One year ago today, the Edmonton Oilers signed Joey Laleggia. The former Denver Pioneers defender had a major impact during his college career and posted solid numbers (55, 7-17-24) as an AHL rookie.
Joey LaLeggia on EDM next year: “I’ve been told I’m going to fit in pretty well. I think there’s a pretty good opportunity waiting 4 me."
— Mike Chambers (@MikeChambers) April 1, 2015
Today, the Bakersfield Condors signed RW Joey Benik from St. Cloud State. One of the reasons he chose the Condors (and he did have options) is Laleggia:
- Benik on a conversation with former Penticton Vee teammate Laleggia: “I spoke with him in the afternoon and let him know my situation and I got his opinion on how he liked it and how things are there. He’s having a good experience.” Source
I have mentioned a few times that in conversations with Tom Lynn on the Lowdown he has mentioned the importance of these college kids getting a chance. News travels fast, even good news. So, when a Mark Arcobello or Andrew Miller or Jordan Oesterle gets an NHL chance, that gets noticed. This is going to be very important for Peter Chiarelli, as he tries to recover enough talent to stock a minor league system next year (and beyond).
Congrats to Joey Benik for signing with the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL, affiliate team to NHL's Edmonton Oilers! pic.twitter.com/qeJJW0j80x
— Maddie MacFarlane (@MissMaddieMac) March 31, 2016
- Joey Benik
- Age: 24
- 5.10, 175
- 41, 23-25-48 (NHLE: 82, 19-20-39)
- ATO this season, one-way AHL deal for next year (Bakersfield) and if an NHL team comes calling with a full deal, he will be released from the contract. (I think that last portion is universal).
He will be an interesting player to follow, the NHLE suggests he can help offensively.
"I'm confident going forward with Oscar, Justin, Nikita, Andrew and Fayne." MacT on Oilers blueline. #Oilers
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) March 2, 2015
Ah, yes. Memories. I have to say that March 2, 2015 was a tough day for Oilers fans because that quote represented another tough year. As it turns out, one year later Oscar and Fayne are still standing (although Oscar has spent much of the year not skating) and Justin, Nikita and Andrew are gone or on the outs.
A year ago we began the conversation about summer, and what might be added by Craig MacTavish and then Peter Chiarelli. Here is my suggested list from March 5:
- G Martin Jones, Los Angeles Kings: He narrowly beats out Antti Raanta because Jones’ resume is so consistent. The least successful season he’s had as a pro is this one and it’s still good. I understand this is shopping at the same store as a year ago but I don’t believe flushing Ben Scrivens is a good idea either. Devan Dubnyk recovered, so can Ben.
- D’s Andrej Sekera and Patrick Wiercioch: If MacT is serious about Klefbom—Schultz and Ference—Nikitin, then the team badly needs a strong, strong top pairing/shut down option. Sekera—Fayne might be that duo and Wiercioch will be needed when the veterans fail.
- L Matt Beleskey: A solid even-strength scorer who could play up and down the lineup (Oilers top two LW’s, Hall and Pouliot, had a hard time staying healthy this year), he can clearly deliver on a skill line.
- C Derek Roy: He’s helping Yakupov and that’s no easy task. Much has been made about Roy’s WOWY number but he’s 50% away from Yakupov for the year (including all games) so I’m hopeful they sign him and commit to the young Russian (MacT’s comments in this regard are very encouraging).
Peter Chiarelli went a different route (Cam Talbot, Andrej Sekera, Eric Gryba, Lauri Korpikoski, Mark Letestu) and of course the team drafted Connor McDavid (something we didn’t think of in early March). This summer? I think the list is longer and here are my suggested hires:
- Top-pairing D to partner with Klefbom (Jason Demers)
- Scoring winger from free agency (Lee Stempniak)
- Offload unwanted contracts (Lauri Korpikoski)
- Backup goalie (Jhonas Enroth, but may cost too much)
- Re-stock the system partly through college and CHL signings (Benik, but also Winquist, et al)
- Build up the system (especially forwards) via draft (Laine, Tyler Benson)
I believe the second pairing should be Sekera—Fayne and the organization should retain the Nuge.
- Patrick Maroon—Connor McDavid—Jordan Eberle
- Taylor Hall—Leon Draisaitl—Patrik Laine
- Benoit Pouliot—Ryan Nugent-Hopkins—Lee Stempniak
- Matt Hendricks—Mark Letestu—Iiro Pakarinen
- Oscar Klefbom—Jason Demers
- Andrej Sekera—Mark Fayne
- Darnell Nurse—Brandon Davidson
- Cam Talbot—Jonas Ehnroth
— Jim Roepcke (@JimRoepckeOilrs) March 30, 2016