Oilers AHL/ECHL update

By Guy Flaming

It has been a trying year for the minor league prospects of the Edmonton Oilers thanks to the unfortunate suspension of the Edmonton Road Runners, their AHL affiliate from 2004-05. The ramifications of the business decision made by the organization’s bean counters have hurt the development of key prospects and also prevented the club from signing and re-signing an array of free agents they would have inked to contracts in a normal year.

The Oilers have sprinkled players throughout the AHL this year. At one point, six teams in the American League have had an Oiler property playing for them at least temporarily. While the bulk of the prospects are playing for either the Hamilton Bulldogs or the Iowa Stars, Edmonton has also danced with the Portland Pirates, Hartford Wolf Pack, Grand Rapids Griffins and the Peoria Rivermen. Veteran goalie Ty Conklin played two games for Hartford, 26-year-old winger Nate DiCasmirro is playing for the Griffins and newly acquired minor leaguer Blake Evans will stay in Peoria until next year.

The following is a look at the rest of the players in the AHL, and ECHL affiliate Greenville Grrrowl.

Hamilton Bulldogs

Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, G

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Hamilton10363.28.890

There isn’t a prospect in the organization who has suffered more as a result of Edmonton not having its own affiliate than goaltender Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers. The Bulldogs, shared affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, have played 39 games, but Edmonton’s supposed goaltender of the future has appeared in just 10 of them.

Head coach Don Lever has had in unenviable task of trying to juggle as many as five different netminders for his two parent clubs and believe it or not, Montreal’s Yann Danis (MTL) has only played two more games than Drouin-Deslauriers.

“Jeff has had some really solid games, but then he backs it up with games where he really struggles but he seems to be getting under more control,” Lever told HF recently. “He really has to concentrate on his consistency; he gets himself all focused and ready to play but it’s almost like he gets too wired at times. He’s made strides slowly but it’s not fair because he doesn’t get enough net time. It’s not from lack of effort because he works really hard in practice. Pete Peeters has been here a couple of times and he needs more of that. Pete spends a lot of time with him when he’s out here and he needs that as much as possible.”

So far JDD has not recorded two wins inside one calendar month and has given up four or more goals in four of his nine starts. It has not been a good year for the 21-year-old but in all honesty, how much of that can be laid at his feet and how much blame should go to the scenario he is caught in this year?

Lever, a former impact player with the Vancouver Canucks as well as Calgary and Buffalo, says it’s too early to say for sure if Drouin-Deslauriers will be a future NHL caliber goalie but sees some positive signs.

“He’s definitely not right now, but you can tell that he has the size and the competitiveness. He needs to get that technique down,” said Lever. “It’s a slow process with goaltenders and what he needs is more games really and if we can get him that or not depends on our goaltender situation; if we get Danis back then he has to battle with him.”

The lack of game time for JDD has the Oilers considering all their options.

“We can’t have him sitting there for the second half of the year, we’re going to have to find a place for him to play or maybe convincing him to go to the ECHL for a couple weeks is maybe the best thing for him to do,” said Kevin Prendergast. “We tried to find another AHL team for him already and it’s just not feasible. It’s the No. 1 spot that everybody needs for one of their young players or they have somebody that they’re comfortable with so it would be just moving him to a different team with the same situation. We’re hoping that in the second half that he’ll get to play more.”

Mathieu Roy, D

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Hamilton3631013-773

Mathieu Roy was selected as the best defenseman of the Edmonton Road Runners in 2004-05 but so far 2005-06 has not been as strong a campaign for the likeable 22-year-old from St. Georges, Quebec. Roy is well behind his half a point a game pace from last year and coach Lever says that it’s due to trying too hard.

“He had trouble deciding what type of player he was going to be early; he was trying to do too much and that got him in trouble,” said Lever. “He took a big hit plus/minus-wise but in the last three weeks he’s played his best hockey. He started the year off very physical but again, he was trying to do everything so he was all over the ice and not reading the rush well and he struggled in his own end.”

Playing alongside veteran Dan Smith has helped Roy to regain his composure and has begun playing better a third of the way through the schedule. Although he was an important part of the Road Runners’ power play last year, the Bulldogs are using him more on the penalty killing units and he really only sees time with the man advantage when it’s a 5-on-3.

“We try to back him off on that and just use him as a penalty killer to get him to concentrate more on defense,” said Lever.

Roy ended 2005 on a bright note scoring four points in the last three games of the calendar year and then added two more in the debut outing of 2006 against Grand Rapids.

Danny Syvret, D

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Hamilton2401010-814

Defense has been a problem position in Hamilton this year. Early on there were too many blueliners, but more recently there has been a drastic shortage. Danny Syvret was affected by both scenarios.

Back in November the rookie pro was recalled by the Oilers and was personably able to describe the farm situation for Hockey’s Future.

“It’s tough with a dual affiliation; we had nine defensemen down there and you only dress six so the process of elimination, you’re going to be sitting every other game and it just so happens that four of those games I was a healthy scratch,’ Syvret said at the time. “That was tough for me because it was the first time for me ever sitting in a crowd watching the game.”

Syvret spent most of November as an Oiler but was reassigned to Hamilton to get more ice time and he has because the ‘Dogs blue line has been depleted. Dan Smith has been back and forth to Edmonton every few weeks, Andrew Archer (MTL) went down to injury and Columbus plucked Ron Hainsey off waivers.

“We’ve kind of made our minds up who the best six are but we’ve had to adjust to what’s been going on because there have been a lot of recalls so we’ve actually been down to four and five D at one time,” Lever sighed. “It’s been a rollercoaster.”

On the ice Syvret has been impressive for a rookie both in the AHL and in his stint with the Oil. He has composure and good instincts of a level more commonly found in players a couple years older and more experienced than Syvret is now.

“He’s got wonderful skating abilities and on-ice vision he just has to get the confidence with the offensive part and just play a bit better in his own end,” coach Lever described. “He has to get stronger and we try to work with him on that because his own end is the most important thing, he’s a defenseman so he has to defend but the other part comes naturally to him. He’s such a good skater so he gets involved with the rush. He’s getting more and more confidence down here and we’re seeing great strides in him.”

Marc-Antoine Pouliot, C

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Hamilton4081725-634

Considered the top offensive prospect in the farm system for the Oilers at the beginning of the year, Marc-Antoine Pouliot struggled early in Hamilton but that’s not unusual for a rookie coming out of junior. The natural center was shifted to the right wing by coach Lever in an attempt to jump start his game and it seems to have worked.

“I put Marc on right wing about three weeks ago and then he started to come on a bit and he had a seven or eight-game point streak,” Lever told HF. “He has great offensive skills as far as passing the puck and he does have better than average skating which we’re starting to see. It’s been the last two or three weeks where he’s started to come on and skating better and that’s made him a lot more effective.”

“He’s been switched all over too, from the second line to the third line, some power play then no power play, wing to center, and it’s been tough,” Prendergast sighed. “The thing is that he’s been playing. It might be different wingers every night or not at center but he’s used to playing the wing from his time in Rimouski so we’re not worried about that.”

Recently the 20-year-old from Quebec City has slid back into the middle out of necessity.

“We’ve had a couple recalls so I’ve had to move him back to center but he’s continued to play well,” the coach added. “He’s had trouble with his consistency and in his own end, but he’s getting better and better.”

Oiler fans like to compare Pouliot’s progress this year to that of New Jersey’s Zach Parise from a year ago because of the results of the 2003 draft when the Oilers and Devils swapped draft picks. For the record, Parise’s .79 PPG last year is ahead of Pouliot’s pace of .66 PPG but there was a second round pick involved in that trade.

Jean-Francois Jacques, LW

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Hamilton34111324-676

Edmonton’s used the pick acquired from the Devils in 2003 to select J.F. Jacques and haven’t looked back since. The 6’4, 220 lbs power forward rocketed out of the gate this year and lead the Bulldogs in scoring until injuring his wrist while delivering a patented ‘Jocko’ body check.

“He got off to a great start, he was very dominant the first 10 or 15 games and since then he’s slowed down a bit,” said Lever. “It takes a while to adapt and he’s a had a couple little nicks that have taken him away from his game, he hurt his wrist and he’s had trouble coming back from that but he’s still one of my most consistent players.”

Lever says he rotates his line-up so frequently that he really doesn’t have a set 1-4 list of lines but Jacques has been on the top unit for most of the season.

“He’s pretty much played with Corey Locke for most of the season and he gets most of the power plays,” Lever outlined. “When he uses his size, his hitting ability and his skating he is very effective. When Brad Winchester is here we like to use him and Jocko as the twin towers basically because they’re both very effective when they’re on.”

But after a terrific start, Jacques has cooled off and only recorded four points in December. Lever insists that the wrist injury has hampered him but that the rookie is regaining his form as of late.

“He’s starting to come around again,” he said. “We’ve gone through a hectic schedule the last few weeks and it’s a tough schedule for the first-year guys.”

“He got off to such a great start through two months but he’s tailed off a bit,” Prendergast said. “There was a death in his family and that slowed him a bit, he’s got a shoulder injury right now. I think he might be a little tired, not unusual for a guy that size that plays as hard and physical as he does. He’s been going hard since September.”

Brad Winchester, LW/RW

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Hamilton1711516-353

He may have begun the year in Edmonton, but the NHL club suddenly dispatched the 6’5 230 lbs winger to the farm after seven unproductive Oiler games. Not publicized at the time was the fact that the Oilers were not pleased with Winchester’s conditioning; the 24-year-old was as much as 12 lbs heavier than his target playing weight and the club wanted to deliver a message to the rookie.

On the farm Winchester has been terrific, scoring at a point per game pace and playing an important role for the Bulldogs.

“He was dominant down here until he hurt his foot,” said Lever referring to an incident in late November. “In the overtime in Grand Rapids he got hit right in the foot and he has a little bit of a stress fracture which he missed about eight games with. He’s only been back for three or four games but he’s playing through quite a bit of pain because he’s not 100 percent yet.”

The Oilers recalled Winchester the same day that HF spoke with the Hamilton bench boss and Winchester dressed the next night in Vancouver against the Canucks but only played for just over three minutes.

“We’ve tried to stay on top of his conditioning but he was out for three weeks so while his weight seems to be under control, we’ve had to rest him because he can’t bear any weight on that foot,” Lever added. “The doctors have said it’ll be three or four weeks before the pain goes away. He tried playing a couple games but couldn’t do it because the swelling was so bad. Now there’s no swelling but he has to play through the pain.”

Winchester ended 2004-05 as arguably the best Road Runner and according to Lever, he is still a force at the AHL level but can still get better.

“The thing that he has that he has to utilize is his skating, he is a much better skater but he’s not in motion enough when he doesn’t have the puck and once he learns that he’ll be fine,” Lever said. “When he gets himself into position to shoot the puck he can be very dangerous. He’s got an unbelievable shot and of course his size and strength down low it’s hard to stop him when he’s in his mode.”

Iowa Stars

Yan Stastny, C/RW

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Hamilton3381018+128

Edmonton’s late summer acquisition of Yan Stastny was supposed to provide the club with a center who would challenge for a roster spot on the NHL club. An early training camp hand injury prevented that from happening and since September, Stastny has just been trying to adapt to the AHL after two seasons in Germany.

According to head coach Dave Allison, Stastny’s first half of the year has not been great.

“He’s a guy who’s played in Germany, but if you can’t defend, you’re not going to get offense,” Allison told HF in December. “But I think of late he’s been moving his feet, working, because you have to work to move your feet and then he’s very effective. He’s a guy that we give responsibility to and he’s got to accept that, as they all do, every day and every game.”

“For a guy who’s 23 years old, his wiggle room isn’t as much as if he was 19 or 20.”

When asked what type of NHL player he saw in Stastny, Allison set the bar high.

“He’s good along the walls, very competent defensively, and at being tenacious on the puck,” said the coach. “Maybe a Raffi Torres type guy who is relentless and doesn’t stop, and is physical, plays hard, plays and scores the same type of goals in the American League as he would in the NHL.”

Stastny has spent that majority of the year playing out of position and on the wing in Iowa, a challenging scenario for him.

“It has been frustrating but again, that gives Yan the ability to play more positions and gives him more versatility,” suggested Prendergast. “They’re not a high scoring team in Iowa and they basically have to grind it out to win games. He’s worked hard and put in the effort but it’s one of those things where we’ll have to go through this year and hopefully Yan takes a run at the big team next year.”

Jason Platt, D/W

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Hamilton26033+416

Rugged rearguard Jason Platt had an impressive debut with the Road Runners a year ago before levelling off in the second half of the schedule. This year Platt is hoping the opposite is true after a sluggish beginning to the 2005-06 campaign. While it hasn’t been a disappointing year there hasn’t been a lot of growth to Platt’s development either.

“He’s in the mix down there although he’s been in and out of the line-up,” Prendergast said in December. “I think his confidence is starting to come back after he had trouble at the beginning of the year after some tough starts.”

