Yesterday I posted my estimated games played for the RE 19-20 series. Among the names listed were several Bakersfield Condors from a year ago: Cooper Marody, Tyler Benson, Kailer Yamamoto, Joe Gambardella, Josh Currie, Patrick Russell, Caleb Jones, William Lagesson, Ethan Bear and Evan Bouchard. Not everyone on that list will succeed, but several will be moving on next summer. Who will provide the big story from Bakersfield this winter?
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: Oilers coach Dave Tippett might have to take drastic action in order to find a second outscoring line in 2019-20
- Lowetide: Oilers end summer still shy on first-shot scoring wingers
- Lowetide: Connor McDavid and optimal line chemistry: The Oilers need to abandon enforcer fixation and add a skill winger
- Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi’s biggest hurdles: Bad timing and the indifference of the Oilers.
- Lowetide: Projecting the Oilers 2019-20 Opening Night Lineup
- Lowetide: Revisiting the Oilers’ 2016 draft and the opportunities missed
- Lowetide: Examining the potential waiver-wire opportunities at hand for the Oilers
- Lowetide: Cooper Marody’s utility gives him an edge for an Oilers roster spot in 2019-20
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s roster construction options for the Oilers over the next seven months.
- 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
- Jonathan Willis: Projecting the Oilers’ opening night lineup, line combinations and more.
- 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
- 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: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
CONDORS OPENING NIGHT 2019-20
Tyler Benson—Cooper Marody—Kailer Yamamoto
I think these three will play in the NHL, if not this season then 2020-21. Marody is in the best spot (depending on what happens in the next 10 days) but I think Benson could be there by mid-season. All three could find time in the NHL this season and we might be talking about this trio as part of the NHL solution a year from now.
Joe Gambardella—Brad Malone—Patrick Russell
All three names here could also play in the NHL but are unlikely to be long-term (100+ games) solutions. Gambardella is a favourite, but it’s likely these men play 50+ games in Bakersfield.
Josh Currie—Ryan McLeod—Kirill Maksimov
Currie is part of the Gambardella group, but McLeod and Maksimov are the ‘new order’ forwards we should be paying attention to closely this season. McLeod’s speed is going to get him noticed. Maksimov’s goal-scoring will get him noticed. Both men could catch a wave and play in the NHL, but it’s not reasonable to project it. Big, big hopes on both men.
Jakob Stukel—Luke Esposito—Cameron Hebig
This is the ‘outlier’ section of the prospect group, each of these men would have to spike like the Beatles in 1964 to have a career. I’ll be watching Hebig in year two, though.
Nolan Vesey, Beau Starrett, Ostap Safin, Anthony Peluso, Steve Iacobellis
I’m unhappy Safin is in this section but the injuries have absolutely flattened him as a prospect. These are basically roster fillers, if they’re going to move up now is the time to go.
Caleb Jones—Evan Bouchard
Both of these men are mortal locks to play in the NHL, and both should play 240+ games and possibly beyond. This is an area of strength for the organization and both Jones and Bouchard could establish themselves as NHL top 4D.
William Lagesson—Ethan Bear
I think these two men are in the same category as Jones, perhaps a heartbeat below but it’s not worth debating at this point. History suggests one of these two men will play 240+ games and the other one will be Taylor Chorney or less.
Dmitri Samorukov—Keegan Lowe
Samorukov is in an interesting spot. I think he belongs in the Jones-Lagesson-Bear family, possibly beyond, but we need to see if he can build on last season’s impressive performance. Lowe is an NHL-AHL tweener and is helping these youngsters matriculate.
Brandon Manning—Logan Day
We can see the absolute depth on defense here, as Logan Day is a legit NHL prospect. He may not get there, but on the Condors depth chart he’s about where Cam Hebig is among forwards (while being a much better prospect).
Jake Kulevich—Vincent Desharnais
This is the depth area of the defensive depth chart.
Shane Starrett, Dylan Wells, Stuart Skinner
I think Starrett will get his NHL debut this season and might build a career from here. I don’t see him as a starter but what I don’t know about goalie development is a lot. Wells and Skinner are good prospects, but need to emerge from the pack soon.
Jay Woodcroft and his handling of young players in 2018-19 was a turning point in Oilers development. He used Cooper Marody and Tyler Benson in prominent roles from the start, but also deployed Cameron Hebig as a feature player.
Woodcroft, more than any Oilers AHL coach since (probably) Claude Julien, inserted new pro players into the lineup in the heart of the order. He was rewarded with outstanding rookie AHL seasons from Marody, Benson, Shane Starrett and Logan Day.
This year, the rookies to watch will be Evan Bouchard, Dmitri Samorukov, Ryan McLeod, Kirill Maksimov and possibly Ostap Safin. Woodcroft’s magic with freshman could be a key element in the success of these men in 2019-20.
Claude Julien coached Oilers prospects for three seasons. Shawn Horcoff, Fernando Pisani, Jason Chimera, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Alexei Semenov, Ty Conklin and Jarret Stoll all developed with Julien as their first pro head coach. Jay Woodcroft’s first season as an AHL head coach is the most encouraging in terms of prospect development since the turn of the century.