Prospects and Suspects

Craig MacTavish9

Craig MacTavish was asked at his post-deadline press availability which prospects in the system he wanted to see in the NHL before the end of this season, and his answer says something about the quality and quantity of NHL-ready players in Oklahoma City.

The Quote

We’re a little bit limited on what we can do there with the four recall rule. We’ve sent three guys down today and we’re going to bring them back up and we’re only allowed four, so we only have one left, one other player that we can draw up from Oklahoma City unless it’s on an emergency basis. The guys I’d like to give a chance to, I hope that we can, I mean we don’t want injuries but we hope we get an opportunity to see Brandon Davidson again. He played very well the last time he was up here in San Jose so he’s got lots of promise. I’d like to see Andrew Miller come up here and see what he can do; he’s been a good player down there. Curtis Hamilton I’d like to give an opportunity to, Bogdan Yakimov, all those guys. The goalie, Laurent Brossoit, has played very well, we’d like to see him come up and hopefully can give him a game pretty soon. As disappointing as it is to be selling at this time of year I’m looking forward to the end of the year where I couldn’t say that last year.

Total Recall

3.5.15 total recall

The four-recall thing gets cleared up pretty quickly if we look at the official AHL transactions page. Edmonton sent down four guys and recalled them immediately in a paper transaction:

3.5.15 AHL recalls

Why were those players sent down? A few years back, the AHL had Clear Day roster restrictions, which meant that to participate in the playoffs skaters had to be on the AHL roster by a certain date. Those rules have since been eliminated, but the NHL stipulates that only those players recalled from the AHL after the trade deadline may be returned to the AHL for the remainder of the season. So, to make sure that Hamilton, Bachman, Marincin and Oesterle could play in the Barons’ playoff run the Oilers shipped them down pre-deadline and brought them back up post-deadline.

Bachman doesn’t count against the rules because he was an emergency recall and teams are still permitted to make those.

Bottom line: The Oilers have one and only one non-emergency recall left to make between now and the end of the season.

The List of Five

Brossoit, Laurent

MacTavish narrowed the candidates for recall down to a list of five.

Brandon Davidson wins the honour on defence, and has clearly managed to make himself more of a prospect-of-interest to the organization at this point in time than players like David Musil and Martin Gernat. Some of that’s due to age and waiver realities; Davidson is almost two years older than Musil and will need to clear waivers to be demoted next season. He’s a candidate for the No. 7 job out of camp next season, but (with the caveat that there is still lots of road ahead and he does have a legitimate shot) my guess is that the Oilers will risk waivers on him next year and he’ll be a first-callup candidate instead.

Laurent Brossoit gets the mention in net, which is extremely unsurprising, both because he’s played very well and because he’s the only goalie prospect in the system who can fog a mirror. This is his first season playing significant minutes; unless I miss my guess he’ll be the No. 1 goalie for Bakersfield next year.

The forwards are where things get interesting.

Andrew Miller turns 27 in September, even though he’s in only his second professional season. His situation is a little like coming home from the grocery store, handing a jug of milk to your significant other, and being told that it’s going to go bad in four days (note: this is a completely hypothetical scenario, and not a depressingly regular part of my everyday life). He is scoring at almost a point-per-game clip in the AHL, and he does have NHL speed and the Oilers need to make a decision on signing him sometime this summer (and then a waivers decisions next fall). The question is whether the undersized forward scores enough, and given his age he’s more suspect than prospect.

Curtis Hamilton is another player who will be going on waivers if he’s sent down next year. He’s a solid two-way player, but the problem (outside of injuries) is that he’s always been a bit vanilla – he hasn’t been consistently physical over his AHL career despite his size and he doesn’t score very much despite some talent. At best, he’ll probably be a bottom-six guy who can penalty kill in the NHL, which isn’t nothing, but given his injuries and the lack of one defining feature he’s another guy I expect to see clearing waivers next year (and that’s if the Oilers sign him as an RFA this summer).

Yakimov, Bogdan2

Bogdan Yakimov is the best prospect of the three, a 20-year-old rookie AHL’er who combines massive size with a two-way game. His scoring has picked up slightly of late in the AHL (he has seven goals and 12 points in 24 games since January 1) but given his age and scoring totals he’s probably a guy who could benefit from more time developing. The Oilers have every reason to leave him in the minors to develop his offensive game rather than plugging him in immediately as a big-bodied fourth line pivot, and the presence of Boyd Gordon on the roster for another year suggests they just might do that.

The unifying mark for all these players is that they’re all decided longshots for next year’s roster. In the case of three of them, it’s because they are lower-end prospects (with Davidson probably the most promising of that trio) and in the case of the other two it’s because they could almost certainly benefit from more time in the minors. There’s benefit to seeing all five in the majors, but it’s more a matter of satisfying curiosity (it’s the category Taylor Fedun would have fallen into last year) than necessity.

