Tracking the Department of Youth

In our weekly look at Oilers prospects, it looks like some of the kids in junior are on their way to breakout seasons. At the AHL level, some prospect progress and some trying times for future Edmonton Oilers.

Last week I looked at the CHL and Europe and planned to devote time to NCAA and AHL prospects this week. I’ve added a couple of players mentioned last time because their accomplishments this week were very impressive.

  • Olivier Roy, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL) (5gp, 1.94 .933): He looks very strong early in the year, earning first star status for his work a week ago in the Q. His SP leads the league and he sees a lot of rubber (30 shots a game).
  • Martin Marincin, Prince George (WHL) (10gp, 4-6-10 +7): A monster week (3gp, 2-4-6 +8) has him in the league’s top 40 in overall points, 3rd in rookie scoring and 3rd in points by a defenseman in the WHL. It is early, but not that early. This guy is having an impact at this level.
  • Tyler Pitlick, Medicine Hat (WHL) (7gp, 3-5-8 -2): A strong week (2gp, 1-5-6 +3) courtesy the Oil Kings has him on track for his first junior season. No real surprise based on his strong performance at the Oilers training camp early this fall.
  • Teemu Hartikainen, OKC (AHL) (4gp, 2-0-2 -5): Don’t fret long over that plus minus, the Barons have a few players in that range and beyond at this point. Two goals has him leading Barons rookies in all offensive departments and his 11 shots are third on the team. The young man is adjusting more quickly than the junior kids and college men (at least so far), so that SM-Liiga time appears to have been beneficial for his development.
  • Chris Vande Velde OKC (AHL) (4gp, 0-0-0 -7): He is not having an easy time in the AHL. Vande Velde impressed (and stayed awhile) at Oilers training camp but isn’t getting much done in Oklahoma. He was on the ice for two shorthanded goals against in 1:06 last night and that is a very good candidate for low point of the season. Hopefully he’ll turn it around, but the AHL is a tough league and some adjustment time is clearly required for VV.
  • Colin McDonald OKC (AHL) (4gp, 1-2-3 -1): Although technically no longer an Oilers prospect (his deal is with OKC) McDonald is showing very well early this season. That’s important, because the NHL penalty-kill is horrible and he might be a player who gets a shot with the big club when they start moving the deck chairs around.
  • Linus Omark OKC (AHL) (4gp, 1-0-1 E): Scored the winning goal last night, and that will hopefully kick start the offense. There are going to be NHL callups this season and Omark needs to put himself in a position to earn one of those recalls. Omark talks about the goal here.
  • Shawn Belle OKC (AHL) (4gp, 0-0-0 +2): Leads the Barons in plus minus and (along with Richard Petiot) gives the team both experience and a physical element. I’d think he is among the top options for recall among the blue.
  • Liam Reddox OKC (AHL) (4gp, 0-1-1 E): I wanted to mention him for a couple of reasons: first, he’s a solid option for the PK so may get a callup if the problems continue with Edmonton’s PK. Also, he’s leading the team in shots on goal (17) which has to count for something. Set up Omark’s winner last night.
  • Drew Czerwonka Kootenay (WHL) (9gp, 4-2-6 +1): Has already matched his goal scoring total from all of last season. The big winger seems to be getting some powerplay time which will help the offensive numbers.
  • Kyle Bigos Merrimack (NCAA) (2gp, 0-1-1 +2): Huge defender (6.05, 235) whose bruising style would probably be more effective in the CHL. Playing for a rebuilding program, they’re headed in the right direction.
  • Stone Hands McOsta

    That is a FIST full of prospects! We have some nice depth, but hopefully we can see some better numbers roll in from down south.

    That is an ugly -7 for Vande Velde to start the season, I could see him sliding back down the depth chart.

    I am really excited about what I keep hearing about Olivier Roy. From what I see/hear, all signs look for him to blow past JDD & DD. Can’t wait to see him play with the national junior team.

  • Aitch

    I know Marincin was thought of pretty highly by the Oilers, but was anyone expecting him to put up these kind of numbers? If the boy has this kinda offence and can add some muscle to that frame as he fills out, he’s gonna be a steal long-term.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Good to hear Pitlick is coming around and it’s nice to hear that OKC got a fun win. With that type of roster you’d think they’re gonna make the playoffs.

