Oilers 20

This is Jeff Petry. With the enormous graduating class of 2010-11, the skilled defender finally makes his way to the top of the team’s prospect list.

One of the things I’ve done at Lowetide that people seem to enjoy is a top 20 list. The winter edition is the one that goes in depth, with the summer top 20 a snapshot of the available talent gathered together by the procurement department. The final top 20 will appear the Sunday after this season’s entry draft, but I always like to do a list that sheds the graduates and shines a light on some of the less famous kids. Here’s the 20, pre-draft. Winter numbers in brackets, I count any player beyond 50 games as a graduate. This year’s class includes Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, MPS, Linus Omark, Devan Dubnyk, Taylor Chorney and Theo Peckham. Man that’s a lot of talent.

  1. (12) D Jeff Petry. Mobile defender with a wide range of skills, has shown enough already to suggest the Oilers have a legit top 4 talent here. Young man with size, mobility and intelligence. They don’t grow on trees. Jeff Petry’s development may hold the key to Edmonton’s decision to pass over Adam Larsson in favor of a forward (should the choose to do so).
  2. (17) L Teemu Hartikainen. Wow. Just wow. Hartikainen showed well when called up at the end of a very successful AHL rookie season. A wonderful prospect with size, skill and hands. Hartikainen was not a highly touted prospect and his draft day scouting report suggested foot speed would be his anchor. That didn’t look like a problem during his late season audition.
  3. (6) L Curtis Hamilton. Young WHL winger turned on the offense in November (11gp, 9-11-20) and never stopped impressing from there through season’s end. A WJC invite turned into a roster spot and an effective two weeks playing for Canada. A smart, 2-way winger with a good motor. Curtis Hamilton is exactly what the Oilers need on the wing.
  4. (9) C Anton Lander. The future 3line center enjoyed a strong season in the Swedish Elite League which included a marked increase in offensive production. Depending on what happens this summer, he could push for NHL employment as early as this fall.
  5. (4) D Martin Marincin. An outstanding start to his WHL season (first half: 33gp, 10-25-35 +6) gave way to struggles in the second half (34gp, 4-17-21 -18) for the lanky rearguard. Good skater, nice range of skills. He needs to fill out that frame, gain strength and play more consistently.
  6. (12) G Tyler Bunz. What I don’t know about goalies is pretty much everything, but he had a big season. BIG season. His SP (.919) ranked among the WHL’s best and he showed very well in the playoffs (although he did sustain an injury). Oilers don’t fast track goaltenders so it’s going to be awhile (Roy will get his shot first, it’s shaping us as another JDD-DD match). But the arrows are strong.
  7. (7) R Tyler Pitlick. PF prospect suffered a late season injury and played the entire season on the wing. His offense was a little shy, but  the boxcars (56gp, 27-35-62) ranked him 3rd among WHL rookies and his EV stats (56gp, 22-19-41) suggest he might be a player. His 22 EV goals rank him 2nd among Tigers during the regular season despite missing several games and playing only sporadically on the big scoring line.
  8. (15) G Olivier Roy. Solid technical goaltender lacks the size most NHL teams look for in their starters (he’s listed at 6,00, 180 so he’s not an imp). Butterfly type, he ran hot and cold all year long but looks like a legit pro prospect. Oilers have signed him, and if things go according to Hoyle the club will have Roy spend at least part of the season in Stockton (ECHL).
  9. (14) C Chris VandeVelde. Looked pedestrian based on AHL numbers, but his coach defended his play and there was anecdotal evidence VandeVelde was being used as a tough-line match up. His play when called to the NHL was solid and helped his final number on this list.
  10. (19) D Jeremie Blain. Impressive season for lanky defender. Although he took forever to recover from injury, once he did Blain showed a nice range of skills and reports have him being vital to the team’s success. Oilers think he’ll fill out and he could be a late round gem down the line.
  11. (NR) D Colten Teubert. Tough defender is a real throwback and an intimidating player. Thunderous hits and a mean streak make him somewhat unique and his role as an enforcer is backed up by the ability to play a regular shift. Unlikely to impact at the NHL level next season, he should see a cup of coffee during 11-12.
  12. (13) C Ryan Martindale. Enjoyed a very strong OHL season and looks ready to turn pro. Has not signed a contract with the Oilers, so that’s something to follow this spring. Played on a very famous line and delivered impressive numbers. His issues had mostly to do with consistency so the offensive output would seem to answer that question.
  13. (10) D Alex Plante. Enjoyed a much stronger season in 10-11 at the AHL level, but has been unable to jump the queue. Petry, Peckham and Chorney have held serve, and although Plante has not been passed by draft picks taken later, it’s also true that the organization felt a need to trade for a similar player (Colten Teubert). I think Plante may be in a little trouble as an Oilers prospect.
  14. (18) D Brandon Davidson. Late bloomer has calm feet and can move the puck expertly at junior level. Knock on him was skating but he seems to have improved enough for it to be a non-issue in the WHL. Played 2 AHL games on a PTO (professional tryout) and early returns were positive.
  15. (NR) L Drew Czerwonka. Big man impressed with rugged style and surge offensively. Part of a surprising Kootenay Ice team, we have to wonder a little about the offense but he does seem to have decent hands. If Czerwonka emerged as a legit PF prospect, Stu MacGregor should receive the Nobel Prize.
  16. (NR) R Toni Rajala. Undersized skill winger had a solid year in Finland. Teenagers often get benched for long periods in the SM-Liiga (ask Jani Rita) so the fact that Rajala played a regular shift in 44 games bodes well.
  17. (NR) C Tanner House. The Oilers might have something here. A nice range of skills, including a solid defensive rep plus he delivered in a very short period in OKC (6gp, 1-4-5 at the tail end of the regular season). One never knows, but he could fast track to the NHL should Lander show signs he needs AHL time and VandeVelde falters in TC. A very nice signing by the Oilers.
  18. (NR) C Milan Kytnar. Enjoyed a solid first year pro after spending an extra year in junior. Kytnar didn’t see a lot of post-season action, perhaps a reflection of his status once all those prospects were sent down from Edmonton at the end of the season. A player to watch in 2011-12, he certainly surprised with his quality of play in OKC.
  19. (NR) D Kyle Bigos. Huge defender (6.05, 230) had another solid year for Merrimack (NCAA). Scouting reports have him playing heavy minutes in all disciplines, so it looks like the Oilers may have at least an AHL regular in the big man. It’ll be years before we know the entire story.
  20. (NR) C Mark Arcobello. Not on the radar to begin the season, the undersized center forced his way up the OKC depth chart upon his arrival. An absolute long shot to have an NHL career, there are Frank St. Marseille’s every once in awhile and this guy might be one.