According to coach Allison though Platt has been an integral part of the team and has played in many different situations as well as filling in as a forward from time to time.

“Platt has done a real good job killing penalties for us; he’s a valuable guy, and again he’s probably getting more ice time than he’s expected and he’s acquitting himself very well,” the coach said. “His role as time goes on is both as a forward and as a defenseman because it gives you diversity.”

It is Allison’s belief that giving Platt experience playing as a forward will make him a more rounded player.

“Totally I agree with that; I just think it’s a great opportunity,” Allison explained. “The more empathy you have for other people the better player it makes you, because you understand more and more about why things happen and how the game works.”

Platt has benefited from various injuries in the Iowa line-up to players like Shawn Belle and Patrick Traverse. Although the coach is behind him, there is still a lot Platt could do to improve his development.

“I just think his awareness, knowing what he’s going to do with the puck before he gets it and keeping the game simple, which allows him to make solid dependable plays,” Allison said.

As it was a year ago in Edmonton, consistency is an issue for Platt. The disparity between performances from one game to the next can be quite significant so becoming more even-keeled is a must if Platt hopes to reach the NHL one day.

Kyle Brodziak, C/W

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Hamilton20448+516

The Alberta born center enjoyed two early season recalls to play with the Oilers but his time on the farm has been less notable than expected. Although Brodziak isn’t playing poorly, he might also be caught in the proverbial sophomore jinx as well.

“I think a sophomore jinx is you forget how hard you worked as a rookie, and then all of a sudden you start to realize ‘it wasn’t luck why I had a good rookie year or I improved, it was because I was willing to work and listen and figure it out,’” Allison explained. “A lot of guys when they get success they think it’s luck, it’s ‘I’m blessed that people like me,’ but that’s not the case. They like you because you work and you produce and you contribute, and I think he’s getting back to those things.

“He’s working a lot harder, he’s thinking about what he has to do for the team to be successful, and consequently when you play for the team you find individual glory.”

Going back and forth between the AHL and the NHL where he didn’t play every game could have some effect on his year as well.

“The call-ups to the big team sort of interfere with your progression on the farm team,” offered Prendergast. “Kyle’s done everything that they’ve asked him to do there in Iowa but it’s a tough situation where they basically have the top six forwards that they want to look at and he’s got to play his way into that top six or play on the third line. He’s killing penalties and checking the top lines. The points aren’t there but the will and the try that we want to see for a second year guy has been there.”

Earlier in the year one source commented to HF that Brodziak was being likened to a young Guy Carbonneau. Coach Allison sees other two-way forwards as comparisons for Brodziak to strive for.

“I think he’s a third line guy who has some offensive capabilities, but he’s got to be relentless,” he said. “He’s got to be a harder worker, he’s got to be on the pucks, he’s got to be like a Draper, a Jarrett Stoll, and just so many guys in that role that are relentless. Their work ethic is unquestioned and they’re reliable and by that they can play in any situation.”

Brodziak has missed the last couple of weeks worth of games due to a shoulder injury but it is being described as minor and the forward should return to action in the very near future.

Matt Greene, D

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Hamilton26257+547

The one player that everyone seems to be in agreement about is punishing blueliner Matt Greene. Fresh out of college, Greene spent most of the Oilers training camp getting a feel for the speed and physical nature of professional hockey and has continued to do so on the farm.

“It’s a different game, it’s a lot more structured,” Greene described to Hockey’s Future recently. “That’s what has taken the most for me to get used to is playing in a system and having guidelines of what to do out there. Guys are bigger, faster and smarter too. It’s everything and when you step up to the next level the guys are always better and it’s just to the point where you can still make a lot of the same plays but the mistakes that you make end up in your net a lot more just because of the skill set of the guys in the league.”

Edmonton has had Greene with them for the last few weeks and by the sounds of it, he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

“He’s been the best defenseman in Iowa, he’s really learned the pro game,” Prendergast said before New Year’s. “I think he’ll be a fixture up here for a long time.”

Allison says that Greene’s greatest asset might be his mental maturity and that the beefy rearguard understands his limitations and sticks within them.

“He doesn’t let faux pas bother him, he learns from them and he moves on, and he’s a very competitive and courageous young defenseman who really has improved each and every day,” he told HF in December. “Some people learn from their mistakes and other people learn from other people’s, and he’s the latter type. He’s a wise young man who’s willing to learn from other people’s mistakes and expedite the process.”

Unlike many of the Oiler farmhands this year, Greene is not lacking for ice time.

