There’s not a fan base in captivity that can properly rate the prospect list of their favourite teams. Even if you can agree on question marks and mysterians, it’s a short chat before getting right back to projecting seventh-round picks as future scoring stars. The author of this blog is guilty as charged, but over the years math, logic and reason have aided us in getting a better view of reality. If I asked you how many prospects with bright NHL futures played at least 10 games last season in Bakersfield, what would your answer be?
Give The Athletic as a gift or get it yourself and join the fun! Offer is here, less than $4 a month! I find myself reading both the hockey (Willis, Dellow, Pronman, et cetera) and the baseball coverage a lot, it’s a pure pleasure to visit. We’ll sell you the whole seat, but you’ll only need the edge.
- Lowetide: No. 3 prospect—Ethan Bear
- Lowetide: No. 4 prospect—Ryan McLeod
- The Athletic Cross Canada Tour Will hit Edmonton!
- Lowetide: No. 5 prospect—Cooper Marody.
- Lowetide: No. 6 prospect—Kirill Maksimov.
- Lowetide: No. 7 prospect—Tyler Benson.
- Jonathan Willis: No. 8 prospect—Caleb Jones.
- Lowetide: No. 9 prospect—Filip Berglund.
- Jonathan Willis: No. 10 prospect—Dmitri Samorukov.
- Lowetide: No. 11 prospect—Stuart Skinner’s net worth.
- Jonathan Willis: No. 12 prospect—Joel Persson.
- 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 sign Scottie Upshall to PTO, expand options
PLAYERS 21 AND UNDER
- 1999-00: RW Daniel Cleary (58, 22-52-74), LW Michel Riesen (73, 29-31-60), C Peter Sarno (67, 10-36-46), LW Jason Chimera (78, 15-13-28), RW Alexander Volchkov (25, 2-6-8), D Chris Hajt (54, 0-8-8), RW Maxim Spiridonov (10, 5-2-7), Chad Hinz (18, 1-4-5), D Alex Henry (60, 1-0-1).
- 2003-04: D Doug Lynch (74, 11-25-36), D Jeff Woywitka (53, 4-18-22), C Dan Baum (37, 4-6-10), D Mathieu Roy (30, 0-2-2).
- 2007-08: LC Rob Schremp (78, 23-53-76), LW Liam Reddox (65, 16-28-44), LW Slava Trukhno (64, 14-21-35), RW Stephane Goulet (36, 9-5-14), D Theo Peckham (59, 6-7-13), D Sebastian Bisaillon (21, 3-7-10), F Ryan O’Marra (31, 2-7-9), Cody Wild (13, 1-2-3), D Bryan Young (74, 0-7-7), G Devan Dubnyk (33, 3.12 .904).
- 2017-18: RD Ethan Bear (37, 6-12-18), LD Caleb Jones (58, 2-15-17), RD Ryan Mantha (41, 3-7-10), RW Jesse Puljujarvi (10, 1-4-5).
When I was writing the Ethan Bear piece for The Athletic (link above) I noticed how closely Doug Lynch and Ethan Bear performed on a point-per-game basis as AHL rookies. Lynch’s numbers, as a 20-year old rookie, are identical to Bear (although Bear played half the games). We didn’t get to see Lynch’s career, as a wrist injury had a major impact on his trajectory. Perhaps Bear’s career will solve a mystery.
Pretty much all of the good NHL players who begin their pro careers in the AHL are delivering quality play by age 21. There are four men in this entire group of prospects who played 400+ games in the NHL (Cleary, Chimera, Bergeron, Dubnyk) and three of them are in this group.
Note: Three of the men who played for Bakersfield in 2017-18 should have a major impact on this organization over the next decade.
PLAYERS 22 TO 23
- 1999-00: C Brian Swanson (69, 19-40-59), LW Dan Lacouture (70, 23-17-40), D Matthieu Descoteaux (49, 5-7-12), C Paul Comrie (12, 3-3-6), D Kevin Bolibruck (54, 1-4-5), RW Brian Urick (14, 2-1-3), D Ryan Risidore (45, 3-13-16), G Eric Heffler (47, 3.13 .910)G Mike Minard (38, 3.08, .904).
- 2003-04: LW Tony Salmelainen (58, 19-25-44),RW Jani Rita (64, 17-24-41), C Joe Cullen (69, 14-16-30), C JJ Hunter (56, 12-16-28), LW Sean McAslan (62, 12-15-27), RW Michael Henrich (58, 14-10-24), RW Brad Winchester (65, 13-6-19), D Marc-Andre Bergeron (17, 4-3-7).
- 2007-08: C Marc Pouliot (55, 21-26-47), LW Patrick Thoresen (29, 13-13-26), C LW JF Jacques (38, 11-14-25), RW Colin McDonald (73, 12-11-23), Tim Sestito (77, 7-10-17), RW Troy Bodie (62, 9-6-15), C Tyler Spurgeon (12, 1-7-8), C Fredrik Johansson (25, 4-1-5), , C Jonas Almtorp (37, 2-2-4), G Jeff Deslauriers (57, 2.90 .912).
