The Bakersfield Condors, the AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, announced today that they have signed free agent forward Jaedon Descheneau. While he may not be a household name just yet, Descheneau is certainly a player for hockey fans to keep an eye on and could soon turn his AHL contract into an NHL gig in Edmonton.
Descheneau was originally a fifth round pick of the St. Louis Blues in 2014, selected after his second season for the Kootenay Ice of the WHL in which he scored a career-best 44 goals and had 98 points in just 77 games. The following season he had 81 points to bring his three-year total to 257 points in 209 games. However, he missed all but two games of the 2015-16 campaign after suffering a shoulder injury that required season-ending surgery. At just 5’9″, Desheneau has received a lot of criticism and doubt due to his stature. Adding into the mix a serious injury, the Blues made the decision not to extend the young scorer an entry-level contract, making him a free agent.
The Condors have now capitalized on his unexpected availability and have added a proven sniper to their roster. In his junior days, Descheneau showed a consistent scoring punch, finishing second only to super-prospect Sam Reinhardt in team scoring in 2013-14 and finished sixth in the entire WHL in scoring in 2014-15. He has also shown that he is capable of a two-way game, always finishing on the plus side in his three full seasons in Kootenay and not letting his size hinder his play in the physical WHL.
If Descheneau can get healthy and add some size and strength to a short, slim frame, the Condors (and by association the Oilers) may have found a diamond in the rough in a young player with offensive instincts and scoring talent. An undersized prospect getting his start with an AHL contract and then developing into a reliable NHL contributor is not unheard of; just ask David Desharnais. A dynamic player in the QMJHL, Desharnais was ultimately still written off because of his 5’7″ stature and went undrafted. After proving himself with the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate, he joined the big league club and the rest is history. That scenario does not seem far off for Descheneau and the Oilers. Don’t let his humble beginnings fool you; Jaedon Descheneau has all of the makings of a dark horse NHL star.