Late last week Tyler Benson, Cooper Marody and Caleb Jones headlined the Edmonton Oilers’ first round of significant cuts. The three names I mentioned above surprised a few, but as you will see below you really shouldn’t be disappointed in any way.
Here’s a look at expectations for the players sent down to Bakersfield last week.
Marody and Benson down to Bakersfield among a group of nine sent down
— Dustin Nielson (@nielsonTSN1260) September 20, 2019
I’d expect Benson to be a point per game guy during his remaining time in the American Hockey League. While he is down there he can continue to work on his quickness and be ready for the call up when it inevitably comes. I still expect him to get 10 to 15 games in Edmonton this season.
Even though Marody produced in the pre-season the book on him remains the same. There is a very good chance that Marody will one day be a regular in the NHL but he won’t be in Edmonton for good until his speed improves a bit. The offensive instincts are there, he’ll get more than a taste of the show this year at some point.
Break out the erasers. Jones was pretty much pencilled into every mock Oilers line up this past off-season. Turns out, none of us has a clue about anything. Jones is capable of playing both sides of the ice but Dave Tippett has made it very, very, very clear he likes the lefty, righty set up on the blueline. With Klefbom, Nurse and Russell locked in on the left side I’m more than ok with Jones being back in Bakersfield as opposed to in the press box at Rogers Place. Look at the d-men still fighting for a job, Persson, Bouchard and Bear can all move the puck and are all right-handed shots.
William Lagesson is a lefty but he seems like a good guy to have around as a number seven. Then there is Brandon Manning, no comment, for now.
No rush for Maksimov as he begins his first season as a pro. I’d hope that he’s a solid offensive contributor in the second half of the Condors season.
For the second consecutive year, it was a strong showing in camp from Ryan McLeod. He skates well enough to play in the NHL right now but will need at least a year in the American League to learn the ins and outs of pro hockey. He seems destined to be the Oilers third-line centre for the next seven years.
He’s on an AHL deal, brought in to provide toughness whenever called upon.
Set to battle with Stuart Skinner for the right to back up Shane Starrett in Bako. I love the fact that Skinner and Wells are not only pushing each other for ice-time but keeping Starrett on his toes as well.
The potential of Dmitri Samorukov is exciting. Depending on how this season goes I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a long look in camp next year but he’s most likely set for an arrival at some point during the 20-21 season. He should be part of a great blue line in Bakersfield.
Currie played 21 games for the Oilers last season, and I’m not sure he hits that number again but will certainly provide a veteran presence for Jay Woodcroft in Bakersfield.
With 29 goals in 50 games, he was the leading goal scorer in Bako last season. He wasn’t able to find the back of the net in 15 games with the Oilers and likely won’t see that much of an opportunity again with improved depth in the bottom six.
Jay Woodcroft’s designated leader in the American Hockey League will continue to play the same role he did last season. He’s carving out a nice AHL career.
Brad Malone’s role in this organization is now about helping the young forwards in Bakersfield become everyday players. Pointless in 16 games with the big club last season, I’d be shocked to see him around that much this year.
Hebig was close to .5 points per game as a rookie in the AHL last season and will once again be fighting for an offensive opportunity with the minor league squad. His rookie season kind of flew under the radar last season but I do think it was something positive to build on.
The Oilers have 33 players remaining in camp, 19 forwards, 11 defenseman and 3 goalies. Ten more players will soon have a ticket down to Bakersfield waiting for them, and when they do we’ll take a look at what we should reasonably expect this upcoming season.
Previously by Dustin Nielson:
- Eye on Training Camp
- Target in Tampa
- TEN TIDBITS: Jesse Puljujarvi Edition
- Lucky Number Six
- TEN TIDBITS: August Edition