Gerry Fleming talks Moroz, Reinhart, and Brossoit

Development

During the regular chit-chats with my colleagues at TSN 1260 about the comings and goings of the Bakersfield Condors, there are three players that stand out as the ones who are most asked about.

With the Condors about to hit the midpoint of their first season in the AHL’s new Pacific Division, it seemed like a good time to focus on that trio. Condors head coach Gerry Fleming made himself available for an extended chat and a straightforward take on these prospects.

MITCH MOROZ

Moroz

Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2009-10 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 7 0 1 1 2 -2
2010-11 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 1 0 0 0 0 0
2011-12 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 66 16 9 25 131 5 20 4 4 8 24
2012-13 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 69 13 21 34 140 21 22 2 5 7 41
2013-14 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 70 35 28 63 156 25 21 6 13 19 40
2014-15 Oklahoma City Barons AHL 66 5 4 9 169 -15 6 0 1 1 6
2015-16 Bakersfield Condors AHL 27 2 4 6 66 2

At only 21, it is too early to consider Moroz a bust. It’s been rightly pointed out that Moroz was selected far too early by the Oilers at the 2012 entry draft. They were desperate for size up front and had a prospect in their own backyard that they didn’t want to let slip away. That was understandable but the Oilers panicked when there were whispers of interest from other teams, and they made Moroz their second-round pick (32nd overall). This was on the heels of Moroz putting up all of 25 points that season with the Edmonton Oil Kings.

It’s true that Moroz had a breakout year in 2013-14 – a virtual man at 19 years old compared to most of his opponents who were young teens. It was a falsehood to believe that those numbers would parlay to instant (or eventual) success at the pro ranks. The impression was something he really wasn’t. Moroz has struggled forgetting about past top-line glory in junior and has yet to really grasp the idea of turning himself as a serviceable grinding, energy bottom-six forward. 

“He’s working at his game. We focus on the smaller things with Mitch as far as making plays along the half-wall, being strong to play against down low in the offensive zone, protecting the puck, being a net-front presence, shooting, being aggressive on the forecheck, finishing his checks. All the things you’d want to see from a power forward. Obviously the offensive numbers aren’t where he’d like them to be or the organization would like but sometimes you have to re-invent yourself as a player. Not always do great junior numbers translate into great American Hockey League numbers. You’re playing against men, cagey veterans, guys that have been around a little bit and understand the game. It takes a little while and for Mitch it’s maybe taken a little while longer than people had anticipated. The last couple of weeks his game has improved and there’s still some games where the junior habits that we’re trying to kick him of – undisciplined penalties, controlling his emotion a bit more. He’s here in the minor leagues for a reason and that’s to improve his game.” –Fleming

The good part of Moroz’s game is that his willing to stand up for his teammates. He isn’t shy about throwing big hits or throwing punches against often bigger foes. However, that’s not going to be enough to get him into the NHL. Right now, he has probably slipped a spot or two behind a surprisingly improved Kale Kessy, and he may further fall if the Oilers and Condors see enough of something from Tyler Pitlick to warrant another contract.

GRIFFIN REINHART

Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- GP G A Pts PIM
2009-10 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 2 0 0 0 0 3
2010-11 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 45 6 19 25 36 7 4 0 0 0 6
2011-12 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 58 12 24 36 38 23 20 2 6 8 20
2012-13 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 59 8 21 29 35 30 12 3 4 7 12
2013-14 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 45 4 17 21 55 20 21 4 9 13 18
2014-15 New York Islanders NHL 8 0 1 1 6 1 1 0 0 0 0
2014-15 Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL 59 7 15 22 64 -13
2015-16 Edmonton Oilers NHL 12 0 0 0 8 -1
2015-16 Bakersfield Condors AHL 13 1 4 5 12 -2
NHL Totals 20 0 1 1 14 1 0 0 0 0

One of new Oiler GM Peter Chiarelli’s bold moves at the draft was to surrender two picks to the New York Islanders in exchange for Reinhart, another former Oil King, who was picked by NYI fourth overall in 2012.

Chiarelli surmised that Reinhart was ready for full-time NHL duty despite playing only eight regular-season games and one playoff matchup for the Islanders, and only one season of grooming in the AHL. Waiver eligibility certainly played a large role in Reinhart’s demotion to Bakersfield after 12 games with the Oilers, but since joining the Condors, he has hardly stood out. He has not jumped off the page, sort to speak.

Consistency and physicality are what the Oilers/Condors are looking for. 

