If You Weren’t Feeling Bad Enough…

One of the few North American professional teams performing worse than the Edmonton Oilers right now are the Springfield Falcons, Edmonton’s AHL affiliate. Mired in a 15-game losing streak, they’re only two games away from going winless in December.

For folks looking for a positive take, skip to the end.

Injuries and recalls haven’t helped matters. Since Devan Dubnyk joined the Oilers, the team has alternated between backup Aaron Sorochan (.871 SV%, fail), ECHL goaltender Andrew Perugini (.874 SV%, fail) and 2005 Ducks’ draftee J-P Levasseur (.878 SV%, fail). With Dubnyk in Springfield, the Falcons are one game over .500. With Dubnyk gone, the Falcons are 1-15.

Other players who have missed significant time one way or the other include Chris Minard, Liam Reddox, Taylor Chorney, Theo Peckham, and Dean Arsene. That’s a pretty significant list of veterans.

Still, this isn’t something that can be pegged on missing players. The goaltending has certainly been the biggest problem, but other issues abound. For example:

  • Liam Reddox, who played 46 NHL games last year, has eight points and a minus-14 rating through 27 games. The latter number is the worst of any Springfield forward.
  • One player on the team is in double digits in goals, and Colton Fretter has 9 of his 14 on the power play. Nobody on the team can score at even-strength.
  • Ryan Potulny, who played all of 14 games with the Falcons, sits ninth among forwards in goals (3) and seventh in points (8); the latter number is as many as Ryan O’Marra has managed all season.
  • There isn’t a single forward on the team who could accurately be labeled a prospect.

That’s just the forwards. On defence, there’s one bright spot: Theo Peckham. Aside from that, it’s a mess. Just for fun, let’s look at the Springfield defense corps by plus/minus. For further laughs, we’ll project those numbers over 82 games.

  • Theo Peckham: +4
  • Johan Motin: -6
  • Jake Taylor: -17
  • Dean Arsene: -21
  • Alex Plante: -23
  • Chris Armstrong: -24
  • Cody Wild: -30
  • Matt Nickerson: -30
  • Taylor Chorney: -103

Johan Motin’s been an occasional healthy scratch and is probably being worked in slowly. Aside from him, the list includes good (Peckham), bad (Taylor) to worse (Nickerson) and simply awful (Chorney). In fairness to Chorney, he’s only played a dozen games and he’s probably playing tough opponents, but I see no reason to believe that last year’s team-worst minus-29 was a fluke. In 95 professional games, Taylor Chorney now has a minus-54 rating.

THE END: Devan Dubnyk and Theo Peckham have promising NHL careers, based on their AHL performance this season.

  • JW:

    You might want to recheck your record with/wo Doobie. The Falcons have yet to win one yet, since Dubnyk was recalled (unless you're crediting a win to a game played while he was there, but with another goalie in net.. if that happened). They've got a few OTL and SOL since his recall but zero wins. Pretty scary stuff.. the fate of the Oiler universe rests on your shoulders, Olivier!

  • Harlie

    it really looks like Coaching doesn't mean a damn thing. They put Daum in Springfield last year because we couldn't buy a win and we stunk out the joint most nights and that's exactly what is going down this year. And the big club everyone knows the story on but the same sheet applies. So what is the value of a Coach anyways? And yes, I know the Pittsburgh story.

  • Jodes

    Sounds like a carbon copy of the big team. Take away the best couple of players from a very average team and you've got a cealler dweller.

    On the bright side, I don't think the AHL is quiete the development league it used to be. Players seem to be hitting the NHL sooner (ie guys that would have 1-2 years in the AHL and then move to the NHL at age 21/22 are now starting in the NHL at 20(ish) and with the emergence of NCAA, Europe and Russia, you are seeing more high end prospects elsewhere.

    The AHL is more of a developmental league for your 3rd/4th liners (which you can easily pick up in the summer or even on waivers), and without any reaserch put into it, I'd bet even the strongest AHL teams don't have more then 2-3 guys that will ever have an NHL career (more then 200-300 games anways)

    Sucks that they suck, but I doubt it will have much affect on the big team.

  • Jodes

    Great signs to come. I can't wait for next season already and this one has not ended yet.

    Bangs head on desk and yells "why must the Oilers be my favorite team…. WHY!"

  • Jodes

    Geez.. it just gets better and better doesn't it?

    Jon, how much do you think NOT having a farm team for those 3-4 seasons (or was it longer) have impacted Springfield today?

    If there's no glimmer of hope in even the farm kids? What's that to say for the Oilers future?

    Looking bleak gotta say..