Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Edmonton Oilers

FUTURE WATCH | Klinkhammer capitalizing with Condors

by Meg Tilley / Edmonton Oilers

Photo by Mark Nessia / Bakersfield Condors.
Like many Canadian kids who grew up playing hockey, Rob Klinkhammer felt like he was just one more body among the masses.

 
“I think I was about four or five years old [when I started], just like every Canadian kid, my dad got me into the sport” said Klinkhammer.
 
It’s a demanding sport that requires hard work and the dedication of an athlete’s time, and at some point throughout all that grooming, it also becomes a passion.
 
But sometimes, it’s hard to see the potential in carving out your passion and turning it into a full-time job, as Klinkhammer admits he was one of those that, at one point, never really considered the bigger picture.
 
“I never thought I’d be a hockey player, growing up,” he said. “You read all these interviews from guys, whose teachers would ask them what they wanted to be when they were older, my answer was never a hockey player… I always really liked hockey, I just never thought I was going to make a living out of it.”
 
And at one point, Klinkhammer was left standing at a fork in the road trying to come to terms with a major decision.
 
Having applied and been accepted to the University of Calgary (U of C), Klinkhammer was prepared to start working towards his degree in the Oil and Gas Engineering program.
 
“I almost didn’t play my 20-year-old season in the WHL because I was signed up for school, I was going to go to the U of C and go to school and get an education,” he said.
 
The six-foot-three forward was ready to hang up his skates and trade in his stick for books until the voice of a very important figure in Klinkhammer’s life widened his view on the opportunities that stood before him.
 
“My dad just said, ‘Why don’t you go play one more year? You’ve got your last year, you may as well,’” he reiterated.
 
Photo by Mark Nessia / Bakersfield Condors.
Although it was a rocky start to what he thought would be his final season playing, moving from the Seattle Thunderbirds to the Portland Winterhawks to the Brandon Wheat Kings, Klinkhammer closed out the 2006-07 season having recorded 33 goals, adding 40 assists for 73 points in 66 games altogether.
 
“I ended up having a great year and then got an agent and my agent just said, ‘You’ve got some pro interest from a couple teams,’ and I thought that was kind of cool, so may as well give that a shot,” said Klinkhammer.
 
It was the beginning of a new adventure for the Lethbridge, AB, native.
 
“I didn’t even have a contract actually, after my first pro camp — I went to the Norfolk Admirals AHL camp, it was Tampa Bay’s farm team at the time — I went there and they offered me an AHL/ECHL two-way deal and I wasn’t quite sure about it. The money wasn’t great and I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to give up my education package for that.”
 
Once again, Klinkhammer was faced with a decision: hockey or an education.
 
“I just talked to my dad and he said, ‘If you want to pursue hockey this is probably your best chance. School’s always going to be there, you might as well just take a chance.’ And I’m glad I did because it’s worked out pretty well,” he said.
 
These days Klinkhammer is on an NHL contract and putting up excellent numbers as a forward with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors, recording 17 points (11G, 6A) in 17 games.
 
“I think, over the last three or four years I’ve spent in the NHL, then you come down to the AHL, I just have a lot of confidence,” Klinkhammer said, recognizing his sudden offensive upsurge.
 
Photo by Mark Nessia / Bakersfield Condors
“You have a little more time… so you have that extra step. That’s why it’s the American League, it’s a prospect league and it’s a stepping stone to the NHL that still, everyone down here, we’re still learning and guys are working on their game, so I think a little more mistakes get made at the American League level and you can try and capitalize on those.”
 
Having joined Bakersfield at the beginning of February, Klinkhammer isn’t dwelling on his assignment from the Oilers to their AHL-affiliate team.
 
“It’s a little kick in the pride I guess when you get sent down but you’ve got to stay humble in this game, you can’t think you’re bigger than the game, or anything like that,” he said.
 
“Lots of guys get sent down. When it happened I just tried to have a good attitude about it and I came down and I just wanted to work hard and play hard and be a good pro and I think I’ve done that since then. We’ve got a great team, there [are] a lot of really good guys here, the coaching staff is easy to play for so it’s been a lot of fun.”
 
He isn’t bitter about his assignment. In fact, he’s found a way to capitalize on the opportunity, recognizing the difference of the pace of play between the AHL and its parent affiliate, while seeking out the advantages it affords for him.
 
“You just have a little more time in the AHL. There’s not as much pressure so you don’t have to worry about making mistakes, you know you can hold onto the puck a little longer,” said Klinkhammer.
 
“I think I’ve got a bit of skill, I can put some pucks in the net and it’s kind of shown in the AHL. Maybe I’m not a prolific goal scorer at the NHL level but I can put some pucks in the net, so it’s been fun scoring a few and putting some points up.”
 
Averaging a point per game, Klinkhammer has been a pivotal player in contributing to the Condors upswing in the regular season and possible post-season run. 
 
Photo by Mark Nessia / Bakersfield Condors.
“I just try to be solid, I’m a really dependable guy,” said Klinkhammer. “Hopefully, coaches know what they’re getting out of me every game… I don’t vary my game too much from the NHL, but like I say, I’ve got a little more time to hold onto the puck and make plays and go to the net and try to get a step on d-men, a couple of breakaways here and there. Just be reliable every night.”
 
His consistency and dependability has reflected well on the season, contributing to the Condors five-game winning streak in February, scoring five goals and adding one assist.
 
“We just threw a little bit of a streak together, I don’t know exactly what it was but sometimes your team just gets hot,” said Klinkhammer. “All your guys are playing well at the same time and that’s kind of what you need to win in this league, so we just need a little bit more of that now.”
 
Now, with 15 games left in the Condors regular season, Klinkhammer is staring straight down a familiar road, having made two playoff runs with the AHL Rockford IceHogs back in 2009 and 2010.
 
He reiterates a familiar strategy, stressing the importance of approaching the Condors playoff potential and taking it one game at a time.
 
“It’s kind of a cliché… but you’ve got to prepare for every game differently,” he said. “[Whomever] you’re playing that night is who you’ve got to concentrate on, you can’t think about the big picture.”

Statistics For In The System Through Past Seasons: 14-15 | 13-14 | 12-13 | 11-12
Stats Updated as of Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Bakersfield (AHL) - Forwards


Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM
GREG CHASE C 20 19 1 6 7 +3 25
BRADEN CHRISTOFFER LW 21 30 1 3 4 -11 57
JOSH CURRIE* C 23 40 4 7 11 +3 37
LEON DRAISAITL C 20 6 1 1 2 -5 4
MATTHEW FORD*   RW 31 48 22 19 41 0 52
LUKE GAZDIC   LW 26 11 1 2 3 +1 6
RYAN HAMILTON   LW 30 50 16 11 27 -6 36
KELLEN JONES*   LW 25 12 1 2 3 0 6
ZACK KASSIAN   RW 24 7 2 1 3 0 16
KALE KESSY   LW 23 47 7 5 12 +4 60
JUJHAR KHAIRA   LW 21 34 9 14 23 +7 30
ROB KLINKHAMMER   LW 29 16 11 6 17 +2 26
ALEXIS LOISEAU*   C 21 12 1 2 3 +1 2
ANDREW MILLER   RW/C 27 44 15 24 39 +3 18
MITCH MOROZ   LW 21 32 3 4 7 +3 85
PHILIP MCRAE* C 25 24 4 2 6 -5 14
IIRO PAKARINEN   RW 24 4 1 2 3 0 4
TYLER PITLICK   RW 24 28 5 11 16 -4 4
KYLE PLATZER RW 20 39 5 10 15 -3 18
MARC-OLIVIER ROY* C 21 29 5 4 9 -1 14
ANTON SLEPYSHEV LW 21 33 7 4 11 -13 20
JOSH WINQUIST*   LW 22 23 8 15 23 -6 30
BOGDAN YAKIMOV   C/W 21 21 3 5 8 -5 8
DANIIL ZHARKOV (INJURED)
LW 21 - - - - - -
Bakersfield (AHL) - Defencemen


Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM
BEN BETKER   d 21 1 0 0 0 0 0
MARK FAYNE   d 28 4 0 1 1 0 4
brad hunt   D 27 42 9 23 32 +6 14
JOEY LALEGGIA   D 23 47 7 16 23 +9 32
DAVID MUSIL D 22 51 3 7 10 -1 29
NIKITA NIKITIN   D 29 30 1 13 14 -9 0
DARNELL NURSE   D 20 6 0 1 1 0 7
JORDAN OESTERLE   d 23 41 2 20 22 -2 8
NICK PAGEAU*   D 27 12 0 1 1 -5 2
GRIFFIN REINHART   D 21 27 2 7 9 +2 14
DILLON SIMPSON
D 22 41 2 11 13 -1 14
Norfolk (ECHL)


Name POS age    GP G A P +/- PIM
BEN BETKER D 21 49 3 14 17 -2 53
GREG CHASE F 20 29 16 14 30 +1 28
Canadian Hockey League
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
CALEB JONES  D 18 65 10 39 49 +3 62 PORTLAND WINTERHAWKS (WHL)
ETHAN BEAR  D 18 63 18 42 60 +11 33 SEATTLE THUNDERBIRDS (WHL)
NCAA & USHL
Name POS age  GP G A   P +/- PIM team
EVAN CAMPBELL   LW 22 28 5  7 12 +4 16 UMASS-LOWELL (NCAA)
WILLIAM LAGESSON
D 19 27 2 5 7 -6 26 UMASS-AMHERST (NCAA)
JOHN MARINO d 18 45 3 22 25 +11 37 TRI-CITY (USHL)
AIDAN MUIR LW 20 33 2 6 8 -17 16 WESTERN MICHIGAN (NCAA)
TYLER VESEL   C 21 33 6 11 17 +4 2 NEBRASKA-OMAHA (NCAA)
Europe
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
ROMAN HORAK C 24 57 15 12 27 -9 32 CHEKHOV (KHL)
ZIYAT PAIGIN  F 20 37 9 18 27 +2 8 SOCHI (KHL)
  8 0 1 1 +2 2 KAZAN (KHL)
ANTTI TYRVAINEN  F 26 18 4 3 7 +3 20 FARJESTADS BK KARLSTAD (Sweden)
  13 5 1 6 +1 53 ILVES TAMPERE (finland)
BOGDAN YAKIMOV C 21 11 3 1 4 0 2 Nizhnekamsk (KHL)
2016 World Junior Hockey Championships
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
WILLIAM LAGESSON
D 19 7 2 1 3 +7 4 SWEDEN
Goaltenders
Name age GP w l T GAA SV% team
KEVEN BOUCHARD   19 15 5 5 3 3.06 .890 MONCTON WILDCATS (qmjHL)
  21 4 13 2 3.97 .872 baie-comeau (qmjHL)
LAURENT BROSSOIT 22 28 15 9 3 2.69 .919 bakersfield (AHL)
EETU LAURIKAINEN 22 13 5 7 0 3.32 .904 BAKERSFIELD (AHL)
8 3 5 0 2.16 .920 HPK HAMEENLINNA (FINLAND)
NIKLAS LUNDSTROM 23 0 0 0 0 0.00 .000 NORFOLK (ECHL)
13 8 3 0 2.92 .929 ELMIRA (ECHL)
4 1 1 0 2.75 .901 CHICAGO (AHL)
ZACH NAGELVOORT   21 10 5 2 1 3.06 .889 michigan (ncaa)
MIROSLAV SVOBODA   20 1 0 1 0 6.00 .750 TRINEC OCELARI (CZECH)
View More