SUN Hockey Pool

Young and restless

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- It's the same in the minor leagues all over the map in pro sport.

There are can't miss kids who miss. Prospects become suspects. Suspects become prospects. Kids who were question marks become exclamation marks.

It's an unusual season that way when it comes to the Edmonton Oilers and their new full-time, full-roster American Hockey League affiliate.

UP AND DOWN

In Edmonton, it's the year of the kids, a season with skilled young talent going up and down.

There have been a league-leading 18 player moves with the Oilers and the Springfield Falcons so far this season.

Last season as the farm club for Tampa Bay, there were zero at this point of the year here.

The Falcons game program features photos and bios of Andrew Cogliano, Kyle Brodziak, Tom Gilbert, Robert Nilsson, Mathieu Roy and Liam Reddox, who are up.

And Rob Schremp, J.F. Jacques, Tyler Spurgeon, Bryan Young and Jeff Deslauriers who have been up and are back down.

And that doesn't count the London Knights program and Sam Gagner.

"It's great," said longtime Springfield GM and part-owner Bruce Landon.

"Players are being rewarded who deserve it. It keeps them hungry. They know they're being looked at. They know they'll get an opportunity."

Three of the most interesting studies here are all playing together on one line -Schremp, Jacques and Marc Pouliot.

Jacques, when he's here, looks like he should be in Edmonton. When he's in Edmonton he looks like he should be here.

He's been close to a point-per-game player in the AHL these past two seasons, notching 27 points in 29 games with Wilkes-Barre last year and seven points in nine games with Springfield this year.

With the Oilers he's played 53 games and has yet to score his first goal or get his first assist. Nothin'.

He goes up and comes up empty. He comes down and pots a pair.

"He had two goals for us last Saturday. It doesn't make sense. How does he not have a point up top yet?" said Landon.

"It's hard to say why," said Jacques.

"I don't have the same roll. But that still doesn't explain no points. Here I'm on the first line, the power play and four-on-four. I have great confidence here. It's up to me to bring that with me when I go up."

Schremp is another story.

He was a fan favorite and looked like he might make the Oilers as a rookie coming off winning the OHL scoring title in junior.

He had 53 points in 69 games in Wilkes-Barre last year. But he's had two call ups for a total of three NHL games and been sent back to learn to be a more complete player.

"We've put him on the wing now and I think he'll feel more comfortable there," said Falcons coach Kelly Buchberger.

"His biggest asset is his skill level. There's no one better on the half wall on the power play in the AHL."

Schremp says he doesn't mind the wing.

"I certainly have good linemates," he said.

Then there's Pouliot.

Like Patrick Thoresen, who is here, and Ladislav Smid and Zack Sortini, who was here but is back in Edmonton, Pouliot is a player who doesn't have his picture in the program because he wasn't expected to play here this year.

A linemate of Sidney Crosby in junior, he has 31 goals and 51 assists in 102 AHL games and five goals and seven assists in 63 NHL games.

He's had two goals and four assists in the four games since going down.

"He comes down and he's on fire," said Buchberger.

"I see myself with more confidence now," said Pouliot. "This has taken longer than I expected, but I'm working to find my game and then play my game at the next level."

They're all a study.

Thoresen leads the Falcons in scoring with five goals, one more than he scored in 68 games in Edmonton last year.

"He's going to play in the NHL again, no question," said Buchberger.

'THE FIND'

And then there's The Find, Liam Reddox.

"Night in and night out, he's been our Ryan Smyth," said the coach.

"He goes to the net all the time. He's used in every situation. Last year in Stockton (ECHL) he didn't play a lot. He's a surprise. Now it looks like he has a chance to make it."

A few hours after those words came out of Buchberger's mouth, the phone rang .

It was the Oilers. Reddox was called up.


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