When you’re looking at the minor league stats from the 2019-20 Bakersfield Condors, do you ever wonder how it’s going to turn out? I’m always impressed by how sure people are about this prospect or that one. The truth is, it rarely works out as any of us predict. It’s damned difficult to rise from prospect to NHL regular without passing through suspect, wobble and tweener. The 2007 summer depth chart is proof.
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- New Lowetide: How many goals will Tyler Ennis score in 2020-21?
- New Lowetide: Oilers extend Kris Russell, solve expansion issue
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- Lowetide: Tyson Barrie’s skills and how Oilers coach Dave Tippett will deploy him
- Jonathan Willis: Can Oilers unlock James Neal’s scoring potential at five on five?
- Lowetide: Why is Ilya Konovalov no longer starting in the KHL?
- Lowetide: Oilers Top 20 prospects, post-draft edition.
- Lowetide: Finding Connor McDavid’s optimal linemates among 2020-21 Oilers
- Jonathan Willis: A cautious free agent period boosts an Oilers team still on the upswing
- Lowetide: Oilers bring back Mike Smith for another year.
- Lowetide: Oilers sign Tyson Barrie to a team-friendly deal.
- Lowetide: Oilers sign Kyle Turris, Tyler Ennis in early hours of free agency.
- Lowetide: Jesse Puljujarvi signing overshadows a strong day for Oilers at draft
- Lowetide: Oilers draft Dylan Holloway on Day 1, with trades possible Wednesday
The following appeared in July of 2007 (several different posts) outlining what the 2007-08 AHL team might look like. Original notes in normal type, modern day update in  brackets and bold.
Goalie Jeff Deslauriers (23)– 2002 draft is still regarded by the organization as a potential NHL prospect. .908SP last season in the AHL represents his pro high water mark, but 20 goalies had a better number in the American League last season (all playing 25 or more games). I can’t name a quality #1 NHL goalie who took a similar route to the show. Reasonable expectations: Keeping the top AHL job and making NHL debut. [JDD played well in starting role for the Springfield Falcons in 2007-08, .290GAA and .912SP. He would make his NHL debut in 2008-09].
Devan Dubnyk(21)– .921SP as a rookie pro was 3rd best in the ECHL. Asiaoil is our resident goalie expert and has convinced me that Dubnyk might be the real deal. Reasonable Expectations: At 21, he should be able to push past JDD this season. [Dubnyk did push up to the AHL, but could not pass JDD. In 33 games, he posted a 3.12GAA and a .904SP. Deslauriers would also beat DD to the NHL.]
Glenn Fisher(24)- .919SP in college this past season, and he’ll be the only first year pro among the Oilers’ goalie prospects. The NCAA leader had a .935SP and Fisher was tied for 17th in college hockey a year ago. I have no idea how good a prospect he is, but if 16 guys were better it’s likely he won’t be an NHL starter anytime soon. Reasonable expectations: Solid pro debut in ECHL and possibly some time in Triple A. [Fisher was the ECHL starter, played in 38 games, 3.36 GAA and .903SP. He was chasing two better goalies up the prospect depth chart and would peak with just four AHL games.]
Tom Gilbert (24)– His scoring rate in the AHL (49gp, 4-26-30) and his NHL time (12gp, 1-5-6, minus 1) added to his age suggests it’s go time for Gilbert. A “perfect storm” offseason for the Oilers appears to have robbed him of his first real NHL shot. Reasonable expectations: If he keeps playing at last year’s level, Oilers will either have to make room or trade him. He looks NHL ready. [Gilbert played in the NHL for the entire 2007-08 season, scoring 13-20-33 in 82 games. One of Kevin Lowe’s best trades, he sent Tommy Salo and a sixth-round pick to Colorado for Gilbert.
Mathieu Roy (24)- He was bitter about being sent out last fall and he’s going to be in tough again this training camp. One thing he has going for him is that his skillset fits nicely with the Oilers most pressing need on D. But there’s no room. Reasonable expectations: Another season in the AHL and injury callup. [Roy got to the NHL for 13 games, picking up and assist. He played just 20 AHL games, as his true skill (injuring himself playing hockey) came to the fore.]
