Edmonton Oilers sign Kyle Platzer, return Tyler Bunz to OKC

Platzer, Kyle

The 2014-15 season has not been kind to the Edmonton Oilers. The team has not progressed as hoped, individual players have struggled mightily and the path forward remains decidedly uncertain.

Those looking for a break from the gloom could do worse than consider Kyle Platzer, the 2013 fourth-round draft pick who on Sunday signed an entry-level deal with the Oilers.

Platzer’s progression has been fascinating to watch, and a really good example of why teams have a two-season window before being forced to come to a decision on their prospects. If the deadline had been a year ago, the decision would have been legitimately difficult, but Platzer has made it easy with a breakthrough OHL campaign:

  • 2012-13: 65 games, five goals and 22 points (0.34 points per game)
  • 2013 Draft: Oilers select Platzer in the fourth round, No. 96 overall
  • 2013-14: 66 games, 22 goals and 36 points (0.55 points per game)
  • 2014-15: 68 games, 34 goals and 81 points (1.19 points per game)
  • April 2015: Platzer signs an entry-level deal with Edmonton

Platzer’s an interesting player offensively. He scored nine power play goals this year, but he also put up 23 at even-strength and four more while shorthanded (12 NHL teams, including Edmonton, have scored four-or-fewer shorthanded goals this year). His assists, however, seem to be pretty power play-dependent; he put up 27 on the man advantage by my count and just 20 in all other situations.

I liked what I saw from the player in his brief cameo in Oilers’ camp this fall; he was quick and intelligent and that combined with his obvious affinity for penalty-killing work makes him an interesting player to watch going forward and perhaps a reasonable possibility as a bottom-six NHL forward in the future (it would be a stretch at this point to pencil him in any higher given his long-term offensive track record).

Importantly, Platzer will help an injury-ravaged organization immediately.

Platzer is now the fifth member of Edmonton’s 2013 draft class to sign with the team, following Darnell Nurse, Bogdan Yakimov, Greg Chase and Ben Betker. The Oilers still have some time on college/European picks made that year, but face two more choices in the immediate future. Both Marco Roy and Jackson Houck must be signed or they will go back into the draft; we’ll have to wait and see whether the Oilers are convinced they’re worth inking. Houck is playing in Oklahoma City at the moment on an amateur tryout deal.

Bunz Demoted

Tyler Bunz

Tyler Bunz has an uncertain future and a difficult path forward if he is to be a professional hockey player of note. With that said, he’s now played one more NHL game than I or the vast majority of the readers here have.

No matter what happens from here on out, Bunz is indelibly marked into the history of hockey at its highest level, and in the annals of the Edmonton Oilers. It must be a dream come true for him just to reach that level, to overcome a life-threatening injury and play for a club and a league with such a rich history.

It’s easy to get cynical about the sport, particularly for fans of a team in yet another losing season. It’s healthy to put that aside, even if only for a moment, and remember playing hockey in the driveway or the neighbor’s pond or in a little rink in the middle of nowhere. Playing an NHL game is a great personal accomplishment, a dream of many and an achievement of comparatively few. Bunz is now one of those few. 

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

    • Absolutely, and I can’t blame anyone for feeling that way.

      Most of what I write is negative, because of the state of the team. I expect most of what I write this summer will be in the same vein.

      For Platzer and Bunz, though, the news is good, even if it’s modest, and it’s a nice break to write it up that way. I can write about the unpleasant reality of the team’s situation any time.

  • BubbaZanetti

    Kinda depressing when you have to be a psychologist for us Jonathan. This article feels like therapy “hey it’s not all bad, here’s something to be happy about”. I look forward to the days when you can write about the excitement of playoffs

  • neojanus

    It’s hard to even care any more. The last three games have shown how far this team has to go to be able to compete with playoff teams.

    It’s nice to pull out some wins with the lower echelons of the NHL, but boy this team has no future unless management gets it together and does something supernatural with its bench next year.

    The truth is, we aren’t getting that. Next year might not be as bad as this one, but it’s probably still going to be pretty bad.

    Has there ever been a team in the history of sports that has had less accountability across its entire personnel?

    It just baffles me how this team can continue to play this way year after year and still line its wallets by peddling hope.

    Ugh…

  • BubbaZanetti

    Well, congrats to both the young recruits signed this week.im sure
    they are on top of the clouds right now!! Good on them.

    The Condors look to be in good shape for next year and beyond.

    Without being to sarcastic of the Oilers management and knowing
    Katz will not terminate KLowe or MacT, realistically; I am curious
    from the writers and readers, exactly who the Oilers should go after
    to improve the team immediately so that they are competitive and not an embarrassment to the league. Who gets traded and who gets brought in to make the Oilers a play off team next year.

    It’s easy to be a arm- chair GM, but what would you do?

  • Petrolero

    On the subject of feel-good news, the Penguins lost again today, 4-1 to Philly, despite outshooting them 47-20. If The Sens beat the Leafs today and beat the visiting Pens on Tuesday, they will pass them in the standings, with both having two to play! There is actually a chance Pittsburgh will miss the playoffs, making the first round pick we got from them very, very attractive. Dare to dream.

    • ubermiguel

      It might only add 1 to 2% chance to our McDavid odds, but I’ll take it. At the very least it would mean a mid-round pick in a nice draft which is great for picking or trading. That’s Kyle Connor and Paul Bittner territory. Both nice players to have in the system.

  • Reg Dunlop

    It really was a wonderful ‘feel good’ story about Bunz and his NHL cup of coffee. Which leads me on this Easter Sunday to suggest a great new potential revenue stream for our fearless leader Katz. Like Rome sold indulgences the oil can sell NHL games. If you have the scratch you can suit up for a NHL game, doesn’t matter if you can’t skate fast like Draisatl or if you can’t stop pucks like Bunz or if you can’t stand up for your team mates like Hall. Money talks and actually winning games obviously isn’t a priority here.

  • Petrolero

    A silver lightning of these death marches is to watch guys like Bunz and
    Musil reach their goal and make it happen. That is always fun to watch no matter what the situation in the standings. Same with first NHL goals and points.

  • Reg Dunlop

    How much can we read into a strong draft plus 2 year? Moroz rocked it as well and couldn’t score with a $20 hooker if his suit was made of money down in the AHL this season.

    Its great for the kid, but as fans its not much to get excited about yet.

    • Well, Moroz wasn’t actually all that good; he was still below the point-per-game mark in his Draft+2 campaign.

      But you’re right. One good year in junior is enough to make an entry-level deal a decent bet, but he’s still years away and a lot could go wrong.

  • ubermiguel

    You sure do know what you’re talking being a professional athlete and having never made a mistake in your life.

    I’ve golfed with Tyler and his brother was our rec league goalie for a long time. Maybe he didn’t have what it takes, but he sure as heck doesn’t need your judgment. This is a feel good story and as an oiler fan who watched Fedun get traded away (has 3 assists for San Jose in 5 games), I can honestly say there are precious few feel good moments OR stories into this organization.

    So Kudus to Tyler and hopefully he pushes hard this off season to become what he has the potential to be.