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FUTURE WATCH | Oesterle makes his mark

by Meg Tilley / Edmonton Oilers

Jordan Oesterle. Photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club.

It’s been an interesting road this 2015-16 season for Jordan Oesterle.

The defenceman was recalled from the American Hockey League’s Bakersfield Condors on February 21. He played the bulk of the second half of the season with Edmonton.

“I thought it played out well,” said Oesterle. “I thought I’ve been able to come up here and contribute more than I did last year and I see things in my game that I obviously need to get better at to be up here for the whole season. That’s what I’m trying to do, [especially] in these last two games, is kind of go into the off-season on a high note and be excited coming into next year.”

Aside from a five-game absence when he was returned to the minors on February 29, — the day of the NHL Trade Deadline — Oesterle would return nine days later after defenceman Brandon Davidson sustained an injury during a game against the Winnipeg Jets.

The 23-year-old has made great gains compared to his minor stint with the Oilers during the 2014-15 season, in which he played only six games and recorded one assist. This year, Oesterle has played in 15 NHL games and has recorded five assists in the process, securing his first one in his third game against the Los Angeles Kings.

It didn’t take the blueliner long to make an impact that resonated with the coaching staff.

“I like his mobility and I like his courage,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “And when I say courage, it’s not about going up to try and run over Milan Lucic. It’s about jumping into plays, jumping into open ice, taking strides with the puck and moving it. I get a sense he understands who he is physically, so then he’s able to play more positionally with a good stick… In two games, we’ve been quite pleased with his effort and his play.”

In his first two games this season, Oesterle went from 18 minutes of playing time to 21 minutes. He’s continued to climb in playing time, capping his longest time on the ice at 27 minutes on March 12 against the Arizona Coyotes.

“It was important to me to kind of come in here those first couple games and try and earn [the coaches] trust defensively and then with that will come offensive chances,” said Oesterle.

Jordan Eberle, Connor McDavid, Patrick Maroon, Jordan Oesterle and Darnell Nurse celebrate after scoring a goal during the game against the Vancouver Canucks. Photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club

“I take great pride and am grateful for the opportunity to be able to play all these minutes and am just trying to go out there, every minute I have, whether it’s 18 one night, 15 or 20-something, I’m just trying to go out and compete as hard as I can for all those minutes.”

And compete he has. Last season, when Oesterle was first recalled he played under a different coaching staff. Though the blueliner found himself under a new set of watchful eyes this season, he said he was aware he needed to make the most out of the opportunity that lay before him, and that included ensuring a smooth transition from the AHL to the NHL.

“I thought [the transition] was, I wouldn’t say easier, but it was more comfortable,” he said. “I came in here and knew all the guys and just having those six games under my belt last year just really helped me know I can play at this level and to come in and contribute.”

It’s evident that the six-foot, 182-pound defenceman knows how to make an impression, and maybe some of that is owed to the comfort zone both in the Oilers locker room and on the ice.

Paired with Griffin Reinhart, the dynamic duo has impressed McLellan, who said he was pleased with the production they have been able to churn out.

It is, of course, a familiar pairing for the d-men, having played in Bakersfield.

“The whole time Griff was down there, pretty much every game he’s been down there, we were partners in the American League,” said Oesterle. “So when we finally get the chance to play together up here, it’s familiar territory with each other.”

Prior to Oesterle’s recall, he had played in 42 games with the Condors, recording three goals and 20 assists for 23 points. After what could be described as a tumultuous season full of injuries and recalls, the AHL affiliate has been battling for a chance to make the post-season for their sixth straight year.

Photo by Mark Nessia / Bakersfield Condors.

“We’re all up here and we’re pushing for them to make the playoffs so we can go down there and get some [more] playoff experience. I remember last year, when we went to the second round, the playoff hockey was the most fun hockey of the year and it would be kind of bittersweet to not be able to get that opportunity this year, but I wouldn’t trade the opportunity I have up here either.”

As the Oilers prepare to wrap up their final home game at Rexall Place tonight, Oesterle said it’s been a pleasure to be a part of the farewell festivities.

“It’s special,” said the Dearborn Heights, MI native, who admits though the Barn doesn’t hold long-standing memories for him as it does for many other Edmontonians; it certainly has rooted its place as the beginning of his NHL career.

“I get a feel for what it’s like and the passion these fans have for not only the team but this arena and the pride they take in this building and we’re going to try and come out and give it our all and hopefully get a win for them.”

