OKC: The Outer Marker

Lowetide
September 21 2011 05:31PM

Any fool watching these whiz kids who will soon be headed for Oklahoma City can see good things ahead for the farm in 11-12. A good crop one year ago (Omark, Petry) may give way to a watershed (Lander, Hartikainen, Hamilton, Pitlick, Teubert) some day soon. Could this be the Oilers all time best farm team? 

I count the Oilers best all-time farm team as the 81-82 Wichita WInd. They didn't win the Calder Cup (by 92-93 the Cape Breton Oilers would win the coveted Calder) but it was a fine team and delivered a bounty to the NHL team. Here's a list of NHLers the Wichita Wind 81-82 team graduted to the world's best hockey league:

  • Andy Moog, who had a couple of cups of coffee before and during 81-82 but established himself as a quality NHL prospect during this season. The Oilers would eventually deal Moog, but he was certainly one of the finest goaltenders of his era.
  • Charlie Huddy, who would be a strong contributor to the best Oiler teams in history and play in over 1,000 NHL games. Huddy was not drafted, rather he was signed by the Oilers and spent parts of three seasons in the minors before graduating to the show. His development should serve as a strong reminder that good defensemen often take some time to develop. A splendid player.
  • Walt Poddubny, who would flourish in the NHL. He played 468 games and scored 184 goals, 116 of those in a stunning three season run from 86-89.
  • John Blum, who would play 250 NHL games (most with Boston) was signed by the organization from Michigan (NCAA) after his graduation from college.
  • Don Jackson, who rescued his career in Wichita and performed well for the Oilers during the first portion of the Stanley runs (dealt Oct 86). He was a solid role player for the Oilers during those years.
  • Tom Roulston, who played 195 NHL games (and 47 goals) for the Oilers just before they started bagging Stanley's every spring.

And there were a few cups of coffee, including Ray Cote who old timers like me will remember.

Once Moog and Huddy established themselves as NHL players, the Oilers were ready to run the table and they did it several times during the 1980's. That era ended too soon and for fans my age forced us to wake up to the reality of the situation: those kinds of teams come along (probably) once in a lifetime.

The new Oiler fan (basically anyone who doesn't have a strong memory of the 1990 team) is anywhere from 0 to 30 years old (or more depending how much you paid attention to hockey as a kid) at this time. A key element for the Oilers moving forward will be developing trade assets at the minor league level. If we can agree that this season's OKC team will likely send the big club Teemu Hartikainen and Anton Lander (as the main attractions) and then lesser lights like Chris VandeVelde, Corey Potter and Yann Danis, it's probably easy to identify possible trade items.

The OKC Barons are going to be extremely deep at center. The roster could boast all of Lander, Ryan O'Marra, Chris VandeVelde, Tanner House, Milan Kytnar, Ryan Martindale and Josh Green (who can also play wing) vying for time in the middle in the AHL.

Should the Oilers need to make toom for Martindale, a player like O'Marra may be offloaded during training camp or before the season begins. If the Oilers can get a draft pick--even a depth pick--that's another bullet for Stu MacGregor.

Who are this year's Moog and Huddy? 

There are no Gretzky's, but there should be some really talented players in Oklahoma City this season. Here's my guess for the opening night lineup in OKC and the players with legit NHL hopes in bold:

  • GOALYann Danis, David LeNeveu
  • DEFENSE: Bryan Helmer, Corey Potter, Taylor Chorney, Colten Teubert, Alex Plante, Kirill Tulupov, Taylor Fedun
  • CENTER: Anton Lander, Ryan O'Marra, Chris VandeVelde, Tanner House, Milan Kytnar*
  • LEFT WING: Teemu Hartikainen, Lennert Petrell, Curtis Hamilton, Josh Green, Phil Corent
  • RIGHT WING: Ryan Keller, Mark Arcobello, Antti Tyrvainen, Tyler Pitlick, Hunter Tremblay

I think Motin, Abney and Roy start in the ECHL and wonder about Kytnar's health (that's why he's an asterisk).

That's a lot of black ink, a lot of bolded names. Whatever else we can say about Steve Tambellini, he's added a tremendous number of players who could end up being NHL players. Luck, desire and determination will count for a lot, but these young man have been acquired because there's something about them that gives them a chance to succeed in pro hockey.

You could have written the same thing about Charlie Huddy or Andy Moog in 1981 fall. This is the function of the American Hockey League, to take all of those junior snipers, defensive stars and quick gloved goalies and grind them into useful role players for an NHL team.

 

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#51 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
September 22 2011, 08:07AM
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Chris. wrote:

People are piling on Gagner one roll back... Let's use this one to talk about OKC.

Why is every thread about Gagner lately?

On the bright side, at least their aren't 394,842,291 posts about Horcoff.

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#52 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
September 22 2011, 08:28AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Well, the Oiler fans are like the young man who meets a girl and falls in love, then meets another girl and falls in love and keeps doing that over and over again.

The PROBLEM is that the Oilers seem to be the same way. Witness the Hemsky article by Bob Stauffer at the Oilers website.

Bob's already talking about the return and there is no new contract talk.

Extremely disappointing.

Middling prospect, 1st rounder.... maybe a roll player to boot.

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#53 Evan
September 22 2011, 08:32AM
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LT, maybe it is just the fact that I have always rooted for Plante, but I do not see what everyone sees so much more in Tuebert than in Plante? They are very similar players but yet everyone talks about Tuebert being a future Oiler and Plante being a 5th or 6th defenceman on OKC.

Also, I really expect big things from Hunter Tremblay. He was a really good player in the OHL and college. I know he is only on a one year contract but I think he will be a more dynamic offensive player than some of the guys you bolded.

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#54 Archaeologuy
September 22 2011, 08:43AM
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I hope that Hemsky can stay healthy this year. I am a huge Hemsky fan and seeing him go will be tough. I understand that he's injured all the time these days, but it's going to be tough to watch him play in different coloured silks.

Not having any serious contract talks at this point pretty much confirms that he's on the market, IMO. A lot of players wont negotiate during the season, and this is the last on his contract. I just consulted my Augur, and the gods do not seem to favour a new Oiler contract for 83.

Disappointing indeed.

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#55 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
September 22 2011, 09:25AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

I hope that Hemsky can stay healthy this year. I am a huge Hemsky fan and seeing him go will be tough. I understand that he's injured all the time these days, but it's going to be tough to watch him play in different coloured silks.

Not having any serious contract talks at this point pretty much confirms that he's on the market, IMO. A lot of players wont negotiate during the season, and this is the last on his contract. I just consulted my Augur, and the gods do not seem to favour a new Oiler contract for 83.

Disappointing indeed.

I can see it now, Hemsky to Pits for Max Talbot, Simon Despres and a 1st round pick.

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#56 Quicksilver ballet
September 22 2011, 09:33AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

I can see it now, Hemsky to Pits for Max Talbot, Simon Despres and a 1st round pick.

Talbot is in Philadelphia. I'm looking for a top 10 in exchange for Hemsky. Once the Oilers have that top 10 heading to the draft, anything's possible. A second top 5 would be a possibility. (phase 2 of my brain washing experiment)

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#57 Dipstick
September 22 2011, 09:36AM
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It seems unreasonable for the Oilers to either trade or sign Hemsky to a long term contract until they see if he can stay healthy. I don't understand why they don't sign a one year contract extension to give everyone a chance to see how healthy he can be.

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#58 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
September 22 2011, 09:40AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Talbot is in Philadelphia. I'm looking for a top 10 in exchange for Hemsky. Once the Oilers have that top 10 heading to the draft, anything's possible. A second top 5 would be a possibility. (phase 2 of my brain washing experiment)

Prepare to be disapointed again.

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#59 FastOil
September 22 2011, 09:45AM
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Dipstick wrote:

It seems unreasonable for the Oilers to either trade or sign Hemsky to a long term contract until they see if he can stay healthy. I don't understand why they don't sign a one year contract extension to give everyone a chance to see how healthy he can be.

I would think his agent wants term, pretty risky to see how healthy he remains versus guaranteed money.

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#60 Ned Braden
September 22 2011, 09:47AM
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Some good young talent headed to OKC this year. Hopefully they can have a long and successful season and a big developmental year. I would like to see Martindale on that team also.

LT, is Arcobello in camp with the Oilers. I haven't heard anything about him?

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#61 Quicksilver ballet
September 22 2011, 09:48AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Prepare to be disapointed again.

Once the club starts crossing chores off on that Things to get done list, you're welcome to come to the dark side whenever you are ready sir. We'll welcome you with open arms my friend.

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#62 Quicksilver ballet
September 22 2011, 09:59AM
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Wanyes bastard child wrote:

That being said, I think justincider's scouting report on you is fairly accurate ;)

I can live with that. I also noticed that nowhere in his scouting report did he mention any of it, wasn't accurate or truthful.

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#63 blueorangekoolaid
September 22 2011, 09:59AM
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First time posting so here goes. Lowetide I've met 89's mom, she's actually ridiculously awesome. As for the oil, I try to remain cautiously optimistic but every year at this time I can't help but get caught up in the "this could be the year" talk. Living in Vancouver, nothing was more satisfying than watching the 'nucks ALMOST win and then going into work the next day seeing all the long faces. We've felt their pain as recently as 2006 but hopefully they never feel what winning feels like.

OKC looks pretty solid this year. If the big club can stay healthy than the farm should have a solid year.

