Another Watershed Season

Lowetide
July 17 2011 07:35AM

One year ago, the Edmonton Oilers graduated an enormous number of young men to pro hockey. The NHL kids (Hall, Paajarvi, Eberle) were joined by an exceptional group in Oklahoma City (led by Linus Omark and Teemu Hartikainen). This season there's more excitement in store. Can this year's prospects come close to the quality and depth of the 2010 group?

A year ago, we knew months out that the three gifted forwards had a really good chance to make the NHL Oilers. This season, only Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a strong candidate to graduate directly from junior to the big leagues. So, there's a lot more bubbling under and Oklahoma City is where the action will be for prospects in 11-12.

  1. Yann Danis: He's been within spitting distance of regular NHL employment a few times, but spent last season in the KHL (31gp, 3.05 .910). Danis is a solid AHL goaltender and may see some playing time with the Oilers should the club need a third option during the year.
  2. Olivier Roy: Junior goaltender is a famous prospect because of his inclusion on the Canadian WJ team, and boasted an impressive .911SP in the QMJHL this past season. In 09-10, Roy played 3 games for the AHL Falcons and posted a .913SP so he has had a cup of coffee at the pro level. I think there's a chance Edmonton adds another goalie to the mix, and that would probably mean that Roy plays in the ECHL this season. No sin there, many NHL goaltenders spent some time there when they turned pro.

Desjardins' NHL equivalencies-Defenders

    1. Taylor Fedun (NCAA) 12-14-26
    2. Bryan Helmer (AHL) 5-17-22
    3. Jeff Petry (AHL) 6-15-21
    4. Martin Marincin (WHL) 5-16-21
    5. Corey Potter (AHL) 3-15-18
    6. Brandon Davidson (WHL) 3-14-17
    7. Taylor Chorney (AHL) 2-11-13
    8. Colten Teubert (AHL) 3-8-11
    9. Alex Plante (AHL) 1-8-9
    10. Johan Motin (AHL) 1-3-4

New pro's are in italics. One thing we need to understand from the get-go is that Taylor Fedun's numbers are no fluke: he's a legit prospect and at 23 is a guy to keep your eye on during camp and into the season. We don't really know what he's like defensively but he's younger than Jeff Petry and if he can handle the rough and tumble AHL this is a player we could see in the NHL sometime this season.

It's hard to slot all of the kids because not all of them will play. A guess at the OKC top 7 might be (in order):

  1. Bryan Helmer (AHL veteran)
  2. Corey Potter (AHL veteran)
  3. Jeff Petry
  4. Taylor Chorney
  5. Taylor Fedun
  6. Colten Teubert
  7. Alex Plante
  8. Martin Marincin
  9. Brandon Davidson
  10. Johan Motin

I suspect one of Chorney or Petry will make the big club, and that Davidson will return to junior this fall. Motin is a candidate for Stockton (or he might go home, it's possible--he's fallen off the map here) so the top 7 might be Helmer, Potter, Petry, Fedun, Colbert, Plante, Marincin.

There's a lot of talent there, I think the Oilers have a nice mix of skill and toughness. The one negative? The depth chart lacks a complete player type with AHL experience aside from Jeff Petry. If Fedun proves to be a capable defender the Oilers will have captured lightning in a bottle; if Martin Marincin can play at this level the Oilers are going to be dangerous pdq.

Desjardins equivalencies-Forwards

    1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (WHL) 11-27-38
    2. Anton Lander (SEL) 14-20-34
    3. Tanner House (NCAA) 10-24-34
    4. Curtis Hamilton (WHL) 10-23-33
    5. Mark Arcobello (AHL) 15-16-31
    6. Lennart Petrell (SML) 10-18-28
    7. Ryan Keller (AHL) 17-10-27
    8. Hunter Tremblay (CIS) no equivalency
    9. Tyler Pitlick (WHL) 12-15-27
    10. Josh Green (AHL) 8-17-25
    11. Teemu Hartikainen (AHL) 10-13-23
    12. Toni Rajala (SML) 9-13-22
    13. Antti Tyrvainen (SML) 12-8-20
    14. Ryan O'Marra (AHL) 1-14-15
    15. Milan Kytnar (AHL) 6-8-14
    16. Phil Cornet (AHL) 4-10-14
    17. Chris VandeVelde (AHL) 7-2-9
    18. Cameron Abney (WHL) 3-5-8

