Looking to the future…

IIHF World Junior Championship - Canada v USA - Gold Medal Game

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:

  1. Alex Pietrangelo, (4th, 2008) D-man, St. Louis Blues
  2. Jacob Markstrom (31st, 2008) Goalie, Florida Panters
  3. Oliver Ekman-Larsson (6th, 2009) D-man, Phoenix Coyotes
  4. Cody Hodgson, (10th, 2008) Centre, Vancouver Canucks
  5. John Carlson (27th, 2008) Defence Washington Capitals
  6. Jordan Eberle (22nd, 2008) Winger, Edmonton Oilers
  7. Nikita Filatov (6th, 2008) LW, Columbus Blue Jackets
  8. Colin Wilson (7th, 2008) Centre, Nashville Predators
  9. Luca Sbisa (19th, 2008) D-man, Anaheim Ducks
  10. Brayden Schenn (5th, 2009) Centre, Los Angeles Kings
  11. 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.

  1. Jordan Eberle
  2. Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson
  3. Jeff Petry
  4. Taylor Chorney
  5. Anton Lander
  6. Teemu Hartikainen
  7. Alex Plante
  8. Riley Nash
  9. Linus Omark
  10. 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.

  • Chris.

    I'm tired of all the Horcoff bashing. It's gotten old.

    Horcoff has played big minutes for this club all year against the toughest opposition with a first degree shoulder seperation. He has size, moves well, and aside from Potulny, is the only Oiler forward with a dangerous shot.

    Yes… Horcoff, like almost every single other Oiler, has had a bad year.

    And Yes..!. Horcoff is overpayed…GET OVER IT! That point has been made ad nausium; besides this team will have $10m in cap space for next season anyway.

    • I'm tired of all the Horcoff bashing. It's gotten old.

      Guys stop feeding our back from IP ban troll (Hans Baur Hatecoff Smidsky Watson if there was any doubt). He is going to keep going down the "I hate Horcoff" road with unreadable and nonsensical drivel. There is no point in engaging him. He feeds off your hate and it makes him stronger.

    • Eddie Shore

      I'd argue Brule, O'Sullivan and even Pisani all have a more dangerous shot than Horcoff. First degree shoulder seperation? I doubt it. So he's been playing all season with a seperated shoulder on the worst team in the NHL? That makes 0 sense…

      • Nillsons shot is pretty good too.

        I hate Horcoffs game with a passion. I just don't understand where this love for him comes from. On top of all that the wack @ss excuse of the separated shoulder.

        On a side note, how about them Gunners. That goal by Nasri was sick, WoW. If they don't decide to sell their kids again, I can see them becoming a force in the EPL.

      • Chris.

        I don't know about Brule. I never really see him wire one from outside the faceoff circle. O'Sullivan has a nice release, and can get a shot off from anywhere… but IMO, his velocity is pretty brutal. When he was on the powerplay you could two count while the puck came in.

        BTW, Horcoff did play with a first or second degree shoulder seperation earlier this year. He played through a lot of pain and others had to take draws for him. This kind of seperation requires rest and not surgery… Is it a coincidence that Horcoff's game has really improved since the Olympic break?

        I'm not trying to be a Horcoff apologist. I know he has had a poor season… But the sheer level of vitriol aimed at Horcoff is uncalled for.

  • swany

    What's this with Schremp again I thought this was about the future of the Oilers last time I looked Schremp doesn't play here, as far as the future I would love to see all the guys make it this year Eberle, Hall and MPS. Here's a new topic, out of Nilsson PattyO Brule Gagner and Cogs who goes who stays. I see the Oil buying out Nilsson and PattyO because of the under 25 rule (costs only 1/3) I see Brule staying put he skates fast and is physical. so now between Cogs and Gagner who gets traded? Gagner will get you alot more, but would the Oil even look at a deal involving Gagner. I hope the lines next year go Penner, Gagner, Hemmer 2nd line of MPS, Hall, Eberle 3rd line of Blank, Horc, Blank fill in the spaces this way you can really shelter that second line, and boy would it be fast.

    • Chris.

      What's this with Schremp again

      Exactly. If Schremp were still an Oiler he'd just be joining O'Sullivan, Nilsson, and probably Cogliano on the way out the door.

