Regina Pats captain Braden Christoffer has signed an AHL contract with the top affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, according to a source.
An undrafted free agent, Christoffer agreed to a one-year deal with the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons, who are slated to move to Bakersfield, Calif., next season. The 20-year-old winger is expected to attend Edmonton’s summer prospects camp as well as joining the NHL club at a rookie tournament in Penticton, B.C., in the fall.
Christoffer exhausted his WHL eligibility with the Pats this season, recording career highs 26 goals, 59 points and 147 penalty minutes while playing all 72 regular-season games. The native of Sherwood Park, Alta., added two goals and eight points in nine playoff games.
Christoffer’s first pro experience came last fall when he was invited to rookie camp by the NHL’s Washington Capitals.
I won’t comment specifically on Christoffer, but rather on the general signing of this AHL player. This is a Craig MacTavish like move – signing a player to a minor league deal for a single year before the current season ends – but it is probably a signing made without MacT’s expertise. More on that later.
By in large AHL contracted players are older, established fellas. Yet the shift in the last two seasons on the Oilers farm has been favoring the signing of guys that might mean something beyond a rental or vet stability presence. This is certainly a case of signing a player that might be of good use well beyond the AHL, and a year to showcase those talents might urge said player to earn your attention. Interesting and smart way to approach the farm.
Is this a theme for Peter Chiarelli as well? You Boston Bruins fans of the world let me know. Regardless, it further legitimizes the importance of the farm team well beyond just wins vs. losses. It is about building something special, and building into the players at multiple levels.
This will be the first AHL Bakersfield Condors contracted player, and that is huge news for the future AHL Oilers landing spot.
Huge thanks to the Leader-Post for the article, and to Eric Rodgers for bringing it to my attention