January 15 2014 04:12PM
Oilers fans were hoping they could watch tonight Top Prospect game casually, however, due to another horrific NHL season fans will be watching closely to see which top prospect will help the Oilers the most.
Looking at the NHL standings, I suspect the Oilers will finish 28th-30th. I don't see them catching the Panthers or Islanders, so unless a team that finishes 27th-17th wins the lottery, the Oilers will have a top-three pick this June.
If you are feeling a severe case of Deja Vu, don't worry you aren't alone. By now we all have experience dealing with the speculation, conjecture and predictions of top-three picks so no one should be caught off guard when someone debates the merits of Aaron Ekblad, Sam Reinhart, Samuel Bennett, Leon Draisaitl (Dry-Siddle), Nick Ritchie and Michael Dal Colle.
The mid-term rankings came out earlier this week and here is a glimpse of how some of them ranked the top-ten players.
NHL Central Scouting: Top-10 North American Skaters (The rest of the rankings are here)
|1||BENNETT, SAMUEL||KINGSTON||OHL||C||6' 0.25"||178|
|2||DRAISAITL, LEON||PRINCE ALBERT||WHL||C||6' 1.75"||208|
|3||EKBLAD, AARON||BARRIE||OHL||D||6' 3.5"||216|
|4||REINHART, SAM||KOOTENAY||WHL||C||6' 0.75"||185|
|5||DAL COLLE, MICHAEL||OSHAWA||OHL||C/LW||6' 1.5"||179|
|6||FLEURY, HAYDN||RED DEER||WHL||D||6' 2.5"||198|
|7||RITCHIE, NICHOLAS||PETERBOROUGH||OHL||LW||6' 2.25"||231|
|8||PERLINI, BRENDAN||NIAGARA||OHL||LW||6' 2.5"||205|
|9||VIRTANEN, JAKE||CALGARY||WHL||RW||6' 0.75"||208|
|10||DEANGELO, ANTHONY||SARNIA||OHL||D||5' 10.75"||175|
ISS released their top-30.... Here is their top-ten. They include European skaters as well, Central Scouting ranks them separately.
|4||Dal Colle, Michael||C||6/20/1996||L||6.01.5||179||Oshawa||OHL|
|7||Draisaitl, Leon||C||10/27/1995||L||6.01.75||208||Prince Albert||WHL|
|8||Fleury, Haydn||LD||7/8/1996||L||6.02.5||198||Red Deer||WHL|
Hockey Prospect ranks them every month and here is their January rankings.
|3||3||DAL COLLE, MICHAEL||LW||OSHAWA||OHL||6'2||171|
|6||4||DRAISATL, LEON||LC||PRINCE ALBERT||WHL||6'1"||198|
|9||6||MCCANN, JARED||LC||SAULT STE. MARIE||OHL||6'0"||174|
- Ekblad is clearly the best defenceman in the draft, and if they want a D-man he is the easy choice.
- For the past few months much of the focus revolved around Reinhart and Ekblad, but Reinhart is not a run away choice for centre. There are other options, and some who might fit the Oilers needs better. If Reinhart is clearly the best centre come June, then would take him, but after talking to scouts from across the country the past week, I don't get the sense that he is.
Many like Sam Bennett, and despite the differences in weight from one site to the next, he currently sits around 175-180. He will fill out according to everyone I spoke with, and he plays with a bit on an edge to go with his great offensive skills.
Draisaitl is big and strong. His size and skill would fit perfectly in Edmonton and help counter the massive size and skill of the top teams in the Pacific Division.
Scouting reports on Dal Colle point to him being skilled with an aggressive side as well. He plays both LW and C.
The debate over which centre will be the best NHLer will be intense and intriguing over the next five months.
- Here is a a quick look at their offensive numbers.
Reinhart November 6th, 1995 Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- 2011-12 Kootenay Ice WHL 67 28 34 62 2 16 2012-13 Kootenay Ice WHL 72 35 50 85 22 8 2013-14 Kootenay Ice WHL 34 18 35 53 2 7 Dal Colle June 20th, 1996 Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/- 2012-13 Oshawa Generals OHL 63 15 33 48 18 19 2013-14 Oshawa Generals OHL 43 27 37 64 30 9 Bennett June 20th, 1996 2012-13 Kingston Frontenacs OHL 60 18 22 40 87 -2 2013-14 Kingston Frontenacs OHL 40 26 40 66 85 26 Draisaitl October 27th, 1995 2012-13 Prince Albert Raiders WHL 64 21 37 58 22 22 2013-14 Prince Albert Raiders WHL 35 19 35 54 18 2
That isn't a typo; Dal Colle and Bennett were born on the same day.
Their point totals are pretty even when you look at points per game this year.
Dal Colle: 1.48
Points are only one aspect of their game. They all have different styles.
Here is how the Scouting Report sees them:
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound centre is an excellent two-way forward who has really elevated his offensive game in the early going of the 2013-14 season. Reinhart shows an ability to produce in all situations and his excellent vision and offensive awareness bode well when projecting what type of offensive impact he can have in the NHL.
Bennett is a true 200-foot player and is capable of playing on the powerplay, penalty kill, and is never one to cheat his defensive responsibilities to initiate something at the other end of the ice. That's not to downplay his offensive game, however, as Bennett is a very crafty player who has a deceptive shot release and underrated playmaking ability.
With pro size, Draisaitl plays brings a consistently high compete level and has excellent hands and offensive talent. More of a playmaker than a scorer, Draisaitl has shown that he can be an offensive catalyst night in, night out, and should wind up having a good opportunity to make the jump to the NHL next year.
The 6-foot-2 forward is capable of playing both centre and the wing and possesses impressive puck protection skills and offensive zone creativity that project well on his ability to be a big-time producer at the next level. Dal Colle’s top-end speed is an area of continued improvement, but his elusiveness, stickhandling ability, and long reach create matchup problems for any OHL defenseman.
Keep in mind that the above scouting report is just one example. Not every scouting bureau will see players the same way; just like Oilers fans don't see every player the same way.
We hope this is the final time we have to start previewing draft selections in January, but until the Oilers become more competitive, we have no choice but to discuss draft picks in January.
I'll be watching tonight's game closely. Here are the projected lineups...
Bennett is not playing unfortunately due to an injury, so you will have to watch his OHL games on line if you want to see him in action. He was replaced by Point.
The next few months decide if the Oilers finish 28th, or if the wheels completely fall off and they manage to finish below Calgary and/or Buffalo.