Rear Window

Miles and miles from the lottery, Edmonton’s NHL team is drafting good hockey players. That is rarely enough, as we all know that 99% of life’s success comes from following through.

A good way to gauge a team’s draft success is by counting the number of kids who are developed the old fashioned way: the minors. Seeing a #1 overall pick turn out is great fun, but also expected; even a pick like Sam Gagner should deliver a quality NHL player.

It’s the "following through" that makes the difference: taking talented kids and grinding them into useful role players for the National Hockey League. Those men–the tough defensemen, the two way centers, the physical wingers–are extremely valuable to an NHL team.


During the twelve year period leading up to the OKC Barons taking to the ice, Oiler fans saw a lot of fits and starts from the club’s AHL prospects. Here’s a list of Oilers picks and minor league free agents who began their pro careers in the AHL and were good enough to play a game (or more) for the Oilers:

  1. R Georges Laraque 695 games
  2. C Shawn Horcoff 684 games
  3. L Jason Chimera 581 games
  4. C Jarret Stoll 515 games
  5. R Fernando Pisani 462 games
  6. D Marc Andre Bergeron 422 games
  7. D Matt Greene 379 games
  8. D Tom Gilbert 337 games
  9. C Kyle Brodziak 337 games
  10. R Brad Winchester 323 games
  11. R Zack Stortini 256 games
  12. D Alexei Semenov 211 games
  13. G Ty Conklin 200 games
  14. C Marc Pouliot 179 games
  15. L JF Jacques 160 games
  16. C Rob Schremp 114 games
  17. L Patrick Thoresen 106 games
  18. D Theo Peckham 102 games
  19. L Liam Reddox 100 games
  20. L Tony Salmelainen 70 games
  21. R Jani Rita 66 games
  22. D Mathieu Roy 65 games
  23. D Danny Syvret 59 games
  24. G Jeff Deslauriers 58 games
  25. D Taylor Chorney 56 games
  26. G Devan Dubnyk 54 games
  27. D Ales Pisa 53 games
  28. C Tim Sestito 46 games
  29. G Mike Morrison 29 games
  30. D Bryan Young 17 games
  31. C Mike Bishai 14 games
  32. L Michel Riesen 12 games
  33. C Peter Sarno 7 games
  34. D Alex Plante 7 games
  35. D Chris Hajt 6 games
  36. D Doug Lynch 2 games
  37. L Alexei Mikhnov 2 games
  38. R Colin McDonald 2 games
  39. G Mike Minard 1 game
  40. D Johan Motin 1 game

Guys like Tom Poti, Mike Comrie, Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner didn’t play in the AHL and Sebastien Bisaillon played all of his NHL games before he played in the AHL. I didn’t count those players.


  1. Over those 12 seasons, the Oilers developed about 1 player per year if we assume an NHL player graduates at 200 games.
  2. The Oilers also have several players "on track" to pass 200 games. I’d count Pouliot, Jacques, Schremp and Peckham as "on track" players.
  3. I think we should agree a lower total seems fair for goaltenders. Let’s say 125 games for goalers. That would mean that Dubnyk is "on track" as well.
  4. Total: 13 players at 200 games or more and another 5 "on track" for the 12 seasons. That works out to 1.5 actual NHL players per season.


The Oilers under Steve Tambellini have made an effort to employ AHL veterans who can help bring the prospects along. This might include facing tough opposition until the kids find their way, scoring enough goals for the team to be confident and competitive, and serving a mentor role as the boys transition into their pro careers. It’s a very important job, one that may have helped Pouliot, McDonald, Jacques, Schremp and others in the last decade.

OKC (so far)

  1. R Linus Omark 51 games
  2. D Jeff Petry 35 games
  3. L Teemu Hartikainen 12 games
  4. C Chris VandeVelde 12 games

Guys like Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi and Jordan Eberle didn’t play in the AHL, and I’ve included Petry in this group because this was his first full pro season. I don’t know that we can project any of these kids for 200 NHL games, but they certainly showed some things in year one. There’s some outstanding talent among those four names. Anton Lander, Curtis Hamilton and others may soon join the list.

That’s a helluva first season.

  • Wax Man Riley

    Weber… what about Boston? If I were Weber, I’d look into it.

    San Jose? Detroit (my guess is that Detroit will pursue him aggressively with Lidstrom retiring.