A look at the AHL website under Bakersfield Condors gives us an idea about who is scoring and who is not—and the prospects are not pushing veterans for the scoring lead. One of the things that can obscure the story is power-play point totals, as it is pretty hard to score from the bench. Are any of the kids on the farm outscoring veterans at 5×5? Let’s have a look.
These are the totals for the OKC Barons forwards last season. The top prospect (Anton Lander) graduated to the NHL this season, and we see Iiro Pakarinen and Andrew Miller (both called up during the year) posting totals over .500 a game at even strength. It is also worth mentioning the top rookie last season (Bogdan Yakimov) posted a solid total—.404 in year one AHL at even strength is a good number.
2015-16 CONDORS AT EVENS (SO FAR)
We still have much of the season to go, and some players (Slepyshev) are off to very slow starts, so important to factor in sample size when discussing. Still, most have 20 games or so and that is a nice total as a start.
Winquist and Reinhart haven’t played enough to tout them, so the player who stands out to me in a good way is Jordan Oesterle. With Brad Hunt in the NHL now, we might expect Joey Laleggia to get a PP push, but don’t discount speed merchant Oesterle, who has legit skills.
Among forwards, Khaira has improved markedly season over season (.196 to .375) and maybe playing time impacted last year’s totals. Bogdan Yakimov is down from his first year, but injury impacted him for sure so not really a fair comparison.
We will look at this during the summer too, youngsters usually spike in the second half. With that in mind, let’s compare rookies season over season.
BARONS ROOKIES 2014-15
Yakimov spiked beginning mid-December last season, after starting the season 22, 1-6-7. From there, the big Russian went 35, 8-8-16 (.457) and getting increased playing time—you may recall Anton Lander was recalled to Edmonton around the same time.
2015-16 CONDORS ROOKIES AT EVENS
None of the current AHL rookies are posting numbers that we might associate with future NHL success, but it is important to put things in perspective. The leading rookie scorer among 20-year-old AHL players this season is Michael McCarron of the St. John’s Icecaps—he is currently 31, 10-9-19 (.612) in the world’s best minor league this year.
What does that tell us? None of the forwards who have been plying their trade in the Oilers system last and this year should be considered prime offensive options for the future in the NHL. That said, Edmonton already has those players at the NHL level, their first-round picks didn’t require that extra step (as McCarron does currently, although that would seem to be a short-term item). Edmonton needs Jason Chimera, Kyle Brodziak—and those men didn’t kill the AHL at 20.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
My primary impression from this mid-season look is the frustration of losing another solid prospect like Bogdan Yakimov. The thing is, you develop a past. Hey I am all for blaming these Euro kids for not doing well over here, but hang it all some of them have done well and still go home.
Teemu Hartikainen was (as I recall) about conditioning. Toni Rajala was (apparently) about his wanting to cash in. Bogdan Yakimov? Don’t know. This is concerning though. Is it playing time? Lack of communication? I am absolutely willing to sewer the scouting department until the sky falls, but is there something else here? Do other NHL teams lose their Yakimov’s in December?
Inquiring minds and all that. In the meantime, we wait and hope for one of this year’s kids to spike.