How often does the leading scorer of the Oilers’ top minor league affiliate win an NHL career after his success? Answer: Not too damned often. The truth is AHL kids who are good don’t play a full season there, it’s on to the show like a bat out of hell.
The Athletic Edmonton is going to bring it all season long. Proud to be part of a lineup that is ready to cover the coming year. Outstanding coverage from a large group, including Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis, Lowetide, Minnia Feng and Pat McLean. If you haven’t subscribed yet, now’s your chance. Special offer is here, less than $3 a month!
- New Lowetide: Practice lines in Boston, anger in Edmonton and Kailer Yamamoto remains on the No. 2 line.
- New Jonathan Willis: At 34, is Kyle Brodziak just too old to help the Oilers?
- New Jonathan Willis: Why Todd McLellan’s name keeps showing up on those ‘first coach fired in 2018-19’ lists
- New James Mirtle: Sizing up the NHL 2018-19 by age, height and age (Oilers content)
- Black Dog: Edmonton’s future is bright, but there are all kinds of questions in the present.
- Lowetide: Evan Bouchard survives first game.
- Lowetide: Ryan McLeod takes demotion in stride, while a Condo of Condors impress on opening weekend.
- Jonathan Willis: On AHL opening night, Caleb Jones and friends make it clear they want NHL jobs.
- Lowetide: Orange, white and blue October: In 1979, the Oilers rocked the NHL.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: After the death of his father, Sweden trip holds special significance for Adam Larsson, and one of his opponents.
- Scott Wheeler: How the eye test fails to properly evaluate Evan Bouchard.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Why the Nuge-McDavid-Rattie line has been so successful.
- Lowetide: The 2018-19 Oilers are in a period of transition.
- Jonathan Willis: How worried should the Oilers be about the preseason struggles of Milan Lucic and Leon Draisaitl?
YEAR BY YEAR
Here are the leaders in points by year, and the men from those teams who either beat them or joined them in the NHL. I list players only once, so they might have qualified in seasons where they aren’t listed.
- 79-80 Mike Toal 76gp, 31-45-76 for the Houston Apollos of the Central League. He played in three NHL games, but Mark Messier (1756), Charlie Huddy (1017), Tom Roulston (195), Jim Corsi (26), Mike Forbes (18), Kari Makkonen (9), Alex Tidey (5), Ron Areshenkoff (4) bested him. Roy Sommer (3) and Bryon Baltimore (2) either tied or were close.
- 80-81 Tom Roulston 69gp, 63-44-107 for the Wichita Wind of the Central League. He played in 195 games, but Andy Moog (713) and Walt Poddubny (468) bested him.
- 81-82 Walt Poddubny 60gp, 35-46-81 for the Wichita Wind of the Central League. He played in 468 games, no one close but Marc Habscheid played 345.
- 82-83 Ray Cote 80gp, 28-63-91 for the Moncton Alpines. He played 15 NHL games, fewer than Steve Smith (804), Pat Conacher (499), John Blum (250), Joe McDonnell (43), Serge Boisvert (29). Mike Zanier, who is my guest today, was on this team and played in three NHL games for the Oilers.
- 83-84 Ray Cote 66gp, 26-36-62 for the Moncton Alpines. He played 15 games, Larry Melnyk trumped him with 357 from this point to the end of his career.
- 84-85 Ray Cote 79gp, 36-43-79 for the Nova Scotia Oilers. He played 15 games, Raimo Summanen (149), Steve Graves (33), Gord Sherven (28), Ken Berry (27) and Jim Playfair beat him out. At this point, the NHL Oilers were an all-star team, so it’s a little unfair to look back on these names in this way.
- 85-86 Bruce Boudreau 65gp, 30-36-66 for the Nova Scotia Oilers. Boudreau played 131 games, but they were all in the past (save 7 with Chicago). Esa Tikkanen (877), Marty McSorley (874), Jeff Beukeboom (804), Billy Carroll (52), Darryl Reaugh (26), John Miner (14) all played a little or a lot.
- 86-87 Bruce Boudreau 78gp, 35-47-82 for the Nova Scotia Oilers. Kelly Buchberger (1182), Normand Lacombe (225), Jim Wiemer (222), Alfie Turcotte (27), Selmar Odelein (14), Don Biggs (11), Tom McMurchy (9) all played more NHL games.
- 87-88 Mark Lamb 69gp, 27-61-88 Nova Scotia Oilers. Lamb played in 380 NHL games, but Shaun Van Allen (794) and Chris Joseph (510) played in more.
- 88-89 Mark Lamb 54gp, 33-49-82 Cape Breton Oilers. Lamb played in 380 NHL games, Alan May (393) just eclipsed him.
- 89-90 John Leblanc 77gp, 54-34-88 Cape Breton Oilers. Leblanc had 38 NHL games left in his career, shy of Norm MacIver (397).
- 90-91 Shaun Van Allen 76gp, 25-75-100 for Cape Breton Oilers. He played in 794 games, making him the leading scorer and GP leader. Shjon Podein (699) came pretty damned close.
- 91-92 Shaun Van Allen 77gp, 29-84-113 for Cape Breton Oilers. His 794 games were shy of Martin Rucinsky (961) and Scott Thornton (908).
- 92-93 Dan Currie 75gp, 57-41-98 for Cape Breton Oilers. He had just 10 games left in his career, so several men would pass him: Kirk Maltby (1072), Steven Rice (315), Francois Leroux (242), Peter White (220), Roman Oksiuta (153), Vladimir Vujtek (108), Ian Herbers (65), Bill McDougall (26).
- 93-94 Peter White 45gp, 21-49-70 Cape Breton Oilers. White played in 220 NHL games, fewer than Dean McAmmond (991), Tyler Wright (613), Louie Debrusk (376 games left), Fred Brathwaite (254).
- 94-95 Peter White 65gp, 36-69-105 Cape Breton Oilers. White’s 220 games were fewer than Todd Marchant (1191), Miro Satan (1050), Greg DeVries (878), David Vyborny (543), David Oliver (233).
- 95-96 Rem Murray 79gp, 31-59-90 Cape Breton Oilers. Murray played in 560 NHL games, Ryan Smyth (1267) played nine games for the 95-96 Cape Breton club.
- 96-97 Ralph Intranuovo 68gp, 36-40-76 Hamilton Bulldogs. Intranuovo in just 8 more games, so there’s a pretty large list of men who played more: Georges Laraque (695), Sean Brown (436), Mats Lindgren (387), Bryan Muir (274), Scott Ferguson (218), Steve Kelly (149), Steve Passmore (93), Dennis Bonvie (82), Jason Bonsignore (58), Joe Hulbig (55).
- 97-98 Jeff Daw 79gp, 28-35-63 for Hamilton Bulldogs. Daw played in one NHL game, so the list is long: Boyd Devereaux (627), Dan Lacouture (337), Ladislav Benysek (161), Mike Watt (157), Craig Millar (113), Scott Fraser (57), Doug Friedman (18), Bill Bowler (9), Peter Sarno 7.
- 98-99 Chris Ferraro 72gp, 35-41-76 Hamilton Bulldogs. Ferraro had just 14 games left in his NHL career. Jim Dowd (583), Tim Thomas (426), Todd Rierden (183), Brad Norton (124) all played more.
- 99-00 Daniel Cleary 58gp, 22-52-74 Hamilton Bulldogs. Cleary played in 897 games, trumping all but Jason Chimera (1107).
- 00-01 Paul Healey 79gp, 39-32-71 Hamilton Bulldogs. He would go on to play 71 NHL games, fewer than Shawn Horcoff (1008), Fernando Pisani (462), Alex Henry (177), Brian Swanson (70) and Alain Nasreddine (59).
- 01-02 Jason Chimera 77gp, 26-51-77 Hamilton Bulldogs. He played 1107 games.
- 02-03 Jarret Stoll 76gp, 21-33-54 Hamilton Bulldogs. He played 872 games.
- 03-04 Jamie Wright 78gp, 25-30-55 Toronto Roadrunners. He didn’t play in any more NHL games, so the list is long: Marc-Andre Bergeron (485), Brad Winchester (390), Jeff Woywitka (278), Tony Salmelainen (70), Mathieu Roy (66), Jani Rita (53), Bobby Allen (50), Steve Valiquette (40), Mike Morrison (29), Mike Bishai (14), Peter Sarno (7), Dan Smith (5) and Doug Lynch (2).
- 04-05 Tony Salmelainen 76gp, 22-24-46 Edmonton Roadrunner. Salmelainen played 70 NHL games, exceeded by Kyle Brodziak (848), Toby Petersen (317), Jeff Deslauriers (62), Martin St. Pierre (39).
- 05-06 Marc Pouliot 65gp, 15-30-45 Hamilton Bulldogs. He played in 192 NHL games, more than everyone but Matt Greene (615), Zack Stortini (257), Ty Conklin (216).
- 06-07 Kyle Brodziak 62gp, 24-32-56 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Brodziak has played in 848 games, the highest total among Oilers prospects in this season. Tom Gilbert had a solid career, 655 games.
- 07-08 Rob Schremp 45gp, 11-32-45 Springfield Falcons. He played in 114 games, shy of the following: Devan Dubnyk (425), Jean-Francois Jacques (166), Theo Peckham (160), Troy Bodie (159), Colin McDonald (148).
- 08-09 Ryan Potulny 70gp, 38-24-62 Springfield Falcons. Potulny would play in 82 more games, fewer than Taylor Chorney (166), Gilbert Brule (143), Tim Sestito (101), Liam Reddox (99).
- 09-10 Charles Linglet 75gp, 19-55-74 Springfield Falcons. He played just five games, the list who played more: Ryan O’Marra (33), Alex Plante (10), Bryan Lerg (8).
