The Edmonton Oilers made news yesterday, signing the team’s top amateur scoring winger (Raphael Lavoie) to a pro contract. Next stop, Bakersfield.
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, check it out here.
- New Lowetide: Should Oilers prospect Philip Broberg play in North America next year?
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis: Which former Oiler has the best argument to have his jersey number retired?
- Lowetide: Which Oilers veterans are in roster peril?
- Jonathan Willis: How good is Anton Slepyshev and what will an NHL return mean for the Oilers?
- Jonathan Willis: Peter Chiarelli wants to be a GM again. Has he learned from his Oilers mistakes?
- New Lowetide: Oilers’ challenge could be finding relief with a low cap ceiling
- Lowetide: Projecting Oilers prospects Raphael Lavoie and Kirill Maksimov
- Lowetide: What does Jesse Puljujarvi’s Liiga season tell us about his future?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: How Oilers plan to help arena workers unclear with games postponed
- Lowetide: NHL season on hold might impact Oilers evaluations, summer plans
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis: Key questions surround Oilers in wake of NHL’s coronavirus suspension
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: GM Ken Holland on Oilers’ playoff push, offseason plans and Hart thoughts
- Jonathan Willis: Evan Bouchard, Tyler Benson and more: 20 observations on the Bakersfield Condors
- Lowetide: Caleb Jones represents Oilers template for development success
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Determining Connor McDavid’s linemates remains a pressing and perplexing problem
- Jonathan Willis: Which players pose the biggest threat to Leon Draisaitl winning the Hart Trophy?
- Lowetide: Is the OHL still the Oilers’ primary resource at the draft?
Where will he play?
First, my sincere thanks to Eric Rodgers, who is a gift. For years now he’s been sifting through the AHL stats, running estimates and separating events by game state. His work is very valuable and I thank him sincerely.
I believe Lavoie will be one of the top scoring options for the Bakersfield Condors this fall. His competition is likely to come from returning winger prospects and Ostap Safin (who played in the ECHL for the Wichita Thunder in 2019-20).
Lavoie’s 38 QMJHL goals project to 19.2 goals AHLE and 41 points in 68 games based on Gabriel Desjardins’ fine work.
At even strength last season, the Condors didn’t fare well at all. Looking at just forward prospects, the point totals in the discipline were low. Tyler Benson led with 19 even strength points in 47 games, followed by Ryan McLeod with 18 in 56 games.
Eric Rodgers estimates AHL time on ice totals for Condors and that gives us an idea about who was posting numbers in Bakersfield this season. Before we look at this season’s numbers, let’s have a look at Rodgers’ evidence from last season’s Condors forward prospects.
- Cooper Marody 58, 15-30-45 (17:51) (2.61)
- Tyler Benson 68, 13-29-42 (16:43) (2.22)
- Kailer Yamamoto 27, 4-8-12 (13:29) (2.02)
One of the key differences between the 2018-19 team and this year’s Condors is the Marody-Benson chemistry. Marody’s maladies had a major impact.
Now, for some numbers that may raise an eyebrow. Below are estimated even strength minutes, points at even strength and estimated even strength points-per-60 by Condors prospects in 2019-20 using Rodgers’ TOI estimates.
- Ryan McLeod 56, 5-13-18 (10:38) (1.81)
- Cooper Marody 30, 3-8-11 (13:45) (1.60)
- Kailer Yamamoto 23, 4-6-10 (17:26) (1.50)
- Tyler Benson 47, 6-13-19 (16:38) (1.46)
- Kirill Maksimov 53, 4-7-11 (10:58) (1.14)
I knew McLeod’s numbers at even strength were solid (was surprised by his numbers at evens this year) but when we run it through Rodgers TOI estimates it really stands out. As encouraging as this is for McLeod, I’d say Benson’s number confirms what we suspected: He’ll need a driver at center to deliver offensively in the NHL.
Now, back to Lavoie. Where does he land? My guess is he’ll see a feature role unless it’s clear he is unable to make the considerable leap from junior to the AHL. Edmonton’s best AHL center is Marody and that won’t change. So, my best guess for deployment next season would be Tyler Benson-Cooper Marody-Raphael Lavoie on the No. 1 line, with the second line possibly Joe Gambardella-Ryan McLeod-Kirill Maksimov. Other forward prospects of note are Safin and Ryan Kuffner. How important is Lavoie to the Oilers talent pool? Here’s the complete NHLE, with the best entry contract highlighted in red. He’s pretty important.
Make no mistake. The Oilers need to add a plethora of skill to the Condors lineup for next season. That said, Lavoie is a key piece for the organization’s future. If Marody is healthy, I believe the team has a very good landing spot for the scoring winger in Bakersfield.