- 2017-18: LW Joe Gambardella (50, 13-6-19), RC Kyle Platzer (44, 8-7-15), LW Braden Christoffer (63, 6-9-15), RC Tyler Vesel (11, 3-3-6), LD Ben Betker (42, 1-4-5), LC Colin Larkin (16, 0-2-2).
Lots of talent in this group, but it’s surprising how few men became NHL regulars over a significant period. A long list of players 22 plus who we still held out hope for (Rita, Pouliot, McDonald) didn’t establish themselves as NHL regulars. When I do the Farm Workers piece every year, I use the phrase “pretty much every player who is in the AHL past age 21 has some issues and is going to do some meandering.” Meandering indeed.
Note: Tyler Vesel and Joe Gambardella, college men, are the two players I could see getting some NHL time from the current group.
PLAYERS 24 TO 26
- 1999-00: RW Kevin Brown (54, 21-38-59), D Sergei Yerkovich (72, 2-28-30), LW Sean Selmser (72, 14-12-26), D Alex Zhurik (54, 2-16-18), D Brad Norton (40, 5-12-17).
- 2003-04: RW Nate DiCasmirro (71, 17-18-35), C Chad Hinz (74, 11-23-34), C Mike Bishai (48, 11-22-33), D Bobby Allen (56, 5-10-15), G Mike Morrison (27, 2.52 .913).
- 2007-08: D TJ Kemp (73, 8-38-46), D Mathieu Roy (20, 2-8-10), D Mike Gabinet (19, 0-3-3).
- 2017-18: RC Josh Currie (68, 20-26-46), RW Ty Rattie (53, 21-22-43), LW Joey Laleggia (68, 15-28-43), RW Patrick Russell (68, 14-13-27), LD Dillon Simpson (61, 4-14-18), LD Keegan Lowe (52, 2-12-14), R Iiro Pakarinen (18, 9-4-13), G Laurent Brossoit (29, 2.68 .912).
It’s a tough sled 24+ to build an NHL career. Brad Norton from the 1999-00 team (124 games) is the class of this group.
Note: Ty Rattie has a great chance to catch on with the Oilers, we’ll see about the rest.
History tells us to pay close attention to the top group, saving some attention for the second crew, and to view the third category as a ‘bonus’ region. Here are the numbers from the three groups above combined:
- Players 21 and under (99-00, 03-04, 07-08): 23 players, 3,386 games (147.2 games per player)
- Players 22 and 23 (99-00, 03-04, 07-08): 26 players, 2378 games (91.5 games per player)
- Players 24 to 26 (99-00, 03-04, 07-08): 13 players, 268 games (20.6 games per player)
THE 2018-19 BAKERSFIELD CONDORS
- Players 21 and under: RW Kailer Yamamoto, LW Tyler Benson, RD Ethan Bear, LD Caleb Jones, RC Cooper Marody, RW Ostap Safin, G Stuart Skinner, D Dylan Wells.
- Players 22 and 23: RD Ryan Mantha, LD William Lagesson, C Cameron Hebig.
- Players 24 to 26: R Ty Rattie, RC Tyler Vesel, RC Josh Currie, LW Joe Gambardella, LW Nolan Vesey, RW Patrick Russell, LC Colin Larkin, LD Keegan Lowe, G Shane Starrett.
The 2018-19 club should have more firepower than the previous Condors, who averaged just 2.76 goals per game. That Pacific Division of the AHL is a low scoring enterprise, Tucson Roadrunners (Arizona’s farm) led the 68-game group with 3.15 goals per game.
The single season goal-scoring leader in Condors’ history remains Matt Ford, who scored 27 in the team’s first season as the Oilers’ farm team. No. 1 in points in a season? Anton Lander, 55 (in 42 games) in 2016-17.
The all-time leader in points is Joey Laleggia (108) although Josh Currie (106) is sure to win that race with Laleggia heading to the St. Louis system. All-time goals? Currie, 52.
PROJECTED CONDORS (WITH NHLE)
There are some nice prospects in this group, the top three forwards (Benson, Marody, Yamamoto) are well qualified to enter pro hockey. I’m not convinced Yamamoto spends a lot of time in the minors but he should score anywhere from .750-1 point per game while in Bakersfield.
Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones will get a lot of attention again this season, as will William Lagesson. I hope Ryan Mantha has a strong season and pushes forward despite the setback of one year ago.
Is Matt Ford’s 27 goals or Anton Lander’s 55 points in danger of being eclipsed? Maybe, but the nature of the minor leagues suggests Josh Currie is more likely to break those totals than Yamamoto. Cooper Marody may push toward those numbers, as he’s likely to stay most or all of the year.
In my Oilers RE GP estimates, I have Yamamoto (44), Marody (7), Gambardella (4) and Benson (1) getting some NHL action. Among defensemen, Ethan Bear, Keegan Lowe, Caleb Jones and Evan Bouchard see NHL time. The estimates are here.
I used to do a Bakersfield RE but it’s almost impossible to properly estimate that many moving parts. It was a fun exercise for me, here’s the RE estimates for Bakersfield 2015-16: