I used to do ‘reasonable expectations’ estimates for the minor leaguers. Can you believe that? I didn’t sleep much in the first 10 years after G7 SCF 2006, so would occupy my time running numbers and staring at the past provided by hockeydb.
Here’s what I wrote about Jordan Eberle on the eve of his first training camp: “The organization may handle Eberle differently, having him stay in the minors for an entire season before moving along to the NHL. If they do, I think it is reasonable to expect him to post a superior ppg number (close to or better than 1/1) based on his AHL totals as a teenager (23 points in 20 games). I also think it’s reasonable to suggest he plays fewer than 30 games in the AHL next season and is called to the show in early 2011.”
The Athletic Edmonton features a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of the group, here’s an incredible Father’s Day Offer!
- New Lowetide: Oilers GM Ken Holland is shopping for 20-goal scorers on a budget. What will he find?
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Jay Woodcroft returning to coach AHL Condors and be reunited with Ken Holland
- Lowetide: Looking at the Oilers’ options for the No. 8 pick at the 2019 NHL Draft.
- Jonathan Willis: How many of Sam Gagner, Zack Kassian and Jujhar Khaira can play top-nine minutes for the Oilers?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A with Ken Holland: On the draft, buyouts, free agency and how to have a successful offseason
- Lowetide: Trading for Loui Eriksson: What makes sense for the Oilers?
- Jonathan Willis: Differing needs of Oilers, Jets could create a trade fit
- Lowetide: How will Ken Holland build around Connor McDavid?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The top five players the Oilers could lose in the expansion draft
- Jonathan Willis: What a trade involving Edmonton’s No. 8 pick might look like given Ken Holland’s history
- Lowetide: Hard Target Search: Finding the Oilers a centre who can penalty kill, help shape a useful third line, and serve in a mentor role
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How a third-line grinder launched the star-filled Oilers to their first Stanley Cup and a hockey dynasty.
- Lowetide: Is Zack Kassian the answer for the McDavid-Draisaitl line?
WOODCROFT’S FINE WORK
I like to monitor rookie crops, for me that’s one of the most important roles for the AHL coach. Jay Woodcroft had a nice crop this season, and he got a lot from them. That’s the job, the absolute point of the entire project. Developing NHL players in the AHL is something Jay Woodcroft apparently does well and there’s a chance he’s doing this work as a pay it forward to himself. If things trend in a good way, he could be the Oilers head coach down the line. You have to give most of the credit to the player, but Woodcroft’s kids flourished and we given ample playing time. Here are the rookies:
1 LW Tyler Benson (68, 15-51-66) A strong AHL season at 20 for an Oilers forward draft pick is about as rare as a playoff appearance for the parent team. Benson was quality in his first pro season, delivering deft passes and delivering results. A goal-scoring slump early in the year was corrected by 10 goals in his final 25 games. He has a clear shot at the NHL this fall.
2 RC Cooper Marody (58, 19-45-64) Marody has NHL hands, the only question surrounding his ability to flourish in the world’s best league is his boots. Not every player has to be a fast train, Marody could be one of the RH pieces on an Edmonton power play by this fall.
3 RD Logan Day (64, 7-27-34) Chaos blue can make plays and elevated the Condors power play (3-8-11, tied for second among Bakersfield blue). He has the skill required to push to the next level. The defensive part of the game needs to get tied down.
4 W Cameron Hebig (64, 11-18-29). A right shot deployed on the opposite wing at times during the season, Hebig started the campaign like a house on fire. In fact, in his first 10 games, Hebig scored 6-6-12. He was used in a complementary role afterward, but could emerge this fall as a feature player. He can score goals.
5 RW Kailer Yamamoto (27, 10-8-18). It was a disappointing season for the first-round draft pick (2017), but it’s important to point out he would have easily cleared 20 goals in a complete season (based on trajectory). He should have eclipsed Benson’s season total for points, but NHL time and a wrist injury caught him. Yamamoto will need to have a strong year in 2019-20.
6 RC Tyler Vesel (61, 5-13-18). College player arrived in Bakersfield and landed a support role on a (mostly) checking line. His shooting percentage (five percent on 100 shots) should improve next season, and he had an impact on both special teams in college. Has a range of skills.
7 G Shane Starrett (42, 2.33 .918). Along with Benson and Marody, Starrett would have to receive strong consideration for Bakersfield’s top rookie. Al Montoya’s injury gave him the chance and Starrett ran away with the job. He is in a solid spot to become Bakersfield’s starter next year, meaning a recall is just an injury or a slump away.
8 G Dylan Wells (12, 2.84 .909). It’s easy to overlook Wells’ season, but he survived and posted respectable numbers. He had a .912 SP in Wichita (ECHL) in 22 games. A solid debut.
