We have a couple of days to chat about things before Game 1 of the Oilers-Jets series and I thought it might be a time to discuss the Bakersfield Condors past and present. And since the grumpy guy hasn’t had much to complain about, maybe we’d invite him along.
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- New DNB: Are the Oilers botching Evan Bouchard’s development?
- New DNB: What Leon Draisaitl learned in Bakersfield
- Lowetide: Adam Larsson contract talks give us a glimpse into Oilers’ offseason plans
- Lowetide: How the Oilers can improve their depth in a trade with the Rangers
- Lowetide: Ideal Edmonton Oilers lines and pairings for the 2021 NHL playoffs
- DNB and Jonathan Willis: ‘It’s kind of Gretzky-like’: Oilers star Connor McDavid’s 100-point season puts him in rarified air
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers’ Mike Smith is putting himself in the all-time old-guy goalie conversation with a stunning season at 38
- Lowetide: Oilers’ Adam Larsson playing his best hockey with playoffs on horizon
- Lowetide: What should the Oilers do to get Kailer Yamamoto back on track?
- DNB: How Jesse Puljujarvi 2.0 is making an impact
- DNB: What are the Oilers’ pressing questions ahead of the Seattle Kraken expansion draft?
- Lowetide: Oilers complete April report card
- DNB: A 2nd Hart Trophy is firmly in Connor McDavid’s grasp
- Jonathan Willis: Which Oilers need to step up down the stretch?
- Lowetide: A look at the best value contracts on the 2021 Oilers
- Lowetide: An early look at ideal Oilers’ free-agent targets for the offseason
- DNB: Re-sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? Free-agency targets? Oilers mailbag
- What is the subject today? Failure at the draft table? I thought we’d talk about the Bakersfield Condors.
- Like who? Who is the best Condors player to make it? Well Leon Draisaitl played six games, Darnell Nurse nine.
- No, I mean guys who played 50 games in the AHL and then made the NHL. Lots of those too, including Jujhar Khaira (76 AHL, 258 NHL), Jordan Oesterle (88 AHL, 252 NHL), Jesse Puljujarvi (53 AHL, 194 NHL), Brad Hunt (57 AHL, 191 NHL), Ethan Bear (89 AHL, 132 NHL), Kailer Yamamoto (50 AHL, 105 NHL), Anton Slepyshev (59 AHL, 102 NHL), Caleb Jones (125 AHL, 93 NHL), Laurent Brossoit (81 AHL, 82 NHL) and Patrick Russell (187 AHL, 59 NHL).
- Is that good? Well it’s six years and that’s 10 players. I think that’s excellent, but I’ve been staring at Oilers farms teams all this time. Plus there’s a top-five pick in there (JP) and a first rounder in Yamamoto.
- How many occupy important roles on their team? Tough question and moving target but I’ll say Puljuarvi, Yamamoto, Bear. It’s a good group.
- How would they compare to the five seasons of Oklahoma City? There’s more track for those seasons, but one less year so those are factors. The OKC names that fit are Magnus Paajarvi (72 AHL, 467 NHL), Oscar Klefbom (57 AHL, 378 NHL), Tyler Pitlick (159 AHL, 286 NHL), Chris VandeVelde (192 AHL, 278 NHL), Jujhar Khaira (57 AHL, 258 NHL), Jordan Oesterle (69 AHL, 252 NHL), Martin Marincin (128 AHL, 227 NHL) Anton Lander (136 AHL, 215 NHL), Brad Hunt (128 AHL, 191 NHL), Brandon Davidson (150 AHL, 180 NHL), Taylor Chorney (96 AHL, 166 NHL), Colin McDonald (80 AHL, 148 NHL), Mark Arcobello (188 AHL, 139 NHL), Taylor Fedun (135 AHL, 127 NHL),Laurent Brossoit (61 AHL, 82 NHL), Linus Omark (75 AHL, 79 NHL) and Teemu Hartikainen (164 AHL, 52 NHL). That’s 17 in five years.
- That’s way better than Bakersfield. Not really. Those Barons players are deeper into their career and have had more NHL opportunities because of it. The first rounders had success (Paajarvi, Klefbom) but the ‘important roles’ wee occupied only by Klefbom. Plus, there are players like Evan Bouchard who qualify for the Condors list but haven’t yet played 50 games. It’s the better one.
- Okay, who played on this year’s team that you believe will play 100+ gnames in the NHL someday? I’ll list Ryan McLeod, Tyler Benson, Raphael Lavoie from the 2020-21 Condors.
- That’s it? Well, candidates include Cooper Marody, Theodor Lennstrom, Ostap Safin, Markus Niemelainen, Mike Kesselring, Phil Kemp, Stuart Skinner and Olivier Rodrigue.
- Any ‘important roles’ players in there? McLeod has a great chance to be a No. 3 center, that’s a big role. Lavoie has a chance to be a scoring winger, highly valuable prospect. My guess is Benson will not occupy a top-six role but he certainly has some of the skills that are important at the position.
- Benson is the biggest disappointment in recent seasons. I’d argue that second-round picks who turn into ‘important roles’ players are fairly rare. It’s also a matter of aiming higher in terms of potential, but at some point during his amateur years Benson was a substantial prospect. Edmonton should have chosen Alex DeBrincat, that’s not hindsight. Math (my list included) had DeBrincat as a first-round pick. Benson as a prospect can still cover the bet Edmonton made, in fact I’m thinking he will at this point.
- Why do you say that? Benson’s success in the AHL over his three seasons there (138 points in 151 games) means he can make plays and post enough offense to stay in the lineup. He isn’t fast but I would suggest his speed would be an upgrade on some current Oilers wingers. He is also a player who can win puck battles. There’s utility there. Plus the fact he’ll be a value deal and Holland tends to use his farm team.
- What do his final five Grand Rapids teams look like? Using the 2014-2019 Griffins, I count Andreas Athanasiou (350 NHL games), Nick Jensen (331), Anthony Mantha (316), Petr Mrazek (275), Tomas Nosek (257), Tyler Bertuzzi (208), Xavier Ouellet (178), Filip Hronek (167), Alexey Marchenko (121), Martin Frk (118), Christopher Ehn (118), Dennis Cholowski (104), Michael Rasmussen (102), Teemu Pulkkinen (83) and Landon Ferraro (77) . That’s 15 men, and AA, Jensen, Mantha, Mrazek, Bertuzzi and Hronek play important roles. That’s six men in five seasons helping in a significant way.
- Detroit is better at drafting. I would argue that ‘draft and development’ is better, and that Holland is using the same model in Edmonton now. Bouchard hasn’t played 50 games yet, the flawed kids are still pushing and finding their way to the NHL and those players on the farm (like Benson) have seen Bear, Yamamoto, Jones and McLeod make it to the NHL and have a full shot on arrival. That has an impact.
- Who in the before time might have benefited? Hartikainen is the poster player for me, he had a fine career in the KHL after leaving the organization. I think Holland and his coach would have handled it differently.
- You’ve been waiting some time for this. Look there are a bunch of things I can’t, we can’t, know. Foot speed for instance, there’s like 25 grades in that rainbow and we know fast and slow. But at some point, you develop a past. The Oilers past is giving up on Andrew Cogliano and trading him for a second-round pick, dealing Hartikainen and signing Jesse Joensuu (whose back didn’t last the season) because he was ‘in better shape than Hartikainen’ and on it went. Even when a guy proved himself, like Jeff Petry, Oilers management just couldn’t bring themselves to give him $4 million a year. Nikita Nikitin got the money, Andrew Ference, but they were bona fide, proven. The Oilers spent a long time drafting players their coaching staff didn’t recognize as NHL talents.
- You think Holland is different? I think his track record says as much, yes.
- Then shouldn’t your list be longer? No. Because as much as Niemelainen impressed me this season, I can’t say for certain he’s a better prospect than Kesselring or Kemp. He’s farther along as a prospect, but that’s about age and experience.
- Among the men who you count as prospects, who do you believe in the most? Evan Bouchard, no question. Dylan Holloway is also in photo and despite a tough year Philip Broberg is still on the Oscar Klefbom path.
- What should Oilers fans expect from the farm? Slow playing prospects, players being more prepared on NHL arrival, successful transitions to the NHL and less need for outside pieces that tend to be more expensive.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning on TSN1260, as we build toward Game 1 between the Oilers and Jets on Wednesday. Daniel Nugent-Bowman from The Athletic joins us to talk about his look at Connor McDavid’s exceptional growth as a player this year. Jason Gregor from TSN1260 will pop in to talk ideal lines and pairings for Edmonton’s opener Wednesday. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!