“He’s come here and played as much as he’s deserved to play, and that is in every situation except the power play, but even in that he probably could play but you’ve got to get him rest somewhere because he plays penalty kill, five-on-five, four-on-four,” Allison said. “The one place where he needs to be rested and give other people ice time is the power play.”

Greene’s two AHL goals are just one shy of his three-year total at the University of North Dakota, but don’t expect much offense from him in Edmonton. Already in his two Oiler games he has picked up 11 minutes in penalties and it’s the tough physical play the organization wants to see from Greene.

“That’s fine, it’s a part of the game and I have no problem doing it but it’s an adjustment too because it’s been a while for me so I’m definitely going to take my licks early on,” said Greene in regards to fighting as a pro. “It’s dying down, it’s not as much as it used to be.”

Zack Stortini, W

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Hamilton24213+6103

Last year in the OHL he was the biggest and toughest kid on the block. Now a year later, Zack Stortini is running in bigger circles but still doing the things that got him drafted and noticed by the Edmonton Oilers.

“Stortini is doing his job out there,” Greene said of the fellow rookie. “He’s a big part of our team, he’s sticking up for guys.”

Stortini’s 103 penalty minutes are just one minute short of the team high currently held by veteran pugilist Garret Burnett, although the latter reached that total in just ten games. However, when coach Allison spoke with HF before Christmas it was clear that he was expecting more from the big winger.

“Zack Stortini is a guy who’s got to find his role,” said Allison. “You’re not in junior anymore and, again, he’s got to understand how to defend if he wants to continue to play more. He’s a guy that’s very valuable because he can take the puck hard to the net, he’s a big, strong, physical guy who’s not afraid to step in for his teammates, and those are the attributes you want but you’ve got to be able to understand what the team needs in each situation.”

The bench boss would like to see Stortini more focused on all aspects of the game rather than just the physical one. When asked if his hands were something he’d like Stortini to improve on, Allison replied “That and his awareness, so that when he gets the puck, he knows exactly what he’s going to do with it.

“He’s got to play with his head up and have a better understanding and a better feel for the game, especially in those high traffic areas, and regroups, and your own defensive zone,” the coach added. “Once you do that it’s almost as if a light goes on.”

It should be pointed out that during his four-year OHL career, Stortini had the luxury of playing for his hometown team in Sudbury, and therefore this foray into professional hockey is the first time he has ever lived away from home. It’s understandable that the 20-year-old would be having an abnormally tough time adjusting to his surroundings considering the fact that the off-ice experience is just as unfamiliar as playing against professional competition.

He may be struggling to find his way this year but by no means if Stortini failing in his rookie season.

Portland Pirates

Kenny Smith, D

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Greenville11134-115

Former Harvard captain Kenny Smith began the year in Greenville after failing to crack the Hamilton Bulldogs roster out of AHL training camp. Smith was reassigned to Portland where he is enjoying the ride with one of the best teams in the AHL. The Pirates sit atop the league’s Atlantic Conference and Smith is playing a regular role.

The Oilers are happy with the way things have worked out for their third round pick from 2001.

“Kenny Smith has done really well in Portland,” said Prendergast. “He’s playing a regular shift, seeing a lot of ice time and from a development standpoint he’s headed in the right direction so we’re really happy for him.”

It is expected that Smith will be a main player for the Oiler AHL club next year provided they have their own franchise and don’t have to share roster spots again.

Greenville Grrrowl (ECHL)

Brock Radunske, RW

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Aside from some injury issues earlier in the year, 2005-06 has been very good to former Michigan State Spartan Brock Radunske. The lanky forward is producing at just short of a point per game and is playing well by all reports.

“He’s done really, really good down there,” nodded Prendergast. “He was hurt for a little bit, he had a bit of a concussion problem but he’s come back from that and is probably their best player. Geoff Ward and John Marks are both happy with the way he has been playing.”

Dan Baum, LW

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Greenville231560121

Dan Baum’s 2004-05 year was limited due to a mysterious head ailment that could not be diagnosed clearly. Medication seemed to help but did not fix the problem completely. This year Baum has played in 23 of 29 games for Greenville, but the situation isn’t completely back to normal.

“Dan just started to play again, it’s a medication thing,” Prendergast explained. “He’s started to play and has put some points on the board so with that comes confidence so we’re keeping a close eye on him for the second half of the year.”

Baum is an agitating player and if his 121 penalty minutes are any indication, he may finally be rounding back into form.