9 G Stuart Skinner (6, 2.99 .879). Too small a sample size to draw conclusions, Skinner played a lot with Wichita of the ECHL (41, 3.16 .903) this season. He was the No. 3 goalie among the rookies, but his playoff performance was impressive.
I have argued for many years that the NHL should reward SC finalists by making them pennant winners—ala mlb. Back in the original six era, winning a Stanley Cup was fairly achievable, especially if you could hang around for a decade or play for one of the Canadian teams (or Detroit). Modern era? 31 teams, draft, it’s insane. The 2006 Edmonton Oilers won a pennant, so did Jarome Iginla and Trevor Linden and Craig Ramsay and Brad Park and Keith Magnuson and Brian Propp (well, he won a lot of them before the Oilers positively skewered him every spring). Pennant winners: It’s the right thing to do.
1 Montreal (11): ’68, ’69, ’71, ’73, ’76-’79, ’86, ’89, ’93
2 Boston (10): ’70, ’72, ’74, ’77, ’78, ’88, ’90, ’11, ’13, ’19
3 Philadelphia (8): ’74, ’75, ’76, ’80, ’85, ’87, ’97, ’10
4 Edmonton (7): ’83, ’84, ’85, ’87, ’88, ’90, ’06
5 Pittsburgh (6): ’91, ’92, ’08, ’09, ’16, ’17
6 Chicago (6): ’71, ’73, ’92, ’10, ’13, ’15
7 Detroit (6): ’95, ’97, ’98, ’02, ’08, ’09
8 New Jersey (5): ’95, ’00, ’01, ’03, ’12
9 New York Islanders (5): ’80, ’81, ’82, ’83, ’84
10 St. Louis (4): ’68, ’69, ’70, ’19
11 New York Rangers (4): ’72, ’79, ’94, ’14
12 Dallas (4): ’81, ’91, ’99, ’00
13 Los Angeles (3): ’93, ’12, ’14
14 Calgary (3): ’86, ’89, ’04
15 Vancouver (3): ’82, ’94, ’11
16 Tampa Bay (2): ’04, ’15
17 Washington (2): ’98, ’18
18 Anaheim (2): ’03, ’07
19 Buffalo (2): ’75, ’99
20 Carolina (2): ’02, ’06
21 Colorado (2): ’96, ’01
22 Vegas (1): ’18
23 Nashville (1): ’17
24 San Jose (1): ’16
25 Florida (1): ’96
26 Ottawa (1): ’07
Winnipeg, Columbus, Minnesota, Arizona and Toronto are still on the outside looking in.
OILERS FIRST MINOR LEAGUE ROOKIE CROP, 1979
A long time ago when the earth was green, the Oilers minor league team was in the Central Hockey League and called the Houston Apollos. Al Rollins, a famous NHL goalie who coaches the Phoenix Roadrunners of the WHA for one season, was the coach. Here are the significant rookies, year one:
RC Mike Toal 76, 31-45-76. Led the Apollos in scoring at 20, and was recalled for a three-game look in the NHL. He had a short career, final season ’81-82. If I recall correctly, he was the recall when Mark Messier was banished to the minors for going to the wrong airport.
LD Charlie Huddy 79, 14-34-48. Huddy was in the NHL for good by 1982, and hung around for the good times. A splendid two-way defenseman, he scored 20 points in 18 playoff games 1985. A stunning find.
RW Cal Roadhouse 72, 17-24-41. One of the better names for Oilers prospects over the years, former WHL winger showed promise but injured his knee in 1981-82 and never did get back to normal.
LW Mike Kouwenhoven 29, 4-13-17. I don’t remember him but he did play for the Netherlands at the 1981 World Hockey Championships.
RW Kari Makkonen 16, 5-5-10. Finn also played a little in the NHL in ’79-80, I think he would have found his way to the NHL if he’d stuck around. Back in Finland, he was an outstanding player through 1991.
Old Al Rollins didn’t last, the next coach for the Oilers minor league system was Garnet “Ace” Bailey and the team played in Wichita (Wind). That said, Rollins gets credit for helping Huddy along, and there’s no greater acknowledgement for an AHL coach than a job well done with a prospect. That’s why Jay Woodcroft earned Oilers fans respect last season in Bakersfield. He delivered in the vital areas of being a development coach. He’s more than welcome back, he is a key part of the organization.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, TSN1260, we have a rocking group of guests and another big game to discuss! Frank Seravalli from TSN will discuss the Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues and the frantic transaction fortnight ahead. Matthew Scianitti (also from TSN) will talk about the lid lifter for the CFL season tonight in Hamilton. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!