The Edmonton Oilers recalled Jordan Oesterle on Friday, the young defender’s first trip to the NHL. Oesterle joins Mark Arcobello, Tanner House, Hunter Tremblay and Taylor Fedun as college free-agent Barons who showed well in Oklahoma City. Will he be the most successful of the group?
Oesterle played his college hockey at Western Michigan under former NHL coach Andy Murray. At the time of his signing, Chris Peters wrote about him and his progress in college hockey:
Chris Peters, United States of Hockey: The
junior defenseman has developed well under WMU’s defensive-minded head
coach Andy Murray. Oesterle added a little more offense to his
game, but it’s his defending that has drawn interest. I remember hearing
about him way back in the middle of the season when scouts noted he was
developing into a really solid defender and was going to be a factor on
the college UFA market. If Oesterle can get just a little stronger, he
should be able to round out into an NHL-caliber defenseman. Having
played on a team where they rely on defense, Oesterle had a big role
with the Broncos, often playing top-pairing minutes. I think he’s going
to need a fair amount of time in the AHL to continue to get stronger and
adjust to the pro game, but he’s a smart hockey player with potential.
He’s headed to Oklahoma city right away, so the Oilers won’t be burning a
year off of his two-year ELC. It’s a relatively low-risk signing for a
defenseman that has been trending up developmentally.
In 113 college games, Oesterle posted some nice boxcars (7-27-34) and had an impressive shot total (142). The Oilers signed the college man during an active March 2014:
- Traded a 2014 fifth-round pick and a 2015 third-round pick to Anaheim for Viktor Fasth.
- Traded Nick Schultz to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a 2014 fifth-round pick.
- Traded Ales Hemsky to Ottawa for a fifth-round pick in 2014 and a 2015 third-round pick.
- Signed Jordan Oesterle.
The least famous name in the group but a year later Oesterle is a recall player and may have an NHL future.
— Oklahoma City Barons (@okcbarons) January 13, 2015
Barons coach Gerry Fleming: “He came out of Western Michigan with some pretty good numbers. Highly
touted. He’s come and picked up right where he left off with his college
career. Most kids coming out of college or junior, there’s a bit of a
learning curve there but Jordan’s adjusted quickly and hopefully he can
continue with his progress.” Source
One area we can watch for in regard to Oesterle is foot speed. Todd Nelson was impressed during training camp by the young defender’s ability to use that speed in game situations:
Nelson: “It’s amazing what skating ability will do for you. His decision-making with the puck was good too. He keeps
getting better and better.” Source
From what we’re told, Oesterle has played both sides and has shown solid growth during the season. His boxcars (49gp, 6-15-21) in Oklahoma City suggest a capable puck-moving defenseman and that’s the name of the modern game. It’s also likely we’ll see some defensive chaos, that should be expected with any new NHL defenseman—it’s a very difficult position to play.
At 22, Oesterle received a call ahead of other options (Brad Hunt, Brandon Davidson, Dillon Simpson, Martin Gernat, David Musil) and that alone is a tell about the organization’s opinion. Should he play in an NHL game in the coming days, it would represent an even stronger indicator about the Oilers’ feeling towards the player.
Oesterle photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved.