Jordan Oesterle up, Nikita Nikitin down


After just one game back with the Edmonton Oilers, Nikita Nikitin is once again heading back to the minor leagues. On Sunday the Oilers announced that the veteran rearguard had been reassigned, and at the same time named his replacement on the roster. That honour goes to 23-year-old Jordan Oesterle, who has 22 points in 39 games with the Bakersfield Condors. 

Nikitin wasn’t terrible against Colorado. The coaching staff was extremely careful with his deployment, getting him lots of ice-time in the offensive zone and putting him in a position to succeed both in terms of his teammates and the matchups he handled. He got caught a bit on the Avs’ third goal of the game but by no means embarrassed himself. 

The timing is interesting because Colorado was explicitly named by TSN’s Bob McKenzie as a potential trade destination for Nikitin back in November. It wouldn’t be a huge shock if interest from the Avalanche was part of the reason for his one-game cameo with Edmonton. 

Oesterle, along with David Musil, was one of the two prospect defencemen who it made the most sense for the Oilers to take a look at late this season. He picked up an assist in a six-game run with Edmonton last year but struggled with the defensive side of the game as a rookie pro. However, according to Bakersfield head coach Gerry Fleming, Oesterle has been the team’s best defenceman over the last while.

“Over the last six weeks Jordan Oesterle has been by far our
best defenceman overall,” Fleming told 630 CHED’s Bob Stauffer earlier this week. “His positioning defensively, his ability to skate the
puck out of trouble, his ability to make plays both defensively and offensively
has really elevated our defensive core as a group.”

Oesterle is a left-shooting defenceman, but Fleming also noted that he’d spent significant time on right defence this season. It’s likely that he’ll lineup on the right side if he gets game action with Edmonton. The top pairing of Andrej Sekera and Justin Schultz seems likely to stay together until Schultz is traded, while Brandon Davidson is a lock for one of two spots on the left side and prospect Darnell Nurse isn’t likely to be scratched. That leaves Oesterle competing with Mark Fayne and Adam Clendening for one of two spots on the right side. 

Oesterle now has most of two pro seasons under his belt and he turns 24 in June, so he should be pushing for a roster spot out of training camp next season. A strong run on the right side wouldn’t hurt his case at all.


  • Citizen David

    It keeps getting over looked but in that same interview Fleming says taking the whole year into account Musil and Simpson have been the best defenders for the Condors. Really hope we see Musil get a stint up here this year.

    It hurts my brain that Schultz still plays let alone top pairing.

  • CMG30

    Jon, I understand how ridiculous this is but I just can’t get it off my mind. What are the chances Stamkos would sign with the Oilers?? Only to a short term contract. It’s in a player’s interest to secure a big paycheck and a city to settle down in, but Stamkos really seems like one of those guys that just wants to win. He has made it very clear what he thinks of McDavid, and I think that him signing with the team would be good for the entire NHL. It would make him more of a star than ever. People who don’t follow hockey would start watching the same way people started following the NBA when Lebron joined Miami. It could honestly end up with Stamkos getting movie deals, if he was into that sort of thing.

    • Citizen David


      Stamkos will get 10 year 12 million in Toronto. The nhl knows what he is he doesn’t want to sign in Tampa because they don’t have the money for him. The next team he goes to will be the last team his on for a while.

      • I’m pretty sure the max he can sign is 7 years, because he isn’t signing with his current team. For example Tampa could sign him for 8 years. The days of 15 year contracts is over. It’s in the new CBA

      • Citizen David

        Not sure about the laffs landing Stamkos. No doubt, the money will be there for him and the fanbase will all but go nuts about it.

        From layman eyes, are not the laffs just as far away from a Stanley Cup as the Oil are, if not even more so?

        As an Oil fan, I would love to have him wear our silks but that may be just pure hopeful thinking on my part. Makes for interesting scenarios for sure!

        • Citizen David

          Ya I don’t think he will go to the leafs, I heard reports is they are willing to “trap” him with 12 mil.

          We don’t have that kinda change. We do but then we won’t have enough for mcdavid drai, ect

    • Not going to happen, but it’s nice to dream. I don’t understand how you mean he’d get a movie deal? Everyone already knows the Oilers, and what they have. Also I don’t’ think even Stamkos could help this sad sackless team.

      • Yeah the movie deal comment is as loose as the entire thought, but I’m just making a comparison to Lebron I guess. He was always a superstar, but then he signed with Miami and won a bunch of championships, and now he’s bigger than just being an NBA star. If Stamkos signed with us, we’d be a offensive juggernaut (aren’t we supposed to be already?) and it would gather a lot of attention. I doubt Stamkos signing would directly result in a bunch of cups, but I just think it would make Stamkos somewhat of a celebrity, even outside of hockey.

    • Anton CP

      Are you actually crazy? This is one of the dumbest things I’ve read in a long time. You think he’s going to give up millions to sign a shorter deal with the last place team? That is absolutely rediculous.

      The only thing worse than this comment is the idiot who said he could sign a 1 year 1 million dollar deal. Why on earth would he leave millions on the table to do that?

    • Citizen David

      What happened to Reinhart is that he just turned 22 a month ago. Chiarelli was wrong if he thought Reinhart would be an immediate solution. He could have still made a good trade. If in the 2017-2018 season Reinhart is a good top four defenseman (he might be, he might not be) then it’s fairy good value. Not many defensemen taken 16th overall develope into good top four defensemen in their third season post draft.

      So Chiarelli might have sold us a bill of goods about “immediate impact” but Reinhart could still be a good trade.

      • He was taken 4th overall that year. A few others taken after him already playing prominent roles on their teams. I think Chiarelli thought he could step in and help immediately but was misguided. There is still a fair bit of work to do with the player.

      • Miss read, you were implying if we used our 16th pick for a d-man not to Reinharts draft pos. Still think there was some misguided information and I would much rather have had Barzal over him.

        • Citizen David

          When Barzal fell to us I was definitely hoping we would pick him but I don’t believe Chiarelli would have chosen him if he kept the pick. I think most people’s opinion of Reinhart has been quite clouded by what we gave up for him. As for what he actually is? I still have high hopes for him.

      • Dwayne Roloson 35

        Simply more evidence of Chiarelli as an abysmal incompetent.
        Reinhart is functionally useless.
        If he can’t Crack thus abysmal defense he never will.
        What a waste of draft pix.

        • CDNinATL

          You’re an idiot!!

          The guy has been on the job for less than a year but for some reason you think he should have been able to make phantom trades and automatically make the Oilers into some powerhouse team. That’s not how it works in real life.

          We’ll get there but it’s going to take time. Get your head out of your ass and learn how the real world works!

  • BornInAGretzkyJersey

    With Ferrence on LTIR, and two of Fayne, Nikitin and Jultz bound elsewhere, we should have plenty of spaces to see what we have from our call ups.

    I’d like to see Ben Betker get a game or three, just to show the big man what it takes and how he can grow… make him hungry.

    Otherwise, Joey Legs, Oesterle, Musil, Simpson and Gernat are being (potentially) gifted with an opportunity to shine.

  • Anton CP

    Reinhart is still on entry level contract, so he may not be ready as for now. Then no one that came out of 16th pick out 2015 will be ready for the 2018 season anyway.