Minor League Quotes

“Traded to Bakersfield. At this time I don’t think he’s in the picture but we’ll keep watching him. He’s still got a problem with his back.”
–Prendergast referring to Making The Cut winner Jordan Little.

“It was an adjustment at first. It’s still a really good league so it was a situation where I knew I would be handling the puck a lot and I got to play in a lot of key situations. From that standpoint it was good to get back and playing.”
Brad Winchester’s thoughts on being sent back to the AHL after making the Oilers out of camp.

“Everybody.”
–Winchester’s answer when asked who his linemates were in Hamilton.

“He was in a couple scraps and that seems to get him going.”
–Hamilton Head Coach Don Lever describing Winchester.

“We could have signed him to a contract that had a NHL component to it but we weren’t ready to do that. We thought that maybe Chicago would have taken him for us but then they ended up signing him.”
–Prendergast in regards to losing Marty St. Pierre to the Blackhawks.

“It’s been quite the trip with our goaltending. As you know we had Conklin on a two-week stint and we tried to play him but he was a little more hurt than he was willing to admit, his groin was pretty sore and he struggled quite a bit while he was here. He tried to play but he wasn’t helping himself. (JDD) got railroaded a few times because of Conklin and then we got Huet and Danis was back and forth a few times.”
–Don Lever explaining why Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers isn’t playing on a regular rotation.

“It was challenging early with the defense, but both organizations have been fantastic. I talk to Scott (Howson) almost on a daily basis and it’s an open format so there has been a lot of information going back and forth and that makes it a lot easier.”
–Lever on his relationship with both Montreal and Edmonton in regards to playing their prospects.

“There’s no ‘You’re a Montreal guy so you’re going to be on the power play’ and ‘you’re an Edmonton guy so you can sit over here,’ nothing like that. All the guys on the team get along. We both cheer for our respective clubs but that’s as far as it goes. It is a little different wearing the Bulldogs stuff after all the battles we had with them last year.”
–Winchester’s take on the split affiliation.

“I’d like to think that I learn from other people’s mistakes instead of duplicating my own all the time!”
–Matt Greene.

“You’re all down there together and we’re all playing for the same team. The better we do there the faster we’ll get called up. Everyone is there for the right reasons and we’re all on the same page.”
–Greene’s take on the split affiliation in Iowa.

“We play Omaha seven times and that’s the Flames affiliate and that’s good. Peoria too. It seems like we play Peoria or Omaha every weekend. It’s fun to play against those guys because you kind of get a glimpse of what it’s going to be like later on, the Battle of Alberta.”
–Greene on the rivals of the new franchise in Iowa.

“We were just stuck for numbers, both teams (Iowa and Hamilton) picked out the players they wanted and Kenny went one way and Brock went the other way and both had to win jobs in a tough situation and it didn’t happen. Both have worked hard and have kept producing and Kenny was a call-up to the AHL and hopefully he’s going to be there for the rest of the year.”
–Prendergast describing how things unfolded at the start of the season for Brock Radunske and Kenny Smith.

“Winchester was the first one and DiCasmirro is probably the second one… Jacques might be the third one on the list or Stastny; it’s hard to tell.”
–Prendergast’s answer when asked if J.F. Jacques would get a call-up this year.

“I wouldn’t say that he’s reliable yet, he’s a work in progress.”
–Iowa coach Dave Allison on Zack Stortini.

“Every day you have a choice to figure it out and get better or you can sit there and say, ‘Woe is me.’ I think Yan has been doing a real good job of saying, ‘What can I improve on, how can I find a way?’”
–Allison explaining how Yan Stastny has been coming around lately.

“We’re not complaining about their ice time, it’s how they’re being used. When you’re not in control, you’re not in control and luckily we’ve had Geoff Ward this year to go and watch these guys and both organizations have been great in letting him go on the ice, spend time, take clips and work on what we wanted our guys to work on and they’ve been receptive to that. Hopefully next year will rectify itself and we’ll have our own team and we won’t have to worry about that. Adversity is going to hit all these kids at some point in their career.”
–Prendergast’s thoughts on the AHL situation this year for the Oilers.

“Quad City (Moline, Illinois) is one possibility but they’re talking to a lot of teams now. Indianapolis and even Green Bay are possibilities too as are a couple others.”
–Oiler source on possible sites for Edmonton AHL affiliate next year.

Kevin Wey contributed to this article.

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