Jordan Oesterle just never found a rhythm with the Calgary Flames in 2023-24

Photo credit:Terence Leung/Calgary Wranglers
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
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When it was announced that defenceman Jordan Oesterle had signed with the Calgary Flames back in July 2023, it made a lot of sense. The Flames were a team that was carrying a lot of pending unrestricted free agents on their blueline and adding an experienced veteran seemed like a prudent depth move.
But despite the good fit on paper, Oesterle just never seemed to find a rhythm with the Flames during the 2o23-24 – leading to him getting demoted to the AHL’s Wranglers twice during the season.

The past

A product of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, Oesterle came up through minor hockey in the Detroit area, then spent a season with the United States Hockey League’s Sioux Falls Stampede. He spent three seasons at Western Michigan University, then signed with the Edmonton Oilers as a college free agent.
Oesterle spent three seasons in the Oilers organization, splitting time between the big club and its AHL affiliates (first Oklahoma City, then Bakersfield). He then moved on to Chicago, where he became a full-time NHLer with the Blackhawks in 2017-18. He stuck around the NHL for awhile, spending three seasons with the Arizona Coyotes and two with the Detroit Red Wings.
He signed with the Flames as a free agent in the second day of free agency during the 2023 off-season.

The present

Oesterle made the Flames roster out of camp – he had a good chance due to being a veteran on a one-way deal, but he was good in the pre-season – and was paired with Chris Tanev on the third pairing to begin the season. But the entire team seemed to struggle early on, with the team going 2-7-1 over their first 10 games.
Oesterle played four games and was minus-2, and he was scratched in six of the first 10 contests. He was waived on Nov. 2 and cleared the following day, leading to his assignment to the Wranglers as part of the team’s early November roster shuffle. Oesterle seemed to get his confidence back with the Wranglers, registering eight assists over 12 games.
Oesterle’s renewed swagger led to him being called back up to the NHL at the end of November, after Nikita Zadorov’s trade to Vancouver. He remained on the roster until the trade deadline. During his second stint on the Flames roster, he had two assists in 18 games, and he was scratched 21 times. He was the club’s seventh defender, but he was nudged out of that role after the arrivals of new faces like Daniil Miromanov, Nikita Okhotiuk, Joel Hanley and Brayden Pachal in the lead-up to the trade deadline. Even with the roster spots opened up with the departures of Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin, there were just too many blueliners around.
Oesterle cleared waivers on Mar. 8 and was sent down to the AHL. He finished the season with the Wranglers, registering 11 points over the final 18 games. He added one assist over six playoff games.

The future

All due respect to the player, but Oesterle wasn’t particularly good in the NHL or AHL in 2023-24. He also wasn’t particular bad, either. He was fine! But in a year where the Flames blueline group went through a lot of interesting transitions, this veteran defender wasn’t quite the difference-maker that the Flames or Wranglers needed him to be.
Oesterle turns 32 the week before free agency opens. Considering the large number of blueliners likely returning to the Flames organization in 2024-25 – particularly incumbent NHL bodies – we wouldn’t expect Oesterle to return, and would suspect he seeks an opportunity for a larger role in another organization.

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