The Bakersfield Condors began the season thin at center and tonight their top man (Brad Malone) is in Philadelphia. Gerry Fleming has enough utility forwards to fill in the blanks but it’s less than ideal.
- I am working on my Winter Top 20 list now, there are eight men on tonight’s roster who will be listed inside the 20 best Oilers’ prospects.
- Jesse Puljujarvi is an excellent prospect. I don’t know how much offense he has, but going from Anton Lander to Josh Currie as his center is going to impact his productivity.
- Joe Gambardella finally arrives on a feature line at center. I’ll be watching closely to see how much he can accomplish tonight.
- Dave Gust is an AHL-only contract but can play at this level based on early returns.
- The four horsemen defense are all playing tonight.
- Nick Ellis gets the start tonight, probably Edward Pasquale tomorrow.
The big forward is not in the lineup at the NHL level these days and the men in front of him (Brad Malone, Iiro Pakarinen) are playing well. Leon Draisaitl and Drake Caggiula are going to be coming back soon, forcing one forward to be optioned to Bakersfield or Spokane. I don’t think it necessarily happens this way, but I think Jujhar Khaira is at least a little vulnerable to trade in the coming days.
If he can post crooked numbers against Ontario tonight and tomorrow, maybe we can begin the discussion about JP’s recall. Two men have played for the Condors this season before heading north (Anton Slepyshev and Brad Malone), perhaps Puljujarvi will be the third. He has six shots on goal and reports have him playing well with moments of exposure without the puck. The bonus dollars have not yet burned off and that too is a consideration. I’ll have updates in the comments section throughout the game.