Oilers Prospect Update

By pbadmin

Guide: 1 star – awful
2 stars – dissapointing
3 stars – did what was supposed to do, nothing more nothing less
4 stars- exceeded expectations
5 stars – created new expectations

1- Michel Riesen

After a rocky start with the Hamilton Bulldogs in which Riesen recorded only 13 points in 45 games Riesen has begun to pick up the pace. In his past nine games Riesen has recorded seven points, not much to get excited about however at the start of the year Riesen was playing with fear. His fear has dissipated and he now looks as though he has regained the confidence that he once had. He no longer shies away from contact and the corners are a place he will venture to. It appears as though the fear that he played with may have been brought on by his vast amount of injuries in the past year. He seems to be getting over that and the Oilers organization is very glad. They are looking for him to step up to the team next season as either Pat Falloon, Rem Murray or Alex Selivanov will be claimed by the expansion Atlanta Thrashers. He will be looked upon to make the team and possibly be the second line right winger, and maybe even fill in the first line left wing spot that for the most part of this season has been a revolving door of players.

1998-99 Statistics
LEA GP G A PTS PIM PP SH GWG
AHL 54 5 15 20 6 3 0 1
WJC 6 0 4 4 4

Season Rating- 2 out of 5 stars
2- Micheal Henrich

He, like Riesen, also got off to a fairly rocky start. Often at times during the season he was bumped down from the first line (alongside Denis Shvidki and Daniel Tkaczuk) to the third line in favor of teammate Mike Christian. However he, like Riesen, has picked up his game as well. He finished off the 1998-99 season scoring 38 goals, 3 less then last year. Even though he scored three less goals, he still recorded 8 more points in 4 less games, a sign of improvement. At one point during the late part of the season he was on a 11 game point streak, in which he recorded 11 goals 7 assists and 18 points. His Barrie Colts finished up the regular season as the 4th ranked team in the entire CHL. He finished sixth in team scoring behind Sheldon Keefe, Daniel Tkaczuk, Denis Shvidki, Mike Jeffreson and Joel Dizainde. The Colts first play-off opponent was the Kingston Frontenacs, and they passed by them with ease, taking the series in 5 games. Henrich was not instrumental in the win, to say the least, he registered but 1 point in the series, however it was a beautiful assist, a true demonstration of his skill. He took the puck off the boards, and as a defender went to hit him, he hopped by the check while slipping the puck through the defenders legs, he then proceeded to slide a backhand pass through three pairs of skates right onto the stick of Daniel Tkaczuk. He and his Barrie Colts now are left to tackle the Oshawa Generals. Regardless of the way Henrich finishes the year he will either make the Oilers (which at this point is highly unlikely) next season or return to junior.

1998-99 Statistics
LEA GP G A PTS +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
OHL 62 38 33 71 37 42 11 0 5

Season Rating- 3 out of 5 stars
3-Georges Laraque

It is safe to say that Georges Laraque is no longer a prospect. He has claimed a regular shift and roster spot on the Edmonton Oilers. After starting the season in Hamilton Laraque has racked up 53 penalty minutes, including 9 fighting majors. He now is feared by most in the NHL, after an absolute thrashing of Buffalo’s Rob Ray (in which he landed 18 punches to 2) his challengers have been few and far between. The Rob Ray fight was his crowning achievement so far in his NHL career, other highlights include scoring his first ever NHL goal against the Phoenix Coyotes early on in the season (he got 2 that game) and demolishing Darren Van Impe of the Boston Bruins with an gargantuous bodycheck. The fear he strikes into opponents was apparent in one particular game against the Buffalo Sabres, he caused the turning point of the game. Todd Marchant had the puck and dumped it into the corner for a line change, Georges line was ready to step on the ice, Darryl Shannon the Buffalo defencman was going into the corner to get the puck, as Georges rumbled into the corner the crowd began to roar, Shannon looked up and just gave the puck to Laraque. He actually moved out of the way and ducked into the corner and left the puck for Georges. A goal was the result, Laraque did not receive an official assist, but without his reputation the play would not have unrolled in such a manor. Right now Georges has suffered a slight ankle injury and is listed as day-to-day, just one of many minor injuries that Georges has suffered throughout his career. Look for him to be a permanent cog in the Oilers wheel.

1998-99 Statistics
LEA GP G A PTS +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
AHL 25 6 8 14 -2 93 0 0 0
NHL 34 3 2 5 -1 53 0 0 0

Season Rating- 5 out of 5 stars
4-Steve Passmore

After having an awful training camp with the Oilers, Passmore earned a callup with stellar play in the minors. He was arguably the best goalie in the AHL, his play earned him a spot on the Canadian All-star team and the Player of the Week award from November 15th to the 21st. With the Oilers struggles in net he earned a mid-late season call up. He got the shot because the Oilers management wanted to see if he indeed was the Oilers goaltender of the future. Passmore went 1-4-1 in his stint with the Oilers. He showed promise with his style that was reminiscent of former Oiler goaltender Curtis Joseph. However he showed a knack for letting out huge rebounds into the slot area and was burnt several times on plays like that. If he were to eliminate the poor rebounds then he could definitly become a great goaltender in the NHL. After the Oilers acquired Tommy Salo from the New York Islanders in exchange for once promising centerman Mats Lindgren, Passmore was sent back to Hamilton. His focus now is on the Calder Cup, not the Stanley Cup. Passmore will most likely be the Oilers backup next year, for he will be cheaper and younger then Bob Essensa.

