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FUTURE WATCH | Oesterle’s great expectations

by Meg Tilley / Edmonton Oilers

Photo by Mark Nessia / Bakersfield Condors

They say that in order to succeed, you need to push yourself, because no one is going to do it for you.

No one knows that better than Jordan Oesterle, defenceman for the Bakersfield Condors.

Halfway through his second season with the Oilers American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the 23-year-old is focused on surpassing goals he targeted in his rookie year during the 2014-15 season.

“Every time you go into a second season you obviously want to exceed your expectations from last year and you obviously make that goal [higher],” he said.

This year, the 6-foot, 182-pound defenceman is on track for surpassing last season’s production. So far he has recorded 16 points (2G, 14A) in 29 games played with the Condors, already exceeding the 13 points (4G, 9A) he recorded within the same number of games during the 2014-15 season.

According to Oesterle, after his first season playing pro, he’s developed greater expectations for himself, which, as he puts it, is a direct result of his comfort level with the team.

“You have that much more confidence in yourself and your abilities, and the coaching staff has that much more trust in what you can do, having [already] been there for a year,” he said.

His bolstered confidence may also be a direct reflection of his second appearance at Oilers training camp this past September, where Oesterle said he noticed a significant difference playing with the Edmonton players.

“I felt that it was different just from the personal perspective coming in,” he said. “Already having gone through one training camp… the ‘star-struck’ moment was kind of out of the way and I was just there to play hockey.”

It was all about getting down to business this year, where Oesterle said he felt he could exhibit more of his aggressive side without pulling back.

Photo by Mark Nessia / Bakersfield Condors

“I felt that right when training camp started I wasn’t kind of just sitting back. I was able to come in right away and play my game and just kind of go from there. Not really give too much room for other players to make plays. Just kind of get in there and show what I can do.”

Undrafted, Oesterle attended Western Michigan University where he played collegiate hockey with the Broncos from 2011-14.

“It was definitely, a lot of fun the three years…. Going into school, everybody says how fun it is and how the school rallies behind you and I couldn’t agree more,” said Oesterle. “It’s just such a good experience, I feel everyone, if they have the opportunity, should want to do that.”

Pursuing a post-secondary career close to home was important to the Dearborn Heights, Michigan, native for a number of reasons.

“When I was [playing] in juniors I was looking at a couple of different [schools], but I always knew I wanted to be somewhere close to home,” said Oesterle.

“It definitely helps that my brother and sister both were at Western Michigan [already] so it did kind of seem like a perfect fit to be together — and the coaches at Western were second-to-none and were going to develop every player who went there.”

He spent one season with the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL, where he scored two goals and added 13 assists for 15 points in 54 games, before playing at Western Michigan.

Oesterle says his family has been the driving force behind him and the key to his success in hockey.

“I grew up around the game. I had two older cousins — one still plays — and I just kind of was always at the rink,” he said. “My dad and mom put me on skates when I was three, with my brother and sister, and ever since then I just fell in love with skating and then once I got into hockey I just fell in love with the game.”

Oesterle’s cousin, Adam Phillips, is a defenceman for the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings.

“He’s two years older than me but we have a close family,” said Oesterle.

Photo by Mark Nessia / Bakersfield Condors

“We always would skate together, sometimes I’d got to practices or even — whenever we had a family get-together — us three would always be out in the garage doing some sort of shooting on my cousin or something.”

It was a unique situation for the growing hockey player that helped develop his game and competitive edge, which in turn benefitted his cousins as well.

“All three [of us] having really gone through [similar experiences] and having guys to talk to that know the things you’re going through or just kind of having an outlet that they understand, it’s nice,” said Oesterle.

“My dad never played hockey, nor can he skate, so it’s funny how I got into hockey just because of my cousins.”

After three seasons with the Broncos, recording seven goals and adding 27 assists for 34 points in 113 games, the blueliner was signed as a free agent to a two-year entry-level contract with the Oilers.

He reported to the Oilers then–AHL affiliate Oklahoma City Barons to help with the tail end of their 2013-14 season and a few games into playoffs. Oesterle said he noticed a significant change of pace from collegiate hockey to the AHL, which in turn reflected the d-man’s ability to adapt to his surroundings quickly.

“There are some things that are definitely different, like the skill of all players from the first line to the fourth line,” he said.

“It’s more of a skill and puck possession game rather than in college [where] it’s more of like a dump and chase, hitting guys. I felt the speed of the game is definitely quicker.”

But it was equally a change of pace off the ice for the defenceman. For most varsity athletes, the ability to balance schoolwork and sports can be a challenging feat but one that also keeps them busy.

“It was definitely a change [going from] trying to handle classes, studying, practice, workout… going from 9 a.m. wake-up to 11 p.m. going to bed… it was definitely a change when you just have practice,” said Oesterle.

“So it was definitely kind of weird to get used to. But I just had to find other activities, whether it was community service or walking around the town, just little things like that, to keep yourself active, rather than just lounging on the couch watching a movie.”

Oesterle garnered 21 points in 49 games in his rookie season with the Barons last year before he received his first NHL call-up in February 2015, making his NHL debut with the Oilers in a game against the Anaheim Ducks.

Photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club

“It was more than I expected when I came up,” said Oesterle. “The transition from the American League to the NHL wasn’t as big of a jump as I thought it was going from college to the American League, but it was still a big jump… every single guy on their team is lethal with the puck and it was just a lot faster.”

He picked up his first major league point, an assist, in his third game with the Oilers when they faced the Los Angeles Kings.

