Oilers Prospects Continue to Roll

Colin McDonald looks like a "late bloomer." Drafted in 2003, he’s now 26 years old and technically no longer Oiler property (he is signed to an AHL contract). Why bother talking about him? McDonald is tied for 2nd in AHL goal-scoring this season. He’s on pace for 40, and headlines an exceptional group of Oilers prospects who are having impact seasons. 

I don’t recall a time when the Edmonton Oilers had more solid NHL prospects at the AHL level. A guess would be the 99-00 team that boasted Daniel Cleary and Jason Chimera (among others). Already recalled have been Linus Omark, Jeff Petry, Shawn Belle and Ryan O’Marra. 

The big difference between this year’s model and past seasons is that the team has real quality at the high end of the roster which allows the kids to get their feet on the ground. Here are some quality prospects who have had a strong Christmas run for the Oklahoma City Barons:

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  1. L Teemu Hartikainen, 20: 36gp, 10-9-19 -9. Big Finnish winger started slowly and on a depth line, but moved up when Linus Omark was recalled to Edmonton. In his last 10 games, Hartikainen has caught fire (10gp, 3-5-8 +3) and done most of his damage at even-strength (his 5 powerplay goals came in October and November). If he keeps this up, a cup of coffee with the Oilers before season’s end is definitely possible.
  2. D Taylor Chorney, 23: 36gp, 2-10-12, +4. In his last 10 games, Chorney is 2-3-5 +1 and is having an exceptional season based on previous performance. He finished -29 and -20 in his first two AHL seasons so this has to be considered a big step forward. There are still issues with size, but his coverage and battle have been very good (source: coach Nelson) and we might see Chorney sometime this season.
  3. L Liam Reddox, 24: 36gp, 16-15-31 +13. The Ginger is having a fine season in OKC. He leads the club in plus minus and is a coach’s dream. He’s coming off another strong three weeks (10gp, 3-5-8 +3) and can play either wing and in any situation. I can’t think of any good reason he’s still in the AHL (scratch that: he’s a small F) but if there’s room in the NHL for Toby Petersen there’s room for Reddox.
  4. R Colin McDonald, 25: 36gp, 18-5-23 +1. McDonald has been lighting it up (6-2-8 E in his last 10 games) this year. His previous career high in goals in the AHL was 12. He has some size, is a hard worker and can bring a physical presence. I don’t know if he’ll get a shot (the Oilers have options–Reddox, Giroux, Moran, Omark again) but no one has done more this season to get noticed than Colin McDonald.

This is Curtis Hamilton. He’s enjoying a strong WJC’s in Buffalo. Tracking Hamilton’s steady climb up the Team Canada depth chart has been fun, as the young man keeps delivering results in any role asked of him. He’s 4gp, 3-0-3 +3 at the championships and has a SHG. Hamilton is tied for 3rd overall in goals for the WJ’s.

Olivier Roy’s WJC’s have been less impressive, although I’m surprised at how much negativity there is about his overall performance. We need to remember this is a very short tournament and not reflective of the goalie’s overall quality.

He earned the opportunity to start and won everything leading up to New Year’s eve; having said that, his .875 SP may mean he takes a seat and Mark Visentin starts today’s game.

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A reminder: the Canada-Swiss quarterfinal goes at 1 Edmonton time this afternoon. tsn has the television and Team 1260 will broadcast the game on radio.

Joanne Ireland from the EJ has the latest on Jordan Eberle’s injury here. I’m never going to bet against this kid. Ever.

    • Stone Hands McOsta

      Omark is a bust! Ship that guy outta town while his value is still slightly higher then JFJ’s…Is Tambi really that dense to realize the lack of size in our line up? Cogs and Omark on the first train out, IMHO!

  • Lowetide

    I am confused by all the people who rally around Omark at this time. He is a defensive liability and needs to shore up his two way play before he is truly NHL material. One or two nice goals does not make a star…ala our lost Robbies.

  • Stone Hands McOsta


    Would it be fair to say that Pitlick has been sliding down the depth chart? He should be posting bigger numbers for his age, shouldn’t he? I think Hamilton, Marincin and Martindale have all passed him.

    You mention a couple of WJC guys off Team Canada, but no mention of Lander or Marincin. Any thoughts?

    And Roy has been visibly awful: too deep in the crease, cheats to the near side, happy feet, looks nervous and handles the puck like it’s a radioactive spud.

    • Stone Hands McOsta

      Pitlick will be fine hes our future #2 center…that would be his ceiling.Hamilton is exactly the type of players we need in our botton six cannot wait for that kid to get to the oil actually you could slot him anywhere i dunno reminds me of Patty sharp from chicago…..anyone else PUPMED that marincin di that for a teammate..martindale will have to reinvent himself in the nhl…and lander oh my say hello to our first euro captain…..and roy will be fine strikes me as the type of kid who performs way better when he is comfortable(just from comments you hear from him)

    • Lowetide

      spOILer: Yeah, I’d agree although Pitlick has picked it up a little (he’s over a point-per-game now). I have Marincin #4, Hamilton #6, Pitlick #7 and Martindale #13 on my December top 20. I think Martindale would be a little higher and Pitlick a littler lower now.

      Re: Lander. He’s been as advertised and I’m excited about this kid. I see that Chicago signed Dylan Olsen and he’ll turn pro, wish the Oilers had the same plan with Lander.

      Marincin’s suspension took away from his tournament. What I saw was solid and the hit was fine by me (there was some history there) but not much from this tournament for him imo.

      Roy’s play has been inconsistent but we need to remember he’s an 18-year old kid. Lehner’s an older player and gave up as many goals in reg. I think it’s much too soon to bury Roy.

      • I see that Chicago signed Dylan Olsen and he’ll turn pro, wish the Oilers had the same plan with Lander.

        Isn’t Lander under contract until the end of the SEL season?

        Would be nice for him the play the 2nd half of the AHL season for sure. Probably make the Oilers out of camp next year if he did that.

      • ebbandflow

        couldnt agree more about roy goalies take time hes gonna be a good one (strikes me as a kid who would do anything to be an oiler) and you ARE right about lander shoulda been in NA this year ..can you believe at 19 the kid wore a C for a couple weeks leading a team of grown men onto the ice (seriously hes 19 right?)

  • Stone Hands McOsta


    It is way too early to be calling Omark a bust. Is he not allowed to learn from NHL style coaching? The tools are there and now he is finally getting decent instruction. He will be a player in this league; it is up to him what kind. And it will take a bit of time.

    That said, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be trade bait at the deadline for a team looking for cheap young depth scoring on a playoff run and likely would earn a better draft pick than he cost.

  • Lowetide

    and omark will be fine anytime a skilled player like him is willing to go to the dirty areas its a good sign! its why paajarvi has taken a step back if you remember its what made paajarvi succesful gettin his nose dirty, right now he is just a perimeter player playing north-south hockey and i totally agree with his healthy last night …renney knows the mental aspect of this game its why tambo put him in charge full confidence oil fans in renney we trust

  • Stone Hands McOsta

    spOILer, i’m definitely going overboard and rushing to a conclusion, obviously…but haven’t we seen this type of player multiple times over in the last few years? I just think we need some size in our top 9. We get pushed around like women out there when we are attacking. We need players that are STRONG on their skates. Did you see that Crosby top 10 of the year on TSN? I’m not saying we need 9 Crosby’s but notice his core strength in most of those plays? We need guys who got some LBS’ under their belt…Cogs is a muffin, Omark (i know he’s only 10-ish games deep) has been weak on the puck (for a guy who played “with men” last year, he should be stronger). I’m okay with riding Omark out and seeing how he does, but my hope has been butchered by Bobby & Robbie before him, thats all.