For more information on Passmore check out www.hockeysfuture.com/passmorearticle.html

1998-99 Statistics
LEA GP W L T GAA SV% SO
AHL 48 22 18 6 2.20 .931 4
NHL 6 1 4 1 2.82 .907 0

Season Rating- 4 out of 5 stars
5-Frederik Lindqvist

Lindqvist started the season with the Edmonton Oilers but found himself in Hamilton after one game. He had been the Bulldogs leading point man until recently. Chris Ferraro has overtaken him along with newcomer Vladmir Vorobiev. His play of late has been questionable, it seems as though he no longer wants to play in Hamilton. If the Oilers do not give him a shot this year, or he does not make the team next year he may fly the coop and head back to Sweden. It would be a shame because he has all the talent in the world, a pure play-making center. Too many times this season has his effort been lackluster. Its home run or bust with this guy, right now the needle is pointing to bust.

1998-99 Statistics
LEA GP G A PTS +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
AHL 49 15 33 48 14 16 3 0 2
NHL 8 0 0 0 -2 2 0 0 0

Season Rating – 2 out of 5 stars
6-Mathieu Descouteaux

He started of the season in Hamilton after a decent training camp. This is his second season in the AHL and his progress has been slow but steady. He’s not winning any fans with his offensive play, but of course that’s not his style. He’s just been the average stay at home physical defencman. The problem with him is that sometimes he still makes a poor giveaway or decision on the ice, however that should regulate itself with time. He has been rotated in and out of the lineup along with fellow prospect Chris Hajt, Kevin Bolibrouck and journeyman Jason Bowen. The defense right now is overloaded in Hamilton, they have many defensive type defencman that are in the Descouteaux mold. Watch for him to make a strong push in training camp next year, and if he does not make the team then he will be bounced up and down from Hamilton to Edmonton. With Frank Musil and Marty McSorley nearing the end of their careers it is time for players like Descouteaux and Hajt to step up their game and become full time NHLers.

1998-99 Statistics
LEA GP G A PTS +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
AHL 65 5 11 16 7 43 0 0 0

Season Rating- 3 out of 5 stars
7-Alexander Fomitchev

Fomitchev backstopped the Calgary Hitmen to a 2nd overall ranking in the CHL. The Hitmen are huge favorites to win the Memorial Cup, thanks in large part to the goaltending of Fomitchev. He earned a spot on the All-star team with his stellar play and was named Player of The Week during the November 16th to 22nd segment. His statistical line was very impressive. First in the WHL with 39 wins, Third in the WHL with a 2.57 GAA, and Fifth in Save Percentage. One of the main questions that the Oilers organization had about Fomitchev was, is he really a good goalie, or are the Hitmen just making him look good? He didn’t really answer that question, although his goaltending was superb he only faced an average of 25 shots per game. As of now the Calgary Hitmen are in a tough battle with the Kootenay Ice. Fomitchev has been less the stellar, to say the least. He has only faced an average of 24 shots per game and his Save Percentage is a ghastly .852. In one game he was pulled in favor of Brent Williams. However that is probably just a blip in the road for the Hitmen and Fomitchev. Next season look for Fomitchev to be on the Bulldogs roster.

1998-99 Statistics
LEA GP W L T GAA SV% SO
WHL 57 39 10 7 2.57 .901 4
play-offs
WHL 4 2 2 0 4.38 .852 0

Season Rating- 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
8-Chris Hajt

Hajt is just finishing up his first pro season. His play has been very good but he is suffering from the same overabundance on defense as counterpart Mathieu Descouteaux. Hajt’s game has been a little lacking in the physical department, but he still is young and it is his first year in the AHL. Descouteaux is a little further along in development then Hajt. Look for Hajt to be in the AHL next year and possibly the season after that.

1998-99 Statistics
LEA GP G A PTS +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
AHL 59 0 4 4 6 30 0 0 0

Season Rating- 3 out of 5 stars
9-Chad Hinz

Hinz has just capped off his most successful season ever. He finished up the year 4th in the WHL scoring race, but was only 1 point back from being 2nd. He and Jamie Lundmark are the reason that the Moose Jaw Warriors are having as successful a season as they are. The Warriors are facing the Swift Current Broncos, they have a stranglehold on the series with a 3-1 lead. Hinz again is the leader offensively for the Warriors registering 10 points in 4 games. If the Oilers miss the play-offs this season they may have a chance to draft counterpart Jamie Lundmark, if that were to happen the Oilers would posses the next Ray Whitney/Pat Falloon combination. Look for Hinz to be in a Bulldogs uniform next year.

