Edmonton Oilers: Bakersfield Condors Season in Review


The Edmonton Oilers farm team the Bakersfield Condors season came to end after the game on April 16. Not for a lack of trying as they finished just behind the San Jose Barracuda in the Pacific Division.

With the new Pacific Division in the AHL this year the standings were not determined by points but instead the standings were determined by Point Percentage. This came about because the California teams in new Pacific division would not be able to play 76 and have proper player development. The travel for these teams was unruly as they would have been forced to play back-to-back-to-back games on a regular basis.

These teams were relocated to California to allow for easier recall of players to their NHL teams. Edmonton’s former AHL team was in Oklahoma City which required a long flight to recall players, especially if the team was on an east coast road trip.

Those players would then be playing earlier in the day so if the Oilers needed to recall someone it may have been mid game by the time they knew it. By moving the team to Bakersfield the Oilers could recall someone early in a day and have them in the lineup that night.

Back to the season the Condors fell 2 points or 0.015 win percentage short of the San Jose for the final playoff spot even after they won their last 3 games to close out the season. The Condors were not the most flashy offensive team in the league as they did not have a marquee named player on their roster for most of the season.

They did have some very good players on the team to begin the season with names like Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse. But after the Edmonton Oilers had injuries and poor play from some veterans Draisaitl and Nurse were called up after 6 games.

The Condors were then saddled with some poor players throughout the season as well. Ben Scrivens, Nikita Nikitin, Luke Gazdic, and Mark Fayne all played stints with the Condors this season. While the Oilers recalled Jujhar Khaira for 15 games, Jordan Oesterle for 17, Andrew Miller for 6, Griffin Reinhart for 29, Brad Hunt for 7, Laurent Brossoit for 5 games, and Anton Slepyshev started the season with the Oilers for 11 games.

Going through the Condors line up they were led in points by career AHLers Matthew Ford, Brad Hunt, Andrew Miller, and Ryan Hamilton. This led to big reliance on the defense and goaltender to win a lot of close games for the team. Brossoit was an AHL all-star this season and was the back bone of the team the entire season and finished with 18 wins with 2.66 GAA and SV% of 0.920 in 31 games played.

Brossoit was called up to the Oilers on February 27th and the Condors record after he left was 5-8-4 which isn’t terrible but sub 500 hockey for a team in the thick of a playoff hunt is not going to get a team into the playoffs.

This team was very young this year on the blueline behind hunt where most of the players were only in their second or third professional season. There is bound to be some player turnover on this team as Peter Chiarelli looks to transform both rosters to bigger and heavier to play against. This will come through the draft and college player signings this summer as historically Chiarelli prefers younger minor league teams.

Had the Condors won one or two more games this season they would have made the playoffs and would still be playing hockey. It would have been a great opportunity for Reinhart, Brossoit, Nurse, and Oesterle to be playing meaningful playoff games at this time of year after they were sent down on April 11th.

Next: Edmonton Oilers Free Agent Tracker: D Korbinian Holzer

The Oilers really need the Condors to become a stronger development team for future players in the organization. Player development has been a weak spot and a major reason for the decade of decay in Edmonton. No longer can you have veteran AHLers lead your team in important ice time as young prospects need to play in those situations to become NHL calibre players quicker.