The Oilers sent down Jujhar Khaira today, after a very successful run in the NHL. I didn’t think he would be as successful at this level, and that was based on his previous AHL/junior/college numbers. This season, he seemed to turn a corner (or he got more playing time) and showed very well in Bakersfield (16gp, 3-4-7) compared to his rookie AHL season (51gp, 4-6-10).
Khaira’s NHL debut (12gp, 0-2-2) included some pretty damn impressive shifts, especially early. I remain somewhat reserved about how much offense he will bring, and compared him to Chris VandeVelde here—suspect that is a reasonable comparable, although Khaira is in the NHL at 21 and that counts. I hope he makes it, everything available about him suggests he is a fine young man. As for the reasoning, suspect Iiro Pakarinen will be back in action tomorrow night.
Congratulations to former Barons Laurent Brossoit, Brad Hunt, and Yann Danis on being named to the #AHLAllStar Game.
— Eric Rodgers (@ericrsports) January 7, 2016
Laurent Brossoit and Brad Hunt were named AHL All-Stars today and the news is an opportunity for us to look at the Bakersfield Condors this season. It will be an important period for culling and procurement, and I think it likely Edmonton’s AHL team for 2016-17 will be bigger, faster and pack more attitude. Let’s have a look at the RFA and UFA players.
- D Nikita Nikitin: I don’t think he showed much at all in the NHL look, no idea if he has impressed during AHL time. Suspect he heads back to Russia for next year, a much richer man. One thing I do know? Dellow could have saved them $9 million if the Oilers had hired him one year earlier.
- C Andrew Miller: I think he may return as insurance, but McLellan zipped him out after a brief cup of coffee so it is not certain. If Edmonton decides to run Joey Laleggia at forward, it might impact the number of smaller F’s being retained on new deals.
- L Ryan Hamilton: The big winger does not possess NHL speed but he has leadership qualities and is a useful AHL player. I could see the organization bringing him back, although they do have a plethora of LWs and Josh Winquist may earn an NHL (two-way) deal.
- R Zack Kassian: Complete wildcard, you can project him onto the NHL roster or never see him after April. My bet, based on opportunity, skill and verbal, is we will be talking about him as a member of the NHL team in the fall.
- R Tyler Pitlick: I think McLellan would like him if he saw Pitlick, but that apparently wasn’t to be. It must be wildly frustrating to be unable to stay healthy playing the game you love. I don’t think they bring him back, unless we see something in the second half of the year.
- G Laurent Brossoit: I think he has a chance for an NHL career, and suspect Edmonton gives him a game or two in the second half of the season. We could be within a year of LB dressing every night (starter or backup) as an NHL player. Great trade by MacT.
- D Martin Gernat: Started slowly but is coming on in terms of offense, the injury and the history may mean he will need a second opinion from another organization. I thought he progressed very well in junior but fall 2015 really sent him in a bad direction with the club. I don’t know if he has recovered from it.
- D Jordan Oesterle: Speedster is going to have a tough time getting ahead of these other kids, but I like him a lot. Great speed and he can move the puck, lots of chaos and I don’t know if the offense justifies the risk. Still, would like to see him back in the fall.
- D David Musil: Big, strong defender with speed issues, I think he is blocked six ways to Sunday by the Griffin Reinhart trade. Could see him sent elsewhere in a fashion similar to the Travis Ewanyk trade last summer. I can’t see a route for him as an Oiler. Seriously. Unless they trade GR.
- L Kale Kessy: Rugged winger has shown some offense this season (5-4-9 in 27GP), suspect he will return in the fall—this is the kind of player the Oilers are likely to procure over the summer, so keeping Kessy may be part of that plan.