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#64 Dipstick
September 22 2011, 10:09AM
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@FastOil

Signing for one year only puts the big pay day off a year. IF he stays healthy, he likely gets a lot more than he can get now. I don't see a lot of downside risk for him.

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#65 mayorpoop
September 22 2011, 10:27AM
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tsn is reporting RNH will be in line-up tonite.

sweeeet.

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#66 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
September 22 2011, 10:36AM
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Dipstick wrote:

Signing for one year only puts the big pay day off a year. IF he stays healthy, he likely gets a lot more than he can get now. I don't see a lot of downside risk for him.

The downside risk is that he could get term and $$$ this summer. For a guy with his millage 30 over 5 probably looks alot more appealing then 6 over 1.

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#67 Dipstick
September 22 2011, 10:45AM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

I think that a healthier year with better linemates and more production will get him more money next year. What do I know?

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#68 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
September 22 2011, 11:07AM
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Dipstick wrote:

I think that a healthier year with better linemates and more production will get him more money next year. What do I know?

The only higher end player in his prime that I know of that seems to go year to year is Semin.... That strategy doesn't seem like something the players embrace.

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#69 FastOil
September 22 2011, 11:20AM
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Dipstick wrote:

I think that a healthier year with better linemates and more production will get him more money next year. What do I know?

You're right Gus. But think of it this way. His chance of staying healthy is pretty iffy given his history.

Pretend you're Hemsky, and particularly Hemsky's agent (who gets paid a % of Hemsky's salary. That is how he makes his money).

You have to sign a new contract soon, old one is ending. Contracts are guaranteed - you get paid no matter what (except for the league folding, not gonna happen).

You can choose to sign a year contract, shoot the lights out, and get big dollars next time. Problem is you always get hurt. Or, you can sign for what you're worth now, over say 5 years.

Choose between:

2011 at 4.1M, 2012 at 5M, 2013-2018 at 6M over 5 years= 39.1M

- but it's very risky because if you get hurt, you might never see a long term again, and salary will be way down - 2011 at 4.1M, 2012 at 5M, get hurt, 2013-2014 at 2 years at say 3M= 15.1M, could be your last NHL contract at that money, or ever because of injury problems.

Or

2011 at 4.1M, extend to 2012-2017 at 5M = 29.1M - this is gauranteed, in the bank, no matter what. That is a lot of dough my friend.

I know which his agent wants.

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#70 Fehr Time
September 22 2011, 12:06PM
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With a good union man like Mr. Fehr calling the shots in this league now, Hemsky should get 7 years 56 million in his next deal. He is very underpaid.

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#71 Shredder
September 22 2011, 12:10PM
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Tonights' line up is posted: excited to see Smyth - Nugent-Hopkins - Eberle at home!

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#72 steelymac
September 22 2011, 12:26PM
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Oilcruzer wrote:

Look what happens when you shut down and snap open a beer! A new blog! (Everything else is after this post)

Tragically, Don Ashby I recall was killed in a car crash that season.

Also Ace Bailey was on that team- no? (Lost in 9/11)

Don Ashby died of Leukemia.Sure nice our season is upon us.Really wish Lander was in tonights lineup.I believe Brule or Gagner are the odd man out.

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#73 FastOil
September 22 2011, 02:23PM
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per Wiki:

"Ashby and his wife, Terry, were involved in an automobile accident in Okanagan Valley which their vehicle was hit head-on by a pick up truck and he died a few hours later from massive internal injuries in the hospital in Kelowna, British Columbia."

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#74 TigerUnderGlass
September 23 2011, 01:37AM
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FastOil wrote:

You're right Gus. But think of it this way. His chance of staying healthy is pretty iffy given his history.

Pretend you're Hemsky, and particularly Hemsky's agent (who gets paid a % of Hemsky's salary. That is how he makes his money).

You have to sign a new contract soon, old one is ending. Contracts are guaranteed - you get paid no matter what (except for the league folding, not gonna happen).

You can choose to sign a year contract, shoot the lights out, and get big dollars next time. Problem is you always get hurt. Or, you can sign for what you're worth now, over say 5 years.

Choose between:

2011 at 4.1M, 2012 at 5M, 2013-2018 at 6M over 5 years= 39.1M

- but it's very risky because if you get hurt, you might never see a long term again, and salary will be way down - 2011 at 4.1M, 2012 at 5M, get hurt, 2013-2014 at 2 years at say 3M= 15.1M, could be your last NHL contract at that money, or ever because of injury problems.

Or

2011 at 4.1M, extend to 2012-2017 at 5M = 29.1M - this is gauranteed, in the bank, no matter what. That is a lot of dough my friend.

I know which his agent wants.

The agents choice is even more lopsided when you take into account the fact that agents are paid their take for the entire contract up front.

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