Laurent Brossoit and Curtis Hamilton will be the 42nd and 43rd players to suit up for the Edmonton Oilers tonight against the San Jose Sharks. Both of them will play their first NHL game just like Leon Draisaitl, Darnell Nurse, Bogdan Yakimov, Jordan Oesterle, Iiro Pakarinen, Brandon Davidson, Andrew Miller, Tyler Bunz and David Musil did earlier this season.
One of the few positives in another losing season for the Oilers is that many of their young players got a taste of life in the NHL. Most of them won’t become regulars down the road, but many fans are hoping Nurse, Draisaitl and Brossoit can be at some point.
The Oilers biggest weaknesses are at centre, defence and in goal. That doesn’t sound great, because it isn’t. The Oilers need a big, skilled centre, a rugged, mean, minute-eating top-pairing defender and a starting goalie. Usually you need to develop those types of players from within the organization and Draisaitl, Nurse and Brossoit are the best options.
The Oilers have to ensure they don’t rush them.
Brossoit has had a solid first season in the AHL, but no one should expect him in the NHL next year. He has a .916sv% and a 2.65 GAA. He is 19th in SV% and 28th in GAA amongst goalies with at least 1500 minutes played, however, he has played the second most minutes, 2,809, of any goalie in the AHL.
He has been able to play a lot, and next year he should play just as much, if not more, and gain more experience. Tonight is a nice reward for Brossoit, but we shouldn’t put too much stock into one game, regardless of how he plays.
It will be a thrill for him and his family, as it should be, and I’m sure it will motivate him all summer to keep improving, but as desperate as the Oilers are to find a starting goalie for next year, I hope they look at other options and let their best goaltending prospect continue to mature in the AHL.
Hamilton was taken 48th overall in the 2010 draft. Due to his late birthday he had already played three seasons in the WHL. He returned to Saskatoon for the 2010/2011 season, and then turned pro in 2011/2012.
His development has been hampered by injuries and inconsistent play, but this year has been his best pro season by far. He has been healthy all year. He played for Canada at the Spengler Cup and according to Todd Nelson and now Gerry Fleming he has been one of the most consistent players in OKC.
He hasn’t put up many points however, scoring 12 goals and 29 points in 60 games. It is very rare that a player produces more points in the NHL than he does in the AHL, so what should the Oilers expect from Hamilton?
He turned 23 in December and he’s having his best AHL season. He is an RFA this summer. He is currently on a two-way contract, $725,000 in NHL, $75,000 in AHL, and the Oilers could sign him for virtually the same money next year. I’m guessing we see another one-year deal for Hamilton, unless he decides to go play in Europe and make more money.
Matt Hendricks was injured vs. Los Angeles and Hamilton was recalled on an emergency basis. Hamilton will slot in on the 4th line with Klinkhammer and Gazdic.
The defence remains the same and Brossoit gets his first NHL start.
- Using 43 players reminds me of the 2009/2010 season when the Oiler used 37 different skaters and three goalies. Notables like Charles Linglet, Dean Arsene, Chris Minard, Ryan O’Marra, Johan Motin, Alex Plante, Taylor Chorney, Liam Reddox and Ryan Stone come to mind.
We could have some excellent trivia contests recalling players who had a brief cup of coffee in the NHL with the Oilers.
- What impressed me most about the Oilers victory over the Kings was how hard they battled in the tough areas of the ice. The Oilers were strong along the boards and down low. They were aggressive on the forecheck and they were excellent in the faceoff circle. They did this against a big, strong LA team that was desperate for a win. The outcome of the games at this point in the season mean nothing, but I’d hope the players learned that if they work that hard and battle that much they can be successful. Now the test will be to see if they can play that way for two consecutive games.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…
From the Battle of Cali…
The Sharks are eliminated, all hope is lost, etc etc, but I have a reason to smile. A reason to live again. A reason to love the sport that I have loathed for almost a year now.
That reason is the Edmonton Oilers.
Something that seemed to be a pipe dream, something that seemed to be nothing short of a miracle, something that seemed to only happen in those romantic comedies has happened.
The Oilers embarrassed the Kings. Not only did they embarrass the Kings, they did it in the last week of the season, during a tight playoff race, while the Kings are on the outside looking in.
/takes cold shower
Even to add more comic relief, the Oilers let in a goal at the red line! God, I love you little misfits. Bless your souls.
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oil beat the Kings when none of us expected them to and they did it allowing a goal from centre. The Oilers defeat the Sharks for the third time this year, tonight by a 4-3 margin.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Thankfully Joe Thornton doesn’t score four goals.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Curtis Hamilton gets a point. In another dark season at least the NHL rookies will have some great memories of scoring their first NHL point.
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