Edmonton Oilers add Mitch Holmberg

Jonathan Willis
April 01 2014 11:11AM

Green, Bob

The Oilers capped off a busy couple of days on Tuesday, adding undrafted WHL’er Mitch Holmberg to the organization. With the hiring of Bob Green (above) as the team’s director of amateur free agent scouting last summer, Edmonton had signaled that it wanted to be in the mix for the best undrafted players every year and they’ve certainly done that this season.

The List

Jujhar Khaira

Holmberg joins a group of players announced yesterday.

Free agent college defenceman Jordan Oesterle was signed to a two-season entry-level contract and assigned to Oklahoma City. Lowetide did a nice job collecting the various scouting reports on the young defenceman, who joins an organization with a logjam on the blue line but might be a nice ‘diamond in the rough’ find.

Oesterle wasn’t the only one.

Joshua Winquist, who scored 47 goals this season in Everett, signed an amateur tryout agreement, giving both the organization and the player a chance at a test run in professional hockey. It’ll be interesting to see if he shows well enough to find a home in the AHL next year. Also signing on was Graeme Craig, a big WHL defenceman with adequate puck-moving ability, and he’s under contract for next season as well.

Also making the jump to the AHL was Jujhar Khaira, the big centre who is one of the Oilers’ best forward prospects. The Calgary Hitmen’s Greg Chase, who has had a fantastic year (especially for a seventh-round pick) is also headed for OKC.

Holmberg

Holmberg might be the most interesting undrafted player picked up in the last couple of days. 

This is particularly so if the rumours that I’ve heard are true. For now, official word is he's been signed to an amateur tryout offer, but speculation has it that the Barons also have him signed to an AHL contract for next season. If so that would be a coup because players with Holmberg’s numbers (62 goals, 118 points for Spokane) generally get an entry-level NHL deal, drafted or not. If he’s been tied to the organization without taking up a spot on the team’s 50-man list the Oilers’ have done very nicely here. When Tampa Bay did something similar with Tyler Johnson (for a lark, look at where he sits on the NHL’s rookie scoring board) they had to offer a full NHL deal.

Holmberg hits a lot of the same points that Johnson did – a small late-bloomer with wicked numbers in his last junior campaign. Some will instantly go into ‘the Oilers don’t need another smurf’ mode, but there’s literally no downside here – and as Johnson illustrates, every so often these guys turn out to be significant players.

Certainly Holmberg’s scoring makes a case for him. His 118 points were 37 ahead of his next-closest teammate (Mike Aviani) and the third-highest scoring forward (Adam Helewka) was way back at the 50-point mark. He managed to lead the entire league in scoring with very little help offensively form this teammates; that isn’t at all easy to do and he’s going to be a guy to watch closely in Oklahoma.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Will
April 01 2014, 11:19AM
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Mac T's Strategy seems to be sign everything, then see what sticks.

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#2 ubermiguel
April 01 2014, 11:30AM
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Will wrote:

Mac T's Strategy seems to be sign everything, then see what sticks.

If it doesn't take up an NHL contract why not? That's exactly what you need to do when you have the vertical integration of ECHL/AHL/NHL franchises.

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#3 Will
April 01 2014, 11:35AM
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ubermiguel wrote:

If it doesn't take up an NHL contract why not? That's exactly what you need to do when you have the vertical integration of ECHL/AHL/NHL franchises.

No argument here. As long as we're not in some kind of cap situation where we are unable to get free agents or resign all the young up and coming talent, I say spend Katz's money till the cups come home. However, a few times this year I have noticed that so many players make it hard to manage it all, and occasionally guys have gotten lost in the shuffle.

I guess I just wonder if he shouldn't try and be a little bit more focused in his targets.

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#4 blainer
April 01 2014, 11:44AM
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Is anyone aware of the availability of Yakimov or the other two Russians to come over and play in OKC

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#5 CaptainLander
April 01 2014, 12:00PM
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Will wrote:

Mac T's Strategy seems to be sign everything, then see what sticks.

Beats Tambi's "do nothing and hope it works"

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#6 Total Points
April 01 2014, 12:03PM
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Will wrote:

No argument here. As long as we're not in some kind of cap situation where we are unable to get free agents or resign all the young up and coming talent, I say spend Katz's money till the cups come home. However, a few times this year I have noticed that so many players make it hard to manage it all, and occasionally guys have gotten lost in the shuffle.

I guess I just wonder if he shouldn't try and be a little bit more focused in his targets.

The Oilers are not spending Katz's money.

The money is from ticket sales, concessions, merchandise, TV contracts, subsidies from governments, etc

I doubt that as long as the seats fill up, advertising dollars keep rolling in to TV stations, etc that Katz will spend any of his own money.

