The two best seasons to evaluate for prospects are 17 (the season they
are drafted) and their 20-year old (usually first year pro) season. For Oilers fans, the 2014-15 season in Oklahoma City will offer a chance to see several impressive prospects make their pro debut. How will they perform?
Here are some ‘blast from the past’ examples of former Oilers’ forwards prospects and how they performed in the AHL at 20:
C Rob Schremp (06-07 SWB Penguins) 69gp, 17-36-53 .768ppg
- C Jarret Stoll (02-03 Hamilton Bulldogs) 76gp, 21-33-54 .711ppg
- C Marc Pouliot (05-06 Hamilton Bulldogs) 65gp, 15-30-45 .692ppg
- LW Jean Francois Jacques (05-06 Hamilton Bulldogs) 65gp, 24-20-44 .677ppg
- RW Kyle Brodziak (04-05 Edmonton Roadrunners) 56gp, 6-26-32 .571
- LW Jani Rita (01-02 Hamilton Bulldgos) 76gp, 25-17-42 .553ppg
- RW Georges Laraque (96-97 Hamilton Bulldogs). 73gp, 14-20-34 .466ppg
- LW Jason Chimera (99-00 Hamilton Bulldogs). 78gp, 15-13-28 .359ppg
- LW Dan Lacouture (97-98 Hamilton Bulldogs). 77gp, 15-10-25 .325ppg
- RW Zack Stortini (05-06 Iowa/Milwaukee) 64gp, 2-8-10 .156ppg
As you can see, the leading scorer in the group didn’t have a significant NHL career, but Stoll, Brodziak, Laraque and Chimera enjoyed or are enjoying solid careers. Being able to help offensively, and having some other skills, appears to be a key for young forwards. Stortini is the outlier here.
THE RECENT PAST (OKLA CITY)
- LW Magnus Paajarvi (11-12 OKC Barons) 34gp, 7-18-25 .735
- LW Teemu Hartikainen (10-11 OKC Barons) 66gp, 17-25-42 .636
- LW Phil Cornet (10-11 OKC Barons) 60gp, 7-16-23 .383
- RW Tyler Pitlick (11-12 OKC Barons) 62gp, 7-16-23 .371
- C Anton Lander (11-12 OKC Barons) 14gp, 1-4-5 .357
- LW Curtis Hamilton (11-12 OKC Barons) 41gp, 5-6-11 .262
- C Travis Ewanyk (12-13 OKC Barons) 68gp, 7-5-12 .176
- LW Kale Kessy (12-13 OKC Barons) 54gp, 2-4-6 .111
The Barons forwards 2010+ have had a really tough time scoring at 20. Paajarvi’s way ahead, but he played in the NHL at 19, so that’s not really reflective. Hartikainen looked like a fine prospect—I still say he’s a better player than Jesse Joensuu, but we’ll see—and the rest can’t hit the ocean.
THE FUTURE (F)
This season, we’ll see three 20-year olds in OKC:
- C Bogdan Yakimov, who played at 19 in the KHL and scored 7 goals in 33 games (playing less than 10 minutes a night).
- C Jujhar Khaira, who played in the WHL at 19 and appears to be offensively challenged. However, he did play very well in a cup of coffee in the AHL at the end of the season.
- L Mitch Moroz, who scored 35 goals in a breakout final WHL season.
Once the season gets underway, we’ll touch base around the New Year and then at season’s end to see how many of the trio can score above .500 per game.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Why does this matter? Well, remember 2006 when the Oilers went all the way to the Stanley Cup finals? One of the reasons they got there: Value contracts like Jarret Stoll’s deal. Those developing talents in the AHL matter, and graduating a couple to the NHL soon is vital to Edmonton’s progress.