Photo courtesy of Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved.

In the more than 30 years the Oilers have been sending kids to the farm, the team Todd Nelson will send out into the Cleveland night tomorrow will be the best in team history as soon as the first skate blade cuts into the ice.

Some of these NHL kids have seen some time in the minors, but there’s a big difference between being an 18-year old kid playing a few AHL games at the end of the season and the player Jordan Eberle is today. Add in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Justin Schultz and Taylor Hall possibly in a few weeks and it’s an all-star cast!


The 1992-93 Cape Breton Oilers won the Calder trophy (AHL championship) with big scorers like Dan Currie, Bill McDougall and Steven Rice. The club had a large number of future NHL role players (Shaun Van Allen, Scott Thornton, Kirk Maltby, Sjhon Podein), but scored only 20 more goals than they allowed (356-336) during the regular season.

In 1980-81, Garnet "Ace" Bailey was the coach of the Wichita Wind, a strong minor league team. Bailey took them to the finals. the next season John Muckler would coach and they’d get bounced in round 2. The players from that team included:

  • Andy Moog, who would become one of the finest NHL goaltenders of his era.
  • Charlie Huddy, who would be a strong contributor to the best Oiler teams in history and play in over 1,000 NHL games.
  • Walt Poddubny, who would score 184 NHL goals, 116 of those in a stunning three season run from 86-89.
  • John Blum, who would play 250 NHL games (most with Boston).
  • Don Jackson, who  was a solid role player for the Oilers during those years.
  • Tom Roulston, who played 195 NHL games (and 47 goals) for the Oilers just before they started bagging Stanley’s every spring.

as well as some veterans coming down, some kids trying to make it to the NHL and a few tweeners. Neither group–the Cape Breton bunch or the Wichita ("train don’t run through Wichita, unlessin you’re a hog or cattle. People train run through Stubbville") Wind–had the firepower of the current group.



Is three graduates a season "reasonable" to expect? Should an NHL team assume three kids from each minor league team will graduate, per season? I think you have to factor in quality along with quantity. A quick example: The 2006-07 Springfield Falcons graduated Devan Dubnyk, Theo Peckham, Marc Pouliot, Rob Schremp, JF Jacques, Danny Syvret, Jeff Deslauriers and Liam Reddox.

How would that compare to the Hamilton Bulldogs of 99-00? That team graduated a rebuilt Daniel Cleary, Jason Chimera, Dan Lacouture, Brad Norton.

For this year’s team, we can’t really count the Nuge, Ebs or Hall. Can we count Justin Schultz? I’d say so, this is the beginning of his pro career, so 40 game in OKC for him would count just as it did for Jeff Petry.


Ten years from now, we’re going to know which of these players developed into useful NHLers. I think Schultz is a no-brainer, and beyond that would bet heavily on Paajarvi, Martin Marincin, Teemu Hartikainen and Tyler Pitlick. Your mileage may vary, and I think that’s a reflection of just how deep the talent pool is for the Oilers currently.

The amateur scouts have filled the cupboards. A lot of very talented kids have arrived in OKC looking to refine their skills; it’ll be interesting to see how many of them emerge as Edmonton Oilers. 

  • OilDoug


    The team on paper is impressive. BUt until they get out on the ice and perform thats all it is…..impressive on paper.

    Keep in mind that alot of the players are young so they still may go through lots of ups and downs.

    There is some talent there and the pipeline to Edmonton should be busy…..if the NHL ever plays another game.

    What really pisses me off is I live in St. John’s, NL and we have the IceCaps and we don’t play the OKC Barons at home or on the road. REALLY pissed about that.

    I just hope the NHL has some sort of season cause I’m in Cali just after Easter and the Oilers are scheduled to be there as well.

    GO OIL!

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    The pairing I want to see is Schultz & Marancin. Let’s hope these two show they can make the leap .I also still wonder about Plante . Can he make that next step, maybe not with the Oil but hopefully in the NHL. Magnus & Harts should make the jump and Pitlick but his another year away .

  • Not sure if anyone else is looking at the Barons schedule but they play in Abbotsford (Flames farm team) on November 9th & 10th. Tickets are a reasonable $45 for center ice.
    I know a few people that are road tripping down for that event.

  • Oh Salma…..that woman has made more than one pair of my jeans shrink a size or two……

    The OKC Barons were one of the better teams last year, and now they are going to add four NHL ready talents to a roster that boasts numerous AHL allstars and the league’s best goalie.

    Look out AHL.

  • geoilersgist

    Freeze – just bought four of the best tickets in the house for the Friday night game.. 5th row, center ice club seats for $40/each! Ridonculous pricing, the only downside is that it is in Abbotsford – where men are men, and sheep are scared.

  • geoilersgist

    I’m not sold on Hartikainen. I don’t think that he’s anything more than a third liner. Not that there is anything really wrong with that but a lot of people seem to think that he’s going to be top six. Maybe just because he has some size but seriously he isn’t that big. He is 6’1 very average, and 215 pounds so he has a little weight but to suggest he’s huge is wrong. Add in the fact that he doesn’t play a really physical mean game and I don’t see him as the answer to the Oilers lack of size up front. I don’t hate the player but when I hear people calling him the Finnish juggernaut, I get irked.