EXITING THE SYSTEM. GOODBYE

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.

 

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42 Responses to "EXITING THE SYSTEM. GOODBYE"

  1. Chris Hext---formerly EasyOil--- says:

    I was actually somewhat surprised by Kytnar leaving North America, in fact I was even surprised he went down to the ECHL. I didn’t really see him play so I’m guessing his play warranted it, but I remember him certainly being praised for a moderately successful rookie season in OKC (definitely more so than Cornet) and his defensive awareness. Presumably he was just squeezed out in the numbers game, although the trade of O’Marra for Bryan Rodney (riiiiiight….) I thought would have made room for him. It’s not like we have too many good centre prospects.

  2. Chris Hext---formerly EasyOil--- says:

    In other news, the SEL has said it will not accommodate NHL players in the event of a lockout that lasts only part of the season. If a player signs with an SEL team, they will be expected to play out their contract for the full year.

    http://www.hockeyligan.se/artikel/24754/

  3. Lowetide says:

    Which is good news for Klefbom.

  4. Chunklets says:

    Chris Hext—formerly EasyOil—,

    The timing of Kytnar’s move back to Europe was quite strange as well. IIRC, he departed very shortly after he’d managed to make it into an NHL game, and held his own. Bad advice from the agent, maybe? Or maybe he just got homesick.

  5. Lowetide says:

    Chris Hext—formerly EasyOil—:
    I was actually somewhat surprised by Kytnar leaving North America, in fact I was even surprised he went down to the ECHL.I didn’t really see him play so I’m guessing his play warranted it, but I remember him certainly being praised for a moderately successful rookie season in OKC (definitely more so than Cornet) and his defensive awareness.Presumably he was just squeezed out in the numbers game, although the trade of O’Marra for Bryan Rodney (riiiiiight….) I thought would have made room for him.It’s not like we have too many good centre prospects.

    Oilers are making room, that’s the only thing I can think of for flushing Kytnar. This coming season in OKC the C depth chart will likely be Green, Arcobello, Lander, VandeVelde. The next guy up–lets say Lander makes the team again–would be the guy Kytnar would be chasing.

  6. Chris Hext---formerly EasyOil--- says:

    Lowetide,

    Very good news for any young Swede playing there. Whilst if there was a lockout, the SEL would be my preferred destination for NHLers to go (very very good league), good on Swedish Hockey for not compromising the long-term quality of their league and player development system for a short-term injection of high-end talent.

    As for Kytnar, I think that has to be it. I guess they want to set up the OKC team with 2 veteran centres (Green, Arcobello) and two young’uns (Lander, CVV). Just seems a shame after all the years spent waiting for Kytnar (he was always of interest to me), but that’s the way it goes.

  7. nathan says:

    ” If a player signs with an SEL team, they will be expected to play out their contract for the full year.”

    That leaves Finland and the KHL on Larianov’s list.

  8. Chris Hext---formerly EasyOil--- says:

    nathan,

    He’ll be in the KHL. No doubt about it. Would have preferred Finland or Sweden, but no reason to believe it won’t be Russia.

  9. regwald says:

    No commentary about Blain and Czerwonka LT ? Or they aren’t included in this blog due to the fact they were never signed?

  10. russ99 says:

    Omark is a special case to some of the things LT presented as to why players released/moved don’t really come back to haunt their former team.

    Akin to the Miro Satan move for Barrie Moore and Craig Millar (not much) the player has proven at the overseas, minor league and pro level that he has NHL caliber offensive skills but for other reasons (some reasons known only to the coaches and GM) he was punted away.

    I’m not saying Omark will become another Miro Satan, but there’s a good chance he’ll become an NHL regular for the right organization – and one who has a coach with patience.

  11. Lowetide says:

    regwald:
    No commentary about Blain and Czerwonka LT ?Or they aren’t included in this blog due to the fact they were never signed?

    Yes, they didn’t sign. However, I did bitch and moan at length here

    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2012/05/opportunity-missed-3.html

  12. Scott Reynolds says:

    LT,

    If a player like Keller has “extreme value to organizations like the Oilers”, why wouldn’t you be okay giving him a two-way contract? If you don’t give that kind of player an NHL carrot, they can be pretty difficult to acquire. Of the top 30 scorers in the AHL last season, just five are going to play on an AHL-only contract in 2012-13 (St. Pierre, Sterling, DiSalvatore, Zigomanis, and Haydar). I was pleasantly surprised to see Josh Green come in on an AHL-only deal, but if you feel the team needs to get a proven vet or two, I think you need to be open to using a roster spot if you want a quality player.

  13. Henry says:

    Despite being a pathetically devout Oiler fan since 1978, I gave up on them for a couple years after the Messier trade. Around then they drafted Martin Rucinsky. What happened with him and the Corson Oilers? He turned into a quality player.

