Since the turn of the century, the Oilers have had many forward prospects arrive at the pro level (age 20) and spend some or all of that rookie pro campaign in the AHL. In the first decade, Jarrett Stoll and Kyle Brodziak emerged as bona fide NHL players, with higher picks Rob Schremp, Marc Pouliot and Jani Rita unable to negotiate the rapids.
So far this decade, Magnus Paajarvi, Tyler Pitlick and Jujhar Khaira have cobbled together the foundation of NHL careers, although none of the three plays as prominent a role as Stoll and only Pitlick can be projected as being on par with Brodziak (and there’s miles to go).
Since moving to Bakersfield, Edmonton hasn’t had a lot of success. Kyle Platzer is the only rookie at 20 to move the needle offensively in the three seasons of the Condors. Are things about to change?
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- New Black Dog Pat: Yeah, sure (prospects past, JP and KY)
- New Corey Pronman: Edmonton: Complete prospect ranking.
- New Lowetide: Stuart Skinner’s net worth.
- Lowetide: Assessing the cost of the Oilers ill-advised AHL experiment.
- Jonathan Willis: No. 12 prospect—Joel Persson.
- Blackdog Pat: There won’t ever be another Stan Mikita.
- Lowetide: No. 13 prospect—Ostap Safin
- Jonathan Willis: No. 14 prospect—Olivier Rodrigue
- Lowetide: No. 15 prospect—William Lagesson
- Jonathan Willis: No. 16 prospect—Cameron Hebig
- Lowetide: No. 17 prospect—Graham McPhee
- Jonathan Willis: No. 18 prospect—Ryan Mantha
- Lowetide: No. 19 prospect—John Marino
- Jonathan Willis: No. 20 prospect—Tyler Vesel
- Lowetide: Top 20 prospects: Forwards outside the top 20
- Jonathan Willis: Are Hayden Hawkey and Phil Kemp underrated gems?
- Lowetide: Oilers 2013 draft: Two NHL players and one crazy trade.
- Lowetide: Some lingering questions about Oilers 2018 draft and evaluating goalies.
- Lowetide: Oilers training camp: 28 men for 23 jobs.
- Lowetide: Is Evan Bouchard NHL-ready?
- Lowetide: The maturation of Daryl Katz, or heading down a dangerous road?
AHL FORWARDS AT 20, 2000-10
- Rob Schremp (06-07 SWB Penguins) 69gp, 17-36-53 .768ppg Schremp had a tough first year pro, getting benched a few times and was a healthy scratch a few times too. His coach did have some nice things to say about him but he was always dogged by skating and coverage issues.
- Jarret Stoll (02-03 Hamilton Bulldogs) 76gp, 21-33-54 .711ppg The two things I remember about Stoll in the AHL are a goal he scored maybe 5 seconds after the faceoff at center-ice and that the “shared” Habs/Oil team that year was a beauty. Stoll played with really good players and had an excellent season, which he built upon to become a solid NHL player.
- Marc Pouliot (05-06 Hamilton Bulldogs) 65gp, 15-30-45 .692ppg Pouliot played on a shared team (like Stoll) as a rookie pro and put up excellent results. Of all the kids who’ve played extended AHL time this century for the Oilers, he’s the guy who I thought could have helped them in the two-way role. It never happened for him.
- Jean Francois Jacques (05-06 Hamilton Bulldogs) 65gp, 24-20-44 .677ppg Jacques had a helluva pro debut and his size and speed made him a promising prospect. He lost a lot of momentum due to back injuries and may have lacked ‘hockey sense’. He is most famous for not getting a point as an NHL rookie in 2006-07 (in 37 games).
- Kyle Brodziak (04-05 Edmonton Roadrunners) 56gp, 6-26-32 .571ppg Brodziak has a nice combination of size and skill. His AHL debut at 20 came on a very poor offensive team, and he built on that season (that team couldn’t score a lick), finally emerging as a legit NHL player about the time Edmonton traded him.
- Jani Rita (01-02 Hamilton Bulldogs) 76gp, 25-17-42 .553ppg I thought Jani Rita would make it. He had the one thing Paajarvi didn’t (a great shot) but not enough of the stuff Paajarvi had to impress Craig MacTavish.
