Do the Edmonton Oilers have something in Kristian Pelss? Will he score enough to have a pro career? Can he make the NHL?
Several years ago, the Edmonton Oilers drafted Kyle Brodziak in the deep dark recesses (214th overall) of the draft, and it paid off (although they dealt him too soon). Brodziak was drafted in 2003, turned pro in 2004 and became an NHL regular in 2007 fall. Brodziak worked his way past a mile of first rounders with hard work on the penalty kill and at evens, and made himself into a useful NHL player during 173 AHL games.
His first AHL season? 56, 6-26-32 .571, no screaming hell.
Three years ago in June, the Edmonton Oilers drafted Kristians Pelss in the deep dark recesses (181st overall) of the draft, and it might pay off down the line. Pelss was drafted in 2010, turned pro in 2012 and became an AHL regular when all the NHL players left Dodge City.
Pelss is 14, 0-6-6 .429 since his recall from Stockton.
WHAT ELSE ABOUT PELSS?
- Stu MacGregor: “Now, he’s interesting. I think he could fit into the Oilers plans in a role as a high energy guy who can skate. I was at the World U-18 with Oil Kings general manager Bob Green when we both saw the kid. Frank Musil did some clandestine work to see if he’d come over to play for the Oil Kings. Knowing that, I figured ‘Let’s take a swing at this guy.’ We even had to add him to the Central Scouting draft list so we could pick him. When you do that he only appears on your list.”
- Todd Nelson: “He’s way more responsible defensively that I gave him credit for. He has tremendous speed but part of his game that I didn’t know he had was his grit. He has to play and get the minutes but I think he has an opportunity to be a third- or fourth-line penalty-kill role player in the NHL.”
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The heart of the 2010 draft is spending the season in OKC. Second rounders Tyler Pitlick, Martin Marincin and Curtis Hamilton are getting the majority of the attention (good and bad), but guys like Ryan Martindale and Kristians Pelss are developing and earning playing time.
Kristians Pelss is a gritty, 2-way forward with some offensive ability and he is posting numbers in the AHL. Pelss is a long shot for the NHL, but so was Brodziak.
He’s a name to remember.