Edmonton Oilers Prospect Report: Everyone loves an underdog

Photo credit:Bakersfield Condors
Bruce Curlock
6 months ago
The best player from the University of Denver playing for Bakersfield Condors is not Carter Savoie. This might not be a “hot take,” given Savoie has amassed two assists in 13 games. However, I would imagine it may be a surprise for some that there is even another Denver Pioneer on this team. His name is Cameron Wright.
He’s a 25-year-old right-winger who has travelled quite a path to get to Bakersfield. He spent four seasons with Bowling Green State University before transferring to the Pioneers for the 2021-22 season, playing on the team with Carter Savoie. Wright was never drafted and ultimately signed an ECHL contract with the Utah Grizzlies. He totalled 29-34-65 in 66 games, along with a whopping 136 penalty minutes. The Oilers brought him in on a tryout basis this September and he ended up in Fort Wayne on an AHL/ECHL agreement. He lasted four games before rejoining the Condors due to a combination of call-ups and injuries.
He’s played nine games recording three goals and two assists for five points putting him in a tie for ninth on the team. While these may seem like modest totals, Wright is starting to find his groove and in an organization not exactly enriched with prospect capital, he’s making a name for himself. More on Wright, a new wrinkle for Raphael Lavoie and the new Pat Maroon this week in the Edmonton Oilers Prospect Report.

What Did I See This Week?

Cameron Wright

The Condors had one of their first meaningful schedule weeks, finally playing three games in seven days. I believe this team has struggled to find its form with all the space in their schedule. The team has played only 15 games, the lowest total in the entire AHL by two games. Most teams in the AHL have played 19 to 20 games by now. Nevertheless, the team got rolling this week, and Cameron Wright took advantage. In his three games this week, Wright tallied three goals and added eight shots on net. His goals were a bit of everything. This one is my favourite from his week for a few reasons. First, he comes from deep down in his zone where he was defending well. His skating is not brilliant, but it is strong enough to challenge opposition players. At the blueline, he really shows some nice edgework to gather the puck while remaining onside for an attack. Finally, he lets fly a sneaky wrist shot with minimal tell and goes top shelf.

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His next goal came off a part of his game that has gotten the attention of his coaches: his relentless play. Watch this entire sequence. His feet never stop moving. He is always working to gain the puck when he’s on it and when he’s off it, he is working to space to be available. In addition, when he sees a set-up coming for a shot attempt, he goes net front without concern.

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It’s not always pretty, but it is very effective for the most part.
This last goal I really like from the perspective of his reading and reaction skills. Watch him scan the ice in front of him when he knows the puck is headed to Hoefenmeyer. He immediately jumps down into a hole, calling for the puck. The other part I really like is the release. On the stick and off the stick in a hurry with a great finish.

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Now, Wright is 25, so what you see is what you likely get with him now. However, he is a high-energy player who definitely makes his presence known to the opposition in a pesky way. He definitely has some good offensive skills. While his skating isn’t splendid, it is not a negative trait. The question now is whether Wright caught lightning in a bottle this week or if this is the start of something good in long term. This would be a positive development for a team that has a lot of prospects forward struggling with what he did this week: score.

Raphael Lavoie

Lavoie had a quieter week than previous ones with only one goal to show for his work in three games. He did add a healthy 15 shots and, as we will see, should have had a second goal this week.  His goal was an example of what he is known for in Oiler fandom.

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Really, there is nothing more to be said here. For sure, this is NHL-level calibre. Whether he gets a chance to try and find his role there again is anyone’s guess.
Lavoie himself has not given up on the dream. This week, we saw a new part of his game. The penalty kill. Now it should be noted, that he played this role in junior. However, he has not performed in this role as a professional. This week, that all changed. Lavoie played healthy time on the second forward group rotation. The penalty kill went 10-13 this week, and Lavoie was on for one goal against. However, he did not look out of place. He was aggressive in attacking players. Perhaps a little too much sometimes. He had no issue getting into lanes to block shots when called for. Overall, he had a lot of shifts that looked a lot like this one including the short-handed attack.

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He was about a quarter of an inch from his first professional short-handed goal. He has excellent stick skills, which were quite noticeable all week on the penalty kill. I expect to see him more on the penalty kill as the season progresses.

Shane Lachance

Another week, another couple of goals for Lachance. This week, he took advantage of his incredible size and hands on the powerplay to make his presence known.  I received a lot of questions about how imposing Lachance is on the ice. Watch this goal here.

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Look at his stature relative to the penaltykillers on the Merrimack team. He towers over everyone. Also, a quick note that Lachance takes the face-off on every powerplay start. He’s really quite good at it as well.
His second goal shows the part of his game that genuinely is exciting. He has tremendous hands for a big man. Watch him post-up on the net front, take the goalies’ eyes away and then make a deft deflection for a goal.

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Thigh high shot on his weak side and he has the body control to work to get a deflection. Impressive stuff from Lachance. He’s now up 5-6-11 in 16 games as a freshman at Boston University. The question we will want to answer is whether his footwork will get him to these spots as a professional. The hands and size are certainly pro-level. If the skating can get to an average level, then there truly is a professional player here.

News and Notes

In some other quick notes, Tyler Tullio played his first game of the season with the Condors after suffering some sort of wrist/hand injury. He picked up a powerplay assist and was his tenacious self again.
Xavier Bourgault has 1-1-2 in three games this week looking more engaged and with more command of the puck. He needs to string some games together.
Jake Chiasson is off to a tough start as a professional. He is 1-2-3 in 12 games in the ECHL. He started the year on the injured reserve and his game has really struggled to come together. Playing a 20 year-old season in the WHL might have been a better course for him.
That’s it for this week’s edition of the Edmonton Oilers Prospect Report. See you back here next Sunday.

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