        • Chris.

          Now that is an interesting argument…

          But remember, out of training camp, the Oilers had to get down to a 23 man roster. Also, there was good reason to believe that they could sneak Schremp through.

        • swany

          Back to the future boys still on Schremp what about the topic at hand like the future of the Oil and who's here now and won't be next season, and who will be next season. With a full rebuild I still would like to see 3 rookies in the lineup next year. Also what is going to happen with the D is Souray gone or will they keep him now (I would keep him to play with Whitney because we need a Shooter) so we go Souray, Whitney second pair of Gilbert, Smid last Pair of Johnson, Peckham.

  • Sorry JG, I try to respond to you but the site does not want me to, some random bug maybe.

    My being in the Schremp corner has more to do with me believing that given the chance he could do exactly what he's proven he could do given a long enough opportunity. I believed that before and argued that point here at ON ad nauseum.

    He left with no value. Do you still think that no one would offer a pick of any kind for him based on what he's done with the Islanders.

    • Jason Gregor

      I really don't think a team would, because they probably feel they could just pick him up on waivers if the Islanders waived him. I don't see him making an impact on a playoff team, so why would a playoff team give up a pick.

      • I see that, but we moved Brodziak for a 5th rounder in the summer. From my perspective, the Islanders could get at least that for Schremp this summer.

        Either way, Schremp isnt a part of the Oiler picture anymore. I just hope that the Oilers learn their lesson about asset management before they reduce the value of another player who can actually play in the NHL (in at least some capacity) to nothing.

  • Trade Penner and Cogliano and maybe even throw in the second we got for Grebs to Boston for that Toronto pick, Boston to me always seems in the mindset of staying competitive and since competitiveness in Edmonton right now is about us stock piling good young players why not try and fleece Chiarelli into taking Penner and Cogs for the pick or a player and a pick. Maybe Lucic and the pick for these two guys?

    • Penner isn't going nowhere. He is a valuable power forward. It would make no sense for Oilers to get rid of him. Hate on him if you want, but there isn't many players like him in the league.
      I'm pretty sure it wasn't Cogliano and Smid that were bringing Heatley to Edmonton.

  • Rebuild manifesto:

    1. Fearless, relentless FOCUS on the goal.

    You want to win a cup in 5 years?
    Doesn't matter what your roster looks like next year or the year after.
    Your roster 5 years from now is what matters.

    Amass draft picks.

    Trade Penner for an early 1st,
    Whitney for a late 1st,
    Souray for a 2nd
    etc.

    By the time we want to be winners (remember our goal now – 5 years)Penner and Whitney etc will have become UFA's, we may have been able to resign them and maybe not, chances are they will leave to go to a winner,
    or we will have traded them at the future trade deadline for the same level of draft picks…

    So trade them now so you have the young'ns in 5 years blossoming.

    You want Penner and Whitney that bad, you may be able to sign them as UFA's in 5 years anyways.

    • Chris.

      In my opinion, this line of thinking includes Hemsky. I proposed earlier in this thread that Hemsky and a pick, maybe even the first round pick in 2011, could get the #2 pick this year.

      Hemsky is a UFA in 2 years. Get something for him this year or next to strengthen the future and as you mentioned if they are free agents in 5 years they can re-sign here if they wish.

      Hemsky, just like Penner, is not the future. And the Oiler's aren't building a elite team around those guys. Sorry if that upsets certain members.

      Just my opinion.

      • Opinions are like butt holes, everyone has one.

        How is Hemsky like Penner not part of the future? It doesn't upset me, I just want more of your knowledge, wisdom and understanding.

        FYI IMO, Hemsky is the only proven future we have. Tell me otherwise, please.

      • OilFan

        So you suggest we trade all our proven talent to get prospects or picks ? Hemsky makes the younger guys better same with Penner. Do you want all rookie unproven players the whole rebuild ? Yes trades down the road will happen but to trade every player of value now. I can see how that would make a good environment for young unproven talent.

      • Ya', I didn't have the guts to put Hemsky's name on there so I put etc.

        You have the guts.

        But you're right, it's something you probably have to do.

        He would net us another 1st round pick towards the rebuild.