First, I included RNH just for fun, he'll either play in the NHL or junior there is no chance he suits up for OKC this season (he could join them after his junior or NHL season is over but that's a distant bell). There are a few too many names, but one guesses that Abney will start in the ECHL and I haven't read much on Toni Rajala coming over. So, with that as the backdrop the depth chart might look like this (too many C's so I'm moving people around):

  1. C Anton Lander
  2. C Tanner House
  3. C Ryan O'Marra
  4. C Chris VandeVelde
  5. C Milan Kytnar
  6. L Lennert Petrell
  7. L Teemu Hartikainen
  8. L Curtis Hamilton
  9. L Hunter Tremblay
  10. L Phil Cornet
  11. R Ryan Keller
  12. R Mark Arcobello
  13. R Josh Green
  14. R Antti Tyrvainen
  15. R Tyler Pitlick

Look about right? Lots of new to the AHL types but Petrell is a very experienced and talented winger and Lander might be this year's Omark (who ripped it up in OKC and forced his way onto the NHL roster). Lots of quality here and some names that could have NHL careers. We've followed the draft picks for a long time, this is where the rubber hits the road for Lander, Hamilton and Pitlick.

Fun times ahead.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#51 Wanyes bastard child
July 17 2011, 07:55PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Dammit! You kids and your new fangled humor!

I blame my father myself...

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#52 hall
July 17 2011, 08:44PM
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@DBO

you say thiers no room for rnh yet our center position is very mediocre and crying out for a legitamate center

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#53 Quicksilver ballet
July 17 2011, 08:53PM
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@David S

The kid will show he's a player right from the getgo David, just like Hall did last season. Combined with the fact he's competing against players on the 30th place team in the NHL and not against the best players in the world i think he'll hold his own amongst a few of his future teamates.

The kid thinks the game on a different level than most players......he'll remove all doubt and show he belongs come training camp. It doesn't matter that he's only 6-1 and 175 lbs, if he shows he can play, he stays.

Most kids benifit from having a long leash in hopes they'll eventually develope into an NHL player, Hopkins isn't one of them.

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#54 hall
July 17 2011, 08:58PM
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@David S

wow somebody dosent believe in rnh im pretty confident the kid makes the team hes been exceptional in every level hes played at and just remember hes the number 1 pick the best of his draft he was picked for a reason. wwhen he was 15 he plated against 19 and 20 year olds for 5 games and had 6 points. The kid will be fine and we all need to stop comparing him toeberle and gagner they are not number 1 picks

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#55 David S
July 17 2011, 09:07PM
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hall wrote:

wow somebody dosent believe in rnh im pretty confident the kid makes the team hes been exceptional in every level hes played at and just remember hes the number 1 pick the best of his draft he was picked for a reason. wwhen he was 15 he plated against 19 and 20 year olds for 5 games and had 6 points. The kid will be fine and we all need to stop comparing him toeberle and gagner they are not number 1 picks

Wow. Just wow.

http://www.gifsforum.com/images/image/mind%20blown/mini/mind_equal_blown.jpg

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#56 Peter Griffin
July 18 2011, 09:16AM
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The opening picture never gets old. It's refreshing everytime it makes it's presence.

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#57 FastOil
July 18 2011, 12:06PM
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It's funny how perspectives change given time.

Before the draft lots of us were worried about picking RNH. Now that we did, he has progressed from too small, to not elite, to pretty amazing, to the next Sakic, to can't miss, to he has to play because all first overall picks do.

Shouldn't it be that the best thing for him is the thing to do? He obviously is physically immature and maybe a year to grow is a good thing, skilled enough or not.

Kane, the comparable of choice, is 5'10" and 178 (per Hawks). RNH is at least 3" taller and lighter, so is a very skinny guy, even compared to Kane. Kane at the same weight as RNH is still a stronger guy because he is significantly shorter. Although it may not matter, please understand how small this guy is.

So many of you lamented that Gagner's mediocre start in the NHL is all because he was rushed, but now it's the only option for RNH?

Take a deep breath everyone, although it is getting more exciting to be an Oilers fan, we are still getting our assess handed to us again this season.

It's all part of ST's master plan.

