This is the final Holty Sabbatical blog of 2017, so let’s make it a good one. Hope everyone enjoyed the holiday this week as mostly everyone outside of Holty’s Blog authors get back on the work grind.
You may like vacation blogs, and that’s fine, but as I’ll remind you, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want. And sometimes I have to go back to work.
Now for the blog…
– Big week for the Oilers in the free agency department as the organization added eight players with significant American Hockey League experience. We’ve talked on the blog before about the fact there were significant gaps with the team’s roster before July 1 and now that free agency is underway in earnest, the potential roster is starting to take shape. While we never like to say “player X will for sure be in Bakersfield,” it’s only natural to look at players with mostly AHL careers and see them as fits in Condorstown.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) July 1, 2017
– FORWARDS: this was easily the biggest need. There were zero forward draft picks who would join the team this year, so a few college/junior free agents were signed at the tail end of the season and then on Saturday, many of the veteran roles were handled.
– RW Mitch Callahan – AHL veteran who has won two Calder Cups with Grand Rapids and is the type of the player teams hate playing against
Todd Nelson on Mitch Callahan, “Love Mitch, He’s that greasy guy you go to war with on the front lines…sneaky tough, can put up points”
— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) July 1, 2017
– C Grayson Downing – Had 19 goals and 40 points in 59 games his rookie year two seasons ago with Iowa. Hopefully he can find that form
– RW Brian Ferlin – 2011 4th round draft pick of Boston who has 34 points (17g-17a) in 78 AHL games, but has had some injury trouble the past two seasons
– C Brad Malone – solid veteran who has nearly 200 NHL games under his belt at 28 years old. He’s not a big-time scorer, but is a solid two-way, veteran presence.
– RW Ty Rattie – had a strange season last year where he was up and down between Chicago / St. Louis / Carolina often. Fact is he a proven AHL scorer with 141 points (71g-70a) in 215 games. He’s 24 years old and doesn’t qualify as a veteran.
– DEFENSE: Dillon Simpson received an offer sheet meaning he’s likely to return to the organization, Mark Fayne still has a year on his contract, and there is an impressive crop of rookies who will join the ranks this season. When I asked Gerry Fleming a few weeks ago what he wanted for this group “we need one or two more veteran guys there.” And that’s what happened.
– D Keegan Lowe – son of Oilers Vice-Chair Kevin, he’ll qualify as a vet exempt this year at 24 years old and nearly 300 games played.
– D Ryan Stanton – 27 years old, but has over 450 games played in the AHL and NHL. Rugged, defense-first d-man who can be counted on in all situations.
GOALTENDERS: This was the area I wasn’t sure which road the organization would take. Would they sign an NHL veteran to battle with Laurent Brossoit? Would they sign an AHL veteran to tandem with Nick Ellis? Would they stand pat? While there is still a long way to go until opening night, one question was answered this week.
– G Eddie Pasquale – went 15-9-2 with a 2.43 GAA and a .919 save percentage last season with the Grand Rapids Griffins as Jared Coreau’s backup for the Calder Cup champions.
– In other news, LW Joey LaLeggia opted for salary arbitration as is his right. He can still work out a deal with the team until the hearing, or the arbitrator will decide on a number and the two sides can go from there. I think once the dust settles on current players who still need to be signed, the Oilers will have 45 of a possible 50 under contract. Does not mean they’ll get to 50 this offseason, but there is room still.
Joey LaLeggia opts for salary arbitration with the Oilers.
— Reid Wilkins (@ReidWilkins) July 5, 2017
– Oilers TV caught up with Gerry Fleming at development camp.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) July 2, 2017
– Also at development camp there are plenty of videos of potential future Condors, including this one of Joe Gambardella who joined the team late last year as a free agent and spoke on his time in Bakersfield.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) July 2, 2017
-While the potential roster is maxed out with veterans (Hamilton, Callahan, Malone, Fayne, Stanton, Lowe), I would expect more player signings. I think there are still jobs to be had up front. For all the latest on offseason signings, click here
Until next time, and from a different coast, Condorstown…
Ryan Holt, aka Holty,is the voice of the Condors and enters his 7th season in the organization this year. He went on a boat trip yesterday and didn’t burn, so that’s a positive. Follow him on Twitter @CondorsHolty or shoot him an e-mail to RHolt@bakersfieldcondors.com with questions, comments, or blog suggestions