The Edmonton Oilers signed Ty Rattie in July, along with Mitch Callahan, Brian Ferlin and others. One of the reasons Peter Chiarelli focused in on AHL forwards who might be able to take on NHL time is the obvious lack of AHL skill forwards in their entry-level deals. Although the Oilers have some exceptional F talent in entry-level contracts, the top end resides in the NHL and can’t be regarded as bubbling under.
ENTRY-LEVEL FORWARDS 2017-18
- Connor McDavid will be in the final year of his entry-level deal.
- Anton Slepyshev will also be in the final year, trying to establish himself as an NHL regular.
- Drake Caggiula is the third NHL forward who will be in his final entry-level season.
- Jesse Puljujarvi enters the second year of his deal, having spent about half a season in both the NHL and AHL.
- Patrick Russell enters his final year, needs to score more often to establish himself as a legit AHL player.
- Greg Chase enters final year of entry deal, has shown flashes but needs a strong season.
- Kyle Platzer will be final year, still hasn’t established himself as an AHL regular.
- Braden Christoffer will be in his final year, joining Chase and Platzer as forwards who need to find some answers.
- Joe Gambardella enters his entry-level deal, he has two years before his next contract. He is a player to watch in Bakersfield this winter.
- Tyler Benson has signed his entry-level contract but it will slide when he gets sent back to junior.
How did the Oilers get to this point, where college signings populate most of the spots not gifted to AHL veterans like Taylor Beck last season and Ty Rattie for the coming year?
The Griffin Reinhart for picks trade gets a lot of mention, but the trade that brought David Perron to Edmonton cost the Oilers a second-round pick, a fourth-round selection and Magnus Paajarvi. The second rounder became Ivan Barbashev, who is exactly the kind of F prospect Edmonton badly needs right now. Below is a graph that shows AHL entry-level forwards who played 35 or more games in the league a year ago and were under 23 years old at season’s end.
- These men are ranked in order of even-strength primary points per game average and scoured from Prospect-Stats.com. This list contains players who were 22 or under upon completion of last season and in their entry-level deals.
- Jesse Puljujarvi is 19 now (as listed) and all players are listed at their current age. JP posted these numbers at 18, all names here would have been one year younger when the 2016-17 season began.
- Ivan Barbeshev, who St. Louis acquired with the second-round pick that was part of the Perron trade, is tied for No. 3 on this list.
Edmonton has been trading a tremendous number of picks this decade and it is part of the reason for the small number of homegrown forwards in Bakersfield.
The Oilers signed several forwards from their 2013 draft, including Bogdan Yakimov, Anton Slepyshev, Kyle Platzer and Greg Chase. Slepyshev has progressed and has a great chance to spend the entire year in the NHL with the Oilers, while Platzer and Chase are miles from the NHL. Chase was a seventh-round pick, so his struggles in pro shouldn’t be a surprise. Platzer was a third-round selection, you probably hope for a little more after two years of his pro career.
Bogdan Yakimov is the real disappointment here, and his career choices are curious if we assume the NHL was his goal. Edmonton did retain his rights so maybe there’s another chapter to come.
THE 2014 DRAFT
In what will remain for me a very curious set of picks, the Oilers grabbed Leon Draisaitl early in what was a home run selection. The team had six picks, spent two on goalies and the other two forwards were playing tier two (BCHL and USHL) at the time of their draft. Liam Coughlin (BCHL) was traded and Tyler Vesel will play his final college season this winter.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
This is an estimate of the 2017-18 Bakersfield Condors roster. Drafted forwards include Joey Laleggia, Kyle Platzer and Greg Chase. I’ve been reading a lot about the Griffin Reinhart trade and the cost to this organization’s depth and that is fair. Important to remember the Perron trade, Yakimov’s bolt, the ridiculous NHL rule that required payment in draft picks for Todd McLellan and Peter Chiarelli, and a 2014 entry draft where 33 percent of the total selections were devoted to goalies the organization did not sign. Where have you gone, Ivan Barbashev?