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  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    That said, 24 is too old of a cut off. I’d say the vast majority of players have established themselves and have put up points close to their career highs by 22, maybe 23.

    Gagner *likely* has 1-2 more years to really step up his offense.

  • Pilgor09

    Gagner’s skill set does not scream 60-70 point player. It tells me he is a 45-55 point player. He is too slow and soft to be a very good centre. He doesn’t have great vision either. His only above average area is passing.

    Like I said before there hasn’t really been an improvement in his offensive game since his rookie year. Even on the defensive side of things he hasn’t shown that much improvements.

    • Sparky

      That’s because he’s so young! Really our top 3 center options our gags cogs and horcs. The odd man out in my eyes is Cogliano, not gagner. give him another year or 2, hes not going to be an all star, but I’m sure hell be a solid #2.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    MacTavish choose Canucks early to be in Stanley Cup finals this year. I think the last time we Oilers had a man in organization that could spot and assess talent well , was when MacTavish was here . He’s got his masters now , and maybe we should be looking at bringing MacT. back with a promotion to Pres./GM . Maybe bury Lowe and Tams in organization like they did to Quinn .

    The longer it takes for Tams and Lowe to do anything beyond set up for draft without anything happenning outside status quo for next season , the more it seems their time here is just about finished .

  • Drafting Adam Larsson has everything to do with Ryan Whitney, not Jeff Petry.

    Edmonton’s #1 defenceman has only played in 35, 37, 81, 26, 58 games per year since Chris Pronger left. (57% of possible games)

    Ryan Whitney is the Oilers #1 defenceman who only plays an average of 67% possible games throughout his NHL career, and this is essentially his last full year with Edmonton. Can they invest long term in him?

    It’s obvious the team needs a significant upgrade on the point Vandermeer, Foster, Strudwick won’t be part of the long term plans, and Peckham, Petry, Chorney, Marincin, Tuebert have a long way to go…

    Larsson probably plays 15mpg for the Oilers this year.