The legitimate NHL-ready (or close to it) prospects from OKC are already in Edmonton. Anton Lander, Iiro Pakarinen, Tyler Pitlick, Oscar Klefbom, Martin Marincin and Jordan Oesterle all started the year in the minors and have since spent significant time on the NHL team. That’s a reasonably long list and now the cupboards down on the farm are pretty nearly bare of players who should make a big push for a roster spot in 2015-16.


    • hitchikerforajax

      I’m watching the Flames game against Boston & if I hear any more announcers rave about the Flames successful “rebuild” & then I look at the Oilers 9 yr. “rebuild”, I’m going to crap. When is Katz going to fire the man behind this bust? Lowe is the worst “leader” in professional sports & it’s beyond my comprehenion on how he is still working? Every other team, rebuilding their organization, are leaps & bounds ahead of this hockey team. Just as long as the Oilers make money, Katz has no intension, on making this team better! I wish Edmonton, would of told Katz, that if he wanted an arena, (he has enough money to build it), he had to make this team better.

  • BobbyCanuck

    I went back and forth from…

    Awwwhh look at those cute little kids wailing on each Holy F*&()look at those little kids wailing on each other, and then back to Awwwhhh that is so cute

    I cannot stop giggling…I feel a little ashamed

  • SSB1963

    I used to believe in Mac T…….it’s becoming harder to support his views. Each time he opens his mouth it seems he is throwing somebody under the bus!

    Imagine how many good players would have been lost if Eakins his buddy was still here? I’m not sure what he saw in Eakins, but clearly he is delusional on certain players and Eakins.

    Mac T ………MacTanked us last year and now this year.

    Maybe he should change his last name to MacTankish

  • Lyxdeslic

    Any news on Slepyshev coming to North America next year? I’d like to see him play for the Condors next year, any word about his willingness to leave the KHL?

  • Coppperhead

    Fair point made but how many of those that you list as being with the team would be if not for injury / trade?

    With Hall, Nikitin and Petry out of the lineup I would argue that 3 of those bodies (say Oesterle, Marincin and Pakirainen) are likely to be AHL bound next year (or whenever the aforementioned return to the lineup).

    Furthermore you’re ignoring Nurse and Draisaitl who should hopefully start the season in the AHL.

  • Lyxdeslic

    Hall – Nuge – Ebs

    Pouliot – Roy – Yak

    ? – Lander – Purcell

    Hendricks – Gordon – Klinkhammer

    Marincin – ?

    Klefbom – Schultz

    Ference – Fayne


    ? – Scrivens


    That’s how I want next year to start. Fill in question marks With either Boychuck or Seabrook on D. A physical go to the net type on the 3rd line. And sat Niemi in Goal.

    Since I do not believe they will win the draft, and I think they end up taking Strome, send Strome, Drai, and Nurse all to the Condors and let them earn their way up when injuries require.

    Not sure this team knocks the lights out of an LA, but I think they at least remain in the hunt for playoffs all year.

    • Randaman


      Niemi, really??

      Seabrook, really??

      Good luck with that. I have my doubts that Boychuck will even consider Edmonton and he’s from here.

      But dream on buddy…

      • Zarny

        Your skepticism is understandable, but there are actually quite a few rumors that Boychuk would like to play in his hometown. Keep in mind…money talks

        Regarding Niemi, what options will he really have? Not many and once again money talks.

        Seabrook has a limited NTC and Edm is likely on his list. Certainly a long shot. I could see Chi moving Hjalmarsson or Oduya before Seabrook.

      • Zarny

        Indeed, not a lot of faith management can get this done, but all Niemi costs is money, and to be honest his name is there simply because I was not creative enough to think of someone else.

        Seabrook only because I agree with you in that Boychuck likely won’t come here. Seabrook, on the other hand, won’t have a choice. He can be traded here and then I guess choose to leave at the end as a UFA, but given Chicago’s cap situation and how incredibly similar it is to Boston’s last year, and that the cap is likely going down, not up, Chicago might not have much of a choice either. And if you’re chicago wouldn’t you rather trade Seabrook to a crappy team out of your conference, rather than another competing contender you might have to face in the playoffs? So I said Seabrook. Bu really it could be any top pairing right side guy.

      • nuge2drai

        Boychuk owns a house in Edm and spends his off seasons here… Why wouldn’t he sign? We know the brain trust has hard ons for homegrown talent, so that pretty much guarantees we offer him 3 years and 1 million more than any other team…

        Haggerty: “This is the only profession where people want to Winnipeg, Fred. There’s no question. You know, you could add Edmonton to that list. The kid is from Edmonton. Its home for him. I ask him daily when I’m in the Bruins dressing room, ‘I don’t know how the hell you lived in Edmonton that long and why you want to go back there in the offseason.’ But Johnny Boychuk loves it.”

    • Nivek Ewol

      So we should target Seabrook? I think we should target Evegeny Malkin because we need a centre and since we need a goalie why not trade for Jimmy Howard!!!!!

    • nuge2drai

      What are you sniffing dude, that’s pretty much the lineup they have this year!! Do you really think plugging in a 3rd liner, a decent (not stellar) goalie and one d-man is going to have us in the playoff hunt? Look at the back end, it won’t matter who is in goal if they don’t fix that problem, and it appears the managers of this once proud franchise doesn’t see it as a problem. The Oilers needs are waaaaaay deeper than that to be playoff bound.

