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.