  14. Lowetide says:

    Scott Reynolds:
    LT,

    If a player like Keller has “extreme value to organizations like the Oilers”, why wouldn’t you be okay giving him a two-way contract? If you don’t give that kind of player an NHL carrot, they can be pretty difficult to acquire. Of the top 30 scorers in the AHL last season, just five are going to play on an AHL-only contract in 2012-13 (St. Pierre, Sterling, DiSalvatore, Zigomanis, and Haydar). I was pleasantly surprised to see Josh Green come in on an AHL-only deal, but if you feel the team needs to get a proven vet or two, I think you need to be open to using a roster spot if you want a quality player.

    Let me counter. The Oilers signed Dane Byers this summer, I’d suggest he is absolutely the player they were looking for in that slot (to replace Triston Grant).

    Whatever the gap between Byers and Grant is, I don’t believe it is worth a slot on the 50-man list.

  15. nathan says:

    Chris Hext—formerly EasyOil—,

    Nothing like playing at home on a lockout limited contract with Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk.

  16. Scott Reynolds says:

    Lowetide,

    The gap between Grant and Byers is pretty big and speaks to the point I’m trying to make. Grant is exactly the kind of player you can find pretty easily without using a roster spot, but he’s basically a fourth-line player in the AHL. Byers, by contrast, will likely play in the top six (so long as the AHL isn’t invaded by NHL players). The gap in offense and talent between the two is substantial (0.23 PPG vs. 0.62 PPG). It is likely that Byers will have a much bigger role in OKC than Grant did. In fact, he’s likely to take up a lot of the minutes that went to Keller a year ago.

    Now, it might still make sense to say that the difference in quality isn’t worth a slot on the 50-man list. But if you say that, I don’t think you can also say that this kind of player (proven AHL vet) has extreme value to organizations like the Oilers. If you aren’t even willing to use a single roster spot, how valuable can that player type be?

  17. nelson88 says:

    I would think that SEL newsmight also have at least a small impact on the relative leverage in the current CBA negotiations. I can’t recall if NHL players played in the SEL in 2004? I know they did in other European leagues.

    The big names don’t need the money but i expect the mid level and journeyman players wouldn’t mind making some kind of paycheck and seeing the sights of Europe during a lockout.

    Of course the KHL (russian super league) is more viable then 2004 but with the relatively recent tragedies I wonder how many NA players are really willing to play there?

  18. dessert1111 says:

    Scott Reynolds:
    Lowetide,
    If you aren’t even willing to use a single roster spot, how valuable can that player type be?

    In my opinion, it depends on how tied up your 50 man list is. I think that if the Oilers were seriously worried about going over their contract limit, they would do a contract dump of some of their B or C level prospects that they don’t love that another team might see more in. Most teams don’t have pipelines as full as the Oilers. That being said, I think it is worthwhile to have 1-2 “vet” AHL players on 2-way contracts in each position (F, D, G) as call-up options in the event of an NHL injury where you want a vet replacement. Edmonton hasn’t been using guys like Keller as their call ups lately, perhaps because they are were more concerned with seeing their prospects and evaluating at the time of the call ups, though I suspect if they were in the heat of a playoff race, that mentality might change. Right now, Oilers have Danis, Byers, Vande Velde, Arcobello and Plante that could qualify as vet AHLers and callup options. None are particularly old (except Danis, but goalies are different), and could perhaps even improve more. I think this is actually a great situation to be in for AHL vets/call up optoins–a winger, 2 centres, a defenseman and a goalie–and if the Oilers didn’t have so many D prospects, I wouldn’t mind another D man too. I see your point LT I’m just not convinced the 50 man limit is really a concern at this point enough to not have the above-mentioned players around.

  19. nelson88 says:

    From HockeyDB it appears a number of NHL players did play in the SEL during the 2004 lockout. Does not look like they played a full season so I guess it is possible that even this time around they get to mid October or so and believe no season will happen (most pessimists still seem to think prior to Winter classic) so they throw in the towel and sign in the SEL for the remainder of the year.

    Tough decision and I still have to believe the SEL’s stance adds some pressure on the the NHLPA.

  20. nelson88 says:

    As LT knows I was a big Kytnar fan over the years. I thought he would find a place as a 3rd/4th line defensive specialist. Oh well, there is always another mid/late round foreigner (Reider, Gernat) to cheer for!

  21. uni says:

    Lowetide: Oilers are making room, that’s the only thing I can think of for flushing Kytnar. This coming season in OKC the C depth chart will likely be Green, Arcobello, Lander, VandeVelde. The next guy up–lets say Lander makes the team again–would be the guy Kytnar would be chasing.

    Kytnar left for the same reason Motin did if memory serves. The Oilers tried to demote him again to Stockton, and he didn’t want to go. Can’t blame him. Motin said in an interview that he’d go back to Sweden if they tried to demote him to Stockton again, and held true to his word; the Oilers released him the same as they did Kytnar later on, to go overseas to seek their fortune at their request on learning they were being sent to Thunderdome again.

    Must have been a real kick to the teeth to receive marching orders to the ECHL right after you’d just played your first game in the NHL. Kytnar was plenty good enough for the AHL, this is one of the few times that it really was a shame (although this phrase gets used here a lot, in the wrong context).

  22. rickithebear says:

    Leg infection?

