This is Daniel Cleary. Ten years ago he was playing in the minor leagues and hoping for his second chance at an NHL career. A high pick by a wayward Chicago organization, the Oilers acquired him in a mammoth trade from the Hawks and sent him down so he could rebuild his career.
I’ve written about the 99-00 Bulldogs a few times, mostly because it seemed as though the team had a splendid group of talent and would provide the parent club with all kinds of goodies for the ott’s.
It it is interesting to see how things have rolled out for these young men. It’s also interesting from the point of view of reasonable expectations for the current AHL farm team.
The 20-year old regulars
- LW Michel Riesen (29-31-60); C Peter Sarno (10-36-46); LW Jason Chimera (15-13-18); D Alex Henry (1-0-1). Riesen had already played a season in the AHL so his offensive numbers may have been a little misleading in terms of projecting him. On the other hand, Chimera’s offense didn’t imply the player and how well he’d turn out.
- NHL games Played since 2000: Chimera (458); Henry (177); Riesen (12); Sarno (7)
- D Chris Hajt(21) (0-8-8) who was a fairly highly rated prospect in the Oilers organization at the time. He was rated the Oilers #6 prospect by the Hockey News, Summer 2000.
- RW Dan Cleary(21) (22-52-74) who led the team in scoring.
- C Brian Swanson(23) (19-40-59) was building his resume.
- LW Dan Lacouture(22) (23-17-40).
- D Brad Norton(24) (5-12-17)
- NHL games played since 2000: Cleary (586); Lacouture (329); Norton (124); Swanson (70); Hajt (6).
40 players laced them up for the Bulldogs that winter, and among the prospects the following played in the NHL during the 2000′s:
- Daniel Cleary 586
- Jason Chimera 458
- Dan Lacouture 329
- Alex Henry 177
- Brad Norton 124
- Brian Swanson 70
- Michel Riesen 12
- Peter Sarno 7
- Bill Hajt 6
If the current Falcons have a similar number graduate (and with the same success) we can expect only two of them to have careers that span most of the decade. Looking at the 35 players for the current AHL farm team, I’d nominate Ryan Potulny as the Dan Cleary of the current list and Theo Peckham as the new Jason Chimera. That would mean Devan Dubnyk, Taylor Chorney, Colin McDonald, Cody Wild, Ryan O’Marra, Slava Trukhno, Liam Reddox, Johan Motin and Alex Plante would be fighting for the Dan Lacouture role.
For the record, I believe the current group will perform better than the 99-00 Hamilton Bulldogs, but then again I thought they’d do much more too.
NOTE: This begins a series of Falcons posts I’ll have over the holidays. I’ll do a reasonable expectations review and then take a guess about each player’s future. I believe a lot of the names above are at a crossroads and may be playing their final half-season as Oilers prospects and will discuss it in the next 7 days.