“Every little boy growing up — you dream of playing full-time in the National Hockey League or getting some games up there,” said Oesterle. “Playing my first game in the NHL was definitely my greatest hockey achievement as of today.”

Upon his return to the AHL, Oesterle ended up playing 65 total games in his first year in the AHL, delivering 25 points (8G, 17A) and finishing second among Barons defencemen in scoring, trailing Brad Hunt.

Fast-forward to this season, with a 17-16-2-2 record, the Condors have moved up the ranks of the Pacific Division and are currently straddling the middle of the standings.

“I think if we continue playing our style of hockey I think we’ll be able to get into playoffs and we’ll have another successful season such as last year,” said Oesterle. “We’ve got a bunch of healthy guys back so I think if we just continue to play strong and listen to Coach Fleming then I think we’ll be alright.”

And without doubt, Oesterle will be in the mix on the blueline continuing to add fuel to the fire for the Condors the remainder of the season.

Statistics For In The System Through Past Seasons: 14-15 | 13-14 | 12-13 | 11-12
Stats Updated as of Wednesday, January 27, 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 25 3 4 7 +2 25
LEON DRAISAITL C 20 6 1 1 2 -5 4
MATTHEW FORD*   RW 31 33 16 11 27 +3 36
RYAN HAMILTON   LW 30 35 11 8 19 -3 34
KELLEN JONES*   LW 25 10 0 2 2 -1 6
ZACK KASSIAN   RW 24 5 1 1 2 0 11
KALE KESSY   LW 23 32 6 4 10 +5 45
JUJHAR KHAIRA   LW 21 21 4 7 11 -4 21
ROB KLINKHAMMER   LW 29 3 3 1 4 0 0
ALEXIS LOISEAU*   C 21 12 1 2 3 +1 2
ANDREW MILLER   RW/C 27 29 9 16 25 -1 10
MITCH MOROZ   LW 21 30 2 4 6 +3 83
PHILIP MCCRAE* C 25 15 2 1 3 -6 8
IIRO PAKARINEN   RW 24 4 1 2 3 0 4
TYLER PITLICK   RW 24 13 3 2 5 -3 2
KYLE PLATZER RW 20 31 5 8 13 -2 12
MARC-OLIVIER ROY* C 21 23 4 2 6 -2 14
ANTON SLEPYSHEV LW 21 20 4 1 5 -9 12
JOSH WINQUIST*   LW 22 14 7 6 13 -2 22
BOGDAN YAKIMOV   C/W 21 19 3 4 7 -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
MARTIN GERNAT   d 22 22 0 3 3 0 14
brad hunt   D 27 27 6 19 25 -3 8
JOEY LALEGGIA   D 23 33 6 10 16 +10 22
DAVID MUSIL D 22 36 3 5 8 +3 25
NIKITA NIKITIN   D 29 22 1 9 10 -9 0
DARNELL NURSE   D 20 6 0 1 1 0 7
JORDAN OESTERLE   d 23 29 2 14 16 -5 8
NICK PAGEAU*   D 27 12 0 1 1 -5 2
GRIFFIN REINHART   D 21 15 1 5 6 1 12
DILLON SIMPSON
D 22 27 1 5 6 -2 6
Norfolk (ECHL)


Name POS age    GP G A P +/- PIM
BEN BETKER D 21 39 1 13 14 +4 33
GREG CHASE F 20 15 7 4 11 +2 20
Canadian Hockey League
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
CALEB JONES  D 18 48 8 28 36 +2 43 PORTLAND WINTERHAWKS (WHL)
ETHAN BEAR  D 18 46 12 32 44   +7 22 SEATTLE THUNDERBIRDS (WHL)
NCAA & USHL
Name POS age  GP G A   P +/- PIM team
EVAN CAMPBELL   LW 21 23 2  6 8 +3 14 UMASS-LOWELL (NCAA)
WILLIAM LAGESSON
D 19 19 2 4 6 -3 14 UMASS-AMHERST (NCAA)
JOHN MARINO d 18 32 2 13 15 +3 18 TRI-CITY (USHL)
AIDAN MUIR LW 20 23 1 3 4 -9 8 WESTERN MICHIGAN (NCAA)
TYLER VESEL   C 21 23 3 10 13 +7 2 NEBRASKA-OMAHA (NCAA)
Europe
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
ROMAN HORAK C 24 51 10 13 23 -10 28 CHEKHOV VITYAZ (KHL)
PHILIP LARSEN   D 25 45 8 23 31 +13 12 JOKERIT HELSINKI (KHL)
ZIYAT PAIGIN  F 20 31 8 13 21 +4 6 SOCHI HC (KHL)
  8 0 1 1 +2 2 KAZAN AK-BARS (KHL)
ANTTI TYRVAINEN  F 26 7 2 0 2 -2 4 FARJESTADS BK KARLSTAD (Sweden)
  13 5 1 6 +1 53 ILVES TAMPERE (finland)
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 7 3 1 2 3.73 .867 MONCTON WILDCATS (qmjHL)
  21 4 13 2 3.97 .872 baie-comeau (qmjHL)
LAURENT BROSSOIT 22 23 12 8 2 2.63 .924 bakersfield (AHL)
EETU LAURIKAINEN 22 4 2 2 0 3.25 .899 BAKERSFIELD (AHL)
8 3 5 0 2.16 .920 HPK HAMEENLINNA (FINLAND)
ZACH NAGELVOORT   21 9 5 2 1 3.14 .888 michigan (ncaa)
MIROSLAV SVOBODA   20 1 0 1 0 6.00 .750 TRINEC OCELARI (CZECH)
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