- Slava Trukhno (07-08 Springfield Falcons) 64GP, 14-21-35 .547ppg I loved his passing, Trukhno could really find the lane. He had a nice debut but was a bit of wide body skater.
AHL FORWARDS AT 20, 2011-18
- Magnus Paajarvi (11-12 Oklahoma City Barons) 34gp, 7-18-25 .735ppg Paajarvi played in the NHL at 19, so this is after that teenage season. Great speed, good defensive instincts, can’t score enough to move up the depth chart, he has carved out a career as a depth player.
- Teemu Hartikainen (10-11 Oklahoma City Barons) 66gp, 17-25-42 .636ppg The big Finn was a pure delight and the first 20-year old AHL forward in a couple of years to show up on the radar. He was a little shy on speed but I loved his hands and spirit.
- Bogdan Yakimov (14-15 Oklahoma City Barons) 57gp, 12-16-28 .491 ppg He showed real promise but left for the KHL in the middle of his entry deal and hasn’t been heard from since. Speed would probably have caught up to him but it would be nice to see these things play out ala Detroit.
- Phil Cornet (10-11 Oklahoma City Barons) 60gp, 7-16-23 .383ppg He looked like a tweener from the start, I always liked his spirit. Made it to the NHL for two games.
- Tyler Pitlick (11-12 Oklahoma City Barons) 62gp, 7-16-23 .371ppg He scored pretty well in his WHL season, many of the goals at even strength. The Oilers slow played his AHL rookie year and he got hurt too, those injuries impacting his pro career through today. He made it and the Oilers got a little bit of his career before he left via free agency.
- Kyle Platzer (15-16 Bakersfield Condors) 48gp, 6-11-17 .354 Platzer was a rather obscure draft pick in 2013, didn’t play a lot for the London Knights in his draft year. He has a good two-way resume but lack of offense has impacted his pro career.
- Ryan Martindale (12-13 Oklahoma City Barons). 41gp, 6-8-14 .341 He showed well in a couple training camps, you could see the size being an advantage and he could pass the puck. He didn’t move the needle enough and was dealt in a minor league trade during his entry deal.
- Curtis Hamilton (11-12 Oklahoma City Barons). 41gp, 5-6-11 .268ppg. A wildly disappointing pro debut based on his final junior season, Hamilton never did get untracked during his entry level deal.
- Jujhar Khaira (14-15 Oklahoma City Barons) 51gp, 4-6-10 .196ppg. He didn’t play much at all during his first year pro, but increased his production and gained more playing time through his Condors career. He is now at a point where the Oilers may have a successful ‘draft and develop’ forward, just a matter of how long he can hold the job.
- Travis Ewanyk (13-14 Oklahoma City Barons) 68gp, 7-5-12 .176ppg. Ewanyk had some nice things but the offense in junior suggested he wasn’t going to bring enough to pro hockey.
- Mitch Moroz (14-15 Oklahoma City Barons) 66gp, 5-4-9 .136ppg. Big man came off injury at the end of the Memorial Cup and then had some issues in the AHL, among them ice time. Like Ewanyk, he was not a strong NHL candidate based on offense in junior.
- Kale Kessy (13-14 Oklahoma City Barons) 54gp, 2-4-6 .111ppg The physical winger was unable to score in pro hockey, again predictable based on his junior numbers.
AHL FORWARDS AT 20, 2018-19
- Jesse Puljujarvi. It’s unlikely JP will spend time in Bakersfield this winter but if he does he should flatten the opposition by Halloween.
- Kailer Yamamoto. I’m inclined to say the same thing about Yamamoto, if he goes to Bakersfield it is unlikely to be a long stay and the points should pile up. He might eclipse Rob Schremp’s .768 points per game (JP likely would too, less of a chance the Finn plays in the AHL).
- Tyler Benson. The Oilers are unlikely to slow-play him, it’s a matter of how many plays he’ll make. My guess is he’ll score in the range of .700 ppg (say 35 points in 50 games) but that will depend on power-play opportunities.