Danny Syvret (22)- Syvret also got some NHL time in 06-07, but from what I saw he has strength issues to go along with the size problems. Far enough down the depth chart now that we can question if he’ll see the NHL this season. Hasn’t really delivered offense in the AHL (50gp, 4-14-18). Reasonable expectations: An offensive season in the AHL that reflects what he managed in junior. [He played in the AHL only, 36 games for Springfield and then was loaned to Hershey. After the season, Lowe dealt him to Philadelphia for Ryan Potulny.]
Allan Rourke (27)- He’s played over 400 AHL games and 42 in the NHL (11 last year), so Rourke is certainly a candidate for callup to the Oilers this season. Has size but apparently doesn’t use it enough and his numbers indicate he’s an average offensive player (50gp, 5-15-20) for the AHL level (76 AHL defenders had more than 20 points in 06-07). Reasonable expectations: Veteran AHLer plays tough minutes and helps the prospects develop. [In something of a surprise, Rourke made it to the NHL with Edmonton for 13 games. He also spent 44 games in Springfield.]
Bryan Young (21)– Spent time in three minor league outposts before getting called up to Edmonton this past season. Stay-at-home type was in the NHL because of a rash of injuries and if the Oilers are doing their job he won’t see the show this season. Reasonable expectations: A year in the AHL getting pro experience. [Young spent 74 games in the AHL, just a couple in the NHL, in what would be his final big league appearances.]
TJ Kemp (26)- He’s an offensive defender (5-33-38 in 65gp), 5-11 and 200 pounds. Kemp finished tied for fifth among league D-men in assists and was named to the AHL all-star game. Reasonable expectations: Can’t imagine the set of circumstances that would see him in the NHL this season. [He had a strong AHL season, no recalls.]
Theo Peckham (19)– I have no idea how they identify the really good stay-at-home types early, but Peckham either has the best P.R. in the history of junior hockey or he’s really a good player. Reasonable expectations: First year pro, and more positive comments from scouts and coaches. [He saw one NHL game, played 59 AHL games in Springfield and showed both toughness and inexperience. At this point in time, he was on a trajectory for an NHL career.]
Sebastian Bisaillon (19)- A prospect many of us may have overlooked even with his emergency callup, Bisaillon had a very interesting season in the QMJHL. His offense (12-40-52) put him 14th among Q defensemen in total points, and his 10 powerplay goals ranked him second among league defensemen in that category. Reasonable expectations: Lots of defenseman lose a ton of offense going from junior to pro, but he’s a player worth watching and the Oilers have had significant success in the Quebec league in the Prendergast procurement era. [Played in the AHL for 21 games and 7 in the ECHL to launch his pro career. He would not play in the NHL again, the two emergency games in 2006-07 were the extent of his career. However, Bisaillon found a career in Europe, one that is still running. He is playing for Grenoble in France, age 33.]
Rob Schremp (21)– Supreme skill met learning curve + work ethic and the results were mixed. Schremp’s AHL season wasn’t a disaster (53 points in 69gp) but his ppg number (.768) didn’t blow away the other Oiler picks of recent vintage (Stoll was .711, Pouliot was .692, Jacques was .677, Brodziak was .571) in their 20-year old seasons. He’s a talent, and the Oilers need him to deliver at some point. He underwent surgery in May repair the medial collateral ligament of his left knee (an injury suffered in an April AHL game). Reasonable expectations: Suspect Nilsson gets the NHL job out of the gate with Schremp ripping it up in Triple A. [Schremp seemed a step slow in camp and was sent down. He lit up the AHL, scoring 23-53-76 in 78 games, but appeared in just two NHL games. Schremp’s season with the Falcons in 2007-08 was the offensive highlight of his time with the Oilers.]
Kyle Brodziak (23)- I think he has an excellent chance to be an end of the roster player out of camp for the Oilers. If not, he can continue to build a strong resume at the minor league level. More and more, Kyle Brodziak looks like this decade’s Rem Murray. Reasonable expectations: Another quality run in the AHL and plenty of time in the show. [He arrived at 2007 training camp with an extra step and a great deal of determination. He won an NHL job for 2007-08 and was a regular contributor in the league through 2019.]
