Ken Holland got some housekeeping done today, as the Oilers have inked Brad Malone and Shane Starrett to one-year, two-way contracts. Both figure to start the 2019-20 season in the AHL but could be in the organization’s plans for call-ups as the season goes along.
Malone has spent the last two seasons with the Oilers organization as an NHL/AHL tweener. He’s been solid in that role, filling in nicely at the NHL level when needed while also providing quality depth at the AHL level. Malone scored 25 points in 43 games for the Condors this season but exploded for 13 points in 10 playoff games. I don’t think he’ll crack the team next year, but he’s perfectly fine in that emergency call-up role.
I figure Cooper Marody and Ryan McLeod will be Bakersfield’s top two centres next season, which slots Malone in nicely as the team’s third centre. As a veteran, he would make an ideal centre for Oilers’ winger prospects Ostap Safin and Kirill Maksimov as they break into professional hockey.
Starrett is a more interesting case. He was an undrafted free agent out of the United States Air Force Academy who is coming off of his two-year entry-level deal. Starrett wasn’t thought of as much of a prospect until his breakout season with the Condors this year. In 42 games for Bakersfield, Starrett posted a 0.918 save percentage and has put himself on the map as a legitimate prospect.
As I wrote about earlier today, the Oilers will likely sign a veteran goalie to split the net with Mikko Koskinen in a 1A/1B format. That said, if Starrett continues to play well in the AHL, we could definitely see him get a chance at the NHL level in the case of an injury. Here’s to hoping we have some kind of Jordan Binnington situation with Starrett next year.