    I’d still rather draft the #1 Center and take my chances at a defenceman via UFA, Trade, #1 pick in 2012, or #19, #31 this year. (RFA last resort)

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    DSF, when i refered to Gagner’s dad it was because he would seem to be a reasonable comp. for his son in terms of development. Regarding my comment “his dad broke out at 24, and most centers come around at that age”, we see I never set any bar for all players as developing by. The word “about” is a refrence to aproximation, that means there is allowance for variance. You change everything i said around and refuse to respond to my rebuttals, you provided a list of centers i rebutted it, but you ignore all that and make up stuff i never said reffering to things like “top centers”, and making comments like “Centres don’t break out until they’re the same age as Sam Gagner’s Dad” How anyone can get that comment out of my original quote is beyond reason. “Gagner has had the opportunity but, as of yet, has not taken advantage of it in a fashion befitting his draft pedigree.” The 1st round of the 2007 draft has seen Kane, Van Riemsdyke, Alzner, Gagner, Voracek, Couture, Sutter, Shattenkirk, Pacioretty, Backlund, and Perron become regulars in the nhl. Of that list how many players would you argue are not still developing, or have done more with their opportunity as of yet. I would argue they are all still developing, and none of them other than Kane, Alzner, and Couture, has done more so far. Players don’t develop in a straight line and they take an undefined amount of time, however claiming a player who would have 1 more year in the AHL, if he had took the typical development path, as having not taken advantage of opportunity is ridiculous. Gagner has clearly preformed above the standard to this point. I would argue he hasn’t taken advantage of opportunity once he gets to an age when the fellow players of his draft class have become regular contributors, which hasn’t happened yet. I don’t know what Gagner’s celing is, i’m just saying its doubtful we’ve see it yet. The arrows are mostly positive at this point, in fact if he was a rookie this year his season would have been considered a huge success. Just because his age of making the nhl was untypical doesn’t mean his development will be. OB1, in quibbling with my approximate age, i think it could be just as reasonable to argue for 23, i wasn’t particularly attached to any number, its an approximation. However i don’t agree with the insinuation that most players post carrer highs at 22-23, some do, especialy elite talents, but most players reach their prime in the range of 25-30, at least it seems to be the commonly held notion (which admittingly enough is hardly definitive). The typical ELC runs out in time for a players 23 year old season, it seems to me (and again this isn’t a perfect science for an argument) that the NHL wouldn’t run their contracts to an age that is atypical of significant further development. In fact Lowetide refrenced 23 year old Jeff Pety as his top prospect, and although a diffrent position, we all expect continued development because he is still young enough to be reasonably expected to do so. Thanks to all who debated this with me.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      “The 1st round of the 2007 draft has seen Kane, Van Riemsdyke, Alzner, Gagner, Voracek, Couture, Sutter, Shattenkirk, Pacioretty, Backlund, and Perron become regulars in the nhl. Of that list how many players would you argue are not still developing, or have done more with their opportunity as of yet.

      Of course, players keep developing with forwards normally hitting their peak in the 25-26 range and defensemen 27-28.

      You want to use the 07 draft as a benchmark when it already become pretty clear it was a very weak draft.

      That’s why I used post lockout as a measure and by that measure Gagner is well behind the pack as evidenced by the list of players I posted previously.

      For example, if Jeff Skinner scores 63 points as an 18 year old while Gagner scored only 51 and hasn’t been able to match that number in three subsequent seasons despite being fed a ton of easy minutes, the best line mates the Oilers have to offer and ton of PP time, and sane person would see a problem

      Sure, Gagner may be a late bloomer but based on his lack of footspeed, his average shot and inability to win puck battles, I would think the ceiling is not all that high.

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        Gagner is well behind what pack in what area?

        You posted a list of centers that “broke out” before they turned 24…. Gagner isn’t 24 yet either so that doesn’t really show anything.

  • What are people’s thoughts on the Oilers trading for someone like Cam Barker? Probably could be picked up for cheap (late round draft pick (4th?) or lower quality prospect). The Oilers don’t have to worry about the impact of his salary and for one year they could take the chance to see if he returns to his potential. If not, he is a free agent and the Oilers walk away. Maybe returning to his western roots is what Barker needs.