Oilers Prospects Flourish on WJ Stage

This is Martin Marincin at the World Junior’s a year ago. The Team Slovakia defender (and Oilers draft pick) is engaging Nazem Kadri on December 29, 2009. It looks like an effective play by the defender. Oiler draft picks are delivering more of the same at the Buffalo World Juniors this week.

  1. Olivier Roy, Canada: Won his first game against the Russians and will start game 2 today. His SP (.889) ranks him 8th among the 11 goalies who have appeared so far, and he did let in a soft goal against the Russians. However, Roy didn’t let any of the goals impact his play and looked like a calm force in net for Canada. The way this tournament is shaping up, Roy is going to get the tough assignments which bodes well for him when the medal rounds begin.
  2. Curtis Hamilton, Canada: Hamilton scored a goal, had 2 shots on net and finished G1 with a plus +2 (good for a 6th place tie in the tournament). He has a lot of jump and seems to have adapted well to the coach’s dizzying line combinations. He’s getting some PK time, I’m hopeful he’ll see a powerplay before the end of the tournament.
  3. Anton Lander, Sweden: 1gp, 0-2-2 +3 so far in the tournament. It’s important to remember that the 19-year olds dominate the WJ’s, so Lander’s bar should be set higher. Still, it’s difficult to hold back on superlatives when checking the faceoffs and seeing the young man has a 75% success rate on sorties in the circle. Crazy man, crazy. When do flights leave for Edmonton? 
  4. Martin Marincin, Slovakia: 1gp, 0-0-0 +1 in his WJ’s so far this season, and the reports had him playing a sound positional game. He went 6gp, 0-2-2 -3 a year ago for Slovakia, so should improve on those numbers.
  5. Toni Rajala, Finland: 1gp, 0-1-1 E with an exceptional 6 shots on goal in G1 against the Americans. He’s a talented little buzzsaw, and based on his play I don’t think we should be too concerned about his middling offense in the SM-Liiga this season. Kid is a talent.

Every Oiler prospect plays today. Roy & Hamilton suit up for team Canada against the Czechs at 2pm Edmonton time this afternoon; Lander and Sweden play Russia at 5pm Edmonton time, both games are on tsn. Rajala and Finland play Switzerland this morning but there is no television coverage. At 6 tonight, Marincin and the Slovaks play the Americans. It is on the NHL network in the USA, but I don’t believe the coverage extends into Canada.


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  • Great to see some Oiler prospects making good for themselves. If you look at how many great NHLers have come out of this tournament, it’s great to see some future Oilers competing against the best from their age group.

    Anyone else see that TSN ranked Jordan Eberle as the top Canadian World Juniors player of all time last night?

  • Lowetide

    saw rajala play the americans. very reminiscent of linus omark. A very small player who attacks the puck carrier. very shifty.

    curious how long it will be before anton lander lands in the NHL because it seems he would be a great linemate for Omark and Paarjarvi in the future. He already has a friendship with Paarjarvi and it seems the three would be able to communicate quite well. Then O’Marra could slot into the 4C role that Colin Fraser just can’t seem to fit into.

    I agree with everyone else’s posts in recent articles though. Going into the future two of the three of Penner, Cogliano, Brule are going to leave this team. Not because they are poor players but I just don’t see how they will fit into this club long term. In Penner’s case it’s more a matter of the money he would want and unlike other big men like Dustin Bufuglien he doesn’t have a physical game so he doesn’t fit into the bottom 6.

    • Chris.

      Why would Lander play with MPS and Omark? Isn’t Lander projecting to be a shutdown player? Nobody advocates just throwing any three Canadian players on a line irrespective of playing style just because they are from the same country or speak the same language…

      • Chris.

        not exactly. scouts have him projected as a defensive center with decent offensive ability. He’s good at corner work/spade work and is supposed to be a decent passer and controls the puck well along the boards which would definitely play well with Paarjarvi and Omark because they both cycle the puck well with their speed and skill. Besides he’d be a better alternative than O’Marra is all I’m saying because you can’t discount the language barrier. The three Swedes would communicate much better in their native language and all three come from similar playing backgrounds in terms of style of play.

        Besides chemistry would trump scouting reports. I doubt Alex Burrows was projected to be a 20-30 goal scorer in this league but he’s meshed well with the Sedins.