As Oil Country says their final goodbyes to their arena, Oesterle remains focused on the task at hand — work hard and ensure the impression he’s been able to make this season will carry over into Oilers training camp in the fall.

“I just want them to know that I’ll be going into the summer with the mindset of trying to come in and make the team out of camp,” he said.

As of right now, time is of the essence for Oesterle, who is looking to ensure his will continue to last far beyond that 18-minute mark and maybe turn into a little bit more.

Statistics For In The System Through Past Seasons: 14-15 | 13-14 | 12-13 | 11-12
Stats Updated as of Wednesday, April 6, 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 47 6 8 14 -2 42
LEON DRAISAITL C 20 6 1 1 2 -5 4
MATTHEW FORD*   RW 31 58 25 21 46 -1 56
LUKE GAZDIC   LW 26 11 1 2 3 +1 6
RYAN HAMILTON   LW 30 60 20 13 33 -10 41
KELLEN JONES*   LW 25 12 1 2 3 0 6
ZACK KASSIAN   RW 24 7 2 1 3 0 16
KALE KESSY   LW 23 51 7 5 12 +4 77
JUJHAR KHAIRA   LW 21 43 10 17 27 +5 57
ROB KLINKHAMMER   LW 29 26 14 10 24 -2 36
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 38 4 5 9 +3 97
PHILIP MCRAE* C 25 29 5 3 8 -2 16
IIRO PAKARINEN   RW 24 4 1 2 3 0 4
TYLER PITLICK   RW 24 37 7 14 21 -3 4
KYLE PLATZER RW 20 42 5 11 16 -3 18
MARC-OLIVIER ROY* C 21 36 6 5 11 -3 14
ANTON SLEPYSHEV LW 21 43 10 8 18 -13 24
JOSH WINQUIST*   LW 22 33 8 21 29 -7 32
BOGDAN YAKIMOV   C/W 21 30 5 8 13 -3 10
DANIIL ZHARKOV (INJURED)
LW 21 - - - - - -
Bakersfield (AHL) - Defencemen


Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM
BEN BETKER   d 21 11 0 1 1 -2 9
MARK FAYNE   d 28 4 0 1 1 0 4
brad hunt   D 27 52 11 27 38 +3 18
JOEY LALEGGIA   D 23 57 8 17 25 +5 38
DAVID MUSIL D 22 61 3 10 13 -3 35
NIKITA NIKITIN   D 29 30 1 13 14 -9 0
DARNELL NURSE   D 20 6 0 1 1 0 7
JORDAN OESTERLE   d 23 42 3 20 23 -1 8
NICK PAGEAU*   D 27 18 0 3 3 -6 4
GRIFFIN REINHART   D 21 27 2 7 9 +2 14
DILLON SIMPSON
D 22 51 3 15 18 +5 20
Norfolk (ECHL)


Name POS age    GP G A P +/- PIM
BEN BETKER D 21 49 3 14 17 -2 53
GREG CHASE F 20 37 16 16 32 -1 44
Canadian Hockey League
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
CALEB JONES  D 18 72 10 45 55 +4 64 PORTLAND WINTERHAWKS (WHL)
PlAYOFFS  4 0 2 2 0 6
ETHAN BEAR  D 18 69 19 46 65 +14 33 SEATTLE THUNDERBIRDS (WHL)
Playoffs  4 2 2 4  +4 0
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 49 3 24 27 +14 43 TRI-CITY (USHL)
AIDAN MUIR LW 20 35 2 6 8 -17 20 WESTERN MICHIGAN (NCAA)
TYLER VESEL   C 21 35 6 12 18 +1 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 +3 8 SOCHI (KHL)
  8 0 1 1 +2 2 KAZAN (KHL)
ANTTI TYRVAINEN  F 26 19 5 3 8 +3 22 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 20 7 6 4 3.35 .883 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 17 6 10 0 3.26 .909 BAKERSFIELD (AHL)
8 3 5 0 2.16 .920 HPK HAMEENLINNA (FINLAND)
NIKLAS LUNDSTROM 23 4 1 1 2 3.90 .872 bakersfield (ahl)
13 8 3 0 2.92 .929 ELMIRA (ECHL)
4 1 1 0 2.75 .901 CHICAGO (AHL)
ZACH NAGELVOORT   21 11 5 2 1 2.99 .893 michigan (ncaa)
MIROSLAV SVOBODA   20 1 0 1 0 6.00 .750 TRINEC OCELARI (CZECH)
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