Every year since I can remember, things change on minor league teams when the calendar turns. Maybe the coach slow plays the kids until then, or maybe injuries hit around then or the big league team starts recalling help on the double. Either way, the rule is holding true for this season and the Bakersfield Condors.
TOP SCORING CONDORS, JANUARY 2017
- Taylor Beck 7, 2-8-10
- Anton Lander 3, 4-2-6
- Jordan Oesterle 6, 0-6-6
- Jesse Puljujarvi 6, 2-3-5
- Joey Laleggia 7, 5-0-5
- Griffin Reinhart 7, 3-2-5
It is important for Edmonton to constantly develop talent, especially value contracts who can push up to the NHL and fill roles on the big club. Assuming the Oilers lose an NHL roster player in the expansion draft, the current Condors offer Edmonton several strong options for employment next season. How many of them will be value deals?
POTENTIAL VALUE DEALS FROM BAKERSFIELD, 2017-18
- L Anton Slepyshev. Making $925,000 and signed through 2017-18 on his entry-level deal, Slepyshev is 21, 3-2-5 at the NHL level. He has good speed and some skill, I think he most closely resembles those inexpensive wingers in Pittsburgh who get a push (Conor Sheary) and become value deals.
- C-L Jujhar Khaira. Making $875,000 and an RFA this summer, Khaira may be on the verge of emerging as an everyday NHL player. He is 3gp, 1-0-1 in the bigs this year and his AHL NHLE (29) suggests he has enough offense to get a shot at full-time NHL work.
- G Laurent Brossoit. Making $750,000 and signed through 2017-18. If he can establish himself as a viable backup option (I still think PC trades for a veteran option at the deadline) that would certainly help the cap. His audition in the AHL over four years suggests it is time to fish or cut bait with this player.
- C Anton Lander. Making $987,500 this season and arbitration eligible, Lander would be a reasonable option to replace Matt Hendricks at 4L (but not the only one). Has seven points in his last 81 NHL games, so emerging as a value deal may be wishful thinking. Did produce offensively under Todd Nelson for a stretch.
- LD Griffin Reinhart. Making $863,333 and an RFA this season, part of the issue with this player (monster cap bonus consideration) will not be a factor next year. I think he is a candidate for the expansion draft, but if he goes through and remains an Oiler there is a strong chance he will be an Oiler next year. His recent spike offensively coincides with increased usage, perhaps indicating he is back to full health.
- LD Dillon Simpson. Making $836, 667 this year and is an RFA this summer. The boxcar evidence is not strong, but we saw him good during the 3-game NHL audition earlier this year. I expect he is around No. 10 on the depth chart, but he is pushing for a job and things could break right.
- LD Jordan Oesterle. Making $585,000 and arbitration eligible, his foot speed alone makes him an attractive option. I think he might be more valuable to another team (Leftorium).
- LD David Musil. Making $600,000 and arbitration is also an option, he has his skills duplication up and down the NHL and AHL roster. That isn’t the same thing as saying he has no value, and there are scenarios that could see him on the Oilers roster come the fall.
Chances are we see at least a couple of college signings ala Benning and Caggiula, and we should not discount Caleb Jones or Ethan Bear arriving at training camp and blowing the doors off. That said, these eight men are options for next season in terms of value deals. Edmonton already has a few on the roster who will hopefully return (Connor McDavid, Patrick Maroon, Brandon Davidson, Matt Benning, Darnell Nurse), but more are needed and that’s for sure.
WILL PC MARTIN GERNAT ANYONE AT THE DEADLINE?
In the last two trade deadlines, Peter Chiarelli has offloaded prospects in the interests of creating room on the 50-man list. Patrick Maroon’s acquisition cost was a draft pick, but Anaheim also had to take a contract back (Gernat). Chiarelli did the same thing when acquiring Eric Gryba (Travis Ewanyk) at the 2015 draft. We could see it again at the deadline, with several candidates available. Plenty of candidates on the 50-man list currently.