Another quick blog since #HoltySabbatical rolls on, but there was contract news made this week that we need to put into context.

Again, you may want lengthy blogs, but the weather is nice, I’m not in an office, and as I’ll remind, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want.

Now for the blog…

We start with the big news yesterday that Josh Currie was signed to a two-year NHL contract by the Edmonton Oilers. He was already under AHL contract for next season, but that gets torn up now and year one of the NHL deal starts this season.

The NHL contract is a major reward for the 25-year old who started in the ECHL five seasons ago, earned an AHL contract midway through the 2015-16 season, and then led the 2017-18 Condors in scoring.

Reading between the lines, it’s my guess that Currie had other NHL teams interested in signing since he’s registered 106 points (52g-54a) in 188 AHL games. The contract is a testament to his dedication to doing whatever is asked of him.

Saw some tweets and comments that Josh is now gone, never to return again. And while it’s everyone’s hope he makes the Oilers out of training camp and never comes back, the contract mostly makes it much easier for him to be recalled from Bakersfield. The majority of players in Bakersfield are under NHL contract and along with a pay raise, Currie will be a very attractive recall option if he continues to produce the way he has over the past three seasons.

Not only is Currie first in the team’s AHL history in goals, he’s second in games, assists, and points. Depending on how the next two seasons play out, Currie could end up in the top five in points among Condors all-time and in the top three in games played. Pretty remarkable.

Another contract was signed this week as the Oilers inked their recent first round draft pick, Evan Bouchard. Now, he only has two options for next season. Either he makes the Oilers and stays past nine games played, thus activating the first year of his three-year contract. OR he doesn’t play more than nine games and is sent back to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). He is not eligible to play in the AHL because of an agreement between the Canadian junior leagues and the NHL which says players drafted out of those junior leagues must complete their junior eligibility before playing in the AHL. Typically (not always), that’s two seasons after being drafted.

Which brings me to this article from Alan Mitchell in The Athletic on the need for a “bridge league” to develop players for the NHL. I’m on Alan’s show on TSN in Edmonton often and I’m not saying he is wrong, but to me there is already a “bridge league” in place to develop high-end players immediately, if an NHL team selects that option.

In my mind, that’s the AHL. I get every sport is different and that junior hockey (on a lesser scale) is a money maker. In the same sense Kentucky basketball and Ohio State football want players to be forced to play there, it’s the same in hockey. Do I agree with it? Not in the slightest. But, it’s not my decision. My feeling would be to allow the option for NHL teams to assign any 18-19 year old to the AHL and still keep the “slide rule” where the player’s contract would not kick in until he reaches 20 years old or a certain amount of NHL games played. Does not mean you have to assign a player to the AHL. I’m just in favor of having the option.

LOCK OF THE WEEK? I know his first round is already over, but I’m still on the Rickie Fowler train to win The Open this weekend.

I want to end the blog with special recognition to Weymouth police officer and Army Veteran Michael Chesna, who was killed in the line of duty on Sunday morning here in Weymouth. It’s a small town of around 50,000 and has certainly been felt around the area. As I’ve said often, I’m always in awe of those (police, fire, military, doctors, nurses etc.) who do things on a daily basis that I couldn’t even imagine of having to do. He is being laid to rest tomorrow and my thoughts are with his wife and two young kids.

Until next time Condorstown…

Ryan Holt aka Holty is the Voice of the Condors and will enter his 8th season in Condorstown whenever he decides to return from vacation. Follow him on Twitter @CondorsHolty for more nonsense or shoot him an e-mail to RHolt@BakersfieldCondors.com with questions, comments, and blog ideas.