The Edmonton Oilers continue to go about the business of developing talent in Oklahoma City, and their prospects are moving up and down internal depth charts all day long in an effort to rise to the top. It’s an amazing process and can change so much—even in a 30 days. Here’s this month’s update.
LAST MONTH’S UP ARROWS
- Ben Betker 27, 2-5-7 (WHL) November run: 13, 1-3-4 and showing well. His numbers don’t reflect his overall ability, but reports have him showing well. Up arrow.
- Greg Chase 23, 14-11-25 (WHL). In the last month, Chase has cooled (7, 1-2-3) offensively as his entire team seems to be suffering through a massive slump. It’s my guess Chase will have another jump in performance in the next while, he’s certainly a big part of the team’s offense from what we’re reading. down arrow
- Oscar Klefbom 15, 0-2-2 (AHL). 6, 0-1-1 this month, the boxcars are never going to tell you the entire story with this player. I like the Jon Willis quote, the one where he said Klefbom was going to play in the NHL, but not yet. Seems about right. Status quo.
- Taylor Fedun 4, 2-0-2 (OILERS). He made the show! This month, Taylor Fedun’s hard work and diligence paid off with a recall to the NHL. He played well, and is back in the minors (8, 2-5-7 since last month) and having a major impact on games in the AHL. Up arrow.
- Teemu Hartikainen 30, 10-12-22 (KHL): 10, 4-3-7 in the last month, Hartikainen has played a lot of hockey already this season. He’s playing big minutes and getting good results, especially in the last 30 days. Up arrow.
- Kellen Jones 16, 7-12-19 (NCAA): 9, 5-6-11 this month, a very nice run and overall he’s having a strong season. We still don’t hear a word about him from the organization, but there’s a story here. Up arrow.
- Jujhar Khaira 16, 4-5-9 (WHL): 8, 1-3-4 in the last month, he’s battled injuries and has not been as effective as hoped so far this season. A big player who should be noticeable for all kinds of reasons, he had a quiet month in November. Down arrow.
- Anton Lander 15, 7-5-12 (AHL). He’s 7, 5-1-6 this month and looking more and more like an NHL player. Oiler fans are having a hard time understanding the reason behind Will Acton’s usage in the NHL, and part of it might be due to the need to give Lander playing time in the AHL. If that’s the plan, it appears to be working. Up arrow.
- Phil Larsen 8, 1-4-5 (OILERS): Made it all the way to the NHL this month, and displayed impressive offense and chaotic defense at the big league level. He’s injured now, but has earned another opportunity with the big club when he’s healthy again. Up arrow.
- Martin Marincin 18, 1-4-5 (AHL): Enjoyed an uptick offensively (10, 1-3-4) this month and certainly appears to be on track as an NHL prospect. Marincin is going to have to manoeuvre past some quality talent in order to get a regular NHL job before 2015. Up arrow.
- Ryan Martindale 4, 1-2-3 (AHL). Had a terrific start to the year but injury has impacted his season. A healthy Martindale did some good things this fall.No rank (injured)
- John McCarron 11, 3-11-14 (NCAA): Had an enormous month (9, 3-7-10) and is putting together a terrific season with Cornell at age 21. He has another year left, but the Oilers might attempt to sign him and turn McCarron pro next fall. Up arrow.
- Mitchell Moroz 24, 16-8-24 (WHL). This month (8, 4-2-6) has been up and down for both player and team, but Moroz has been able to score enough to keep pace and lead his team in goals. Played in the Subway series, outside chance at the WJ’s. Status quo
- Darnell Nurse 24, 8-18-26 (OHL). He’s been on fire in November (11, 5-6-11) and is stepping up in a big way. Nurse could make the WJ team, but if he misses it’s a reflection of the overall depth of the position more than any shortfall in the performance. Up arrow.
- Linus Omark 20, 10-9-19 (AHL). 10, 3-5-8 in November, he’s the straw that stirs the offensive drink in Oklahoma City, and one would think he’s earned a recall should the Oilers lose a skill winger to injury or trade. Up arrow.
- Tyler Pitlick 3, 1-0-1 (OILERS). Pitlick hasn’t played in the last month, due to an injury sustained shortly after making it to the NHL for the first time. Major blow to a player who had the look of someone who could help out on the 4line. No rank (injured)
- Kyle Platzer 24, 7-6-13 (OHL). 11, 3-2-5 this past month, as his playing time tanked and the boxcar numbers went away. It’s tough to blame him for lack of progress, but that’s the issue when good players are part of exceptional junior teams. Status quo.
- Dillon Simpson 12, 1-5-6 (NCAA). A strong month (8, 1-4-5) has Simpson looking very good for a pro contract in the spring. He’s close to graduating now, and the Oilers surely have a strong interest in getting his name on a contract in the next few months. Up arrow.
- Bogdan Yakimov 29, 5-5-10 (KHL). Yakimov has cooled considerably (10, 1-1-2) in the last 30 days, and part of that is opportunity and playing time. Overall, his season is certainly a success and it’ll be interesting to see if he plays for Russia at the WJ’s. down arrow.
Up arrows two months in a row: Betker, Fedun, Hartikainen, Jones, Lander, Larsen, Marincin, McCarron, Nurse, Omark, Simpson. The two college kids who are doing well offer fascinating possibilities.
