What would an ideal AHL season look like for the Oilers organization? If we look back in April 2020 on this Bakersfield Condors team, what would represent a perfect day?
As you may know, if you’ve slogged your way through one of my ‘Farm Workers’ episodes, it’s my belief that the outer marker for AHL grads (men who have played 120+ games in the minors) is a quality NHL player. Fernando Pisani was a quality NHL player but he wasn’t a superstar. His skill set is the outer marker, the goal. That’s a fine player.
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 Athletic, there is a Puck Drop Special offer here.
- New Minnia Feng: The 2019-20 Oilers fan guide to emotions and stressful circumstances
- New Jonathan Willis: How much will the Oilers have to pay to keep pending free agent Zack Kassian?
- New Lowetide: Sheahan hurt, Oilers in need of a two-way centre; some candidates emerging
- New Jonathan Willis: Handicapping the chase for the Calder after the first month of the 2019-20 NHL season
- Jonathan Willis: Unproductive Oilers forwards are in danger of losing their jobs — and soon
- Lowetide: Analyzing the current state of the Edmonton Oilers goaltending.
- Jonathan Willis: Should the Oilers trade for a veteran NHL defenceman?
- Lowetide: Oilers first-round pick Philip Broberg increases his role; Condors’ Caleb Jones looks NHL-ready
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘I don’t think anyone’s feeling comfortable’: Oilers’ Holland pleased but cautious amid early improvements.
- Lowetide: Josh Archibald’s injury and limited replacements available puts some pressure on Oilers
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: 4 reasons why the Oilers passed their first true test of the season
- Lowetide: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and James Neal are leading a quality Oilers second line
- Lowetide: Assessing the early season progress of Oilers’ defence and goaltending
- Jonathan Willis: A rare success during Edmonton’s long rebuild, why Oscar Klefbom is the model for finishing Oilers’ blue line
- Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi’s impressive Liiga performance headlines Oilers prospects this week
- Jonathan Willis: Can the Oilers afford to pursue Taylor Hall in free agency?
- Corey Pronman: Oilers No. 9 farm system.
- Lowetide: Oilers top 20 prospects summer 2019.
NHLE’S (AHL FORWARDS)
Ken Holland’s plan to ‘over-ripen’ prospects includes a step forward by said prospects during the season. That’s my take anyway. So, one of the things we should be looking for is a spike in production, especially among forwards. So far this season, the forwards are flat or worse:
- Joe Gambardella 32.9
- Brad Malone 28.8
- Kailer Yamamoto 25.6
- Josh Currie 25.6
- Tyler Benson 25.6
- Cooper Marody 21.3
- Colby Cave 19.2
- Ryan McLeod 12.8
- Luke Esposito 8.5
Ideally, you’d like to see someone pushing 40 NHLE at some point this season. Plenty of time to go, but if you’re recalling (say) Yamamoto today, it’s for reasons other than his forcing the issue. Here, let’s look at last season’s forwards:
- Cooper Marody 42.3
- Tyler Benson 37.3
- Joe Gambardella 36.8
- Josh Currie 29.7
- Kailer Yamamoto 25.6
- Cam Hebig 17.4
- Nolan Vesey 6.8
The forwards are all down year over year (Yamamoto is running in place) and part of that is the power play. I don’t think the Oilers can recall any forward on merit. A year ago,
Benson became the sixth real forward prospect since 2010 to play as a regular at 20 (Teemu Hartikainen, Tyler Pitlick, Magnus Paajarvi, Bogdan Yakimov, Jujhar Khaira). This year, Ryan McLeod and Kirill Maksimov will look to join the group.
NHLE (AHL DEFENSE)
- Caleb Jones 21.3
- Evan Bouchard 17.1
- Dmitri Samorukov 4.3
- Keegan Lowe 4.3
Points from defensemen is a little less valuable in terms of assessing defensemen, but it does speak to time on ice and success. It’s difficult for a defender to post a high number, anything over 20 is good and implies a two-way player. Expect a spike from both Bouchard and Samorukov in the coming months. Here are last year’s numbers:
- Ethan Bear 22.9
- Caleb Jones 22.3
- Logan Day 20.4
- William Lagesson 15.5
As is the case this year (so far), 20+ points is a good indicator of offensive success. Lagesson’s points came at evens, so that’s a fine number, too. Ethan Bear was an AHL regular at 20, one of four since 2010 (Martin Marincin, Martin Gernat, Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones) and it looks like Bouchard and Samorukov are joining the party this season.
The truth is that ‘tweeners’ are the biggest AHL category and point totals can fool you. Rob Schremp was a tweener, he scored 53 points in 69 AHL games at age 20 ( not quite Benson levels). Anton Lander was a tweener, Ty Rattie was a tweener.
Maybe Kailer Yamamoto will be a tweener. I don’t think he will, but this blog thought Marc Pouliot, Teemu Hartikainen and Linus Omark would make it. There’s luck, good and bad, in making it from the tweener division. Part of luck is injury. Ask Pouliot.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy Friday morning gets started at 10, TSN1260. Steve Lansky from BigMouthSports will drop by from the Royal Winter Fair. We’ll chat World Series, Oilers start, Leafs worries and the Tkachuk goal. Matthew Iwanyk will discuss the Eskimos-Roughriders game, Tiger’s recent success and what it might mean for 2020, and Ravens-Patrioits. Reid Fowler from Draft Kings will preview the NFL weekend. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Rock On. Rock On. Jimmy Dean.