It’s a cool and comfortable 72 degrees as I write this blog from the east coast. I don’t want to give out my exact location though for fear of the hordes of people coming down to disrupt #HoltySabbatical2017.

You may want to disrupt my vacation, and that’s fine, but as I’ll remind you, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want.

Now for the blog…

Sad news to start the blog as Oilers legend, two-time Stanley Cup winner, and one of the most feared players in hockey history, Dave Semenko, passed away this morning after being diagnosed with cancer recently. Dave played in the Outdoor Classic Alumni Game in January and from brief interactions with him, you could tell he just enjoyed being there and was very gracious with his time.

When Semenko was introduced to the crowd that night, the Kings mascot went over to shadow box him, and Semenko caught him with a quick jab. I don’t remember interacting with everyone that night, but he was certainly the type of person who left an impact when you met him.

The Oilers selected seven players over the weekend at the NHL Draft. You can view the list here. I’m not going to pretend I’ve watched a minute of any of these seven players play, so my only opinion I’ll offer up is that I firmly believe a player 18+ years of age, of any nationality, should be able to play in the AHL if an NHL club wants them to play there.

As it stands now, we’re still 2-3 years (depending on current age) from seeing those drafted this year. To me, it serves no purpose to have players at 19-20 scoring 40+ goals and 100+ points against 16 year olds since you will likely never see them do that again. Maybe change entry level deals to where the AHL does not burn a year of the contract. But the current “if you’re drafted out of Canadian Major Junior you can’t play in the AHL until your 20-year old year” rule only hinders the player in my opinion.

Speaking of those prospects, the Oilers will hold development camp beginning this weekend featuring current and future Condors. The entire Condors coaching staff will be there to get an early look at some potential key pieces of the puzzle this upcoming season.

Edmonton extended qualifying offers to Leon Draisaitl, Joey LaLeggia, Dillon Simpson, and Bogdan Yakimov. What does this mean? Well for now, it keeps the player’s rights with the Oilers and in the case of LaLeggia and Simpson, it’s safe to assume that they’ll be in Edmonton/Bakersfield next season. The caveat would be that they would have to clear waivers if sent down. In the case of Yakimov, who spent last season in Russia, the Oilers retain his rights. I don’t see him returning to Bakersfield, but hey you never know.

I mean what a difference a year makes. LaLeggia enters this season as one of the top prospects on the wing that the Oilers have. He basically had 20 goals in half a season on the wing. What can he do with a full season there?

On the back end, with Mark Fayne under contract as well, Simpson would certainly be a welcome addition. He’s not a veteran, but with three full seasons and 180+ AHL games, he’s a proven commodity back there.

NHL free agency opens on Saturday. As I’ve said a few times now, I think there are definitely some holes to fill, especially up front, at the AHL level. We’ll see how quickly things move along here.

– Lock of the week? That I will stay in my comfort zone this weekend. I’ll be live in Rochester for the wedding of Condors equipment manager Nick Lazor and his wife Emily and let’s just say that a dance floor is no place for Holty to be. Congrats to them!

Until next time Condorstown…

Ryan Holt aka Holty is the Voice of the Condors and enters his 7th season in Condorstown this year. Humpty Dance is the go-to wedding song. Follow him on Twitter @CondorsHolty for more nonsense or shoot him an e-mail to RHolt@bakersfieldcondors.com with questions, comments, or blog ideas.