In the fall of 2000, Kevin Lowe was a new GM, Craig MacTavish a new coach and Claude Julien was the new coach of the minor league club in Hamilton. The Bulldogs had a few new hires and some guys who were considered prospects.
That club won only 28 games, but the prospects who turned out (Shawn Horcoff, Jason Chimera, Fernando Pisani) enjoyed solid careers and some of those guys helped the Oilers on their Stanley run. A quick look at the Bulldogs 2000-2004 gives us a nice group of talented NHLers:
- 2000-01: Daniel Cleary-58 games in Hamilton (22-52-74) in 99-00 and then an NHL career that continues to this day (869 games)
- 2000-01: Dan Lacouture-70 games in Hamilton (23-17-40) in 99-00 and then an NHL career (337 games)
- 2000-01: Shawn Horcoff 24 games in Hamilton (10-18-28) in 00-01 and then an NHL career that continues to this day (796 games)
- 2000-01: Scott Ferguson 42 games in Hamilton (3-18-21) in 00-01 and then an NHL career (218 games)
- 2002-03: Jason Chimera 77 games in Hamilton (26-51-77) in 01-02 and then an NHL career that continues to this day (71o games)
- 2002-03: Fernando Pisani 41 games in Hamilton (17-15-32) in 02-03 and then an NHL career (462 games)
- 2002-03: Alexei Semenov 37 games in Hamilton (4-3-7) in 02-03 and then an NHL career (211 games)
- 2003-04: Marc Andre Bergeron 66 games in Hamilton (8-31-39) in 02-03 and then an NHL career that continues to this day (490 games)
- 2003-04: Ty Conklin 38 games in Hamilton (9.14 2.55) in 02-03 and then an NHL career (215 games)
- 2003-04: Jarret Stoll 76 games (21-33-54) in 02-03 and then an NHL career that continues to this day (641 games)
I’ve listed them by the season they became NHL players, and stopped at the end of the 02-03 minor league season (Edmonton moved away from the Bulldogs for 03-04 when the Toronto Roadrunners came into being). In that 4 season span, Edmonton graduated 10 NHL players of 200 games or more, and 6 of those guys played 450+ games in the big leagues.
After that the Oilers had a team in Edmonton for the lockout and then the EIG loaned out their players and nothing rhymed for a long time. Beginning in 2010-11, Todd Nelson joined the organization and the Oklahoma City Barons were the new mint. Among the players who have played there and then graduated to the NHL in three seasons are Jeff Petry, Linus Omark and Teemu Hartikainen. You could stretch it and include Magnus Paajarvi, Anton Lander and Justin Schultz, but that isn’t in keeping with the spirit of the list above.
In 10-11, the Oilers top prospects in OKC were Petry, Omark, Ryan O’Marra, Alex Plante. The following season it was Mark Arcobello, Phil Cornet, Teemu Hartikainen, Colten Teubert, Tyler Pitlick. This past season’s top Barons prospect list looks a little stronger–Arcobello, Hartikainen, Toni Rajala, Martin Marincin, Taylor Fedun–but it remains to be seen if they’ll have any NHL impact.
The Barons under Todd Nelson appear to be heading in a very good direction–not as strong as Hamilton’s at the turn of the century, but there are some good signs. This current playoff run is another example. (Barons photo courtesy Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved).
This morning at 10 on Team 1260, Lowdown with Lowetide hits the air. We’re about one month into the show and early indications are positive–my thanks to you for tuning in and contributing to the show. We have room for 2 more advertisers if you’re interested (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’d love to have you. Scheduled to appear this morning:
- Michael Parkatti from Boys on the Bus. Michael had a look at the final game of the 1984 season–the game Edmonton won its first Stanley. His modern review comes with some surprises and we’ll discuss it.
- Neal Livingston from Tend The Farm. We’ll talk about the Barons and their big game 3 tonight in OKC.
- Jeff Krushell from Krush Performance. I’ll ask Jeff about athletes at the combine and what NHL teams are looking for.
- Robert Vollman from Hockey Prospectus and ESPN. We’ll talk about prime candidates for buyout.