This is Milan Kytnar. He is one of several pro hockey players who are no longer Oilers prospects. How many of these kids come back to haunt the Oilers organization?
The short answer is “not many” and the longer answer is “not many, and it is usally many years later ala David Vyborny.” Still, as we say goodbye to these prospects it is probably a good idea to hold them in our minds briefly and assess the wisdom of setting them free.
- C Milan Kytnar: He looked fine to my eye, played pretty well in his NHL game. Despite outscoring Chris VandeVelde as a center, I can’t recall anyone in the organization suggesting that Kytnar was the better player. He finished 11-12 in the SM-Liiga so it would seem NA hockey may have seen the last of him. Drafted 127th overall in 2007.
- D Johan Motin: I don’t think this was as much about failure to develop as a player whose ceiling was unlikely to land him in the NHL anyway. Motin returned to the SEL mid-season and that would seem to be his level of excellence. No sin in that. Drafted 103rd overall in 2008.
- D Taylor Chorney: He was a highly touted draft pick 7 years ago (man, time flies!) but the truth is that Chorney’s size was an issue even on draft day. Oilers felt the league would follow through and sustain new rules allowing open ice hockey. Although the game is no longer a clutch and grab fest, selecting Chorney in the second round was rather hopeful based on his skill set. As with almost all defensemen who arrive in the NHL with an offensive reputation, Chorney’s icetime situations didn’t allow him to show his greatest asset. Drafted 36th overall in 2005.
- L Hunter Tremblay: This guy has talent, especially on the PK where he was a SH goal machine. I’m sorry the allowed him to leave, suspect he might catch an NHL game (in uniform) before he’s done. Undrafted.
- R Ryan Keller: Minor league scoring star off to the Swiss league, I think guys like Keller have extreme value to organizations like the Oilers. I don’t believe these players warrant a spot on the 50-man list, however. Undrafted.
- F Linus Omark: Not yet out of the system, but it would appear this could happen any minute. Edmonton qualified him but their verbal is quite harsh and one doubts he will play in the organization again. I suspect there is a trade available at some point before training camp (as in “Edmonton trades Linus Omark for a 7th rd pick”) and I honestly believe there’s a player here. Doesn’t mean he’ll get the chance, certainly doesn’t mean I’m right.
The players Edmonton has drafted or signed as free agents who ‘bit them in the ass’ tend to be men like Tim Thomas who were just passing through and had hard miles ahead before they emerged as NHL calibre talents. I don’t think it is terribly constructive or legitimate to tar the Oilers for those transactions–if Tim Thomas had been Tim Thomas they would have kept him–and if someone from the current group should emerge as an NHL player 5 years from now there will be no quarrel from this corner over the Oilers handling of said player.
How often DO these men emerge as NHL players AFTER an organization gives up on them? It is rare. Most often, teams will get impatient with a player or address need elsewhere or grab draft picks and deal a player who has the heart of his career in another town. Recent examples of this would be Kyle Brodziak or Jason Chimera.
But to release/waive/deal for nothing and then have the player emerge as an NHLer? Very rare. Troy Bodie played 107 games (so far) but he’s an end of the roster role player. Matt Lombardi had a career, but that was a signing issue. It’s the Tim Thomas, David Vyborny types and as mentioned I don’t think you can blame the Oilers for either player. rob Schremp would have been a candidate but he’s a long way from 200 NHL games.
Since the lockout, injuries have been a much bigger factor and the biggest impact on players in the system. The biggest impact on the Oilers procurement department, their minor league system and the big league team 05-12 was the subpar 1st round results in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Although rare, NHL teams can make mistakes. I believe Linus Omark is one.