The Edmonton Oilers chose Jujhar Khaira No. 63 overall in 2012 and he turned pro in the fall of 2014. The Oilers, as is their tradition, brought him along slowly. Edmonton’s CHL kids have been handled that way during the Oklahoma swing and the results have been poor. Did the team learn anything from the struggles of Tyler Pitlick, Curtis Hamilton and Ryan Martindale? No.
BARONS CENTERS 2014-15
The Oilers have a couple of nice young centers who spent time in OKC this year. Anton Lander finally punched his NHL ticket in January and is being counted on at the NHL level in 2015-16. Bogdan Yakimov saw a spike in his TOI (these totals are via Eric Rodgers, who published them today at Tend the Farm) after Lander’s recall, that information via Eric Rodgers on twitter and Tend the Farm.
Khaira didn’t play much and part of that very likely has to do with being offensively challenged. I think the scouting department grabbed a player who is shy offensively (Edmonton does this a lot, or did under Stu MacGregor) but if you’re going to draft and sign these men then for crying out loud play them. Travis Ewanyk was a terrific junior player and has a lot of uses, but he needs to score more in order to have a pro career. He’s in Ottawa now, it’ll be interesting to see if the Senators can Condra him and find a way to make it work.
I’d say two of the four draft picks got enough work, it would have been better if Yakimov received those bigger minutes earlier in the season and we hope for more at-bats next year.
BARONS LEFT WINGERS 2014-15
Fascinating look at the port side here. First, the best 20-year old isn’t the second round pick, it’s the undrafted free agent and they STILL didn’t give him enough ice time. Come on Oilers, give yourselves a chance to succeed here! Ryan Hamilton played an absolute shit-ton and there should be arrests based on it. Curtis Hamilton finally managed a solid year and got substantial playing time, something that might have come in handy a couple of years ago. Kale Kessy shows pretty well here, that’s a guy we should be watching during training camp.
Kellen Jones is a 2010 draft pick who isn’t likely to play in the NHL but the man has a lot of pluck. I saw him good and heard him good in OKC (Jim Byers description of the Jones boys on the PK created quite a picture). Mitch Moroz needs more playing time, this estimate from Rodgers is probably very accurate and ridiculous if true. PLAY the people you draft and sign, Oilers!
BARONS RIGHT WINGERS 2014-15
There’s not much to complain about here, Matt Ford played up and down the lineup (he was third line quite a bit), plus Miller might be the closest to NHL-ready among all of the remaining forwards from last year’s team. Tyler Pitlick looks to have made it if he can stay healthy, but Iiro Pakarinen is right there in case he falters. Jackson Houck is no longer in the organization, actually never was, Edmonton drafted but did not sign the prospect.
BARONS DEFENSEMEN 2014-15
Joey Laleggia didn’t play much but was a feature addition at the end of his college career. Remember these are all TOI estimates so the young Laleggia was probably getting a major power-play push. The same can be said for Brad Hunt, but anyone who saw or listened to the broadcasts can tell you he was out there for major minutes in most games he played in OKC.
Oscar Klefbom was bona fide and should have been in the NHL all last season, and Brandon Davidson was the best actual defenseman on the Barons all last season. Among Jordan Oesterle, Dillon Simpson and David Musil I’m not sure who will end up having the best NHL career, but I’ll bet on one of them to have a substantial run in the world’s best league.
The AHL rookies didn’t play enough, and that’s an issue for sure. If we take a look at Rodgers’ estimated ice times for newcomers this past season, it’s pretty obvious Edmonton can’t find a spot for most 20-year olds:
- Bogdan Yakimov 15:48 at age 20 (he had a birthday early in the season).
- Josh Winquist 12:29 at age 20.
- Jujhar Khaira 11:06 at age 20.
- Mitch Moroz 8:49 at age 20.
Since 2010 and the beginning of the Barons run, their 20-year olds have included Teemu Hartikainen and Phil Cornet (2010), Anton Lander, Tyler Pitlick, Curtis Hamilton and Ryan Martindale (2011), Martin Marincin (2012), Oscar Klefbom, Martin Gernat, Travis Ewanyk, David Musil and Kale Kessy (2013).
I think there may be a disconnect here between CHL 20-year olds and how much they play in their year one in the organization. They appear to be behind players like Hartikainen and Yakimov and get the squeeze. As our friend Supernova has been showing in his looks at other teams, this appears to be somewhat unique to Edmonton’s system. They need to fix this.