December 25 2013 11:13AM
For Edmonton Oiler fans, this is going to be an unusual World Junior championships. Over the last several years Edmonton draft picks have been front and center at the annual prospect tournament, but this year there are only two—Russians Bogdan Yakimov (in photo) and Anton Slepyshev. Is there anything worth watching? Or course!
FUTURE OILERS VIA TRADE
The Oilers did not draft Curtis Lazar (photo by Lisa McRichie via Kukla's Korner) or Griffin Reinhart but they certainly wanted to, and one suspects both young men are still on club radar. Former Oil Kings have value to the organization, as reflected in the trade earlier this season to acquire Laurent Brossoit. My belief is the Oilers put a high degree of importance on character, and from what we know of these two young men they have that part of the equation in great amounts.
FUTURE OILERS VIA DRAFTMAS PAST
As mentioned, the two Russians drafted earlier this year should be major players for the Russians. There will be three chances to see these kids via tsn if you get both channels and I'll be giving you updates throughout the tournament here at Oilers Nation through the holidays.
These two gents (Yakimov and Slepyshev) are important players for the Oilers, because it is extremely rare for the club to venture into the USSR (old timey reference) and success would probably mean more picks from that part of the world. There's no doubting the quality of these players, but signability can be an issue as we all know.
FUTURE OILERS VIA DRAFTMAS FUTURE
Folks, they're everywhere. Canada is represented by Sam Reinhart (Kootenay Ice), Aaron Ekblad (Barrie Colts), two players who are vying for number one overall. Also in the conversation are Germany's Leon Draisaitl, who plays for the PA Raiders. He's a very popular player among Oiler fans already, with Warren texting to tsn 1260 the other day that Edmonton should do the "death rattle for Draisaitl" ala Fail for Nail and Fall for Hall.
Other eligibles worth paying attention to are Kasperi Kapanen (yes, Sami's son) who is a skill winger for Finland, and Russian center Ivan Barbashev. Another player to follow is Lucas Wallmark, who passed through the draft in the summer but has a fine season going in 2013-14.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Merry Christmas! I'll be updating throughout the holidays on the World Juniors and following the progress of Yakimov and Slepyshev. Best of the season!