1998-99 Statistics
LEA GP G A PTS +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
WHL 71 42 75 117 11 40 17 3 7
play-offs
WHL 4 1 9 10 5 0 1 0 1

Season Rating- 5 out of 5 stars
10-Peter Sarno

Peter Sarno has the distinction of being the highest scoring Edmonton Oilers prospect. Once again Sarno finished the season with the highest point total in the OHL, the first player since Marcel Dionne to accomplish that feat. He started off the season with the Windsor Sptifires but then was traded to the Sarnia Sting where he and linemate Ivan Novaseltsev flourished. He earned Player of The Week for the November 23rd to 29th segment and at one point he had a 15 game point streak, in which he totaled 11 goals, 21 assists for 32 points. His play helped the Sting climb into the play-offs, however they were eliminated in a six game series that pitted he against fellow Oiler draft pick Alex Henry. He potted 8 points in the six games but was effectively shut down by the end of the series. He is expected to join the Hamilton Bulldogs for the remainder of the season. Look for him to be in Bulldog blue next year.

1998-99 Statistics
LEA GP G A PTS +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
OHL 68 37 93 130 32 49 7 1 6
play-offs
OHL 6 1 7 8

Season Rating- 3 out of 5 stars
11-Paul Comrie

The talented winger playing for Denver of the Western Collegiate league has just finished up a successful collegiate career in which he potted 156 points in 139 games. He finished fourth in league scoring and received a surprising 98 penalty minutes a trademark of his feistiness. Comrie is expected to join the Hamilton Bulldogs for the remainder of the season due to Denver being knocked out of the play-offs. Look for Comrie to play with the Bulldogs next season, he will get a shot to make the Oilers but his chances are slim, however if he plays well a mid-season call up may not be out of the question next season.

1998-99 Statistics
LEA GP G A PTS PIM
WCHA 28 14 21 23 98

Season Rating- 3 out of 5 stars
12-Jason Chimera

Jason Chimera started off the season with a bang. His play was so stellar that he earned the rights to the Player of The Week award for the October 13th to the 19th segment. He continued his strong play and earned a spot on the Canadian National Junior squad. He opened alot of eyes in Winnipeg, he showcased his great speed, but he also showcased his lack of a scoring touch. He returned home with the silver medal. He was then traded from the Tigers to the Wheat Kings half way through the season. He finished the season sixth in team scoring and helped the Wheat Kings storm into the play-offs sporting a 7 game winning streak. The Wheat Kings faced the underdog Red Deer Rebels. A halt was put to the winning streak as the Rebels absolutely took apart the Wheat Kings in a swift 5 game series. Chimera had a decent series finishing third on team scoring. Chimera may join the Bulldogs for the remainder of the season, but the roster is already bulging with forwards.

1998-99 Statistics
LEA GP G A PTS +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
WJC 7 2 2 4 2
WHL 58 32 34 66 -16 166 8 0 2
play-offs
WHL 5 4 1 5 -3 8 0 2 1

Season Rating- 4 out of 5 stars
13-Alex Henry

Henry capped off his most successful season with his highest offensive output. The big steady stay at home defencman has really made a mark for himself this season. His play has shot him up the Oilers depth charts and he now would have to be considered their best prospect from the blueline. His play helped lead the London Knights, once the laughing stock of the hockey world (however they gladly relinquished that title to the Ice Dogs), into the play-offs. The Knights first round play-off opponent was the Sarnia Sting. Henry helped lead the Knights, who were the underdog, passed the Sting. He registered 2 goals and 3 points in the series, not bad for a defensive defencman. The Knights now face the hockey power of the CHL, the Plymouth Whalers. Look for Henry to play another year of junior next season.

1998-99 Statistics
LEA GP G A PTS +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
OHL 68 5 23 28 33 105 0 0 0
play-offs
OHL 6 2 1 3

Season Rating- 5 out of 5 stars

14-Brad Norton

Norton did what he was expected to do. After a strong training camp with the Oilers Norton found himself in Hamilton. Some strong play earned him a mid-season cup of coffee with the Oilers but he was returned before ever playing an NHL game. With the emergence of Georges Laraque and players such as Descouteaux, Hajt and Henry – Brad Norton is now considered a long shot prospect and may never see the NHL, at least not with the Oilers. His future is uncertain.

1998-99 Statistics
LEA GP G A PTS +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
AHL 57 1 8 9 125 0 0 0

Season Rating- 3 out of 5 stars
15-Adam Copeland

After a strong University career Copeland flopped. He scored but 9 points in 30 games for the Bulldogs and with the addition of Dan Cleary and Valdmir Vorobiev he was sent down to the ECHL. Look for him to have a tough time cracking the Bulldogs squad next year, let alone the Oilers.

1998-99 Statistics
LEA GP G A PTS +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
AHL 30 3 6 9 2 6 0 0 1

Season Rating- 1 out of 5 stars

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