Andrew Cogliano (20)- I think he’ll be MacT’s favorite by the end of camp among the new kids on the block, but it’s extremely likely he spends most of his first pro season in the AHL. Excellent range of skills and plenty of signs he’ll have an NHL career. Reasonable expectations: A solid year in the AHL posting good offensive numbers and earning rave reviews for how well he plays the game in all areas. [Cogliano didn’t spend one day in the minors, and is now past 1,000 NHL games for his career. He is no longer contributing as he has in the past, but remains a useful roster player. He posted 45 points in his rookie season and passed several prospects during preseason.]
Ryan O’Marra (20)- If he came to camp healthy with NYI, there’s an outside shot he could make the big club. However, with the Oilers having so many prospects at a similar level on the development curve, I don’t think he gets a long look. Reasonable expectations: A healthy AHL season. [He split his first pro season between the ECHL and AHL, playing well in both but delivering just 9 points in 31 AHL games. That would become a bigger issue in the following season.]
Tyler Spurgeon (21)- Similar career progression to Brodziak, under the radar but delivering what is asked for in spades (save offense). Another famous junior ala Troy Bodie, he’ll need to start delivering at least some offense this season. Reasonable expectations: A full season in the AHL (he split time between AHL and Stockton last season). [Spurgeon’s offense improved through 12 games, as he scored 1-7-8. That was it for his season and he fell back to poor offensive levels the following year. He played in Europe for years, spending 2019-20 in the Austrian league.]
Jonas Almtorp (23)- This guy impressed in camp last fall and looks to have had another consistent season in the Swedish Elite League. He’s got decent size, is a good skater and is described as being aware of his defensive duties. Reasonable expectations: He’s arriving in North America after 150 games in the Swedish Elite League (11-14-25 career totals) so he should hit the ground running. [Spent time in the ECHL (27, 7-10-17) and the AHL (37, 2-2-4) but was back in Sweden by fall 2008.]
Fredrik Johansson (23)- He’s the cousin of recently drafted Joakim Andersson, he’s a checking center in the Swedish Elite League and is at least a rung below Almtorp (he’s played only 110 SEL games, 2-7-9 totals). Reasonable expectations: Hard to say. If he doesn’t get an AHL job, he might end up going back to the SEL. [Johansson played 37 games in the ECHL, scoring 5-13-18, and 25, 4-1-5 in the AHL. Johansson, like Almtorp and others on this list, simply didn’t bring enough offense.]
Jean Francois Jacques (22)- Jacques could benefit from beating up on Triple A pitching for 20 games or so before getting the call. Huge winger, strong as an ox, hits like a freight train and based on the AHL summaries I’ve read he’s too good for that league. However, he’s layed an egg bigger than Vegreville’s each time he’s played an NHL game. Reasonable expectations: No matter how many games he plays in the show this year, he needs to be better every shift. And it wouldn’t kill him to get a freaking point, either. [Continued to play well in the AHL (38, 11-14-25) with zero results in the NHL (9, 0-0-0). By the end of 2007-08, JFJ had played 53 NHL games with zero points. I mean, Gary Doak was a little understandable because he played defense, but Jacques was a forward!]
Slava Trukhno (20)- Has a wide range of skills, including size, skill and grit. He’s my pick to be the ‘Patrick Thoresen’ this fall. Reasonable expectations: He’s a longshot to make the big club, but I think he’ll have a better offensive season as a 20-year old in the AHL than any Oiler prospect (at the same age) in recent history. [Trukhno had a disappointing AHL debut season at 20. He was a point per game on his draft day and then exploded offensively in his two final QMJHL seasons. His AHL rookie season (64, 14-21-35) was both disappointing and his best minor league season.]
