Seeing as how this is the last blog of the month of May, let’s hop on into Holty’s Time Machine and hit the reset button… What has happened over the last five months?
By the way there is no blog next week since our office is closed. As I’ll remind you, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want, but if @PrezRiles gives you days off, you say thank you.
Now for the blog…
OK, so in the past five months, in order:
– Bakersfield was announced as one of five cities gaining an American Hockey League (AHL) franchise in California
– “Condors” was revealed as the AHL team name to delight of the capacity crowd of nearly 9,000 at Rabobank Arena
– Brand-new logo, branding the Condors with the Oilers unveiled to hundreds at the Bakersfield Marriott, poolside, because we’re fun like that
– Demolition, construction, and expansion of team facilities and offices at Rabobank Arena to make it one of the elite facilities in the AHL began
– Team was announced as part of the 7-team Pacific Division with the Cali-5 and the Texas-2.
Not bad right? Couple that with everything that has gone on in Edmonton: winning the draft lottery and the #1 overall pick at the NHL Draft in June, hiring Todd McLellan as their new head coach, and even releasing this incredible time lapse video of their brand new Rogers Place and entertainment district being constructed. Exciting times are ahead for Edmonton and Bakersfield.
Yesterday brought the next marker on the “Condors are going to the AHL” transition with the signing of three players, G Ty Rimmer and wingers Braden Christoffer and Connor Rankin to AHL contracts. Certainly the bulk of AHL teams are made up of players on NHL contracts, but we will not know which of those players will be in Bakersfield until late September / early October. As I tweeted yesterday, do not expect regular signings throughout the summer as in years past, because the AHL just does not work that way. The vast majority of players you will see in October are already under NHL contract with Edmonton and will make their way to Condorstown.
One such player who could potentially hit Condorstown next season was signed yesterday by the Oilers, winger Anton Slepyshev. He’s spent the past few seasons in the KHL (Russia’s top league) after being drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NHL Draft. At the very least, that’s a fun name to say.
Will he be in Edmonton or Bakersfield next season? Who knows. Maybe he comes to Oilers camp and wows everyone earning a spot with the big club. Or maybe they feel time in Condorstown would best suit his career path. Either way, players signing entry-level contracts over the past few months and this summer are the ones Condors fans should keep their eye on for potentially playing here because they are 1) typically younger prospects and 2) easier to send down because they do not need to go on the waiver wire. Entry-level contracts are “two-ways” meaning players earn X at the NHL level and Y at the AHL level.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy the fun off-season. Oh, and if you live near Riverlakes tomorrow and golf balls hit your house between 12:30 – 5 p.m., that’s probably me playing through.
Until next time Condorstown…
Ryan Holt enters his fifth season in Condorstown in 2015-16. No really, he apologizes if he takes out your window with a golf ball on Friday. Follow him on Twitter @CondorsHolty and shoot him an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for blog ideas and other nonsense.