When your team is worst in the league, looking towards the future is sometimes the only solace you have. Earlier this week The Hockey News hit the newsstands with their always-anticipated Future Watch edition. It ranks the top 75 prospects in the NHL, and for the first time ever the Oilers had two guys in the top eleven.
The Hockey News gathers info from every NHL head scout and some other scouts and then compiles the rankings. Here are the top eleven across the NHL:
- Alex Pietrangelo, (4th, 2008) D-man, St. Louis Blues
- Jacob Markstrom (31st, 2008) Goalie, Florida Panters
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson (6th, 2009) D-man, Phoenix Coyotes
- Cody Hodgson, (10th, 2008) Centre, Vancouver Canucks
- John Carlson (27th, 2008) Defence Washington Capitals
- Jordan Eberle (22nd, 2008) Winger, Edmonton Oilers
- Nikita Filatov (6th, 2008) LW, Columbus Blue Jackets
- Colin Wilson (7th, 2008) Centre, Nashville Predators
- Luca Sbisa (19th, 2008) D-man, Anaheim Ducks
- Brayden Schenn (5th, 2009) Centre, Los Angeles Kings
- Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson (10th, 2009) LW, Edmonton Oilers
The only other Oiler prospect in the top-75 was D-man Jeff Petry who was ranked 56th. I put winger beside Eberle’s name because he is comfortable playing either wing. Colin Wilson is ranked 8th, but is currently playing in Nashville. The surprise in the top ten has to be Ekman-Larsson. Many people were shocked when Phoenix took him 6th last year, but clearly he continues to progress. The Coyotes have lots of good young players in their organization.
The THN also ranks the top ten players in each organization and it is interesting to see that Linus Omark is ranked 9th within the Oiler organization.
- Jordan Eberle
- Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson
- Jeff Petry
- Taylor Chorney
- Anton Lander
- Teemu Hartikainen
- Alex Plante
- Riley Nash
- Linus Omark
- Johan Motin
Hartikainen is a name to look for in the future. I know the Oiler scouts like his skating, grit and he has some decent finish. The 6th rounder in 2008 is currently playing for KalPa Kuopio in Finland, and he has 12 goals and 28 points in 49 games. He is 6’1” and 200 pounds and he plays with a bit of “crust”. You might see him come over here this upcoming season, but it isn’t guaranteed yet.
Omark’s ranking should calm some of those who have been calling for him to come here and be a lock in the top-six. If he expects a guarantee to play in Edmonton then I can’t see him coming over here. He does have an out-clause in his KHL contract that would allow him to come over next year, and maybe he comes, goes to camp and if he doesn’t make the team he goes back to the KHL and collect $1.2 million rather than $75,000 in the AHL.