  • C-DOG

    Will definitely be heading to the Cats game here on Oct. 29 vs. Acadie-Bathurst to check out Roy. Moncton is scoring some goals so far this year so should be interesting.

    Love these updates LT. May have mentioned this before in your own blog but these prospect blogs answer all those types of questions when you are sitting with a fellow Oiler fan and you get asking each other, “what about this guy or that guy they drafted 2nd round 2 years ago, where is he and how is he doing?”, it’s great, keep it up.

  • Lowetide

    Have seen quite a bit of Kootenay Ice hockey over the last few years – I go to most home games. Drew is certainly a different player this year – didn’t know he had a set of hands!

    He is a big kid who played a crash-bang-fight grinder game last year on a third line role. This year he is seeing quite a bit of ice time on the top two lines and in front of the net on the PP. It explains the sudden surge in production, other than being a year older and drafted. He’s a good hard-working kid. Hope he continues to improve.

    I read quite a bit of your stuff LT – I check your site and here almost daily. I find it very level-headed with smart analysis. Keep it up!

  • Lowetide

    RA: I think he stays the whole season no matter what. Oilers are bringing him along with help from their most experienced center and he’s getting PP time too, so one imagines he’ll post some offense.

    I projected him 20-20-40 in a full season, don’t see anything so far that would make that impossible to do. He’s right at the beginning here, growing pains should be expected.

  • Lowetide

    Woohoo! Prospect update! I do enjoy reading these…

    I’m actually quite excited about Marincin. I know we’re some years away from thinking about him as an Oiler, but he seems to be a large part of the reason why PG are suddenly good for the first time in awhile. In any case, he (so far) doesn’t seem to be having any trouble with the North American game.

  • Lowetide

    Cornet’s goal was taken away – credited to Giroux instead.

    Nice game by the OKC Barons, though. Vande Velde got a goal and an assist — same for Omark and Petry. Harski keeps his scoring streak alive.

  • Lowetide

    OKC had a big game today. 8-2 over Houston, Belle had 4 assists, Omark, VanVelde and Petry all had a goal and an assist, Hartikainen with another goal, Giroux with a pair of goals, Reddox had 7 shots and a goal. Nice to see they’re starting to get going in the right direction after a slow start.

  • Lowetide

    Was a nice effort by OKC. My first time seeing a lot of these guys. Houston mailed it in in the third after being on the power play for most of the second period. Several guys looked good. Ginger played with Omara and Omark.

    Omara especially was impressive as a penalty killer. With his utter lack of production, this must be what Lowe/Tambo/whoever see in Omara. He and Reddox were very, very aggressive cutting down ice and isolating guys.

    Macdonald played with Giroux for some reason and it sort of works. They seemed pretty invisible and didn’t control the puck much, but had three goals between them. Giroux’s hands are exceptional. So are Omark’s, most of his passes are saucers to the one-time wheelhouse. Humped the goalie on a breakaway.

    Alex Plante will play in the show. He was terrific breaking the cycle on the penalty kill and clearing the front of the net without overtly crosschecking guys. He doesn’t really have to unload for a guy to stay hit and out of the play for a while. He can really wire a wrist and slapshot too. On the downside, Belle had several unforced errors and Cornet and VdV don’t seem confident. Petry looked ok in the O-zone, but quite indecisive on breakouts.

    Overall, the team looked better than their record. There is a fair bit of talent here when the injuries hit the Oilers. Omark should be playing with Giroux, but is not yet. He does mix well with Reddox though. Honestly, Omark should be in Edmonton. MPS, Omark, Hall and Eberle, maybe Cogs should alternate games with one upstairs all stay fresh over 82 games.

  • Lowetide

    Kyle Bigos Merrimack (NCAA) (2gp, 0-1-1 +2): Huge defender (6.05, 235) whose bruising style would probably be more effective in the CHL.

    Kyle Bigos is 21 and was drafted as a 20 year-old out of the BCHL. He’s ineligible for CHL hockey LT.

  • Lowetide

    Didn’t see anything about Curtis Hamilton. Priority number one is for this kid to stay healthy through the year and play as much as he can. But he has been mentioned as being in the mix for the WJ team. Obviously, he needs a very good start to the year to continue to be in the mix for selection.