This is Jujhar Khaira. He’s slated to be one of the ‘twin towers’ at center this fall and winter in Oklahoma City. Along with big Russian Bogdan (BOH-DAN) Yakimov, the Barons will fairly block out the sun up the middle. They’re not the Thunder, but they’re getting there. It’s a good time to look at the Barons and how the club is going to look for 2014-15. I think we should call this edition of the team “getting passed like a house on the side of the road” because some prospects are going to be eating exhaust all year.
- Richard Bachman 3GP, 3.02 .916
- Laurent Brossoit 10GP, 3.99 .876 (AHL)
- Frans Tuohimaa 1GP, 1.85 .950 (AHL)
- Tyler Bunz 5GP, 3.63 .901 (AHL)
- Ty Rimmer 3GP, 2.65 .930 (AHL)
The Oilers were wise to bring in Bachman, it’s a big season for Brossoit and there will be blood. It’s a big step (as we’ve seen) to the AHL, I think the ECHL benefits goalies most of all. Intrigued by the Finn, nonplussed by the Bunz and for Rimmer this is all manna from heaven. He was basically blowing in the wind a year ago, now the Oilers have him signed to an AHL deal and he could be the guy coming out of this group in a couple of years. Suspect this is Bunz’ last season in the organization, although with goalies you never know.
- Oscar Klefbom 17GP, 1-2-3 15:47 TOI
- Brad Hunt 3GP, 0-0-0 12:36 TOI
- Martin Gernat 57GP, 4-17-21 (AHL)
- David Musil 61GP, 2-10-12 (AHL)
- Brandon Davidson 68GP, 5-18-23 (AHL)
- Jordan Oesterle 4GP, 1-0-1 (AHL)
- Dillon Simpson, North Dakota (NCAA) (82GP, 6-13-19 NHLE)
This is a really nice group, the club will need to find a new Fedun, though (that might be Aulie). I’d imagine the Barons get Klefbom for less than half a season, if at all. Callups aside from the Swede might include Hunt, Gernat and Musil, and of course Davidson has been called up once but did not play. Oesterle and Simpson are college men, and the thing to watch here is how long it takes for them to adjust and then begin passing men above them. If Dillon Simpson passes Gernat and Musil, and that could happen this season, I expect we’ll see MacT cull the herd via trade before season’s end.
- Will Acton 30GP, 3-2-5 (1.64/60 5×5)
- Travis Ewanyk (AHL) (82GP, 4-3-7 NHLE)
- Bogdan Yakimov (KHL) (82GP, 14-9-23 NHLE)
- Connor Jones (NCAA) (82GP, 8-11-19 NHLE)
- Jujhar Khaira (WHL) (82GP 7-11-18 NHLE)
Yakimov’s offense is better than these numbers imply, he posted his boxcars on 9.5 minutes a night in the KHL. I can see him scoring very well in the AHL this season. Khaira played in the button-down Constantine system in junior, so we may see a boxcar bump there, too. Acton could also see the NHL again this year, but if he’s in the AHL I bet he’s fighting with Ewanyk for checking time (he won’t be in a scoring role). These big prospects are going to get playing time under the MacT administration. Connor Jones (h/t: Patricia Teter) also has a story to tell at center.
- Jesse Joensuu 42GP, 3-2-5 (0.65/60 5×5)
- Ryan Hamilton 2GP, 0-0-0 (nil)
- Curtis Hamilton (AHL) (82GP, 7-7-14 NHLE)
- Kale Kessy (AHL) (82GP, 1-3-4 NHLE)
- Mitchell Moroz (WHL) (82GP, 12-10-22 NHLE)
- Kellen Jones (NCAA) (82GP, 9-13-22 NHLE)
- Josh Winquist (WHL) (82GP, 17-17-34 NHLE)
This has the potential for hilarious results in 2014-15. The ‘establishment’ of Hamilton/Hamilton/Kessy have legit competition coming into the pro level in Moroz, Winquist and Jones. I think the Oilers may push Curtis Hamilton into a feature role (otherwise, why bother qualifying him?) but it’s anyone’s guess how long it will last. The young man has shown flashes, I’ll give him that much. Moroz should crush Kessy by Christmas and Winquist would have to be Cory-Cross-Slow to miss a top assignment before season’s end. Joensuu may or may not play in the AHL this season.
- Tyler Pitlick 10GP, 1-0-1 (0.67/60 5×5) (82GP, 8-13-21 NHLE)
- Steve Pinizzotto 6GP, 0-2-2 (2.08/60 5×5) (82GP, 9-9-18 NHLE)
- Matt Ford (AHL) (82GP, 13-11-24 NHLE)
- Iiro Pakarinen (SML) (82GP, 15-7-22 NHLE)
- Andrew Miller (AHL) (82GP, 4-12-16 NHLE)
- Mitch Holmberg (WHL) (82GP, 21-19-40 NHLE)
This is a fun group, too. I think Pitlick may be in the NHL, and Pakarinen and or Pinizzotto may spend time there, too. Even with those callups, there’s a lot of talent here. Matt Ford is an established AHL veteran, Miller came on well later in the season after a tough start. Mitch Holmberg looks like a young Boog Powell up from Rochester. I have no idea about Holmberg’s future, beyond he’s going to have a pro career based on the boxcars.