“We’ve addressed it with him and he’s aware of it. He knows he has to get better and he’s focused on those areas in his game. There’s things we’ve asked him to work on and it starts with practice. We’ve seen improvement in his practice habits. He’s committed himself to coming down here and working better. His attitude has been great.” –Fleming

A favourable attitude, at least seen by those in the dressing room, is a good sign. Yet there have been very few nights that Reinhart has been a significant factor unlike early in the season when Darnell Nurse was in Bakersfield and looked every bit the part of a high-end prospect who could take his game to the next level. In at least half of Reinhart’s games with the Condors, he’s been only their third-best blue liner behind a variety pack of David Musil, Nikita Nikitin and Jordan Oesterle. That’s not good enough.

LAURENT BROSSOIT

Season Team Lge GP A PIM Min GA EN SO GAA W L T Pct
2008-09 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 1 0 0 37 5 0 0 8.20 0.773
2009-10 Cowichan Valley Capitals BCHL 21 0 2 999 61 0 2 3.66 10 8 0 0.901
2009-10 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 2 0 0 86 4 0 0 2.80 0 1 0 0.944
2010-11 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 34 0 0 1664 92 2 2 3.32 13 12 2 0.887
2011-12 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 61 3 2 3574 147 3 3 2.47 42 13 5 0.914
2012-13 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 49 4 17 2854 107 3 5 2.25 33 8 6 0.917
2013-14 Abbotsford Heat AHL 2 0 0 94 9 0 0 5.72 0 1 0 0.824
2013-14 Alaska Aces ECHL 3 0 0 126 0 0 2 0.00 2 0 0 1.000
2013-14 Oklahoma City Barons AHL 8 0 0 416 25 2 0 3.60 2 5 0 0.888
2013-14 Bakersfield Condors ECHL 35 1 22 2079 74 1 6 2.14 24 9 2 0.923
2014-15 Oklahoma City Barons AHL 53 2 0 3049 130 6 4 2.56 25 22 4 0.918
2014-15 Edmonton Oilers NHL 1 0 0 60 2 0 0 2.00 0 1 0 0.961
2015-16 Bakersfield Condors AHL 21 0 0 1248 53 2 3 2.55 11 7 3 0.927

The “Man They Call LB” is the Team MVP, an AHL all-star, and, along with JJ Khaira, the top prospect on the farm.

For a Condors team (much like the Oilers themselves) that doesn’t have the most stone-wall defensive corps, Brossoit has been a brick with numbers that put him top-five in the AHL in save-percentage, shutouts (3), and total saves (676).

The accolades and stats have many Oil fans pleading for Brossoit to get a shot at playing in Edmonton much sooner rather than later like the 2016-2017 season.

That would be a mistake.

“I think it would be a step back in his development. He needs to play and he needs to play 75% of the games. We have a young guy in (Eetu) Laurikainen and from an organizational standpoint he can benefit and learn from working with ‘LB’ this year much like LB learned from (Richard) Bachman last year. If you asked ‘LB’ he’d be the first one to admit that watching Bachman play last year throughout the season and the playoffs that he learned a lot. You’ve got to pass that on – pay it forward. ‘LB’s playing a lot and he’s learned a lot and he now passes that on to Eetu and from an organizational standpoint everybody benefits. To bring ‘LB’ up now and have him sit on the bench would just be a big step back in his overall development to where they want him to be coming out of this year.” –Fleming

From the nest

The Condors got back over .500 and picked up their second straight win over the Ontario Reign with a 4-2 verdict on Saturday (Rob Klinkhammer with shorthanded game-winner, Tyler Pitlick, Josh Winquist, and Andrew Miller for the Condors). That came on the heels of a 4-2 loss at home on Friday against the Texas Stars (Winquist and Griffin Reinhart for the Condors)… More changes to the Condors roster in large part due to injuries. Back after being out for a long stretch are Winquist and Phil McRae, along with Tyler Pitlick … Prospect Ben Betker got the call-up from Norfolk and played Friday… The Condors are still without Anton Slepyshev and Kyle Platzer. Once they’re back it’s likely at least one forward will be sent down to Norfolk. Marco Roy and Josh Currie deserve to stay which could put Kellen Jones on the plane out of Bakersfield.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Great read! Hopefully, as an Oilers fan, we can see those 3 guys stuck with the big club over the next couple years. They’re all still “young” and in their early 20s so another year or 2 in the A wouldn’t hurt their development at all.

    Another guy that I still have a bit of interest in is Marco Roy. Glad to see he may not be the first option to get sent back to the ECHL after a few guys come back. That saying a lot, imo, from where he was with the organization in the summer.

