It’s been five years now in Bakersfield, and before that the Oilers had a five-year window sending their new pro players to the farm in Oklahoma City. Five years of Barons, five years of Condors. How you doin’? It’s a good time (five years from now will be a better time) to see if the organization is making progress.
The Barons, you may recall, produced a large number of useful (or very useful) NHL defensemen. Are the Condors delivering similar quality blue? More important is Bakersfield going to deliver more forwards? Let’s have a look.
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: Craig MacTavish’s most important Oilers moment? Picking Leon Draisaitl
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: If play does not resume, 5 notable questions that will go unanswered in Edmonton
- Lowetide: Making the call on RFA and UFA players on the Oilers’ 50-man roster
- Jonathan Willis: The 2020 NHL broadcast rankings: The best and worst markets to watch the games
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Scott Howson on new AHL job, Oilers’ unsung prospect and development updates
- Lowetide: A look back at reasonable expectations and the Oilers fantastic special teams in 2019-20.
- Lowetide: Will the Oilers rocket to Russia during free agency this summer
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Connor McDavid on a ‘fair season’, working out and picking quarantine teammates
- Lowetide: Dave Tippett deploys unproven talent expertly in first Oilers season
- Lowetide, Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis: Oilers ABC: Picking the best players in franchise history, from Anderson to Zuke
- Jonathan Willis: If the Oilers need to clear money with a buyout, they have one real option
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The 5 games that define Leon Draisaitl’s Hart Trophy-worthy season
- Lowetide: Final Oilers report cards: Second-half impact defines a successful season
OKLAHOMA CITY BLUE 2010-15
I’m running only players who were rookies in Oklahoma City and the results are spectacular. Over a five-year period, the system delivered handsome returns on the blue. My goodness that’s a quality group. Petry, Schultz and Klefbom play big and important minutes, all three destined to enjoy signifant careers and possibly impressive totals like 1,000 career games. That’s massive. Added to the trio are four men who have contributed at least two seasons worth of NHL duty, Marincin coming up on three.
BAKERSFIELD BLUE 2015-20
The Condors group has fewer years to compile NHL games, but the trend is good to very good. I’m not sure Nurse, Bear and Bouchard will reach the heights of Petry, Klefbom and Schultz, but this cluster is going to be playing in the vital parts of big games for years to come.
OKLAHOMA CITY FORWARDS 2010-15
Important to keep in mind that forwards Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and Leon Draisaitl went straight to the NHL. That said, this is not a strong crop for five AHL seasons. None of these men has played even a full season on a skill line in the NHL, minor league grads are at times good enough to play part of their careers in prominent roles. This is, as it always is when I look at it, disappointing.
BAKERSFIELD FORWARDS 2015-20
This is where the Condors will shine, it’s already obvious. Much of the reason is first-round picks Puljujarvi and Yamamoto, but names like Slepyshev and Benson have or will spent time on skill units. I’ll guess that JP and Yamamoto tower over both lists by the time this thing rolls out another five seasons.
Edmonton wasn’t sending Oklahoma City talent like Puljujarvi or Yamamoto but there was also a disconnect going on down there. Tyler Pitlick had some injury issues and was slow played in 2011-12, and then got run over in 2012-13 because Hall, Eberle, Nuge and others played there during the lockout. The Condors are a different team, especially under Jay Woodcroft. I believe in Tyler Benson’s talent. I also believe he is lucky to have arrived in pro hockey in 2018 instead of 2012.