- 10-11 Alexandre Giroux 70gp, 32-46-78 Oklahoma City Barons. He played 17 more games, several played more: Jeff Petry (529), Chris VandeVelde (278), Mark Arcobello (139), Linus Omark (79), Teemu Hartikainen (52).
- 11-12 Ryan Keller 71gp, 21-28-49 Oklahoma City Barons. He played in zero games, so all of these names were more successful: Magnus Paajarvi (310), Anton Lander (215), Tyler Pitlick (141), Phil Cornet (2), Curtis Hamilton (1).
- 12-13 Mark Arcobello 74gp, 22-46-68 Oklahoma City Barons. He played in 139 games. Martin Marincin (178), Brandon Davidson (152) and Taylor Fedun (46) have played in more.
- 13-14 Anton Lander 46gp, 18-34-52 Oklahoma City Barons. He played in 215 NHL games, Oscar Klefbom (256) has played in more.
- 14-15 Andrew Miller 67gp, 27-33-60 Oklahoma City Barons. He played in 15 games. Iiro Pakarinen (134), Jujhar Khaira (95), Jordan Oesterle (81), Brad Hunt (75), Laurent Brossoit (28) have all played in more.
- 15-16 Matt Ford 64gp, 27-24-51 Bakersfield Condors. Ford never played in an NHL game. Those who have: Leon Draisaitl (270), Darnell Nurse (198), Anton Slepyshev (102), Griffin Reinhart (29), Dillon Simpson (3).
- 16-17 Anton Lander 42gp, 25-30-55 Bakersfield Condors. Lander played 215 NHL games, no one is close but Jesse Puljujarvi (94) will eventually exceed that number.
- 17-18 Josh Currie 68gp, 20-26-46 Bakersfield Condors. He played in zero NHL games but did get an NHL contract. Ethan Bear (18) and Ty Rattie (14) were among those who will post solid GP numbers as the years roll along.
This year Brad Malone (2, 1-3-4) is the early leading scorer, but will no doubt get passed by any number of these kids who will get substantial power-play time. I know this is long and rambling but the exercise does have a point, actually two:
- Most of the future NHLers are in the big leagues enough during entry deals to take them out of contention for big scoring numbers. They don’t lead their teams in scoring because their career trajectories have them exceeding the league.
- Players who both lead their teams in scoring and go on to long NHL careers (Shaun Van Allen, Daniel Cleary, Jason Chimera, Jarret Stoll, Kyle Brodziak) inevitably had things they needed to improve on in the minors before emerging as useful big league players. In Stoll’s case that might be a stretch.
I have always believed NHL teams are going to bring specific player types from their AHL teams:
- Goalies who can rise through the organization with the AHL as the last stop (Devan Dubnyk).
- Defensemen who grind their weaknesses into strengths and find a way to do the difficult work of defending (Brandon Davidson)
- Forwards with enough offense to move the needle at the highest levels (Jason Chimera, Fernando Pisani) but need a place to develop their skills, grind their own weaknesses from their game (as is the case with blue), and to learn how to survive while figuring out a way to score enough in the NHL to survive.
- Mike Walton, Rob Schremp types who have offensive value but something in their game (discipline, discipline) holding them back.
So, the question for us, dear reader, is how far along is Ethan Bear? Caleb Jones? William Lagesson? Which family of forwards does Cooper Marody belong to? Tyler Benson?
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins injuries and illnesses are an annual event for Oilers fans, he played 82 games in 2016-17 but missed 20 a year ago and 27 games in 2015-16. He often gets the flu around this time of year and has endured all manner of issues through his NHL seasons. We’ll find out this morning if he’s well enough to go in the second game of the season tomorrow, and if not then expect a shuffle and for Drake Caggiula to draw in.
Which brings me to an interesting question: Who is the first forward recalled? It depends on who is injured of course, but I think Cooper Marody has to be near the top of the ‘skill forward’ list.
These aren’t lines and pairings, just an estimated depth chart. Starrett and Bear are the new adds, Dylan Wells and Jeromy Beaudry no longer on the roster. There are now two forwards (Marody, Benson) and three defensemen (Bear, Jones and Lagesson) for Oilers fans to follow closely in California at this time.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we continue the “NHL season without the Oilers” with a varied look at the wide world of sports. TSN1260, scheduled to appear:
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal. Back from Newfoundland with thousands of photographs and memories, we’ll chat hockey drafts and Oilers losing games we get to stare at for a week.
- Mike Zanier, former Oilers goalie and Swedish hockey analyst. We’ll chat Joel Persson, Filip Berglund and reaction to the Oilers game in Sweden against New Jersey Devils.
- Jon Campbell, Sports Analyst at OddsShark.com. We’ve been looking for someone to drop by the show and talk sporting odds and gaining an edge, Jon Campbell is a home-run guest. Can’t wait to talk to him about Notre Dame football!
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!