      • a lg dubl dubl

        Yea, he’s signed to an AHL deal. Could “resign” with the Oilers in the summer if he shows more promise than the last few years. I think he was a 2nd rounder, so in that regard it be nice to see another non 1st rounder make the Oilers. If not and he’s a career AHLer then so be it, and “on to the next one”.

      • Halloween

        Marco was signed to an AHL contract,so he wouldn’t count against the 50 contract list. This is a show me year for him,and is still Oiler property,if I’m not mistaken?

  • McWeber

    Was hoping something would have been mentioned about Musil, though hes been known to have some lead in his skates he didn’t look bad at all in his short stint last year. Reinhart was traded for and has the pedigree but I would like to see what we have in some of our older prospects. Davidson was a nice surprise, maybe there are more waiting on the farm. Even Laleggia has some pretty solid numbers.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Time will tell if trading for Rienhart was a good gamble ……….but the wily GM for NYI is laughing , that’s for sure!

    After that trade I would be very careful if I were PC……..trying to trade the Nuge is pure folly!

    • Morgo_82

      The scariest part of that trade for me was hearing Bob Greene say they hadn’t seen him play in the American League last season. That’s like looking at a car you like, then buying it sight unseen a year and a half later not knowing what’s happened to it in the meantime. I’m not suggesting anything happened to Grif, only that it would have been a really good idea to see how his game looked against AHL’ers, rather than relying on his play in junior. Anyone who watches junior, for example, will be the first to tell you that older kids almost always look good; doesn’t mean they are fantastic prospects. (Again, I know he was a good prospect, just trying to illustrate that a good look at the kid in the AHL would have been prudent, if not absolutely critical.

  • DieHartOiler

    By the sounds of it, it looks like we will not be seeing Reinhart at the NFL level anytime soon. One would have hoped that he would be the Instant number 1 dman in Bakersfield but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I hope he starts to find his game and goes on a development curve similar to Klefbom who took off in the second half oof the season back with OKC.

    • 24% body fat

      Maybe Reinhart should start in the CFL first (sarcasm dripping).

      Totally agree otherwise, he has the intangible leadership qualities as witnessed by his captaincy at the WHL level. He just needs to demonstrate the work ethic and willingness to improve at the AHL level.

  • ubermiguel

    It saddens me to see Moroz and Reinhart slide down the prospect depth chart. So far Lazar is about the only Oil King from that glorious Memorial Cup team to break into the NHL, and he’s not exactly lighting it up (yet).

  • Morgo_82

    Any goaltending problems I see disappear really quickly when I look at Broissot, he”s looking like the real deal and I can’t wait to see what he can do in the NHL long term.

  • 24% body fat

    21 yrs old can’t score in the AHL, probability says Reinhart is a bust.

    A slow skater with good defensive instincts. You give up a #16 + #33 in a so called strong draft.

    I actually hope Chia was strong armed into this trade if not, they hired another idiot.

  • Rem99

    Put the knives away wrt Reinhart, look at Drai’s numbers when he was in the AHL, don’t get me wrong the clock is ticking on him and so is the pressure but hopefully he putting in the effort and can be a viable option in the future.

  • 24% body fat

    Hmmm… MacT fleeced the Flames for LB, Chia got fleeced by Snow for Reinhart.

    Yes I understand these are young players, but it doesn’t sound like Reinhart is even showing the potential to be a top-4, let alone eating minutes at the AHL level.

    Not singing the praises of MacT believe me, we all know he made plenty of mistakes. Not sure how much influence the old boys club had on the Reinhart trade, I would assume a fair bit. To me that was and still is a bad trade.

    Time will tell…..

  • DieHartOiler

    I’ve been a Reinhart backer.A couple things concern me though.

    As Fasteddy mentioned, the Oilers didn’t see Reinhart play any AHL games.

    Then Fleming criticizing his practice habits. Considering his pedigree, he should realize what it takes to make it in the NHL.

    You have to think MacT had a lot of influence in the decision to make the trade. I’ll give PC a pass on that because it was early in his tenure. I’ve also heard MacT was very involved in signing Talbot. If so, that was a good thing but I hope all other decisions since June have been PC’s and I expect PC’s respect for MacT’s judgement of talent has plummeted according since the beginning of the season.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    Reinhart.

    That’s what PC gets for listening to the remaining dip Sh$ts that were running the team.

    Lesson for PC: Get rid of all the old brass from the Lowe/Mac T days.