Last summer, I compared the Detroit minor league system to the Oilers under Steve Tambellini. As you might imagine, it was a depressing day! The Red Wings (in the season I looked at) seemed to take lower draft picks and free agents and develop them better and quicker than Edmonton. Here’s a quick comparison of the two teams (article is here):
- Of the 19 players aged 19-24 on the Griffins in 2010-11, 9 of them (47%) have played in the NHL. More important, guys like Andersson, Tatar, Nyquist, Emmerton, Smith and Kindl have provided the club with inside solutions to roster problems. That’s a massive advantage, a GM can look two or three years down the road and let veterans go on a team timeline. Smart, smart hockey club.
- Of the 23 players aged 19-24 on the Barons, 13 of them (56.5%) have played in the NHL. That’s a slightly higher percentage than Detroit’s but that could be explained by losing teams turning over rosters more quickly in search of success and consistency. More important, and this is incredible, 11 of the 13 (84.6%) have either been cut loose from the club or are chewing on the rope night and day in an effort to get their release. That’s an insane, insane number. Only Mark Arcobello and Jeff Petry remain, with Teemu Hartikainen banished to the hinterland to think about what he’s done (or didn’t do, more likely).
Basically, the Red Wings were becoming NHL players and the Barons were either grabbing jobs with the Islanders (Colin McDonald) or Roosters (Colten Teubert). A year ago, MacT allowed/saw Teemu Hartikainen bolt to the KHL, and it happened again with Roman Horak. Overall, are we seeing any signs of improvement?
- Teemu Hartikainen bolted to the KHL.
- Toni Rajala was released and Edmonton no longer retains his rights.
- Mark Arcobello was retained and played half the season in the NHL.
- Phil Cornet exited the system.
- Chris VandeVelde moved on, and played 18 games with the Flyers (no compensation).
- Magnus Paajarvi was traded in a deal that delivered David Perron.
- Colten Teubert signed in Germany.
- Alex Plante exited the system and hit Europe.
Edmonton retained Arcobello and then dealt Paajarvi for Perron. Still a lot of flushing going on here, but at least there was value returning and retained. Slight improvement, still not delivering at close to Detroit levels.
- Mark Arcobello was signed to a team friendly deal after playing in the NHL in 2013-14 (41GP, 4-14-18).
- Martin Marincin arrived in the NHL, looking for all the world like he’d developed in the Red Wings’ system (44GP, 0-6-6)
- Oscar Klefbom struggled early and then turned a corner in OKC. He also spent time in the NHL (17GP, 1-2-3)
- Ryan Martindale was traded for a veteran AHLer in Steve Pinizzotto. He spent some time in the NHL (6GP, 0-2-2).
- Tyler Pitlick finally played in the NHL (10GP, 1-0-1) and will get a chance again this season.
- Anton Lander had a fine AHL season. He also played 27 games in the NHL.
- Curtis Hamilton got another year, as the team appears to making every effort to be certain they are certain.
- Andrew Miller, Martin Gernat, David Musil, Brandon Davidson, Travis Ewanyk, Richard Bachman all continued to develop and were retained.
It was a much better season. This isn’t Detroit, but you can see good things happening here.
In the post a year ago, I said:
- This is kind of galling–the Red Wings are better at developing their picks in the AHL and many of their best kids aren’t the first rounders–I think we knew that much. However, of the players Edmonton employed in OKC in 2010-11, Edmonton threw pretty much everyone overboard, many of them this summer. The new GM wants to put his stamp on things, I understand it. In fact, I don’t really disagree with the decisions to offload Teubert, Plante, VandeVelde and Cornet this summer. I am disheartened by the Islanders getting a perfectly useful player for nothing (Colin McDonald) and that the Oilers can’t seem to develop these players in the minor leagues. Whatever Craig MacTavish has planned, one would hope this development issue is front and center.
Martin Marincin, Mark Arcobello, Anton Lander, Oscar Klefbom. I think they are headed in a very good direction, and can’t wait for this coming season to see these players and the new arrivals continue their development. A lot of heat is dumped on the amateur scouting department, but Edmonton’s activities in the early part of the century (no minor league team, loaning out players) is exactly as stupid as it appeared at the time.
Photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved