by Lowetide
Photo by Mark Williams

This is Mike Kesselring. He was drafted in 2018, and that was three years ago. It would be nice to be able to make the call on him by now, good to know if he was going to be an everyday NHL player. We’re miles from knowing. We know he has size, and some skill, but we’re still many miles from being able to project him as a possible NHL talent.

I like to run NHL equivalencies for AHL players, it gives us an idea about who might be able to jump up to a skill position in the NHL. It doesn’t inform us about the Jujhar Khaira, Chris VandeVelde centers and it’s not perfect in identifying the defensemen who will break through. Still, it’s something we have that might offer us some insight into the future. Does it work?


I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here’s the latest!


If we randomly look back at a minor-league club, one season only, can we identify the future NHL players? Any forward who posts a number near 30 NHLE (while also being a prospect) has cleared the AHL hurdle. If he has speed and some range of skills, we can count him as a “likely” NHL player. For defensemen, I count anything in the teens as being at least possibly worthy, but there’s a wide range due to the nature of the position. Goalies? Anything over .910 is a prospect worth paying attention to based on observing goalies over many years.

  • Left Wing: Linus Omark 44.1; Teemu Hartikainen 25.4; Phil Cornet 15.3
  • Center: Mark Arcobello 33.7; Ryan O’Marra 16.5; Milan Kytnar 14.8; Chris VandeVelde 9.5
  • Right Wing: Liam Reddox 35.5; Colin McDonald 28.9
  • Left Defense: Taylor Chorney 13.9
  • Right Defense: Jeff Petry 23.3; Colten Teubert 13.9; Alex Plante 9.3; Johan Motin 4.7
  • Goalie: Jeff Deslauriers .906; Bryan Pitton .897

Linus Omark shines like a diamond offensively here, and there are good showings by Liam Reddox and Mark Arcobello. I’d argue that Colin McDonald and Teemu Hartikainen could move the needle offensively, but more likely in a bottom-six forward role if they continued to develop.

Among defensemen, Jeff Petry looks extremely promising, and both Taylor Chorney and Colten Teubert were at the outer marker and worth considering (with defensive acumen also to be considered). Jeff Deslauriers was just outside the range of NHL goaltender but he was worth noting. How did it work out in terms of NHL career games?

  1. Jeff Petry 735
  2. Chris VandeVelde 278
  3. Taylor Chorney 166
  4. Colin McDonald 148
  5. Mark Arcobello 139
  6. Liam Reddox 100
  7. Linus Omark 79
  8. Jeff Deslauriers 62
  9. Teemu Hartikainen 52
  10. Ryan O’Marra 33
  11. Colten Teubert 24
  12. Alex Plante 10
  13. Phil Cornet 2
  14. Milan Kytnar 1
  15. Johan Motin 1

How many of these names did NHLE identify? Well Jeff Petry for sure, as well as (at least somewhat) Chorney, McDonald, Arcobello and Reddox among men who played 100 or more games.

I’ll also linger here to make two points.

First, not identifying VandeVelde isn’t a tragedy. No. 4 centers are far easier to find in free agency than someone who has more potential to play higher in the lineup. I’d rather see a scouting department take a chance on a guy with a great shot (Colin McDonald) or electric puck skills (Linus Omark) even if they don’t work out.

Second, I believe it’s fair to suggest Omark did in fact have NHL talent but also had bad timing. He arrived in Edmonton looking for a job on the wing the same year as Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi were grabbing their luggage off the YEG moving sidewalks.


So, observing those stats, and seeing how things played out, can we identify the best candidates for NHL success from the Bakersfield Condors most recent season?

  • Left Wing: Tyler Benson 39.9; Raphael Lavoie 21.0; James Hamblin 15.7
  • Center: Ryan McLeod 39.9; Joe Gambardella 19.2
  • Right Wing: Cooper Marody 36.8; Ostap Safin 10.9
  • Left Defense: Max Gildon 23.6; Theodor Lennstrom 14.7; Markus Niemelainen 11.4
  • Right Defense: Mike Kesselring 5.7; Phil Kemp 3.3
  • Goalie: Stuart Skinner .914; Olivier Rodrigue .894

Among forwards, Ryan McLeod posts a strong NHLE while also having the range of skills we discussed earlier. I’d count him as more of a sure thing for an NHL career than any forward on the previous list.

Tyler Benson and Cooper Marody have the resume of NHL players, but foot speed is more important every year and Ken Holland spent the summer piling left wingers on the roster.

On defense, Max Gildon has a great future. The Oilers prospects have a story to tell, with Niemelainen likely a third pairing option and we’ll have to wait and see on Kesselring plus Kemp.

Stuart Skinner had a good year but you’d like to see another, Rodrique is just getting started.

My bottom line: Bet on McLeod and Gildon. Wait a year on Lavoie because circumstances. Jaundiced eye for all others.


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Lowetide August 19, 2021 - 7:50 am

NEW for The Athletic: Why Oilers fans should expect more trades and a deep playoff run in 2021-22:


judgedrude August 19, 2021 - 6:36 am

Here’s hoping that Kesselring can make it in less than 12 parsecs.

Todd Macallan August 19, 2021 - 8:31 am

Well done. This is the way.

Bill August 18, 2021 - 8:22 pm

Hope young Kesselring makes it to the NHL. Built like a srick bhit house, could be a real find in a few years. The analytics aren’t in his favour(I think) but c’mon kid!

Glad as heck the site is back up and working. Thank you LT 👍🏽 👍🏽
Swear to Gord, I’ll never take this blog for granted.

defmn August 18, 2021 - 6:52 pm

This season, Keegan Loweis off to Italy to play for HC Bolzano after a long career in the minor leagues. The son of six-time Stanley Cup champion and Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Kevin Lowe, Keegan managed just four appearances at the NHL level. He played this season with the San Diego Gulls, recording six points in 44 games.


I wish him well.

J-Bo August 18, 2021 - 6:24 pm

Max Gildon? What? Why have I never heard of this guy until today. I read every LT blog plus pretty much every other decent Oilers writer. I have a subscription to The Athletic, listen to many of LT’ s shows, Oilers Now and Gregor. Am I getting old and forgetful? Or is this an elaborate hoax?

J-Bo August 18, 2021 - 6:29 pm

Oh. Okay. I see he is a Panthers prospect. Obviously on loan this year. Weird.

OriginalPouzar August 18, 2021 - 6:55 pm

Ya, Syracuse opted out last season and, with Samorukov (and Kemp) heading over to Europe and Broberg and Berglund staying over, the Condors were a bit thin early in the season.

godot10 August 18, 2021 - 5:24 pm
McSorley33 August 18, 2021 - 5:28 pm

Well played…..

McSorley33 August 18, 2021 - 5:19 pm

So good to see this site back up

meanashell11 August 18, 2021 - 5:14 pm

I’ll just leave this here.



defmn August 18, 2021 - 5:30 pm


Bank Shot August 18, 2021 - 5:01 pm

Man I just don’t get the fascination with Kesselring.

I’ve seen a few articles by Oilers media guys pumping him to be a potential steal, and rapidly improving. The Oilers org must like him because they signed him to a contract.

To me when I watch him what stands out is that he is tall, and moves fast, and looks unbelievably clumsy and awkward. I don’t see any NHLers that move like that on the ice.

The few YouTube clips of him are these highlight reel individual effort plays and then you go look at his stats for the season and he has 5 points…..

It’s like he either scores a highlight reel goal or otherwise contributes nothing to a team’s offence.

For a guy that’s billed as an offensive defenceman that seems pretty bad to me.

It feels like the Oilers are hoping a hockey player will emerge out of a player with only a couple of plus attributes, one of them being height.

I don’t get it.

OriginalPouzar August 18, 2021 - 5:30 pm

He had 8 points in 20 games this past season at NorthEaster playing behind two other higher drafted (and older) d-men.

He’s a giant, can skate (once he grows in to his body he’ll be a very high end skater), good shot, great IQ, good puck mover.

He was a draft and wait and we will still be waiting for another couple of years but he’s got a very tantalizing skill set – far from a sure thing but he’s 21, just turned pro and has a solidly high ceiling, in my opinion.

Bank Shot August 18, 2021 - 6:46 pm

You know who else was a giant with about the same production?

Matt Greene.

But no one was waxing poetic about his offensive skillset.

I feel like if you are turning 22 and you’re still 90% potential and 10% results it’s getting pretty likely that the potential will never be realized.

OriginalPouzar August 18, 2021 - 7:01 pm

Fair enough about his potential – I remain intrigued about his raw skill-set and will give him another two years like the plan on draft day.

I’m not sure about the comparable to Matt Greene who never had the skating ability of Kesselring not the ability to move the puck – they aren’t even close to the same type/style of d-man, in my opinion.

ArmchairGM August 19, 2021 - 8:24 am


Here’s a shift-by-shift rather than highlights. Follow OilKnight for more videos on Oilers prospects.

Darth Tu August 18, 2021 - 3:44 pm

Hello, hello! I don’t know why you say good bye I say hello!

Bruce McCurdy August 18, 2021 - 3:33 pm

Hello? Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me,
Is there anyone home?

VanIsleOil August 18, 2021 - 3:51 pm

Hello…it’s good to be back


Darth Tu August 18, 2021 - 4:08 pm

That better be the Oasis version or I’m not clicking that link.

VanIsleOil August 18, 2021 - 4:15 pm

it definitely is..Oasis Live version

Darth Tu August 18, 2021 - 4:29 pm

Excellent. I was worried we had a GG incident brewing.

Revolved August 18, 2021 - 3:32 pm

The comparison of AHL teams is an interesting one, but player age needs to be taken into account. Though, in the comparison of Kesselring and Petry – both were in the NCAA at 20. Petry scored 24 points in 42 games, while Kesselring did 5 in 32. You probably haven’t both players surrounded.

oilersjo August 18, 2021 - 3:23 pm

I am afraid of this addiction to speed. You see it with the young folks at minor hockey as well. My grandson is blazing fast for a 9 year old but his head proccessor is 2 years behind. A lot of these parents are pushing these kids to go fast without emphasizing that they need to think at the same speed. Brad Marsh never had that problem living in PA and watching Steve Kelly ,he sure did.

godot10 August 18, 2021 - 3:08 pm

Hartikainen was ready for a Tomas Holmstrom career but the Dementor happened, and then MacT gave up on him.


The inability to recognize what one has in a player and the inability to use him properly.

Both Lander and Hartikainen were lost because of the Dementor. If Nelson had got the job over Eakins, both would have had NHL careers.

MushedPeas August 18, 2021 - 4:52 pm

Lander might still have been salvaged if they’d only picked the right Todd.

OriginalPouzar August 18, 2021 - 3:04 pm

Ryan McLeod is already an NHL player – take away offence completely and he is a solid 4C that can help defend and transition the puck to the offensive zone and will improve on the PK.

Despite his offensive pop at the AHL level, he is far from proven to be able to produce enough to be a legit NHL 3C – we’ve spoken at length about the need for more willingness to engage physically and battle – I think he can get there as he gains strength and confidence in himself but he hasn’t got there yet (and his offence at the AHL level, on a line that was so dominant, they never had to battle, isn’t something I think translates without a change in his game a bit).

Benson is NHL ready in my opinion and his skating issues greatly over-stated – if he gets a chance with some real NHL skill at camp and in exhibition, I think he could be in the conversation for a middle six spot but I don’t think he’ll get that type of opportunity and will be skating with the Shores and Cracknells of the world – making it tougher to stand out. Hopefully he is able to – this kid is drafted and developed and ready – he has the skill.

Max Gildon was by far the best d-man in the Bake last year – he was very good. Too bad he’s not Oiler property.

No matter what happens, Phil Kemp has vastly exceeded expectations for a 7th round pick. To even get an NHL contract, let alone be a potential for an NHL job at some point, is impressive from where he started.

I like Phil Kemp and his game and I watched almost all of his games as a Condor. He’s not as physical as most think but he has high end defensive IQ – is angles, his anticipation, his ability to break up plays and move the puck – they are all impressive and are what make him real prospect.

At the same time, his skating is, well, its not close. We are not talking Tyler Benson who I think skates well enough for the NHL given his other skills – Phil Kemp’s skating is a couple tiers below and, personally, I think it will preclude him from having an NHL career. Of course, he can, and likely will, improve in that area but he really does have a ways to go. Its too bad because he has a high defensive brain and he can move the puck a bit as well but those boots, they are barely AHL quality.

Here is hoping that he’s 100% after that punch he took (he missed a good month with, I believe, a broken cheek bone and concussion) – he did come back in the playoffs.

Bruce McCurdy August 18, 2021 - 3:23 pm

I saw the same re Kemp’s skating, makes Ethan Bear look like Twinkletoes on skates. Essential he makes literal strides in that dept.
His defensive instincts are sound, he’s smart, appears to have plenty of character. Coaches live this type of player.

ArmchairGM August 18, 2021 - 3:45 pm

Talk to me about Kesselring.

OriginalPouzar August 18, 2021 - 4:34 pm

Firstly, he’s giant (6’4 I think and close to 200 with room to grow) and can skate well, laterally included. Good puck mover and smart player – seems to have good instincts.

I know his point totals at NorthEastern don’t pop but NE has been stocked with NHL drafted d-men, this past year he was behind Jordan Harris and Jayden Struble and still managed to pop a bit to almost 0.5 P/G (without PP1 time).

He’s still very raw but he’s got plenty of skill to talk about.

ArmchairGM August 19, 2021 - 8:14 am

Thanks. I’d like to think he’s a future NHLer – he seems to have the raw ability at least. Another year or 2 in the AHL maybe?

Randle McMurphy August 18, 2021 - 2:58 pm

We’ve had Adele, Lionel, and Conway

I’ll go with Ric Ocasek

LT, for a while there,

“You left the scene
Without a trace
One hand on the phone
One hand in space”

Hello, Hello Again!

OriginalPouzar August 18, 2021 - 2:58 pm

I was a bit surprised that they signed Kesslring so early as I thought he’d go one more year at NorthEastern. I think the org maybe would have liked him to stay in college one more season but, with the depth prospects like him, signing risk becomes a factor as they approach their senior years.

I do think that Kesselring is above guys like Kemp and Niemelainen as far as having an NHL career but I anticipate at least two full seasons in the AHL before its even a real conversation.

He struggled big time when he arrived in Bakersfield last season but, within a couple of weeks, started to settle in a bit. He was still kind of finding his way but a few plays a game the viewer could see he’s got skill and potential.

judgedrude August 18, 2021 - 2:22 pm

Since we’ve employed both Hall and Oates in the past, would Private Eyes be a better than Lionel?

LadiesloveSmid August 18, 2021 - 2:06 pm

What would you say was the oilers last good trade?

Ennis? He didn’t really play much though.

Gagner for Spooner? After trading a house for a paperclip, almost feels like it doesn’t count.

Neal for Lucic? 25 months ago


John Chambers August 18, 2021 - 2:39 pm

Last good trade? Gernat for Maroon.

Last great trade? Tikkanen for Weight.

McSorley33 August 18, 2021 - 5:23 pm

I agree on the Maroon trade……and that was in 2016

Well over half a decade ago.

Hello Oilers

Drai by Shooting August 19, 2021 - 9:06 am

Well over a half decade ago?

Im perplexed! Is 5yrs ago not exactly a half decade ago anymore? Did they change measurements of time, and i missed it ?
I kid , i kid. Lol

Reja August 18, 2021 - 2:45 pm

Patty Maroon was a clear cut win. If you ask the Calgary fans Lucic has been alright while we have Neal on the books for 4 more years. It’s way to early but the Foegele trade will be on the plus side. The style Bear played just didn’t bring enough O. Tippett needs to give Ceci, Keith,Bouchard Nurse and Barrie the green light and we’re going to witness the most explosive Offence in the league.

defmn August 18, 2021 - 3:20 pm

The Neal/Lucic trade was always about the buyout clause for me so I consider that a win.

I also think the Foegele trade will be a win. Not huge win but a plus mostly because of team need.

OriginalPouzar August 18, 2021 - 4:26 pm

Well, we still have the contract on the books for $2.75M for two years and then $2M for 2 more.

defmn August 18, 2021 - 4:28 pm

Yes, that is how buyout clauses work. I think everybody knows that.

OriginalPouzar August 18, 2021 - 4:39 pm

The point of the last post was the added $750K for the first 2 years due to the retained salary.

I’m not saying it was a bad trade but it the buyout is still very expensive.

Just for formality and information, although I’m sure you know this and its just words, but there is no “buyout clause” – the buyout costs are set, they simply change due to contract structure.

defmn August 18, 2021 - 5:02 pm

More words to say nothing much that everybody doesn’t already know.

Harpers Hair August 18, 2021 - 5:13 pm

But do you think Benson is NHL ready if he gets to play with skill players in training camp?

No one seems to have considered that possibility.😀

defmn August 18, 2021 - 5:25 pm

Yeah. You’d think somebody would have a copy and paste function so they could make that point 743 times over the course of an off season.

OriginalPouzar August 18, 2021 - 5:37 pm

Has anyone considered that Colorado has a chance to win the cup, or that Seattle could “weaponize their cap space” or that the LA Kings have the 17 best prospects in the league or that the Oilers need to trade their 1st for the new JT Miller or that d-men show themselves early or that Noah Dobson and Ty Smith have played more games than Evan Bouchard?

Harpers Hair August 18, 2021 - 6:06 pm

Would it help your comprehension if I posted those things a few hundred more times?

OriginalPouzar August 18, 2021 - 6:51 pm

Two posts today in the thread – both about me – how flattering.

OriginalPouzar August 18, 2021 - 5:34 pm

Is the implication of this post that the buyout structure of the Neal contract being part of the deal analysis isn’t something that everyone already knows – please!

I would posit that more people forget about the $750K of retained salary on the books and that they currently have close to $2.75M on the books from the Lucic contract.

Feel free, continue to point out known information and criticize me for doing what you believe is the same.

defmn August 18, 2021 - 6:36 pm

If you want to write nonsensical and trivial posts about things everybody here already knows in response to my posts I don’t see why I shouldn’t get to write posts pointing out that your posts are largely about trivial and inconsequential details that everybody already knows.

That’s how it works.

You waste your time writing blah, blah blah as though it contributes anything of importance and I will continue to point out that you write about stuff that most 12 year olds already know.

At least when HH is being annoying he is doing it on purpose. I get the distinct impression you have no idea how annoying you are when you do this stuff so I consider this a public service on my part to help you learn to be better.

Have a great evening and remember to stay positive. 😉

OriginalPouzar August 18, 2021 - 7:00 pm

You can write whatever you want in response doesn’t bother me.

It seems odd that you use the guise of “trivial posts about things everybody here already knows” to push your personal issue given your post was about Neal’s contract being more buyout friendly than Lucic’s.

defmn August 18, 2021 - 7:05 pm

I realize that reading comprehension is not your forte but, no, that was not what my post was about. It was about winning trades.

But keep trying. You learn by doing. I’m pulling for you. I know you can make it to junior high level reading comprehension if you put in the work. 😉

McSorley33 August 18, 2021 - 5:26 pm

Yeah, at best it is a split decision win for us …..

It is probably closer to the Laine for Dubois trade…..both teams lost

OriginalPouzar August 18, 2021 - 3:17 pm

Ethan Bear for Warren Foegele.

2020 3rd rounder traded for a 4th (Savoie) and a 5th (Tulio).

defmn August 18, 2021 - 1:52 pm

Nice to be back. Thanks to everybody who worked to make this happen.

elgruntus August 18, 2021 - 1:50 pm

…Hello Lowetide. Nice to see you. It’s been a long time. You’re just as lovely as you used to be

ChupaCabra August 18, 2021 - 1:42 pm

Hello. It’s me.
I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet.
To go over everything.
Including, the draft; best prospects; training camp invites; opening night lines; pre-deadline trade possibilities; salary cap concerns; Oscar Klefbom’s Swedish shoulder blues; ideal steak cooking techniques; best scotch choices under a $100; and the undead HH’s life-draining presence on this blog.

Drai by Shooting August 19, 2021 - 9:15 am

I’ll fly from Halifax to wherever you are to meet if it will help solve and be rid of that last point you made

€√¥£€^$ August 18, 2021 - 1:38 pm


It iS you I’m waiting for!!

jojonoshow August 18, 2021 - 1:07 pm


Comments are closed.