LAST MONTH’S STATUS QUO
- Erik Gustafsson 25, 0-8-8 (SHL) He’s 13, 0-5-5 this month, and that’s a very nice number for the Swedish Elite League. Gustafsson’s flown under the radar since being drafted, but this is a nice season he’s putting together in 2013-14. Up arrow
- Martin Gernat 9, 0-3-3 (AHL). 5, 0-2-2 this month, he’s showing flashes of good play but isn’t getting enough ice time in the AHL. This is a ghastly turn, a result of too many Oilers being sent down to OKC. Oilers need to fix it as soon as possible. Status quo.
- Joey Laleggia 14, 6-6-12 (NCAA). Laleggia went off this month (6, 3-5-8) and this is his third season of college, more was expected from him. After this month, I’d say he has a legit chance at a contract (although it is unlikely to come until summer 2015). Up arrow.
- Frans Tuohimaa 11, 3.32 .884 (SM-Liiga) He got light up in four games this month and his current numbers are poor. Plenty of time to recover, but it was not a November to remember. Down Arrow.
- Andrew Miller 19, 2-7-9 (AHL). He’s 10, 1-4-5 and showing fairly well, but Miller so far doesn’t resemble a player heading to the NHL. It may take a year or so (ala Arcobello) for him to show well. Down arrow
- David Musil 8, 0-1-1 (AHL) 3, 0-1-1 this month and like Martin Gernat this player simply isn’t getting enough playing time for the Barons. Has played a little in Bakersfield (ECHL) but this is ridiculous. Status Quo.
- Daniil Zharkov 30, 3-0-3 (KHL): 10, 1-0-1 this month and reduced playing time for the young winger. He’s playing 4line minutes when he gets them, and isn’t overwhelmed, but nothing is happening. Oilers probably want him to see more playing time next season. Down Arrow.
- Brad Hunt 14, 1-5-6 (AHL) In November, he went 8, 1-3-4 and played ahead of at least a couple well regarded prospects on defense. I’m not certain the Oilers have any real plans for him, but he’s getting at-bats and that counts for something. Up arrow.
- Aidain Muir 16, 5-9-14 (USHL) A nice month (8, 3-7-10) has his boxcars looking very nice, and his style (tough, physical) and size make him an interesting prospect to follow. Up Arrow.
- Brandon Davidson 16, 0-1-1 (AHL). 8, 0-0-0 this month and -10 overall, Davidson is still getting starts and the coach has all kinds of options—which tells me remains among the 6 best D in OKC. Status quo.
Moving up to the positive side of things: Gustafsson, Laleggia, Hunt, Muir. I have literally no idea which of the four would be considered the most valuable prospect, but it’s a wildly different group of four.
- Anton Slepyshev 21, 2-2-4 (KHL). In November, the gifted Russian wenr 8, 1-1-2 which represents an improvement but is a disappointment overall. He scored 7 goals in the KHL last season, and Slepyshev is not delivering the season expected of him. Down Arrow.
- Jackson Houck 27, 12-9-21 (WHL). After a tough beginning to the year, Houck’s last 30 days (13, 10-5-15) has been a breath of fresh air. His goal scoring alone this month is worthy of notice. Up arrow.
- Evan Campbell 9, 0-0-0 (NCAA). Crickets. Down Arrow.
- Travis Ewanyk 20, 2-0-2 (AHL). 10, 2-0-2 this month, and he’s played well according to reports. I don’t think he’s going to show much offensively, but there might be a 4line role player here. Even role players need to show some offense, though. Status Quo.
- Kale Kessy 18, 1-1-2 (AHL). 8, 1-1-2 this month. Like Ewanyk, it doesn’t really matter what else you bring to the game–when you’re a forward and can’t post crooked numbers it isn’t going to work. Status Quo.
- Tyler Bunz 4, 3.15 .914 (AHL). All of these numbers are from November, and they’re good. Now, we need to see this over two seasons, so let’s not get excited, but a definite positive. Up arrow
- Joey Leach 17, 0-1-1 (ECHL). 13, 0-1-1 in Buck Owens country. Status quo
- Cameron Abney 6, 0-0-0 (ECHL). 4, 0-0-0. Status quo.
- Curtis Hamilton 3, 0-0-0 (AHL). All three games are late November, he’s back and that’s the best sign of all. Hamilton had a nice junior career, it would be nice for him to show something before his entry level deal expires. Status quo.
- Marco Roy. 10, 2-12-14 (QMJHL). An outstanding start to his season which was delayed by a training camp injury. Outside chance at WJ’s, enjoyed a strong start. Up arrow
Up arrows to Jackson Houck, Tyler Bunz and Marco Roy. That’s 18 up arrows (compared to 20 last month) and 11 of those good arrows managed it for two months in a row.
ADDITION TO THE GROUP
The Oilers added two prospects this month, Roman Horak (7, 1-4-5 with OKC) and Laurent Brossoit (3, 2.76 .901). I’ll count them as status quo for the December look.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
For players like Anton Lander, Marco Roy, John McCarron and Darnell Nurse things are looking up. For others, things haven’t gone as planned, and even though there is plenty of time there’s also some urgency at this point in the season. For the men on expiring contracts who are struggling, this is a difficult time.
(all Barons photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved)