Mitch Callahan has been a consistent player in the AHL for the past several seasons. His style of play (rugged with an agitating demeanor) fits the Chiarelli Oilers well and we could see him in Edmonton this winter. Whether he’s Reggie Dunlop meets Crash Davis in the minors or the new Matt Hendricks in the NHL, Callahan is going to be a fun player to track in the Oilers organization. His resume is fascinating.
- Per 82 AHL games: 21-21-42 (95pims)
- NHLE: 82gp, 10-10-20
Ty Rattie’s NHLE (27 points) is clearly superior to Callahan’s but these men won’t be applying for the same jobs in Bakersfield or Edmonton. Callahan can play either wing and plays a strong two-way game. Is his overall skill level enough to get him past names like Rattie and Jujhar Khaira and into the NHL?
— Bob Kaser (@bkaser1) July 1, 2017
RE 17-18: 6GP, 0-1-1 (.167)
- What role will Callahan apply for? Gritty role player, ala Matt Hendricks. Callahan has a lot of the same elements as Hendricks. One of the interesting things about Callahan signing in Edmonton: He turns 26 this fall, while Hendricks didn’t become an NHL regular until age 28.
- Does he have a real chance? Yes, I think he does. Callahan may not get the first opportunity, but if the penalty killing falters, Brad Malone is ineffective or Jujhar Khaira can’t claim 4L, then Callahan will be in the mix with names like Iiro Pakarinen.
- What makes him attractive for this roster? He has utility, is a righty shooter and is used in all areas at the AHL level. He is a winner, including a WHL championship and a couple of Calder Cups (including this spring). Oilers value that, I believe.
- What will his role be in Bakersfield? He could play on a suffocating forecheck line with Joe Gambardella, but the feature wingers might end up being Joey Laleggia and Ty Rattie. I’m unsure if any of these righty wingers can play center so that’s an option if one of them has that gear. Callahan can play either wing if that becomes an issue.
- What one thing will get him to the NHL? His gritty play and willingness to do whatever it takes. Callahan is a pretty smart player too, based on reports.
- What will keep him from getting an NHL look? If Khaira plays well, the club can find six forwards who can penalty kill (three pairs) and everyone stays healthy, he’s blocked. Edmonton doesn’t have a lot of Callahan’s though, he has a chance.
- When will we know he has a chance? If Callahan is still hanging around later in camp and playing with the NHL roster, he’s in the mix. Watch Khaira’s usage, too, there is probably going to be something around Khaira, Pakarinen and Callahan. That’s my guess.
- How many players can he reasonably be expected to pass in one winter? The Oilers wanted Callahan, will pay him $225,000 to play in Bakersfield. Only Ryan Stanton and Ty Rattie will be paid more among the AHL-NHL free agents signed on July 1 in that cluster. I think he may be this year’s Taylor Beck but we could look back five years from now and wonder why we weren’t thinking Matt Hendricks.