Edmonton Oilers: Condors That Deserve NHL Time

Sep 21, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Joey Laleggia (84) shoot the puck against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 21, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Joey Laleggia (84) shoot the puck against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

With the Edmonton Oilers set to be sellers at this year’s trade deadline,  they will need several players from the Bakersfield Condors to fill roster spots.

This represents an excellent opportunity to reward prospects that have been performing on the farm team and give them a chance to impress Todd McLellan and Peter Chiarelli. The Oilers prospects listed below deserve serious consideration for NHL action.

Jujhar Khaira

Since being sent back down to Bakersfield, Khaira has elevated his game to another level. With 14 points in his last 13 games, he is producing at over a point per game, as well as engaging in his fair share of the rough stuff. As seen with Luke Gazdic’s demotion, the NHL clubs are becoming increasingly wary of having a designated tough guy who doesn’t do much else. Within the Oilers organization, Khaira represents that next wave of tough guys, as he combines a physical edge and mean streak with some scoring touch and playmaking ability. He is a candidate to play 10+ games past the trade deadline.

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Tyler Pitlick

When Pitlick is healthy he has proven a capable enough bottom six NHL player with the ability to slide up and play with more offensive guys. As alluded to the major concern with this player is health. Can he stay healthy enough to contribute? And does he have enough talent for the Oilers to justify giving him another contract? He’s played well since coming back from injury and deserves a hard look from management in order to fully suss out whether this kid is an asset or not.

Jordan Oesterle

If this man held the stick on the right side of his body as opposed to his left, he may have already seen a call up this year. This smooth skating D-man is having a solid year on the farm team with boxcars of 2-18-20 in 37 games played. Plays a similar game to Justin Schultz so it is likely not too early to peg this guy as a future Norris trophy candidate. Jokes aside he could be a logical internal replacement for Schultz, post trade deadline.

Joey Laleggia

Small shifty left shot defenseman, who looked fantastic in 3 on 3 situations in the prospects camp. He has spent a couple of games playing forward in Bakersfield, but is first and foremost a defenseman. Born one day ahead of Oesterle, both defenseman took the college route and will be 24 years old by the start of next season. It is important that the Oilers size up these two guys soon to see if they have NHL potential.

Griffin Reinhart

Unlike the two defenders previous, Reinhart has already played NHL games this year. Unfortunately for him, and due to no fault of his own, his success is under a greater microscope given the assets given up to acquire him.

For the sake of Reinhart’s development, he should see the majority of his playing time in the AHL. That being said, Reinhart is a smart player who would be well served to get a couple more NHL games so he can get better acclimatized to the speed of the NHL, and hopefully be ready for regular duty come next season.

Once established Reinhart will enjoy a lengthy NHL career, and given his draft pedigree he will get opportunities to succeed. Due to the log-jam of left shots on the blue line however, it is unclear if he will spend much of his career with the Oilers. What is clear is that in order for the Oilers to properly assess this player he needs to see some more NHL action.

Laurent Brossoit

If Ben Scrivens taught this organization anything, it is that any goalie can shine for one game. So far both of Brossoit’s two call-ups have been for single game auditions, where he has admittedly shined, but it is now time for him to prove himself with a more substantive opportunity.

The asterisk for this player is the play of regular NHL back up Anders Nilsson, whom after dazzling in early December has fallen out of favour with fans and the coaching staff. Unless Nilsson regains his December form, it is more important for the Oilers to gauge whether Brossoit is ready to be the full-time back up next year, then to have Nilsson start any more games.

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