The Oklahoma City Barons saw some outstanding rookies pass through in five seasons but the Bakersfield Condors may get a better single-season crop out of the box. How? Well, there are kids coming from college, junior and Russia who have NHL potential and all of them should play this year in California.
BARONS 10-11 ROOKIES
- C Teemu Hartikainen 66GP, 17-25-42
- F Milan Kytnar 78GP, 13-16-29
- D Jeff Petry 41GP, 7-17-24
- L Phil Cornet 60GP, 7-16-23
- C Mark Arcobello 26GP, 11-11-22
- C Chris VandeVelde 67GP, 12-4-16
- D Colten Teubert 20GP, 2-5-7
Todd Nelson’s first rookie crew did pretty damn well if you ask me—all of them played in the NHL. Jeff Petry (314 NHL games) is a bona fide NHL defenseman, Mark Arcobello (119), Chris VandeVelde (118), Teemu Hartikainen (52) Colten Teubert (24), Phil Cornet (2) and Milan Kytnar (1) all saw playing time in the world’s best league.
BARONS 11-12 ROOKIES
- L Hunter Tremblay 68GP, 16-15-31
- R Tyler Pitlick 62GP, 7-16-23
- C Tanner House 68GP, 8-12-20
- R Antti Tyrvainen 55GP, 6-13-19
- L Curtis Hamilton 41GP, 5-6-11
- D Kirill Tulupov 33GP, 1-7-8
- R Cameron Abney 14GP, 0-0-0
This group wasn’t as strong as year one, but Tyler Pitlick (27 NHL games) and Curtis Hamilton (1) did see some time. It’s also interesting to see that the group is (for the most part) outside the control of NHL clubs at this time—not a lot of sustain from these men.
BARONS 12-13 ROOKIES
- D Justin Schultz 34GP, 18-30-48
- L Toni Rajala 46GP, 17-28-45
- D Martin Marincin 69GP, 7-23-30
- D Taylor Fedun 70GP, 8-19-27
- C Anton Lander 47GP, 9-11-20
- C Ryan Martindale 41GP, 6-8-14
- C CJ Stretch 17GP, 5-3-8
- L Kristians Pelss 20GP, 1-7-8
- D Brandon Davidson 26GP, 2-3-5
Nelson is back to delivering considerable talent to the Oilers. Justin Schultz (203 NHL games) may never have been the AHL without the lockout but he started out in OKC and should have a long pro career. Anton Lander (132), Martin Marincin (85), Brandon Davidson and Taylor Fedun (11) are also NHL bona fide with miles to go.
BARONS 13-14 ROOKIES
- R Andrew Miller 52GP, 8-26-34
- D Martin Gernat 57GP, 4-17-21
- C Austin Fyten 47GP, 7-13-20
- D David Musil 61GP, 2-10-12
- C Travis Ewanyk 68GP, 7-5-12
- D Oscar Klefbom 48GP, 1-9-10
- L Kale Kessy 54GP, 2-4-6
There’s still some time for several of the men who haven’t made the grade but early results are good. Oscar Klefbom (77 NHL games) looks like a decade plus defensive option, plus Andrew Miller (9) are David Musil (4) working on establishing themselves.
BARONS 14-15 ROOKIES
- C Bogdan Yakimov 57GP, 12-16-28
- D Jordan Oesterle 65GP, 8-17-25
- L Josh Winquist 46GP, 8-11-19
- D Dillon Simpson 71GP, 3-14-17
- F Kellen Jones 49GP, 5-10-15
- C Connor Jones 41GP, 4-6-10
- C Jujhar Khaira 51GP, 4-6-10
- L Mitchell Moroz 66GP, 5-4-9
- D CJ Ludwig 28GP, 1-4-5
- G Laurent Brossoit 53GP, 2.56 .918
The final Barons season saw a few terrific young prospects make their debut. Among the group who also played in the NHL: Jordan Oesterle (6 NHL games), Bogdan Yakimov (1) and Laurent Brossoit (1).
BAKERSFIELD AHL ROOKIES 2015-16
- G Eetu Laurikainen. It seems like months ago we found out about the signing. He remains a solid bet, and I wonder if the club will consider sending him to the ECHL in order to get work (if required). I really hope he gets playing time, that shortened AHL schedule is a bit of an issue.
- D Darnell Nurse. I’m not sure he plays in Bakersfield, we’ll see how the summer rolls. Nurse played in the AHL playoffs this past spring and the verbal was very positive (David Staples wrote some nice things about him). I just can’t see him playing a lot in the minors.
- D Ben Betker. Big and has speed, a fun combination. He’s raw, so there’s every chance Betker plays some in the ECHL (I’d count on it) but this is a very nice giant on skates, as prospects go.
- D Joey Laleggia. Highly skilled defender whose offense in the NCAA is so good one almost doesn’t trust it (maybe they’re using juiced pucks in Denver!). Either way he’ll get a big opportunity to show his stuff and if those boxcars are legit Edmonton will have to find a way to make room. I suspect he’ll be dizzying in a MacLellan power play.
- C Kyle Platzer Fine two-way resume and he blossomed offensively after being drafted. A little under the radar as he turns pro, the range of skills from Platzer makes him an option up and down the order.
- C Alexis Loiseau. Signed to an AHL deal, he may be this year’s Josh Winquist. He’s 21, 6.01, 180, he scored 96 points in 68 QMJHL games. Highly skilled, it’s a wonder these kids with the mammoth boxcars don’t get drafted.
- L Anton Slepyshev. One of the big names who will be heading to Oilers camp, Slepyshev should get every chance to impact the Bakersfield offense this coming season. One hopes the club doesn’t ease him into the lineup, he’s been in the KHL for some time so we should see a short adjustment period.
- L Connor Rankin. Bakersfield signing, scored 32 in the WHL. Decent size, he might have to earn his way to the Condors via the ECHL (that’s probably true for all of these undrafted fellows).
- L Braden Christoffer. Tough winger with skill, 5.10. He’s a unique skill set so will be one to watch this fall. More offense than one might expect (59 points a year ago).
- R Greg Chase. With due respect to the Russian, this is the fellow I’m looking forward to seeing. Chase’s rugged game should fit better at the pro level than it did in junior and if he can bring some offense with him from his WHL days he could have an NHL career.
That’s a tremendous group of young players, if the entire group spends the season in Bakersfield then Condors fans should be delighted with the quality of the prospects. Add this crew to the young men coming back (possibly Leon Draisaitl, Bogdan Yakimov, Griffin Reinhart, Laurent Brossoit, others) for their second and third seasons and sky’s the limit.