By the OilKnight 01/05/20
Welcome to the 2020 edition of the Condor Report!
I made a New year’s resolution this year to cover the Bakersfield Condors as much as I can in addition to the all draft eligible prospect stuff I do for a couple of reasons:
For one, there are no Edmonton Oilers prospects in the OHL currently and I miss them. Secondly, you the fans demand more content and I’m all about supply and demand.
So, what I’ll be doing now that I officially have the AHL TV pass is provide you as much content as I can regarding our Edmonton Oilers prospects. In particular, I will be focusing on 5 players specifically: Evan Bouchard, Tyler Benson, Ryan McLeod, Dmitri Samorukov & Kirill Maksimov. The best part too tracking all these guys is they all kind of offer something different in terms of skill-sets. For the 2nd night in a row, Samorukov did not play after taking a puck in the face 2 games ago.
Bakersfield vs. San Diego 01/04/20 – Condors win 2-1 in SO
Game recap: The Condors didn’t necessarily deserve to win this game but G Stuart Skinner was terrific again and kept them in it until Luke Esposito tied it in the 3rd. Skinner, finished with 39 saves and many were of the difficult variety especially in the 2nd period where he & the Condors killed off 4 consecutive penalties in 7 minutes, including a 5 on 3 man advantage. Meanwhile, the Maksimov-Cave-Esposito line was the best line for Bakersfield. They created several chances, scored the tying goal in the 3rd, and Maksimov secured the 2 points with the shootout winner.
My analysis: Pretty lackadaisical effort & sloppy execution but their goalie bailed them out. PP was absolutely awful again and badly needs an infusion of new personnel. Not having Maksimov on the PP is an absolute disgrace at this point, and the coaching staff continues to start Logan Day ahead of Evan Bouchard which is a mistake. But remember, coach Jay Woodcroft was the PP coach in Edmonton in 2017-18 when they finished LAST in the NHL on the PP despite having McDavid, Draisaitl, Hopkins & Klefbom. That quartet is currently the #1 PP unit in the league as of today.
The Big 5
If you missed my article from earlier today, I am focusing on 5 major prospects. Tyler Benson and the 4 OHL prospects from last year. You can find scouting reports on those 4 here:
Bouch was a little more quiet tonight but was still solid in all facets. Showed a bit more aggression tonight including one sequence near the boards where I though he was actually going to drop the gloves. Excellent at zone entries again by my eye. Pushed the pace late 2nd period and into 3rd as Bakersfield tried to tie it. Had a chance to end it late but drew a penalty. 4 shots on goal. Was on ice for first goal as attacker got behind he and Benson for a breakaway after Bakersfield nearly scored on a rebound seconds before. Overall, played with poise, made mostly good decisions, looked confident – again.
Benson was just ok tonight. Looked a bit tired at times. Only had one shot in the game until with 15 seconds left he took a big shot that was saved by Anthony Stolarz. His line with Marody and Currie was a bit off tonight. Forced too much and created too many turnovers. I’d have to go over the tape again but not a whole lot else to report.
Skated well but he always does that. Questionable shot selection as he continues to tease with speed but doesn’t use it effectively enough to go hard to the net. In back to back nights, I’ve seen several examples of him going wide with speed and not getting a shot off, or he cuts into the middle of double coverage and attempts a screened shot from far out. Doesn’t appear to want it bad enough still. It was a re-occurring theme in OHL viewings and still an issue here. His line was benched for last 9 minutes or so of the game though he made a terrific defensive play as last man back in 3 on 3 OT.
Maksimov was very good once again tonight and as mentioned, I thought his line was the most productive. He did take one of his patented bad penalties – a retaliatory slash which was the 4th of 4 consecutive penalties. But other than that, I thought he was engaged, aggressive as usual on the forecheck, and forcing turnovers. Had a great chance in close early that Stolarz just got a piece of. Didn’t see the ice in OT but got a chance to win the game in the shootout and did exactly that. Still blows my mind how he is not on the PP. The pressure is on to make changes. He’s too good not to keep off any longer.
As mentioned Dmitri Samorukov was injured and did not play this game. Overall, the Condors got lucky thanks to some great goaltending. But the big take away is once again, their PP is AWFUL and needs some major adjustments. They went 0 for 10 in these 2 games yet somehow managed to win both. That needs to change fast! Also of note, Shane Starrett who has been out for most of the season, was the backup tonight. That’s great news for this team.
Next game is on Wednesday vs. Stockton.
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