Bob Green’s official title with the Edmonton Oilers is Director of Player Personnel, a wide-ranging role that (according to the website) involves many areas of the game. Today, I am most interested in this passage of the job description:
- Oversee the Edmonton Oilers scouting operations as well as continue to identify and recruit NCAA, CHL and European free agents and develop a free agent priority list.
Interesting. We have already seen a lot of Green’s work, he is responsible for men like Jordan Oesterle, Josh Winquist and others being in the system. Edmonton’s AHL team next year is going to be a team in transition, as the club moves away from the failed draft picks and (I assume) signs college and graduating juniors to both NHL and AHL contracts. Here are some candidates to keep in mind who have a general or specific association with the team at this time:
- L Josh Winquist. He has been on an AHL contract for two seasons now, may have earned an NHL deal this summer. Although he has been injured much of the season (knee), the numbers (16, 7-9-16) suggest he may have a future.
- C Josh Currie. Won AHL contract in January, has played well (33, 4-6-10) in a two-way role in Bakersfield.
- C-L Marco Roy. Former second-round selection has an AHL deal (28, 5-3-8) and is finding his way.
- F Roman Horak. A damn good player, no indication he is coming back.
Green will have to decide if any of these men are viable NHL prospects and worthy of a big league deal. If not, perhaps they will be retained for another season on an AHL deal. At the same time, Green will probably be looking for some of those CHL and NCAA free agents who can step right in next year. I spoke to Guy Flaming of the Pipeline Show recently and he provided some interesting names (previously mentioned here):
- LW Dryden Hunt, Moose Jaw Warriors. A strong skater having a terrific year, he is 15-8-23 in his last 10 WHL games. He is 6.01, 201 and would be a fantastic get in an area of need.
- C Reid Gardiner, Prince Albert Raiders. This is a pretty good player, surprised he wasn’t drafted last summer. He is 5.11, 195, and 6-6-12 in his last 10 games.
- F Drake Caggiula, University of North Dakota. Another terrific scorer (23GP, 15-15-30), he has good speed and a range of skills. 5.10, 180.
- D Troy Stecher, University of North Dakota. Righthanded blue with all kinds of offense (28GP, 5-14-19) and he is an excellent skater. 5.10, 190.
- R Nick Betz, Erie Otters. This player comes via Brock Otten and his excellent OHL Prospects site, and Betz is a big power winger with average speed. What makes him interesting is size (6.04, 220) and offense (47GP, 15-24-39) that appears to be attached to net-front presence. Source
The Oilers are going to need to sign some kids, both NHL and AHL deals. Why? Well part of the issue comes from expiring deals they may not want to renew:
- UFA: Teddy Purcell, Eric Gryba, Nikita Nikitin, Rob Klinkhammer, Brad Hunt, Andrew Miller, Ryan Hamilton. (7)
- RFA: Iiro Pakarinen, Zack Kassian, Justin Schultz, Brandon Davidson, Adam Clendening, Laurent Brossoit, Anders Nilsson, Luke Gazdic, Tyler Pitlick, Martin Gernat, Jordan Oesterle, David Musil, Kale Kessy. (13)
That is 20 contracts, fully 40 percent of the entire 50-man list. The Oilers have a big issue here: They should walk (or trade out of) eight of the minor league deals (Hunt, Miller, Hamilton, Gazdic, Pitlick, Gernat, Musil, Kessy). The NHL deals we will leave alone for now and revisit another time.
Edmonton does not have eight players from previous drafts worth signing. NOT CLOSE. And the best ones are, you guessed it, defensemen:
- D William Lagesson—NCAA freshman, very good at the WJs.
- F Tyler Vesel—Two-way college player, jury is out.
- L Evan Campbell—He does not appear to be a future NHL player.
- G Zach Nagelvoort—He hasn’t played much this year, never a good sign.
- F Aidan Muir—Big forward not progressing.
- G Miroslav Svoboda—Big goalie miles away.
- G Keven Bouchard—QMJHL goalie, I don’t think they sign him in the spring.
- D Ziyat Paigin—Enjoying a brilliant KHL season, signed for another year.
With that as the backdrop, what does the ideal Bob Green whiteboard (in his office) for the 16-17 Bakersfield Condors look like?
- Goal: Laurent Brossoit, Eetu Laurikainen
- Defense: Griffin Reinhart, David Musil, Jordan Oesterle, Joey Laleggia, Dillon Simpson, Ben Betker, TROY STECHER
- Center: Bogdan Yakimov, Jujhar Khaira, Kyle Platzer, Marco Roy
- Left Wing: Josh Winquist, DRYDEN HUNT, Braden Christoffer, Mitchell Moroz
- Right Wing: Anton Slepyshev, Greg Chase, NICK BETZ
Plus the AHL veterans. It is still not close to enough, but the Oilers have traded away a lot of their draft picks and signed the worthy men from 2013 long ago. Bob Green may need a second whiteboard.