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#7 Toro
April 01 2014, 12:04PM
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Oesterle I've heard nothing good about this guy from anyone except he has good foot speed supposed to be pretty bad defensively I think we have enough of those kinda players already, does he count towards the 50 man list ?

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#8 Dog Train
April 01 2014, 12:07PM
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At this time of the season there are usually lots of amateur tryouts and CHL prospects getting a brief stint with the farm team. Given the injury situation in OKC, some of these prospects/tryouts might actually get into some games. I have hope for Khaira and Chase especially and I am all for adding depth to the organization as long as it doesn't handcuff us on our 50-contract list. If we move out players on the big club, we will need more depth to be able to plug the holes that we create.

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#9 Czar
April 01 2014, 12:54PM
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Good work Mr. Green, these WHL signings are great news! Chase, Holmberg and Winquist are all local kids, I like it even more!

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#10 Wintoon
April 01 2014, 01:02PM
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Great moves. The Oilers are on the verge of getting rid of a bunch of place holders (Eager, Grebeshkov etc.) who count against our reserve list of 50 players. Nice to see the organization going outside the box a bit to try to develop potential depth. Most noticeable in all this is that these players have skill. It will only take having one or two of them make it to justify the effort put forth in recruiting them.

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#11 Spydyr
April 01 2014, 01:12PM
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Signing like this is why the Oilers picked up the Bakersfield Condors.Their contracts do not count towards the 50 NHL contract maximum.One of the few good moves made the last few years.

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#12 RossCreekNation
April 01 2014, 01:21PM
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blainer wrote:

Is anyone aware of the availability of Yakimov or the other two Russians to come over and play in OKC

As far as I know, Yakimov is free to come over next season, while Slepyshev & Zharkov are still under contract for 1 more year.

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#13 RossCreekNation
April 01 2014, 01:22PM
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@Willis

With Holmberg being Bob Green's step-son, maybe he's doing the org a favour by signing an AHL deal.

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#14 RexHolez
April 01 2014, 01:22PM
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How do I get the oilers to pay me to post positive comments and trash negative ones??

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#15 Mike IA
April 01 2014, 01:24PM
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I had forgotten about Bob Green moving over, We should see some real improvement in the Ahl, then the NHL teams now.

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#16 Oiler63
April 01 2014, 01:38PM
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Will wrote:

No argument here. As long as we're not in some kind of cap situation where we are unable to get free agents or resign all the young up and coming talent, I say spend Katz's money till the cups come home. However, a few times this year I have noticed that so many players make it hard to manage it all, and occasionally guys have gotten lost in the shuffle.

I guess I just wonder if he shouldn't try and be a little bit more focused in his targets.

The Oilers are cash flow self sustaining, so sadly they are spending our money, not Katz's.

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#17 admiralmark
April 01 2014, 02:00PM
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RexHolez wrote:

How do I get the oilers to pay me to post positive comments and trash negative ones??

Bob Stauffer already has that position filled.

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#18 Doctor Smashy
April 01 2014, 02:32PM
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Hey JW. How much stock do you put in the difference in playoff performance between players like Reinhart and Draisaitl? Seems like a pretty dramatic difference even given the teams surrounding them. Does that play a major role in the decision on draft day?

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#19 Fresh Mess
April 01 2014, 02:38PM
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The Oilers desperately need to find some scorers for the farm. Lander could bolt for Europe. These are reasonable moves.

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#20 I tried it at home
April 01 2014, 03:17PM
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Bob Green sure rings a bell... who is this guy again? I mean this in very complimentry way, I cant place it but that name sure sounds familiar.

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#21 Spydyr
April 01 2014, 03:21PM
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I tried it at home wrote:

Bob Green sure rings a bell... who is this guy again? I mean this in very complimentry way, I cant place it but that name sure sounds familiar.

Perhaps you are thinking Red Green?

Pass the duct tape.

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#22 Oil Can
April 01 2014, 03:26PM
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@Doctor Smashy

I think it should be a big concern. Just because Draisaitl is heavier, that should not be the reason why the Oil draft him over the others. Personally I think that Bennett would be the better pick, because he is just over six feet and he is still only 17 years old, and so he will more than likely end up at atleast 6'1" and the others are almost a year older. But most importantly, the reason to take Bennett is because his compete level is off the charts. He plays a gritty tough game. Both Reinhart and Draisaitl play a very soft game. The Oilers need players who actually want to win and will do what ever it takes to win. All scouting reports say that Bennett is a clone of Doug Gilmore, in the way he competes and does anything to win. Maybe he could teach the other so called stars, what it means to play with heart and what it takes to win.