      • Aendayana

        I may be wrong here but I think MPS and Anton played on the same team already couple of years. As it is in everything in life, feeling confident and comfortable helps in hockey too. Next year if Lander makes the Oilers (here is for hoping) you know having Magnus around will help him.
        I know this will create some backlash but I don’t think Omark will be an Oiler beyond next year. And if he doesnt have a top six role, he should not be here anyway.

        • Aendayana

          Just wondering if you are the only one who knew that. I assumed it was common knowledge that Lander and Paajarvi were linemates during their tenure together for Timra. Also Kris Versteeg plays a similar style to Omark and he found a place on Chicago’s third line. If the Oilers did choose to put the three Swedes together both Lander and Paajarvi have good defensive habits and Lander is thought by many of you to be a shutdown center so I don’t think that they’d suffer defensively from having Omark. It’s way too early to say that Omark doesn’t have a place, especially with his skill and tenacity.

          Besides skill is necessary. It won’t help Edmonton if they lose a bunch of skill players to pick up a group of bruising grinders. Moderation is necessary. I’d say this team needs about 3 true grinding aggressive players to pepper into the lineup.

      • Dan the Man

        I agree fundamentally with what you are saying here but I believe Lander and Paajarvi were actually linemates with Timra.

        I’m not saying that it guarantees success but there is a history there and I assume some chemistry as well.

  • Lowetide

    The list of accomplishments thus far is a positive sign that the Oilers dratf day fortunes may be turning around. How many of these kids are watching Oiler highlights each game and thinking that it could be them playing with the Oilers ina a season or 2? Anton Landermay be that 4th line guy next season who takes faceoffs and kills penalties. He certainly couldn’t do any worse than Fraser who at times looks like an AHLer. Wouldn’t Maricni look at hoem beside Petry on defense in a couple of years? The future is bright.

  • Lowetide

    I think ideally you’d like to see Lander on the 4line with a veteran LW and someone like Stortini for his first season (or at least 30 games). Throwing him into the deep end of the pool is unwise imo, although he’ll eventually be a shutdown C if he delivers on his scouting report.

    • Chris.

      I’m curious where does Chris Vande Velde fit in then. He looked pretty good at center and although is a different player than Lander Hockeyfuture has him projected for the same spot as Lander. A 3rd-4th line center. And Vande Velde is ahead of Lander in terms of development as well. How is he performing this season?

      • Lowetide

        Andrew: The big item is age. Vande Velde is really burning daylight as a prospect this season. He played NCAA hockey until he was age 22 and his progress this season (at 23) doesn’t suggest he’s going to bring enough offense.

        Now, his role has changed a little since O’Marra was recalled (coach Todd Nelson has said some nice things about him on Bob Stauffer’s show) but he isn’t pushing O’Marra and the kids are lining up behind him.

        I honestly think he needs a strong 2nd half of the season to be in the mix next fall. Oilers have a lot of prospects, a few will fall through the cracks if they can’t keep up.

        • Lowetide

          I hope for the organizations sake, if there are some who cant keep up we can trade them for picks while they are still worth something. I dont mind losing a guy like VV as long as we dont let him slip away for nothing.

  • @ Andrewmk20

    “Going into the future two of the three of Penner, Cogliano, Brule are going to leave this team.”

    My bet is that three of four of Hemsky, Penner, Cogliano, Brule are going to leave this team. Penner will be the keeper. Although Hemsky is indeed an elite player, better to maximize his asset value before his run of injuries reduce his market worth.

    Speaking of the future, my crystal ball indicates Macintyre, Strudwick, Fraser, Jacques, Vandermere and possibly Foster will be gone.

    There is talent in OKC and there will be better free agents available in the off-season.

    • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

      Yes you’d get more return for Hemsky. But the question is what kind of return? There are not a lot of players out there that can do what he can. Penner does finish around the net but looking at the Oilers prospects list I see at least a few players that could replace what Penner offers. Curtis Hamilton projects to be a power forward and is already 6’3 210lbs. He also has decent hands and can be a front of the net presence. Tyler Pitlick also has size at 6’2 195lbs and is supposed to have very good offensive skills. However I don’t see a high skill player in their system like Hemsky.

      And while I am a Penner fan he is fairly one dimensional in terms of his offense and I’d be most worried about his compete level. Even this season he’s been off and on through the first 35 games. For 3-4 games his legs are moving and he looks unstoppable then the next 3-4 he stops moving and is basically a 245lbs paperweight. Hemsky always competes and always skates hard. That’s something that can’t just be developed, it’s got to come from the player himself. Although if injuries persist with Hemsky then I’d think the Oilers would keep Penner over him.