NHL scouts knew Aleksandr Barkov was something special a year ago, when he delivered a solid season at age 16 in Finland’s top pro league (the SM-Liiga). Barkov’s 7 goals and 9 assists in 2011-12 was 4th best among skaters aged 21 and under. This season? He’s in the top 10 in league scoring and pushing up the draft rankings.


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  • C Aleksandr Barkov, Tappera Tampere (SML): Among the top 10 in SM-Liiga scoring so far this season, Barkov is moving himself into the conversation for #1 overall at the 2013 entry draft. Craig Button: "You are looking at a big player who is equally adept playing a physical game or a skill game. He’s also equally adept in his ability to score and set up plays. But what really impresses me about Aleksander Barkov is his ability to do things quickly and take advantage of things that are given to him. There’s no reason for me not to believe that his name could potentially be the first one called out in June." He is a natural center but can play either wing.

  • D Rasmus Ristolainen, TPS Turku (SML): Big and strong at age 18 (6.03, 210), Ristolainen is one of the best defensemen available in the 2013 entry draft. The Scouting Report: "While the hulking Finn is far from a finished product, the two-way potential and physicality are certainly enticing. Ristolainen is a polished skater and an emerging offensive game which makes his potential intriguing. While further progression and development is still required, he plays an NHL style of game and brings a lot of the tools that teams will be looking for out of a Top 4 defenseman." 
  • L Artturi Lehkonen, Kalpa (SML): Sniper with great hands, he’s in the SML and has 9 goals so far this season. Calling card based on scouting reports I’ve read is a quick release. He’s undersized and could improve his draft number by growing a couple of inches before the draft.  Creative player, something the Oilers are most often looking for in their high picks.


  • C Elias Lindholm, Brynas (SEL): Another top flight prospect, he’s a 2-way C with plenty of skill and maturity at a young age. Goran Stubb, Central Scouting Director for Europe: "He’s a complete package, He could very well be the next Peter Forsberg. He’s an excellent skater and great competitor who gives it 110 percent on every shift. He can skate, score and pass and is physically strong even though he is a finesse-type of player." Lindholm’s father was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 1987.
  • C Jacob de la Rose, Leksand (Sweden): A very interesting player. Power forward size and some skill make him a player to watch for scouts this Christmas. Goran Stubb, Central Scouting Director for Europe: "He’s speedy and plays a strong two-way game. He can pass and shoot at top speed and is always on the puck. He’s a strong finesse-type player. His older brother [defenseman Erik de la Rose] also plays for Leksand." I think he looks like the most confident player on the ice.


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  • D Mirco Mueller, Everett (WHL) : Big defender (6.04, 185) with what scouts call a "projectable frame" and a nice range of skills. International Scouting Services: "makes a great first pass and has good vision and showed some solid poise and confidence. He can quarterback the powerplay from the blueline when given the chance”.


The kids will soon land in Ufa, and play in a major tournament in front of NHL scouts and GMs. The 2013 draft looks (at this point) like a very deep one, with Finland and Sweden producing a bumper crop and Switzerland adding to the fun. Combined with strong Canadian and American draft years, this could be an outstanding entry draft.

Up next: the Russians, Czechs and Germans. 

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      • Oilertown

        If they pick 1 through 5 god I hope not. Nothing wrong with Lazar he is going to be a good player.This may be the deepest draft in YEARS and more talent ahead of him.

        • OilersBrass

          If there is a draft lottery because of the lock out there is NO WAY the Oilers will be getting a top 5 pick. Which i why I see them picking up Lazar, who is a skilled player that will get lost in the depth of the draft, kind of like Grigorenko last year.

          • 30, 30, 29 and you don’t think the Oilers are a lottery team?

            The Oilers ARE a lottery team. What significant changes have the Oilers made to suggest otherwise?

            The Barons with all that fire power are also just hanging on to a playoff spot themselves.

            The Oilers are an injury away from being a top 3 lottery selection.

            Oilers low end 5th place in the lottery, Oilers top end 8th worst.

            The Oilers have way to many unknowns a legitimate holes in the line up.

            PS Lazar is having an awful year if the Oilers selected him in the top 15 right now they will have wasted the pick.

