The Edmonton Oilers recall of Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse leaves the minor league team without an impact prospect. Peter Chiarelli and the rest of management will keep an eye on progress though, as several young Condors could eventually be NHL Oilers down the line. Who is closest to NHL-ready?
— Bakersfield Condors (@Condors) November 4, 2015
TOP 10 “CLOSE” CONDORS
L Anton Slepyshev. The Oilers clearly like him, Slepy has passed all of the other forwards on his way to playing in 11 NHL games. The size/speed/skill combination is unique among Condors and one suspects we’re dealing in mere months in terms of minor league time. ETA: Window is open, waiting for recall.
- G Laurent Brossoit. The Oilers young goalie is facing about 34 shots per 60 minutes and boasts a .927 save percentage. The Condors are not a good team, but their No. 1 goalie is keeping them in games. Edmonton appears to be death valley for goalies, so one hopes Brossoit doesn’t get the call until after the defense tightens. If the NHL struggles in net continue, the timeline could be moved up. ETA: Window open, he may be in the NHL this time next season.
- D David Musil. He’s 11GP, 2-1-3 and from what we’re told Musil is one of the more consistent defensemen in Bakersfield. Musil can play defense, it’s actually in his DNA. The footspeed issue dogs him but in his NHL look last season he wasn’t out of place. Faces a difficult depth chart now, the LH side for the Oilers looks set. ETA: Window is open now, but only for injury recall. Will need to show he’s better than some pretty famous prospects to make it with Edmonton.
D Jordan Oesterle: He’s 10GP, 0-4-4 so far this season.
Oesterle’s big selling point is speed and that one skill got him an NHL
look last season. There’s enough chaos in his game for the Oilers to
limit his opportunities and the Condors have Brad Hunt and Joey Laleggia
who are similar players. He could get the squeeze if EDM prefers
Laleggia in this role. ETA: Window is open, limited potential for advancement.
- C-L Jujhar Khaira. He’s 11GP, 3-3-6 and showing well in his second pro season. Khaira’s back story means offense is always going to be an issue, but the early numbers this season are encouraging. If he can play a complementary role on a skill line—that’s a major stretch based on evidence—he’s going to be a very wealthy man. ETA: Window probably opens in the fall of 2016, if he can post crooked numbers Khaira won’t get close to the waiver wire, meaning he makes the opening night roster in 2017.
C Bogdan Yakimov. He’s 11GP, 2-2-4 and is just so damn big (6.05, 232) I can’t see Edmonton slow-playing progress with the big Russian. The McDavid addition pushes all downward, but if the team decides to run Leon on wing full time we could see him sooner than later. ETA: Window opens after the trade deadline and Yakimov pushes hard for NHL employment fall 2016.
L Josh Winsquist: He’s 8GP, 3-4-7 and honestly I’d rank him much higher if I had my druthers. Smart, smart player, Winquist is operating without an NHL contract, so technically any team could swoop in and grab him. Outscoring all the other kids. ETA: He needs a contract first and then we can talk about him as an NHL option. Badly underrated based on math, he can’t be so slow he’s an NP. Sign the man.
- L Kale Kessy. Off to a 9GP, 1-3-4 start, he’s doing it on four total shots so that’s efficient. I’m not sure he can play with skill and it’s best to assume this is an enforcer who can skate. Seems to have turned a corner when his speed improved in time for TC 2014 fall. ETA: Window is probably open now, limited potential.
L Mitchell Moroz. So far he’s 11GP, 1-3-4 and it’s not possible to see where he and Kessy rank in relation to each other. Moroz didn’t play much last season (9 points in 66 games) but appears to be more involved this year. ETA: Window may open in the fall of 2016 and a recall is possible during the season. Waiver decision fall of 2017, it’s going to be mighty crowded.
- C-R Kyle Platzer. 11GP, 1-2-3 so far, he’s an impressive two-way talent who doesn’t have one major skill to recommend him. This is his rookie pro season. ETA: His entry-level deal ends in the summer of summer 2018, I think he might play some NHL games before then. Too soon to know.
There are other prospects (Joey Laleggia, Dillon Simpson, Braden Christoffer) who could be recalled this season, but this is the group I think most likely to get a call. Likely recalls? Not many. Edmonton probably calls up current Condors as injury replacements and that’s about all. In all honesty, there are so many Bakersfield players in Edmonton now, we may see very few NHL debuts in 2015-16 beyond what has already happened. When players get healthy, Andrew Miller and Iiro Pakarinen will likely head back to the AHL. When Justin Schultz gets healthy, a decision will have to be made on a defenseman or two as well.
Prospect progress is never a straight arrow, but it’s a pretty good bet Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse won’t be paying rent in Bakersfield again.