The Oilers Top-12 prospects, by TSN

Jonathan Willis
January 28 2009 03:34PM

I’ve been busy the last couple of days, so I haven’t had a chance to comment on TSN’s Top-12 Oilers’ prospects. Here’s their list:

  1. Jordan Eberle
  2. Devan Dubnyk
  3. Rob Schremp
  4. Riley Nash
  5. Taylor Chorney
  6. Jeff Petry
  7. Alex Plante
  8. Liam Reddox
  9. Theo Peckham
  10. Ryan O’Marra
  11. Slava Trukhno
  12. Bryan Young

It’s pretty bad, and it bears witness to a common bias, both among fans and the media in general: the desire to view every prospect by their draft position. Eight of the players listed were first- or second-round picks, and all of the top-seven fit into that category.

What people need to understand is that draft position is a snap-shot: it shows how players were rated only during that one season. Take Viktor Tikhonov as an example. He was a first-round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2008, as a 20-year old player. He went undrafted the year before, but he could well have been a seventh-round pick in 2007; he’d be the same player, but he’s far more heralded as a first-round pick than he would have been as a late-round player.

As another example, consider Linus Omark who went unranked on TSN’s list. Right now he’s leading his team in scoring (by a lot) in one of the toughest leagues in the world, the Elitserien. He’s easily a top-ten prospect on the Oilers right now, even with the caveats around him (size, possibly work ethic, foot-speed). That performance should put him well ahead of Ryan O’Marra, a prospect completely indistinguishable from a common AHL fourth-liner, except for his draft position.

I’m not going to get into what my full list would be right now, except to say that none of the bottom three guys would be on it and players with big question marks (Dubnyk, Schremp, Chorney) would be much further down. Theo Peckham would be near the top; TSN says “he does not have the puck skills, the offensive instincts or the hockey sense to be anything more than a defensive defenceman,” yet he’s eight points back of Schremp, and six ahead of Chorney, both of whom are ranked higher on the list.

I’m emphatically not saying that I’m brighter than the scouts who drafted these players in the first round; what I am saying is that a lot has happened to (for example) Rob Schremp since he went in the first round nearly five years ago, and that’s something that people should pay more attention to.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 BUCK75
January 28 2009, 03:43PM
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lol Reddox is better than Peckham? Reddox isn't even a prospect anymore. His coach has made hima bonafide everyday NHL player! ;)

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#2 Matt
January 28 2009, 03:48PM
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The first thing I noticed when reading TSN's top twelve picks was how different they were from everything I had read on tho blogosphere. For the record everything I've seen with my own eyes would support the general consensus of the prominent bloggers I read, and not at all the list done by TSN. Actually I thought the whole piece they did was garbage, and it's riddled with grammatical errors and confusing sentence structures. Maybe they should let Bob do the next one. Even Pierre would be better.

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#3 CurtisS
January 28 2009, 03:48PM
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Heres my list

1. Eberle 2. Petry 3. Schremp 4. Omark 5. Nash 6. Peckham 7. Dubnyk 8. Chorny 9. Reddox 10. Kytnar (sp) 11. Turkhno 12. Basillion (sp)

I think Plante is a horrible prospect. I think Eberle is a prize.

Anyways dont bash the list too much. Just IMO.

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#4 Colin
January 28 2009, 03:51PM
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Saw the article, really felt the Eberle bit was the only part that was even close, even then they layed on the hype a bit thick.

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#5 CurtisS
January 28 2009, 03:55PM
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@ Colin: Why hype?? Tell me the last time a Oiler prospect at the age of 18 scored so many points in a WJC?

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#6 Chris
January 28 2009, 06:17PM
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Wow Schremp is number three on that list... Based on MacT's assessment of Schremp's play, I'd say we don't have a lot coming down the pipeline. OUCH!

Only two prospects rated higher than Schremp: Eberle, then a goalie prospect... Don't goalies grow on trees in Europe right now? Still like our scouting anyone? So much for building from within... We should go with the Ranger approach. UFA's love Edmonton winters.

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#7 Fiveandagame
January 28 2009, 07:08PM
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I laughed when I read this article. I don't know 1/100th that Jonathan knows about the Oil and their prospects and I knew this was a load of garbage.

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#8 Jonathan Willis
January 28 2009, 07:41PM
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@ Chris:

Yes, according to TSN an average AHL goalie and a forward scoring .66 PTS/game in the AHL are the #2 and #2 prospects in the system.

Either that means the scouting/development sucks, or TSN's out to lunch. (Hint: It's the latter).