        Could you imagine…

        Tambo would have to have serious balls to trade Penner, Hemsky, Whitney, Souray, etc….

    • Who said it had to be 5 yrs? One thing I've noticed on this site is that everyone always wants to trade away our higher end guys when they are nearing UFA status. Already, slowly but surely the trade Hemsky talk is picking up….

      I keep hearing let's package Hemsky up with something to get a high 1st rounder….of course Hemsky is our most talented player…makes perfect sense to purge your best players (shakes head in disbelief).

      It's an endless cycle on this site to trade all of our players before they walk as UFA's…with this kind of mentality the Oilers will NEVER be an elite team because most of you will always want to trade away our best 26 yr olds for a high draft pick….and the merry go round continues…it's like ground hog day…

      I don't see why this has to take 5 yrs for the Oilers to become a very respectable team…if our current batch of youngsters (Gagner, Eberle, Svensson, Brule, etc.) and the pending Hall or Seguin are as good as we are suspecting then why wouldn't Hemsky, Penner or any of our other better players want to stay? Why is it most on here always want to trade away our best players for more draft picks?

      I just don't get it.

      • Well if you think that you can win the cup with the guys you mentioned then you're right you keep them.

        Makes no sense to trade them.

        If you think that you can't win with those guys then you trade.

        Remember, I said 5 years to win the cup that means a very good team in 4 years.

  • Bucknuck

    All day today I heard about The Hockey News future watch….. Has it been released yet, because by the sweet name of Allah, I cannot find said copy of it anywhere

    I wanna read me some prospecticus!!!

  • Right now we're building a foundation.

    The foundation has to be the most solid thing in this house.

    The stronger the foundation the better we will be when we add the fixtures and walls etc…

    which are
    1- UFA signings in 3-4 years to add what is missing.
    2- Trades to fine tune the club, to go from a very good team to a great team.

    So, are Penner, Hemsky, Whitney etc a solid foundation for a cup team?

    I would suggest that they would be a weak foundation for this reason:

    You have zero certainty they will re-sign after their current contracts are up.

    So say one of them leave…that's a crumbling foundation.

    We need a solid foundation.

    That's the current priority – finding that foundation.

    The Draft

      • We have those players under control for a minimum of 7 years or until age 27.

        Well then at least we'll have superstars to re-sign! Wouldn't that be nice.
        Sounds like the situation Chicago is in now, which is exactly where we want to be in 4-5 years no?

    • You seriously think that the way to build a solid foundation is to ditch every player over the age of 20 and run this team of kids (who you're also assuming will be Patrick Kane, every one of them) with no mentors, no protection, no support? AND they're all going to have flawless development paths – no glitches, no "Rob Schremp" bombs, nothing? AND every high draft pick is going to work out as a bonafide star?

      You know NHL 2010 is just a video game right? RIGHT?

      • Do you seriously think that the way to build a solid foundation is to sit on your valuable assets?

        You help make my point. There will definitely be glitches that is why you need as many irons in the fire as you can have.

        See if we don't do it that way then what happens if we have those glitches? Our rebuilding plan takes longer. More years mired in mediocrity.

        • Go back to your Pilsner Pyramid.

          Why would you want anymore 1st round picks? I think the prospects we have now with the addition of this years 1st rounder, is a solid ground to go on.

          Like David said, this is not EA Sports. Who said we need 5 years to rebuild? Why not 3?

          I don't know what your beef is with Hemsky and Penner, or maybe you just getting to the top of the Pyramid and losing your senses.

          • I definitely could be losing my senses no doubt about it.

            ya' you may be right, we may be able to rebuild in 3 years.

            Of course Penner and Hemsky are UFA's after 2 years…what would we have to pay them and would that screw up our rebuild?

            I loved seeing Penner play strong on the puck against Montreal, and in front of the net. He had his speed that game too. It was a pleasure to watch.

            I like Hemsky too. I love the way he seems to score the big goal. Like the one against SJ a couple years ago.

            No beef, no beef.

            I love the Oilers, I have since I was 10…pretending to be Gretzky and Messier on my driveway playing street hockey with the boys…

    • I think the idea of getting rid of anyone with talent is a surefire way to keep the club bad for a long time. Long enough to sour the minds of whichever young stars the Oil bring up through the draft.

