Each season, around the beginning of spring, I start looking at the farm club more closely. I compare the Condors to the Detroit system, run the NHLE’s and project kids into the future. This spring, or rather today, we’re going in search of the next Jujhar Khaira. Chances are he hasn’t made himself known yet and fair warning: He may not be on the roster until fall.
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- New Lowetide: How the Oilers can win summer without breaking the bank.
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- New Corey Pronman: College free agents.
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- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Sweden.
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- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers draft history and the OHL
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JETS FORWARDS AT 20 (AHL)
- This is information culled from prospects-stats.com, a brilliant resource for real research and backyard (basement?) nerds like me.
- Before we look at 20-year olds from the Edmonton system 2014-18, I wanted a comparable. I chose the Jets instead of the Red Wings or Flames, who I have used previously. Why? They are a successful team who have been using their system effectively for some time now.
- Kyle Connor and Jack Roslovic are home runs now, we are waiting on the typical AHLers from this group.
- What do I mean by ‘typical AHLers’? From the 2017 edition of my annual Farm Workers post: Daniel Cleary, Fernando Pisani and Jason Chimera became productive players in the toughest league on the planet. THEY are the stars in this study. It’s the Khaira’s we’re looking for here, and maybe we simply can’t identify these players in their rookie AHL seasons. They need more time.
- 5×5 P1/60 is primary points per 60, and it’s likely anyone posting a number near or north of 1.00 has a chance to play in the NHL for a time.
OILERS FORWARDS AT 20 (AHL)
- Here is the Oilers list of forwards who qualify from 2014-18. Like Roslovic, JP gets an asterisk because of being less than 20.
- Khaira’s estimated time on ice at 20 (less than 12 minutes 5×5) is about the same as Scott Kosmachuk who was a rookie at the same time in the AHL.
- Khaira’s 5×5 primary points-per-60 in Bakersfield is the second lowest total in the entire group. What were the Oilers doing to obscure his offense? I expect he was getting depth minutes and that contributed, maybe it was bad luck or maybe it was residue from playing with Kevin Constantine in his final year of junior. I’ll look at this group during 21 and 22 seasons in the coming months, maybe we can further identify something about Khaira’s development. As recently as the expansion draft, where I believe the organization signed the player to a two-year deal in an effort to tempt Vegas away from Griffin Reinhart, I don’t think Khaira was expected to have an NHL season like 2017-18.
- Jesse Puljujarvi, Kyle Connor and Jack Roslovic are the most impressive players in the group. I’m a big fan of Nic Petan and would suggest he’s next for an NHL career.
- Bogdan Yakimov didn’t develop but he had a good season at 20.
- Marco Roy had a reasonable season at 20, wonder if he’ll work his way into a long pro career.
JETS BLUE AT 20 (AHL)
- The Jets have some interesting names here, all of whom played more than 50 games in the AHL at age 20. TOI estimates have all but Kostelak playing prominent roles at 5×5.
- Josh Morrissey is the famous name here, I thought he would have a larger impact offensively in pro. No matter, he has grown into a useful NHL defenseman.
- Sami Niku is not well known, we talked about him on the blog leading up to the 2015 draft. His usage and numbers this season suggest he might be someone.
OILERS BLUE AT 20 (AHL)
- Ethan Bear is the star in this group, that’s the most impressive number among defenders and would be a handsome number for a forward. His adjustment to pro hockey this season has been very impressive.
- Caleb Jones hasn’t spiked as has Bear, but it is important to remember defensemen never develop in a straight line. We’ll look for him to take a step forward next season but the numbers here are solid.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Ethan Bear doesn’t fit with the Jujhar Khaira story, he grabbed playing time and messed with opponents out of the box. Caleb Jones? Played more of a feature role but the shoe fits a little better there. Khaira’s career path, once he reached pro, doesn’t really match anyone on the list and maybe that’s the point. Could we have seen Khaira emerge sooner if his usage had been more aggressive? This is the age old argument about the Oilers’ development model. I don’t think any of the names on the Oilers list failed from lack of use at age 20 in the AHL. Musil and Moroz were off the pace but that may have been on merit. Khaira’s estimated time on ice was more than Jansen Harkins and Michael Spacek and in the range of Scott Kosmachuk.
I think the story of Jujhar Khaira might not be that he showed up in the AHL at 20 as this player we see now, but that he became this player during the 21-24 timeline. Not certain we can expect the scenario to be duplicated. Nice numbers on Ethan Bear, though.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260. We’re off and running and dealing with the time change. Scheduled to appear:
- Pierre Lebrun, TSN and The Athletic. Expansion in Seattle.
- Adam Stanley, golf journalist. Is Tiger back?
- Jason Gregor, TSN1260. Is Connor McDavid worthy of the Hart Trophy this season?
- Eric Fawcett, Press Basketball. Catch the madness!
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.