      MacTickles, is this you??? You make me laugh…

      • Bucknuck

        I disagreed with a lot of the post, but if there is any way they could acquire Seabrook, they better do it. He is a terrific d-man. A legit top pairing d. The Oilers need it so bad and you see it every game.

        My untouchables list includes Draisaitl, RNH, and Nurse. This team needs a big addition.

    • ThatButthurtOilersFan

      Did anyone ever tell you ignorance is bliss?

      Fine, no Strome, point being I hope they take their time developing him so in 2 years when Gordon is no longer an Oiler, Edmonton will have Strome and hopefully another developed prospect to perhaps come in and give the 4th line a new look.

      In that case, the team dynamic would not be about giving one line all the impossible minutes, but hopefully by then the load could be better handled by three lines.

      As an Oiler fan, as always, wishful thinking.

  • ThatButthurtOilersFan

    more likely:

    Pouliot – Nuge – Ebs

    Hall – Roy – Yak

    Soderberg – Lander – Purcell

    Hendricks – Gordon – Klinkhammer

    xxx – Fayne

    Klefbom – Schultz

    Ference – Nikitin


    fill xxx with Top 3 Dman (ie sakera) or trade for one.

    Fayne proved to be a good shutdown guy with andy green… lets hope he can do it again.

    You can’t sit Nikitin @4.5, better to buy him out or something like that.

    also to note this team will not make the playoffs.

    • Randaman

      This is likely the more realistic scenario. But, despite the ineptitude of Mac T, I have come to know you can never underestimate his ability to make a move no one anywhere, ever, was thinking about.

      Belov, Perron for Pijaarvi, Purcell, not grabbing a second line centre, promoting Brad Hunt, saying Schultz will win the Norris, saying Horcoff should have been on the Olympic team, ect.

  • Zarny

    A little off topic but are the NHL tweets a little heavy on the Nashville, florida’, Arizona? All the southern state teams? Seems to lean towards covering them more then other teams. Just wondering. They are bettman’s babies after all so not shocked to see it so biased.

  • ThatButthurtOilersFan

    How about addressing this teams cancer and trade Hall and a 2nd for OEL. We get the #1 dman and break up the love affair between him and Eberle. Then package the soft scared Eberle cream puff for a real #1 starting goalie. Gotta build from the back end out then down the middle, once you got that, plug and play your wingers. Who the fu@k decided to build a team around wingers? Taylor vs Tyler they were both equal at the draft, their both irresponsible, spoiled rookies but you gotta take the CENTERMAN.

    • oiler_head

      I agree with trading Hall. I think this team is playing much better without him (I know I would regret trading him later but…). However, I don’t agree with trading Eberle. Nuge and him are much better with Pouliot than with Hall.

      Certainly Hall deserves a chance to play under Nelson. Nelson has had a positive effect on all so why not see what happens with Hall. However, I think Hall isn’t so much a team player (just my Spidey sense).

      If Hall can garner us something in return then so be it…

  • WeridAl

    Once again Willis you have Barons fans rolling in their seats. Stats do not tell everything, and you need to learn that. As to Curtis Hamilton, for someone not that overly physical he sure comes out of the corners with the puck more than most. Has a really nice set of hands, wish he would shoot more often. You’re kidding yourself to believe Yakimov will get a taste next season, unless there is a big improvement to his skating. He’s a big bull in a china shop, you love what he does, but needs to play a 200ft game. I notice you you failed to mention BIG Musil, the only Oilers prospect that is a true stay at home D, never will be a top4 D, but he will be a solid 6/7 D that has that physical grit. Skating is not a big issue anymore, sure was able to cover for Oesterle’s many defensive faults. As to Miller, why is he even mentioned. You seem to have forgotten about Kale Kessy, who impressed a lot of people in the Oilers preseason, hopefully he returns true to form, because he was playing great. For some odd reason it sounds like some Edm media have been getting some misinformation , who would be giving them that?

  • Nivek Ewol

    Craig was such a good player that he didn’t even need to wear a HELMET. Us edmononians should count ourselves lucky to be blessed with such a shrewd, calculating manager. Get ready for 2016 boys! I envision a cup, 6-time Stanley Cup champion Kevin “mayor of hockey heaven” Lowe to get the key to the city, Justin “Coffey 2.0” schultz with his first Norris, and a cup parade down Alberta avenue to top it all off! Anyone that disagrees can get traded for futures!

    Burke’s a crappy GM.

  • hitchikerforajax

    I checked recently and Taylor Fedun is 55, 4-24-28… Good for top 5 on the Worcester Sharks in scoring. Successful I would say but hasn’t spent any time in the NHL this season.

  • Micbilly99

    Given that the current Oiler roster is for the most part set for 2015-16 because of the salary cap, where are these long shot prospects going to play? There is no room on the roster and the roster produced a 29th/30th place finish. Other than using smoke and mirrors, how is this team going to be any better next year?? No really how?