      Hemsky, Penner, Whitney. The Oil need to keep these guys until their contracts are in their final years.

      That foundation youre looking for could surely use an offensive defenseman, a Bull-Winger, and a point per game distributor of the puck.

      • Pajamah

        I just think that if we're gonna do this rebuild then let's do this!

        No half ass. You know?

        I think that if we keep those guys then ya maybe we could be ok next year with some luck and then the next year a little better.

        But if we finish last next year I think I would be happier in the long run.
        I would be happier getting that Swedish d-man or whoever will be #1 overall next year and perhaps the next year.

        Will those 3 assets you refer to be here when we are coming out of the rebuild?

        And what is the opportunity cost of keeping them? That is what could we have gotten if we traded them sooner and is that better in the long run.

        • Those 3 assets might want to stick around if guys like Gagner, Eberle, MPS, and Hall/Seguin turn out to be the real deal. If they get to their final years, and extension talks breakdown, then it's easier to move them then at that time. Teams are built too close to the Cap to take on guys for multiple years anyway. Highest trade opportunity is in the final year.

          I am a huge Hemsky fan, but if it's his final year and he doesnt want to re-sign with the Oil then I think it would be EASY to find a team that would be willing to part with prospects or picks to add him at the deadline.

          • O for sure he is a tradeable asset at anytime – no question.

            What is better:

            1) we sign Hemsky in 3 years to a what…I don't know..what is he gonna want? Will he want a 5 year deal at 4.75? Will he want one of those 10 year deals?

            2) Trade him this summer for a what top 15 pick and another pick.

            What we don't want is what you suggested there and trade him in 2 years for picks…

            Because of where we are now as an organization. It would be WAY more important to have those picks now, then the players we pick with those picks will have 2 years to grow and be part of the rebuild.

          • Yeah, you may be right that may be the way to go.

            I guess it depends on what foundation we can build next year.

            And would it be prudent in the long run to suck next year – to get the #1 pick…

            will we sufficiently suck with a healthy Hemsky, Penner, Seguin/Hall, Whitney, Gilbert, Khabibulin etc

  • Pajamah

    BTW

    Minnetonka High School (the team Troy Hesketh – Oilers 3rd round choice this past year plays defence for) is going into 3rd Overtime tied 1-1 in the state semifinals.

    they are ranked #1 in the state

  • Still contend R. Nash was/ is our best rookie from opening camp , but they may need to keep him off club to finish college next season . Oilers basically have 2 first round picks , 2 second ,and 2 third round picks this upcoming draft if they finish 30th in the final standings . Each round after first they would choose first making 2-7 round an extention of the round before it (position 1 and 31 every round so to speak , with round one first choice maybe being different if they lose lottery ). Thats about six Oiler picks in top 91 draft picks this draft season already .There may be more coming from trades , etc. before or during draft .Lots to play around with as well .

  • Pajamah

    Oilers need to form a contender A.S.A.P. in order to keep valuable incumbents and new players wanting to stay here – not to mention the fans ! A long drawn out rebuilding is not going to be in clubs or fans best interests , as many an asset will want to not be part of a long process . This seasonal draft needs to be expedited and be a contender for next season – forget this waiting crap talk !!

    • Pajamah

      Don't do it right, do it fast. What could possibly go wrong with that plan?

      This team won't be a contender next season, but if the cards fall right, management fills some spots with the right players and drafts high and well for two straight summers, can be a team on the rise and in the right direction for 2011-12.

      Most fans, unless they're talking through their asses, would be happy with a proper rebuild that sees results that fast as opposed to farting around and doing patchwork to carry out your ASAP mandate.

      • Morning Robin,

        Do you honestly think that the Oilers organization would go for a proper rebuild?

        I think knowing the pressure of the fan base, they might try to rush it and try to do it sooner then later. With the amount of decent prospects in the come up and Hall/Sequin, I don't think they will.

        I believe they will trade MPS and Gagner and go from there.

        Can you honestly see them in two years having the following kids in the line up; Sequin/Hall, Eberle, MPS, Gagner, (i can't remember that kids name for the life of me, starts with a O had a crazy shoutout goal last year)?