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#23 braidonh
April 01 2014, 03:26PM
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@i tried it at home

Former GM of the Edmonton Oil Kings

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#24 jonny94
April 01 2014, 03:31PM
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So are the writers of OilersNation going to do a GDB today? They must be taking straws cause I don't blame them having to come up with new material to write about... Especially against the San Jose Sharks

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#25 Casey
April 01 2014, 03:41PM
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Happy with all these tryouts. College and undrafted UFA time is one of the most underrated parts of a season.

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#26 Spydyr
April 01 2014, 03:47PM
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jonny94 wrote:

So are the writers of OilersNation going to do a GDB today? They must be taking straws cause I don't blame them having to come up with new material to write about... Especially against the San Jose Sharks

GDB Oilers lose....again.

It is like a car wreck right now you know you should not look but you still do.

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#27 Batfink
April 01 2014, 03:49PM
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Wow. Typical end of season run down, mail it in by ON. Game day and nearly 4pm and no GDB, but an article about the latest group of misfits that nobody else wants.

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#28 jonny94
April 01 2014, 03:51PM
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Spydyr wrote:

GDB Oilers lose....again.

It is like a car wreck right now you know you should not look but you still do.

I agree, which is why I look forward to the GDB more then the game itself. If the Oilers put in half the effort these writers do with the GDB the Oilers might have been in the playoff mix.

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#29 RexHolez
April 01 2014, 04:05PM
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jonny94 wrote:

So are the writers of OilersNation going to do a GDB today? They must be taking straws cause I don't blame them having to come up with new material to write about... Especially against the San Jose Sharks

Everything you need to know about tonight's game.... It's not worth watching.

is it true that the arena isn't being built anymore? Heard their gonna save taxpayers hundreds of millions and just put up a circus tent now

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#30 Mason Storm
April 01 2014, 04:24PM
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GDB

Oilers get pushed around by a bigger, stronger, more structured and disciplined team. There are three two on ones during Oilers PPs and miraculously they aren't scored on shorthanded. Sharks win 4-2, but outshoot the Oil 43-21. Oilers only manage 5 shots in a ~frantic~ third period push.

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#31 Numenius
April 01 2014, 04:31PM
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Wow. Holmberg's WHL numbers line up very well with Johnson's, who's on track to put up more points than Gagner ever has.

He'll be interesting to follow as a prospect.

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#32 v4ance
April 01 2014, 05:25PM
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From Cult of Hockey: "Guy Flaming of TSN 1260′s The Pipeline Show points out on Twitter that Green is in fact Holmberg’s step father. I guess that’s one way to get the inside track on a young prospect!"

Can we get Bob Green to marry Shea Weber's mom? Just a random thought...

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#33 a lg dubl dubl
April 01 2014, 05:42PM
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Now if Mr. Green can get Derrick Laxdal to come and be an Assistant Coach, I'll be happy.

Yes Im aware that its not up to Green to bring in coaches, but maybe he can bend MacT's ear. Laxdal seems to work great with a team that really wasn't expected to make the playoffs, and Laxdal cant be worse than Bucky or Smith.

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#34 Zamboni Driver
April 01 2014, 05:56PM
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I wonder if Six Cups told Stauffer he had to use the word "significant" to describe people his 'fans' (quotes for both Bob and Kevie) have never heard of and will never hear of again.

OOOOOOOOOOH they're significant undrafted nobodies going to the minor leagues.

Colour me intrigued.

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#35 2:00 AM
April 01 2014, 11:41PM
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Zamboni Driver wrote:

I wonder if Six Cups told Stauffer he had to use the word "significant" to describe people his 'fans' (quotes for both Bob and Kevie) have never heard of and will never hear of again.

OOOOOOOOOOH they're significant undrafted nobodies going to the minor leagues.

Colour me intrigued.

I like this comment. Lets not get too excited about these undrafted players yet. Expectations now can only lead to more hurt.

I really respect Bob Green as a hockeyman tho.

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#36 2:00 AM
April 01 2014, 11:45PM
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Even if these guys dont work out I like the idea of signing talent outside of the draft, so big props to management for at least showing us that.

Just the fact that these guys are signing with us amazes me tho.

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#37 Yardbird
April 02 2014, 08:06AM
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Total Points wrote:

The Oilers are not spending Katz's money.

The money is from ticket sales, concessions, merchandise, TV contracts, subsidies from governments, etc

I doubt that as long as the seats fill up, advertising dollars keep rolling in to TV stations, etc that Katz will spend any of his own money.

So does that make Katz a bad man or simply a good businessman?

Like what's your point?

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