The idea is to have a lush farm system that produces a quality crop every season. Of course, after a time that system delivers so much talent the hockey club goes on a series of deep runs, thereby making it difficult to sustain the farm. Late picks, traded picks, a team like the 1980’s Oilers or the current Pittsburgh Penguins mortgaged some or much of the future to keep riding the wave.
Since Connor McDavid arrived in 2015, how many good or great crops has this team produced?
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 Offer!
- New Lowetide: Ken Holland’s roster construction options for the Oilers over the next seven months.
- New Lowetide: Kailer Yamamoto has the talent to win a job with the Oilers on merit, if he’s healthy.
- Jonathan Willis: Jesse Puljujarvi still has upside and the Oilers’ patient approach is the right one
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Dave Tippett on rounding out his coaching staff, fixing Oilers’ special teams and using Connor McDavid
- Lowetide: Handicapping the Oilers’ young defencemen and their chances of replacing Andrej Sekera
- Lowetide: Is Kirill Maksimov progressing as the Edmonton Oilers’ next great hope for a true homegrown sniper?
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers ease pressure on crowded defensive pipeline by trading John Marino to the Penguins
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What the 2021-22 Oilers might look like after their steady build toward contender status
- Lowetide: Joel Persson is ideally situated to win an opening night roster spot with the Oilers
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What the 2019-20 Oilers might look like without trade missteps.
- Lowetide: Finding the best candidates for the final two spots on the Oilers skill lines in 2019-20.
- Jonathan Willis: Projecting the Oilers’ opening night lineup, line combinations and more.
- Lowetide: Does the James Neal acquisition impact Oilers’ prospects in 2019-20?
- Lowetide: Oilers’ acquisition of James Neal could add badly needed scoring to the top two lines.
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Ken Holland puts his stamp on the Oilers with first big move in Lucic-Neal trade
- Jonathan Willis: Ken Holland ends an ugly situation for the Oilers by trading Milan Lucic for James Neal
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Potential free-agent options for the Oilers in 2020
- Jonathan Willis: Which Oilers defencemen can make an outlet pass?
- Lowetide: Looking ahead to Oilers training camp: 35 players for 23 jobs
- Jonathan Willis: Josh Archibald won’t fix the Oilers’ biggest problems, but he’ll help with some key issues.
- Lowetide: Will the 2019-20 Bakersfield Condors be the Oilers’ best minor-league team ever?
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
2014-15 Entry Contracts
8 deals, 794 games: Leon Draisaitl (351), Jujhar Khaira (154), Jordan Oesterle (151), Iiro Pakarinen (134), Dillon Simpson (3), Bogdan Yakimov (1), Kellen Jones, Mitchell Moroz. Draisaitl scored 50 goals last season, he has now passed from quality forward to impact player. Khaira and Oesterle seem destined to pass 245 games, that’s three full NHL seasons. I think this was a quality crop.
2015-16 Entry Contracts
9 deals, 668 games: Connor McDavid (287), Darnell Nurse (279), Anton Slepyshev (102), Eetu Laurikainen, Joey Laleggia, Kyle Platzer, Greg Chase, Braden Christoffer, Ben Betker. The motherlode, McDavid is the strongest trump card in the world, leveling entire cities in a single bound. Nurse has emerged as a bona fide NHL player. Both men should clear 1,000 games if injury doesn’t impact them. Impact crop.
2016-17 Entry Contracts
6 deals, 532 games: Matt Benning (205), Drake Caggiula (182), Jesse Puljujarvi (139), Patrick Russell (6), Nick Ellis, Jere Sallinen. Benning, Caggiula and Puljujarvi should have careers of reasonable length (500 games?) and credit to the Oilers for getting two college free agents in what was a down draft season. Puljujarvi’s potential is substantial, the story hasn’t been written either way. I wrote about JP in The Athletic this morning.
2017-18 Entry Contracts
6 deals, 50 games: Ethan Bear (18), Caleb Jones (17), Joe Gambardella (15), Ryan Mantha, Shane Starrett, Ziyat Paigin. It was a quiet year, although Kailer Yamamoto did get into nine games not listed here. I think all three players who are counters here have a chance to become legit NHL players.
2018-19 Entry Contracts
9 deals, 32 games: Kailer Yamamoto (26), Cooper Marody (6), Tyler Benson, William Lagesson, Nolan Vesey, Stuart Skinner, Cameron Hebig, Dylan Wells, Tyler Vesel. This should be a successful crop, with three fine forwards and Lagesson on defense. Might take a couple of years to get rolling, though.
2019-20 Entry Contracts
8 deals, 7 games: Evan Bouchard (7), Joel Persson, Dmitri Samorukov, Kirill Maksimov, Ostap Safin, Ryan McLeod, Gaetan Haas, Logan Day. There’s a chance this becomes the best crop since 2015. Three substantial defensemen, some speed at center and a couple of scoring wingers. Evan some draft pedigree from Bouchard.
JAY WOODCROFT’S CONDORS 2019-20
Goalies: Shane Starrett [.918], Dylan Wells [.909], Stuart Skinner [.879]
Defense: Caleb Jones  and Evan Bouchard ; Dmitri Samorukov  and Joel Persson ; William Lagesson  and Ethan Bear ; Keegan Lowe  and Logan Day .
Forwards: Tyler Benson , Cooper Marody , Patrick Russell ; Joe Gambardella , Josh Currie , Kirill Maksimov ; Joakim Nygard , Ryan McLeod , Kailer Yamamoto ; Ostap Safin, Brad Malone , Cam Hebig ; Nolan Vesey .
This should be the best Oilers AHL team in almost two decades. Woodcroft is about to graduate a large number of Condors to the NHL.