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#9 doritogrande
January 28 2009, 11:26PM
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Jonathan:

I actually commented on this over at the TSN page, my normal handle. Dude's a hack writer who hasn't got his pulse on the prospects of any organization. See the previous "top 12s" and you'll probably agree with my findings. I was moderated out of commenting on his first few, probably because I took shots at his grammar, which was horrible. I cleaned it up a bit on the Oilers one, and they let it slide through.

The trolls commenting on the TSN.ca articles deserve better writing than this.

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#10 David Staples
January 29 2009, 12:05AM
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I can't rank these kids, as I hardly ever see them play, but your basic point is bang on Jonathan.

P.S. I have seen Peckham play, and he is way better, from what I've seen, than Chorney,and his numbers are way better, too.

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#11 Antony Ta
January 29 2009, 01:43AM
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I'll tell you what happened to Rob Schremp: Kelly Buchberger and the Edmonton Oilers. I kid, Schremp has shown a lot in his short stint with the Oilers but apparently he showed a lot as well when he was sent down to Springfield last I heard. That probably has more to do with why he's not around right now.

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#12 Malc
January 29 2009, 08:11AM
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I would like to hear a little more about Kytnar. I liked his play at the world juniors and he seemed like he had a hell of a shot for a young guy. His name never comes up much in prospect talk so I don't know much about him. Has anyone seen him play extensively who can give some feedback?

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#13 Chris
January 29 2009, 08:19AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Either that means the scouting/development sucks, or TSN’s out to lunch.

TSN is WAY out to lunch... AND Oiler scouting/development sucks. It's not like we have a great list of prospects to rank and organize. I rank it like this: Peckam and Eberle and a bunch of middling prospects and suspects that may crack OUR roster but wouldn't get a sniff with San Jose, or Detroit.

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#14 Colin
January 29 2009, 09:12AM
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CurtisS wrote:

@ Colin: Why hype?? Tell me the last time a Oiler prospect at the age of 18 scored so many points in a WJC?

I hear what you're saying, he's absolutely a phenomenal talent, and I hope he makes the team next fall.

But he's not the savior he's being made out to be. He's not going to single handedly steer the ship around like a Crosby or Ovechicken. He is an excellent goal scorer from what I've seen though (even on a pretty bad WHL team) and looked great in the WJC(and his goal with 5 ticks to play showed both poise and heart-definite things this team lacks), if he can keep it up he's certainly a very big piece to the puzzle.

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#15 Deans
January 29 2009, 09:48AM
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How has Slava Trukhno been progressing this season? I was at the preseason game against Florida and it looked like he had a bit of offensive potential. Prior to the season it seemed like the organization was slightly optimistic about his potential offensive upside. I havent heard anything about his progression since the pre-seasib but I've noticed his ranking has been slipping on the blogosphere. Johnathon, what have you seen/heard about Trukhno this season?

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#16 Jonathan Willis
January 29 2009, 10:16AM
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@ Chris:

Peckham and Eberle are the cream of the crop to be sure, but Riley Nash is an extremely underrated prospect, and Linus Omark is exactly the kind of player that Detroit's been making hay with for the past ten years.

Every team has a bunch of these guys that may or may not ever make it. Left wing Jan Mursak, for example, was ranked as Detroit's 4th best prospect by Hockey's Future, and he has three points in 25 games. Defenseman Jakub Kindl, their top-ranked prospect (again, according to Hockey's Future) has some offense but has a team-worst -13 in the AHL. Jim Howard, once their premier goalie prospect, has been soundly outplayed by his backup in the AHL and compares pretty closely with Jeff Deslauriers; except the Wings had the guts to leave him in the minors.

Of the Wings top-five prospects, only junior goaltender Thomas McCollum is ahead of expectations at this point (although Justin Abdelkader's adapting nicely to AHL play after three seasons at Michigan State).

The Oilers have a nice set of under-recognized second-tier prospects in Omark, Wild, Petry, Schremp, Vande Velde, Dubnyk, Plante, Chorney, Lerg, Reddox, Trukhno, etc. I would argue that Nash belongs in the top three with Peckham and Eberle, although exactly where I don't know.

Once I'm finished with the AHL prospects, I'll sum up the other prospects out there and post a general ranking of where I think they slot in.

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#17 Jonathan Willis
January 29 2009, 10:21AM
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@ Deans:

Last season, Trukhno scored 14-21-35 in 64 games. This year, he's on pace for 7-28-35 through 64 games. Last year he was -16, and this season he's only -1, but it's fairly safe to say that Trukhno isn't generating the offense that we all expected him to.

According to all reports, he's got a well-rounded game, but the offense needs to come, and at 21 he's well back fo the pace. At the same age, Marc Pouliot spent half the year in the NHL and played at a point-per-game pace in Wilkes-Barre.

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