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#58 Archaeologuy
July 18 2011, 03:02PM
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@FastOil

When he was drafted Kane was a little over 150 pounds. He gained significant weight since then. RNH is already 20 pounds heavier than Kane was at the same time.

I dont think anything is obvious except the fact that all of us are merely guessing at how ready RNH is or isnt.

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#59 erixon
July 18 2011, 05:13PM
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That first picture is the gift that just keeps on giving.

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#60 Oilcan
July 18 2011, 06:03PM
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FastOil wrote:

It's funny how perspectives change given time.

Before the draft lots of us were worried about picking RNH. Now that we did, he has progressed from too small, to not elite, to pretty amazing, to the next Sakic, to can't miss, to he has to play because all first overall picks do.

Shouldn't it be that the best thing for him is the thing to do? He obviously is physically immature and maybe a year to grow is a good thing, skilled enough or not.

Kane, the comparable of choice, is 5'10" and 178 (per Hawks). RNH is at least 3" taller and lighter, so is a very skinny guy, even compared to Kane. Kane at the same weight as RNH is still a stronger guy because he is significantly shorter. Although it may not matter, please understand how small this guy is.

So many of you lamented that Gagner's mediocre start in the NHL is all because he was rushed, but now it's the only option for RNH?

Take a deep breath everyone, although it is getting more exciting to be an Oilers fan, we are still getting our assess handed to us again this season.

It's all part of ST's master plan.

Haha well Kane is also alot older and just because he is shorter doesn't make him stronger a guy could be 220 and a guy at 180 could still be stronger, plus I don't care how much RNH can curl or bench press I am more concerned about leg strength and core which I think isnt all that bad.

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#61 Dacota
July 18 2011, 06:13PM
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I am a little worried about the future of our collective language/communication skills given the reality that texting and acronyms will be the death of proper English. The last thing that I do before hitting "enter/send" is review what I have written. While I am not pompous about being correct in the brush strokes that compile our resulting communications, I think that we can all take a little more time to ensure that we're at least close to being correct? Refer back to "wow" and others!! Beyond that, I believe that the Oilers are on the cusp of an embarrassment of riches in terms of talent. Consecutive 1st overall picks does not ensure success at an organizational level(reference the Islanders and "mad Mike's" tragic premature shedding of talent), to that end, I have complete respect for the big picture being developed and nurtured by the Oilers' collective brain trust. This includes the oft, inexplicably maligned, Kevin Lowe and all of the subsequent contributors to the rebuild or "Oil Change". From top to bottom, this is an organization that will once again set the bar and provide the template for organizational excellence. Granted, they have borrowed heavily from the Detroit organization, but why not identify the most successful model and then emulate it?? It might be argued that the Oilers fell in to the first rendition of dominance through fortuitous drafting, but I would suggest that the key moment for that collective was understanding that they possessed the perfect storm and they stood aside and freed the reins. What would have become of that team had they not had the supreme confidence of Pocklington, the smugness of Sather, the recognition that they possessed a completely unique collection of talent?? In other hands, that "TEAM" would not have become what they did! One way or another, you can only ever interpret reality in real time. You do not have the benefit of hindsight in the moment that it happens. Revisionist history is destined for those too afraid or too naive to call it in real time. For all of those eager to condemn or bash in hindsight, I suggest that you try and make the decision as it arrives. Think back to 2006, you count 15 wins in the post season(16 gets you engraved), before we knew Mrs Pronger would dictate the unraveling of what was a solid core. UFA stud Horcoff (finished 2nd in regular season and playoff points) needs an offer sheet, what do you do? It seemed at the time that he was a key component to the Oilers moving forward...Kevin was in a no win situation. To condemn him now is asinine, he would've been thrashed if he let him go for nothing! The numbers posted dictated the eventual salary. Despite the fact that Shawn has not since posted the numbers worthy of his contract, he is, at very least, a consummate professional and a great example for the next wave of Oiler talent. Forgive me if I have any typos or punctuation errors...at least I tried!

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#62 Archaeologuy
July 18 2011, 07:27PM
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@Dacota

Good gawd man. Break that paragraph up into digestible chunks!

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#63 Dacota
July 19 2011, 08:59AM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Good gawd man. Break that paragraph up into digestible chunks!

Sorry guys... It was broken up until I hit send?? I'm not sure how that happened? Damn rookies!

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