  23. Lowetide says:

    I can’t imagine this being a big deal. Kid fell down, got some scratches but there’s no real damage and then he went out and played a 3×3 and got some infection. Is that about right? He’s 18, healthy as anyone and I’m certain they have given him the best available aid for the problem.

    It becomes a news story if the infection gets worse, but what are the odds? Very small I’d expect.

  24. Bruce McCurdy says:

    rickithebear:
    Leg infection?

    Welcome to the Oilers, son.

  25. Lucinius says:

    Likely not a big deal, but…

    The Oilers are apparently still cursed.

    I half expect the next one to be the bubonic plague or Spanish flu.

  26. uni says:

    Bruce McCurdy: rickithebear:
    Leg infection?
    Welcome to the Oilers, son.
      (Quote)  (Reply)

    At least it wasn’t the dreaded pubis thing.

  27. jake70 says:

    Falling off treadmills, getting forehead stepped on by a teamate, tripping on the blue-line and frigging up shoulder, sheesh.

  28. Moosemess says:

    LT:
    Although rare, NHL teams can make mistakes. I believe Linus Omark is one.

    You’re right. In hindsight, wasting a 4th rounder on Omark was a mistake.

    Oh snap! Too soon?

  29. Henry says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Welcome to the Oilers, son.

    Quinn told him to rub some dirt in it.

  30. gcw_rocks says:

    Like LT, I have a fondness for later round picks that show some promise. I thought Kytnar had what it took for a 4th line position, and maybe third line upside, so I was (a) pleased with his performance in his one game audition with the Oilers where he played exactly how I had expected him to play; and (b) was very disappointed when he left. I would rather have seen him taking up the OKC spot over Vandevelde. I hope he flouishes in Europe and returns for another NHL shot with another team.

    In the mean time, Gernat and Reider will do.

  31. gogliano says:

    I bet Ryan Murray can stay on treadmills.

  32. rickithebear says:

    Bruce McCurdy: Welcome to the Oilers, son.

    Every guy has a pet name for it .
    But leg is gregarious as his twitter account.

  33. bendelson says:

    Off topic, but speaking of Stockton Ca.

    They have the honour of being the 2nd largest city in the US (300,000) to have declared bankruptcy.

    Tough break to build a new publicly funded downtown arena a year or two before the housing meltdown…

  34. godot10 says:

    I don’t think the Oilers had a say in Hunter Tremblay or Dylan Yeo going elsewhere. I think they were looking for organizations where they had a better shot at the NHL. I think they left voluntarily more than not being wanted back.

    Tremblay has a very short time window and the Oilers have Hartikainen and Paajarvi, and Eager with two more years, and the Oilers want a Hordichuk type on the roster.

    And I think Yeo looked at all the high draft D coming and figured it would be best to try elsewhere.

  35. Woodguy says:

    Speaking of players no longer with the team:

    http://p.twimg.com/A1Awi6FCMAEv83W.jpg

    Courtesy of @OILMONEY on twitter.

  36. Dee Dee says:

    The Oilers as an organization seem to insist that players be forced to fit into their mold as opposed to utilizing their strengths and learning how to deal with their weaknesses.

    A player like Joffrey Lupul was savaged here for his lack of ability/desire to play defense and lived in the doghouse during his tenure here, but it sure looks like he can score points. I haven’t followed his career at all or even watched him play much but the Leafs sure seem to have figured him out.

    Lots and lots of players have been banished from this organization for some perceived flaw and have flourished elsewhere.

  37. Woodguy says:

    Dee Dee:
    The Oilers as an organization seem to insist that players be forced to fit into their mold as opposed to utilizing their strengths and learning how to deal with their weaknesses.

    A player like Joffrey Lupul was savaged here for his lack of ability/desire to play defense and lived in the doghouse during his tenure here, but it sure looks like he can score points. I haven’t followed his career at all or even watched him play much but the Leafs sure seem to have figured him out.

    Lots and lots of players have been banished from this organization for some perceived flaw and have flourished elsewhere.

    Yeah, but there were extenuating circumstances in Lupul’s case.

    He was fucking awful.

  38. Woodguy says:

    Woodguy:
    Speaking of players no longer with the team:

    http://p.twimg.com/A1Awi6FCMAEv83W.jpg

    Courtesy of @OILMONEY on twitter.

    That’s a real letter from Kevin Lowe to the season ticket holders after the Smyth trade, BTW.

  39. DSF says:

    Woodguy: That’s a real letter from Kevin Lowe to the season ticket holders after the Smyth trade, BTW.

    The song remains the same.

  40. Bushed says:

    Woodguy,

    I was also going to comment on Lupul, but you stated my thoughts so succinctly and eloquently that I’ll just add a heartfelt +1.

    Not only did Lupul play terribly here, he had the gall to “dis” Edmonton to other NHL players after we got rid of him (like his buddy Fiddler, for example).

    One of the worst offenders ever for total lack of effort while here. Toronto can have him. Good riddance.

  41. commonfan14 says:

    That letter ruined Robbie Schremp.

  42. Lowetide says:

    commonfan14:
    That letter ruined Robbie Schremp.

    Exactly. He read it and his legs went back to wide body.

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