, +3 (+.136 per game)
- Dean Arsene 17gp, +2 (+.118 per game)
- Theo Peckham 20gp, +1 (+.05 per game)
- Jake Taylor 26gp, -3 (-.115 per game)
- Alex Plante 26gp, -6 (-.231 per game)
- Chris Armstrong 24gp, -7 (-.291 per game)
- Cody Wild 20gp, -7 (-.35 per game)
- Taylor Chorney 5gp, -5 (-1 per game)
This doesn’t account for heavy lifting, but I’d say that Arsene, Peckham and Taylor would probably be facing the toughs and Plante has apparently moved up a little on the depth chart. Either way, we know Wild was playing some tougher competition a year ago and that’s probably true again this season.
I think Wild is most certainly among the top 20 Oilers prospects and that in the 92 AHL games, 6 ECHL games and many HS’s he has shown that the gap between he and Taylor Chorney is far less than what the Edmonton Oilers believe.
He also has very specific things that he’ll need to work on (decision making, positioning, playing with an edge) and although he’s in the ideal league to do it (the AHL grinds prospects into a fine white powder but those old guys like Arsene can flat out play defense) it is going to take some time and we should consider him a long term prospect. It also wouldn’t surprise me to see him dealt in a “Danny Syvret-for-Ryan Potulny” type deal at some point down the line. Oilers have his skill set duplicated all over the system.