    • Stone Hands McOsta

      totally justified about omark but you must see the difference in that omark WILL go to the tough areas robby and bobby both never will..and totally agree about size with skill its one thing i have changed my mind about size with skill over gifted small players skill, size is huge( haha pardon the pun) and if you dont have size crosby is the one you mold yourself after(like you said core strength is amazing) , also anyone else impressed with cogs look with hemmer and penner i dont know but it seems like he is lovin life on that line and showing it, never been impressed by cogs but you gotta give him credit he is trying to carve a nich for himself on this team

  • a lg dubl dubl

    IMO wasn’t Hemsky a defensive liability when he first broke into the league? Give Omark some time to get used to the NA style of game. If ST chooses to trade Hemsky at some point(i really hope not) Omark could take his place despite his lack in height, Omark does remind me of a younger Hemsky.

  • ebbandflow

    btw lowetide.. keep up the good work always gonna be haters but i come to this site just for your updates on oilers future and im sure there is a million out there like me

  • After going to that “game” last night it is sure a pleasure to renew the optimism when looking at the farm. I guess it’s baby steps here, build the farm first, get some depth across the organization and keep adding. Soon enough we can flip a couple that don’t fit with us (cogs, brule, omark) for some more useful Oiler players. They are not bad players, just don’t fit on our team.

    Lander can take over for Cogs, brule and omark for a big checking/2nd line player (like a poor mans James Neal). We need a momentum player, JFJ, Storts, Brule are suppose to be that but just aren’t providing it

    • Lowetide

      as long as we have our core(hall,gags hemsky paajarvi and ebs) we can add and subtract we still need a stud dman to go with whitney and a goalie of the future(feel free to sign or trade for a tender)btw how did conz go undrafted for two years? roy could be the answer but as we have seen with goalies time and time again goalies are a crapshoot(firm believer in that)

      • Agreed…..I just think it’s time to part with some of these guys while the value is still there. Were just too small and need some size (good players not JFJs). Our cupboards are stocked with forwards, trade a couple for an impact guy. We’ve got Cgys 3rd rounder to throw in too!!

        I want a Clutterbuck or Neal type player. We’d have to give up a lot but I think we could afford it with our young depth now.

        • ebbandflow

          and oh MAN would neal ever be a player for us clutterbuck makes a name for himself bcuz he throws his weight around(nothing wrong with that) a guy like neal even BENN from dallas…either which way we look at it you are totally right.. we need those clutterbuck/neal players too get dirty and do their job perfect compliment to our top two lines (hall ebs and somebody)

  • ebbandflow

    The goaltending in the Can – Swe game was the worst I’ve watched on the tube since Conkanen.

    Yes Roy is 18 years old, but wow he has a long way to go.

    Having said that – I heard Justin Pogge is playing in Europe these days so one tournament does not a goalie make.

    Nice to see Hamilton moving up the depth chart. He’s been getting stronger every game.

    Should be another nice crop of rookies in OKC again next year.

  • The 'Real' Ron Burgundy


    During the game today on TSN, the guys were talking about how Hamilton broke his collerbone; then broke it again during the Russia-CHL challenge, requiring surgery; and then seperated his shoulder in the playoffs

    First, can you confirm this?

    Second, will this effect his potential with the club, as I hear the brass is pretty high on him?

    Third, will his playing style and history just get him n the IR when he makes the big club?

    Thanks in advance

    • Lowetide

      Ron Burgundy,

      Great name. Fabulous movie.:-)

      His injuries (as you described) happened before he was drafted. There was some risk because of it, he likely would have been rated higher if healthy.

      Full speed ahead now, though. He’s a player. Bob McKenzie had him #57, ISS had him #60 and Redline had him #121 because of the injuries.

    • ebbandflow

      a gritty player willing to go to the tough areas with hands and size is EXACTLY what we need …picks like hamilton define a franchise( what defines detroit as a franchise?) late round steals?

  • ebbandflow

    ‘Late bloomer’ is usually just another way of spelling ‘Bad draft choice’. It happens. I thought in 1985 that a Hyundai Stellar would be a hell of a bargain. Two years later I cut off the roof, filled it with dirt and called it a ‘flower pot’. The problem with Oiler management…say Kevin Lowe here…he’s in love with his drafts or else he’s just too stubborn to admit he screwed up and should have moved on years ago. That’s why he is no longer GM and JFJ is still here and is growing roots out his ass.