The Edmonton Oilers have been using their farm team heavily all season. Some of that came via bizarre roster decisions (I’ll never understand the thought process that went into arriving at the opening night roster) and much of it came via injury. Several youngsters took full advantage and look like they may have finished their minor league auditions. Others may have proven they are not meant for the higher league.
- C Anton Lander. We always knew he had talent but it took exactly forever for it to arrive at the NHL level. Patience pays off and the Oilers have a two-way center. If you’re curious, it took him 136 AHL games (or two seasons) to get here. I think Lander would have arrived for good far sooner if Tom Renney had simply sent him to the AHL fall 2011. Lordy.
- D Oscar Klefbom. He’s dreamy. Full stop. Oscar Klefbom skates like we all want to, just a tremendous athlete and a natural at the defensive position. He’ll need time to learn and grow but man what a player. 57 AHL games and 66 in the NHL, meaning it took him less than a full season to find the range.
- D Martin Marincin. I’m still not certain he plays the heart of his NHL career in Edmonton but he got his start here and that’s for sure. No doubt in my mind the smart NHL teams have marked him. 126 AHL and 74 NHL games, so (like Lander) about two years in the AHL before he found the range. Unless the Oilers send him back in the fall, which would be insanity.
- R Iiro Pakarinen. He was very impressive in the AHL and showed enough at the NHL level I think we can safely call him an ‘early option’ for recall next year (if he doesn’t make the team). Astute signing. He is at 39 AHL games, 17 in the NHL.
- C Bogdan Yakimov. Impressive size added to legit ability have Oilers fans legitimately excited about Yak2. He took some time to find the offensive range in OKC and is spiking as the season winds down. 57 AHL games, he has been in one NHL game this year.
- R Tyler Pitlick. Our man Pitlick sure has had a time staying healthy. I think he may end up in another organization—the job he was applying for went to Rob Klinkhammer the moment that contract was signed—but he needs to have 80 healthy games in one season or none of this will matter. 159 AHL and 24 NHL games with the Oilers organization.
THE DISTANT BELLS
- D Brad Hunt: Interesting player. Brad Hunt has significant offensive ability but he’s also a bit of an adventure defensively. A more reliable defensive team might be able to house him as a bottom-pairing option, I don’t think the Oilers are that team. He has played 193 AHL games and will play tonight, and has been in 14 NHL games.
- L Ryan Hamilton: Veteran winger with size and some offensive ability at the AHL-level. Speed is the concern here and despite signing an extension for next season I don’t see him as a legit NHL option. Has now played in 481 AHL games and 30 NHL games—18 of those 30 came as an Oiler.
- R Steve Pinizzotto: Rugged winger played well enough in camp to make the grade but had to wait his turn. He was then sent down and injury has been an issue. He’s an older prospect, may not be here next season. 340 AHL games and 36 NHL games, 24 of those as an Oiler.
- D Brandon Davidson: One of those depth defenders who keeps hanging around year after year. Sometimes they end up fading away and other times they end up playing 400 NHL games. Davidson’s story makes him someone we all cheer for and with good reason. 143 AHL and 4 NHL games in the Oilers organization.
- D Jordan Oesterle. Puck-moving defender impressed the organization enough to jump ahead of Martin Gernat and David Musil among prospect blue and he beat Dillon Simpson to the NHL debut. 56 AHL and 4 NHL games this season.
- R Andrew Miller: Made it for a cup of coffee and looked good in that quick look-see. I wonder if the Oilers plan on making him the final recall this year, as there was absolutely enough to warrant another look. Currently at 110 AHL games, all played before his first trip to the majors.
- C Will Acton. I think I was the only blogger who liked him. He played with flotsam, penalty killed and never did get a fair shake as far as I know. You’d think the son of a coach would have had a better hand. 194 AHL games and 33 NHL when he exited the system.
Keith Aulie and Richard Bachman were also part of the fun but I don’t consider either player a prospect due to NHL experience gained before their Edmonton arrival.