            Barkov for the Oilers! Barkov 3 point night vs team USA.

          • OilersBrass

            The draft also goes by how many first overall picks you’ve had. The Oilers have had three in a row. They will only have one ball in the draft. Teams like, Calgary, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Minnesota, Toronto, Winnipeg all have 7 balls. The Oilers have a very slim chance of getting a top 5 or even top 10 pick.

            As for Lazar, he’s the type of player who gets better every year, sure he had a slow start this year but he’s been a lot better lately. I’ve watched him play live 5 times this year, and the kid is good. Definitely not a waste of a pick.

            Also LOL at Seth Jones saying yesterday that USA is the best team in the tournament! The Fins spanked them this morning.

          • Call me silly, stupid, or naive however I still feel the morons in charge will get something done to save the rest of the season.

            If the season is cancelled then I agree with you, my bad I should have been more specific about the lottery spot.

            The games I seen Lazar which are about the same as yourself + a game or two he was not very good, in fact he was not good in the super series too.

            I have to laugh with you at Jones, this kid is problems already.

          • Smoking the Mayan crack Wes? A lottery team? Wow that was insightful. Where have you een.In your bunker? If you have not been keeping up lets clue you in regarding OKC. Eberle and JS lead the league in scoring. Hall is not to far behind. RNH.Captain of the that team in UFA. If your looking for a reason for OKC’s foibles look no further than the 3rd and 4th lines. Pitlick finally got a goal last night. Lander has been non existent offensively.Look there not to the guys who are getting the job done. Team effort required.

            Lazar? You ever watch an OIL King game.Listen to a game? Give your head a shake. Goals and assists do not a complete player maker.Lazar is developing fine for a 17 year old.

            As far as Barkov goes. Can’t comment.never seen him play.

            The Oilers if the season plays 48 games make the playoffs. All guns a blazin.

          • Spoken with full blue goggles on!

            The AHL is not the NHL. Schultz has yet to play in the NHL until he does you can only project what he may do.

            Four players do not make the team a playoff caliber team, it helps, but far from it.

            + two players are your saying the Oilers will jump 8 teams in the WC? Ok.

            When did you ever get the feeling Tambellini and Lowe are capable of making significant deals to improve this team? My guess is you can subtract one of the untouchable’s for an up coming deal. (That’s not a good thing)

            This IS the same team that went 30,30, 29

            No bottom six, no center depth, no defensive depth, unproven goaltender an over age injury pron goaltender

            Injuries to the defense right now, out of the gate come January the Oilers are already behind.

            As for Lazar, he is NOT projecting well as a 17 year old, he’s dropped in every scouting report! That not projecting well that’s regressing.

          • OilersBrass

            Hahahah I was just joking about the Calgary thing. I was merely stating that I could see the Oilers picking a player LIKE Lazar in the draft, which is a skilled two way forward.

            The only reason Lazar dropped in the rankings is because other players are just putting up more points than him, that still doesn’t mean he isn’t talented or “regressing”. He has a great defensive AND offensive game, which is exactly what the Oilers need. They have enough wingers to put up numbers. He reminds me of Sean Couturier, and if i remember correctly Couturier dropped in the rankings as well (Was ranked 1st overall for months and was selected 8th). Does that mean he was regressing??

            I don’t get your comment about “jumping 8 western conference teams” either? I said if there was a lotto draft they would NOT be getting a high pick.

  • RexLibris

    It is a season of centers. The Oilers need a season as it gives them the best chance of finishing in the bottom ten and getting a solid 2nd line center prospect. Lindholm, Monahan, Barkov, Lazar, are all likely names that are being looked into a great deal.

    By the same token, the Flames absolutely need to draft high and get a center this year. This is their best chance of finding one without either having to finish in the bottom five or trading the proverbial farm for one.

    It is a great draft class, this June. Shame about the circumstances surrounding it.

  • Curtis Lazar will be an NHL player. He may not be an offensive powerhouse but the kid can skate, he reads the plays incredibly well for his age and he can kill penalties. Lazar will be a steal if he is still available during the 2nd half of the 1st round.