The busy offseason weeks continued this week with the rounding out of a coaching staff and the first batch of player signings. Certainly creates plenty of offseason blog content.

You may like blogs with no content, but as I’ll remind you, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want.

Now for the blog…

Let’s start with the addition of Dave Manson to the coaching staff. As I mentioned in the blog last week, J-F Houle is on board as well and both will serve as assistant coaches for Jay Woodcroft. Dave played 16 seasons in the NHL, was drafted in the first round, and oh yeah, is 13th on the NHL’s all-time penalty minutes list. It’s nice to know I won’t have to be the road staff enforcer any longer!

In all seriousness, I liked what Dave said yesterday on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer regarding getting through to players today. He said his experience in the NHL as a d-man will resonate with those trying to get there, because he’s not asking them to do anything he hasn’t already done.

One of the players he’ll work closely with was re-signed to a two-year deal earlier this week, Keegan Lowe. He’s the type of player that provides leadership at the AHL level and can plug into an Oilers lineup as needed. Personally, I think he gets a lot of unfair expectations put on him because of his last name, but he had a solid year in Bakersfield last year. He’s only 25 and will be a very good player in the organization.

The Condors also signed five players to AHL contracts with three who have been in Bakersfield prior. Evan Polei led the team in fighting majors and certainly brought physicality to the lineup. Braden Christoffer stays in the organization and you know the work ethic he’ll bring on any given night. The other name familiar to Condors fans is Logan Day, who joined the team out of Endicott College. He had two goals in his brief time in Bakersfield and earned the deal. He’s a right shot and certainly provides depth on the backend.

What’s next on the player front Holty? Well, first is the NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22-23. Oilers broadcaster Jack Michaels sat down with Olivier Rodrigue, son of Oilers/Condors goaltending coach Sylvain at the NHL combine last week. Olivier is top rated North American goaltender in the draft.

Then, June 25 is the deadline to submit offers for restricted free agents. Braden Christoffer was a RFA, but he’s off the board now. The three players left from the Condors season last year are Ben Betker, Kyle Platzer, and Patrick Russell. If they are not retained by the Oilers on June 25, they would be free to sign elsewhere on July 1.

July 1 is the opening of NHL free agency. Players who fall into this category from the Condors already are Laurent Brossoit, Joey LaLeggia, Dillon Simpson, and Grayson Downing. They will be free to sign wherever come that day. In terms of who may be signed for Bakersfield, I think there will be fewer players than last summer, because there are fewer gaps in the roster. I’d expect 3-4 NHL contracts that are signed after July 1 who end up in Bakersfield.

Former Condors Head Coach Troy Mann was the subject of an AP article this week on the success of players he’s worked with now in Washington. I think we’ll see him named a head coach in the AHL for next season, but just remains to be seen where he ends up.

Speaking of coaching changes, there was a lot of activity in the AHL’s Western Conference this past week. The Heat named Cail MacLean as their next head coach after Ryan Huska left to be an assistant in Calgary. San Antonio hired Drew Bannister from the Soo Greyhounds. Milwaukee Head Coach Dean Evason left to be an assistant coach in Minnesota with the Wild. That leaves Tucson, Milwaukee, Belleville, Colorado and Hershey looking for head coaches in the AHL. Plus, the New York Islanders cleaned house Tuesday and will have to fill their coaching vacancies. There is still a ton of movement to happen.

I said last week I’d write this blog with the Capitals up 3-1. As Pierre would say “bang on.” Vegas wins tonight, Capitals win Sunday, and Ovechkin gets the Conn Smythe.

LOCK OF THE WEEK: As we all know, life’s too short to bet the favorites. That said, when only 12 horses in 100 years have won the Triple Crown, is the favorite really a favorite? Justify goes for the elusive title on Saturday in the Belmont Stakes.

He doesn’t get it. Really didn’t like the way he finished the much shorter and much easier field at the Preakness two weeks ago. That, and he’s out of post position 1 on Saturday. The last winner from 1 was in 2003. I don’t even think Justify hits the board.

I’m going back to the rested #HoltysBlog Derby Pick: (8) Vino Rosso, owned in part by Florida Panthers owner Vinny Viola. Rested, good post, and good distance bloodlines.

Give me (8) Vino Rosso over (4) Hofburg and (9) Noble Indy

Until next time Condorstown…

Ryan Holt aka Holty is the Voice of the Condors and enters his 8th season in 2018-19. The AHL League Meetings are in Des Moines, Iowa in a few weeks. Probably because Pierre, South Dakota was taken. Follow him on Twitter @CondorsHolty for more nonsense or shoot him an e-mail to RHolt@BakersfieldCondors.com with questions, comments, or blog ideas.