Brock Radunske (24)- He’s scored 64 goals in 118 ECHL games, which sounds impressive but really means that he can’t crack an AHL lineup. Big kid who came out of university early and has been wandering the hockey backroads since (Greenville, Grand Rapids, Stockton). Reasonable expectations: A season in the AHL. [Radunske played in Germany 2007-08 and then hit the Asia League where he would play productively for a decade. ]
Liam Reddox (21)- Scored only 8 goals in 70 ECHL games this season. Reddox should get a good shot in the AHL this season based on age and skill set. Reasonable expectations: He needs to be a lot better offensively, but he’s an interesting prospect who might be able to play the disturber role. [Reddox blossomed in Springfield, scoring 16-28-44 in 65 games and making his NHL debut. It would lead to three more years of NHL time, and he playing in 100 games with Edmonton over four years.]
Tim Sestito (23 in August)- 2-way winger with grit who hasn’t played much in the AHL since turning pro. He once desribed himself as a player thusly: “I think mainly I’m out there to get things going with a hit or a forecheck and specifically to keep the puck out of our net. I think my defensive part of the game is getting better and if I can chip in with some points, that’s always a plus.” Reasonable expectations: Role player in AHL. [Remember when I said it’s impossible to predict prospect progress? Here’s an example. In 2007-08 he scored 7-10-17 in 77 games with 175pims in an enforcer role. In 2009, Edmonton dealt him to NJD, where he would play 100 games over six seasons.]
Zach Stortini (22 in Sept)– Big kid might make the Oilers out of camp this fall. He’s certainly the best enforcer option in the system if MacT decides that not having BG last season had any impact. Stortini played 29 games with the Oilers last season so is no longer considered a rookie. Reasonable expectations: He’s a guy who could split his season between Springfield and the Oilers. [Stortini played 3 AHL games in 2007-08, but the majority of his time was spent in the NHL, where he scored 3-9-12 in 66 games, 201 pims. It was the beginning of three-year run as an NHL regular, ended only when Craig MacTavish stepped away as head coach. Stortini would split time between NHL and AHL in a miserable 2010-11 as Tom Renney moved away from his as an option. He ended with 257 NHL games, then played seven productive AHL seasons. There was a lot to respect about Stortini, who got everything out of his talent and had an actual NHL career. ]
Colin McDonald (23 in Sept)- I’m really looking forward to seeing what kind of pro career he’s going to have. On draft day McDonald’s bio suggested that he might make it as a checker if the goals didn’t come, and I suspect that’s what we’ll get with him. Reasonable expectations: A strong work ethic and an idea about how to play the game, plus a full 650 plate appearances in the AHL. [McDonald was a shy scorer as an AHL rookie, posting just 12-11-23 in 73 games. He was a quiet offensive player for the following two years, but did get into one NHL game. He exploded in Oklahoma City in 2010-11, scoring 42 goals, signing a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the summer of 2011. He would have a journeyman NHL career 2011-17, finishing with 148 games. He may not be done at age 36, he did play in the AHL 2019-20.]
Stephane Goulet (21)– Big winger scored 15 goals in the ECHL last season. He has good footspeed and was a scorer (51 goals final year of junior) in junior. Reasonable expectations: Spending the entire season in the AHL and showing offense similar to his ECHL season. [Goulet spent just half of the season in the AHL, scoring 9-5-14 in 36 games, while also going 4-10-14 in 12 ECHL games.]
Troy Bodie (22)- Huge winger got into 14 AHL games but spent most of the year in Stockton. Famous junior player whose style used to be called “north and south winger”, which is to say he patrols his wing and isn’t too fancy. Reasonable expectations: He should be able to grab a fulltime AHL job. [Remember what I said at the beginning about not being able to predict prospects? Bodie played 2007-08 in the AHL 9-6-15 in 62 games. He would find his way to the Anaheim Ducks in 2008-09, where he played a fringe role for three seasons. Bodie would play full seasons for Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs, and finished his NHL career with 159GP.]
David Rohlfs (23)- Big power winger who spent a significant amount of time in college playing defense. Had a fine offensive season (17-17-34) playing RW alongside TJ Hensick and Kevin Porter at Michigan. It’s important to remember that although Rohlfs (and McDonald) will be a first year pro, he’s a much older player than someone like Goulet and will likely move up the depth chart. Reasonable expectations: At least half the season in the AHL. [Rohlfs spent most of the season in the ECHL, posting 65, 16-16-32. He would play just 7 AHL games during his playing career.]