        I think its a lot of small kids and I can't see a future here for all of them. That is why I feel the Oilganization will speed it up a little and trade a few of them for someone older and established.

      • Do it your way and their is no guaratee it will be any better two years from now . Just what is this infinite wisdom and great plan of yours doing it right ? Their certainly is no guarantee doing it A.S.A.P is going to be any worse than your "if" we do it right ( of which you and all management ) have little idea of how it would/will pan out over that process . To me, if you do it right is like saying because or if , because no one truly knows exactly how and or what your trying to impliment ( vague in other words ) .Spell the entire right process out if you can so management can carryout your illustrious plan . They have tried everything the last 4 years and where has it got us – 30th place with more bad years to endure ? Can they really do much worse ? If there were a proper plan the club would have done it by now . We were not that far away from being a contender at seasons start if management had done it's job of filling the season before voids that were left unfilled . Continuing to lose does not benefit club or fans – i disagree with your long drawn out approach and it's ultimate success . Too many clubs have been there , done that with minimal success. Put in a managerial and coaching team that can reach it's goals firstly , then your going to see a proper expedited process .

        • since the lock out – salary cap era started, look at the successful and/or improving teams teams – Chicago, Pittsburgh Washington,LA…..teams that have all grown through the draft. The biggest reason the Oilers are where they are now, I believe, is because of the decision to have no farm team for years. Another big reason is because we caught lightening the a bottle one year, went to the finals,and management foolishly rewarded too many average players for 20 above average games. Although we still have too many great "Oiler" minds, instead of great "Hockey" minds in the organization, 2 or 3 years of proper biulding is the only way to hope for long term success.

  • Pajamah

    RB, how much can I pay you to read the entire "Hockey News Future Watch 2010" edition to me in that monotone voice of yours.

    Seriously though, knowing our picks are starting to look like the cream of the crop, its hard not to be a little excited for the future.

    I dont think we should rush anything, in terms of being competitive in the near future. However, if we can keep developing the young kids down in OKC and have a few cheap vets for next season, like the Coyotes did this season, it might make for a more enjoyable wait.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    Robin Brownlee wrote

    And you\'re getting banned now because you insulted me by listing \"Brownlee\" as your goat on your profile. That\'s three strikes, and no snivelling to anybody is going to bring you back from that. Adios.

    C\'mon, listing you as the goat is just amusing, Wanye would laugh if he came upon a profile with him listed as goat (or the 50 that probably DO list him as such).

    http://www.batmancomic.info/gen/20100313115806_4b9bee4ea9450.jpg

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    @Ogden

    Ya, I agree it was an idiocy ban – but state such. Such a weak reason for strike 3 stated though… even though Strike 3 not even needed (Brownlee can ban when he wants, doesn\'t need to make up 3 strike rule and find weak reasons for strikes I\'m sayin)

    • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

      If a cop pulls you over for speeding, he'll probably also give you a ticket for having a tail light out.

      If you're not speeding, odds are he's not going to pull you over for the tail light. On its own it's not a big deal.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    At least for my ban it was for A) Standing up for myself when he turned into Raging Robin. B) Explaining the etiquette that he was using was reminiscent of 13 year old boys on net, like most people do their first time on the internets. And C) Calling him a douche.

    My 3 strikes didn\'t need no weak arse \"You picked me as goat\"

    • It was a joke, a reach for effect. Does everything need to be spelled out?

      When a guy has 5, 10, 15, 100 dickish comments in the database, when he's in the Matt Cooke Division of commentors, there is no slack. He can get gone at any time. He shouldn't have been back in the first place.

  • 3 years ago we had 3 first round picks going the draft pick way ( Gagner, Plante and Riley Nash ). Nash also cost us an additional second rounder i believe .Petry ,i believe, was also in that draft year as i recall . Now , where are we today, and how many of them are on team ,or from last two seasons so called blue chip gems ? Now you people are trying to tell Oiler fans to do it again and wait (a good chance same thing will happen with present management group ) and see what happens ? I'm not biting on that failed route again , not with present management group . 2-3 years of so called "proper rebuild" has got us 30th place !