Oiler Rookies 11-12 (Forwards)

A year ago, there was already a buzz in the streets of Edmonton. Taylor, Jordan and Magnum PS brought with them the promise of youth and Oilers Nation was reborn. What can they do for an encore? 

All three Oiler rookies had solid rookie seasons. Two of them suffered injury and the third took some time to get rolling, but overall it’s obvious these kids have real ability and room to grow. Since 2000, the Oilers have given very few rookie forwards more than 600 minutes of icetime as rookies. Here’s the list:

  1. Sam Gagner (07-08) 1238:31
  2. Magnus Paajarvi (10-11) 1231:05
  3. Jordan Eberle (10-11) 1220:08
  4. Taylor Hall (10-11) 1183:38
  5. Andrew Cogliano (07-08) 1112:17
  6. Kyle Brodziak (07-08) 1033:24
  7. Jarret Stoll (03-04) 945:18
  8. Linus Omark (10-11) 783:08
  9. Patrick Thoresen (06-07) 776:33
  10. Ales Hemsky (02-03) 712:12
  11. Jason Chimera (02-03) 710:06
  12. Marc Pouliot (06-07) 600:12

It’s an interesting list, pretty much everyone of the good players are here save for the "called up in mid-season" group (Horcoff, Pisani, Comrie). That’s a pretty nice list of hockey players there, and the organization still holds the rights to 7 of them.

11-12 Rookies

There are a few forwards who may end up playing for the Oilers in 2011-12. Here’s the list based, order based on the odds of them staying for a large portion of the season (most to least).

  1. C Ryan Nugent Hopkins: I didn’t think he would make the NHL team until speaking to Cam Moon in Red Deer. Moon talked at length (and with passion) about the weight issue and convinced me that RNH’s story is about skill, vision and elusiveness. He’s going to get a look, and could very well be sent to Red Deer early in camp. However, I’ve always maintained that a player should be elevated when ready to contribute and Nugent-Hopkins skill is going to be on display. I believe he’ll outclass the competition and stay the season. Estimated games played: 75.
  2. L Teemu Hartikainen: The organization is clearing the decks for him, with JFJ already off the books and the number of 4line LW candidates being reduced daily. He could line up behind an impressive top 3L (Hall, Smyth, MP) or move up the depth chart if the Oilers decide to move Paajarvi to the off wing. Either way, his energy, size and skill are very likely to be in the NHL for a large portion of the season. Most likely destination: 4th line, with a veteran center between Hartikainen and Ryan Jones. Estimated games played: 55.
  3. C Anton Lander: The center position is fluid at this time, it’s hard to know what is going to happen. My guess is the Oilers move a veteran C into the lineup and go with a top 4C of Gagner, RNH, Horcoff and that veteran for the 4line. Lander would be among the first options for recall from OKC and he could force his way onto the roster with a strong start in the AHL. Estimated games played: 25.
  4. C Chris Vande Velde: He’s in tough now, this organization has options here, there and everywhere. Should the Oilers stay the course, he would be a strong option to start the season as 4line C; however, Lander holds the key to his future: when the Swede is ready, the organization will make room. Estimated games played: 12.
  5. F Lennert Petrell: Interesting winger brings a nice range of skills and some maturity. I don’t think he makes the team, but he should get a cup of coffee when injuries hit. Estimated games played: 7.
  6. W Antti Tyrvainen: Agitator is going to stand out in OKC and should do enough to get a quick look from the major league team as the season winds down. Estimated games played: 5.
  7. C Tanner House: Cup of coffee for a strong OKC season. He’s an interesting player. Estimated games played: 2.
  • Sox and Oil

    Haha ok guys. All i’m saying is we should wait until training camp and the first ten games before we make a decision. If “we” decide to send Ryan down already and he legitimately earns a spot what message does that send.

    I wasn’t pounding the RNH drum at all this year, but now its time to let him decide his own fate. If he has a great camp i’ll welcome him with arms wide open. If not its no big deal but this is last time i’m talking about this until the cuts and roster is set.

    Relationships in the past between prospects and clubs (and even players and clubs) have been strained by smaller issues, although I do agree that Ryan is a really modest young man.

    Lastly I cringe at the thought of finishing 30th again (its the absolutely last thing I could ever want). Nail Yakupov is going to be a absolute beast if he can build on his last years performance with the Sting. If Edmo can finish in 25th and win the lottery i’d be very happy.

  • Romanus

    Those games played estimates are pretty ballsy considering training camp is months away and we haven’t seen much of many of the players you mentioned. The low games played estimates are reasonable on a deep veteran team. You are talking about the Oil afterall. I think there may be some surprises between the end of training camp and January.

    The other consideration would be the mid-season injury situation come the end of the year. Do you think Pitlick or Hamilton could be in the mix to play this year. Maybe early in the new year?

    • Lowetide

      The Oilers went into last season with the big three already set. I don’t think they will start the season with more than 2 rookies at F.

      Ballsy? Nah. I think we all know lots of things can happen–including RNH getting sent back–so it’s my opinion.

      I’ve been wrong a few times before. 🙂

  • Seriously....Gord?

    I think the writing will be on the wall by the the trade deadline for Cogs and Gags. If they are contributing and making progress, they should finish the season, but I expect 1 (prob cogs) will be sent away by the trade deadline for an additional pick or for a player. If that’s the case, I expect that lander will fill the role at the end of the season.

    Depending on how they fill out the 4th line, I think Petral will start in that role, with the intention of giving Temu a chance to develop in the AHL a little more.

    RNH is on the team this year if Renny thinks he is ready.

    • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

      If Hartikainen gives it his all in camp like he did at the end of the season, it’s going to be pretty difficult to deny him a roster spot. He’d make a lot of 4th lines in the league with play like that.

  • SurfacetoAirMissile

    Injuries and young players aside, it is time to start winning more games. How many more loosing speaches do you think it will take in the locker room before it starts to go in one year and out the other? I’m not saying to scrap the rebuild, I am just saying it is time to raise the players expectations so they won’t begin accept losing. I am sure Ebs, MPS and Hall were “just happy to be in the show” last year but Cogs and Gagne have tasted some limited success and now for a couple straight seasons have had nothing but dissapointment. Let’s face it, winning feels way better than losing.

    I am optimistic about the Oilers having an 80 point season this year. I also think Hall will take a huge step forward this year and if Ebs can stay healthy I believe he can improve on his point totals from last year. If MPS worked hard on building some strength then he could also take a step forward, he was far too easy to knock off the puck last year. Omark is a bit of a wild card, there is so much to like about his game, hard to knock off the puck and fantastic vision but after his performance in the AHL playoffs I am not sure what to expect. I was also impressed with Gagne last year until his unfortunate end to his season, I think if he can play with Smyth he can have a career year. Petry’s second stint with the Oilers last year impressed me, his skating is terrific and his confidence with the puck was great, I believe with a full NHL season will only get better.

    Future looks bright…… can’t wait!

  • Lowetide

    LT: Matty suggested that Bogosian may be on the trading block in the near future. He suggested that Tammy may be wise to proffer one of the young forwards for Bogo. Who might the Oil objectively trade to make that deal? Gagner?

  • Hemmertime

    People are backing up RNH being able to play in the NHL being small by naming St.Louis and Kane. That might be a bit unrealistic, they are superstars.

    The biggest indicator for me that he could stick this year is Tyler Ennis. If that little shrimp can survive so can RNH. (Ennis barely grew any since draft day – so there’s no guarantee the player is going to physically mature in the jrs)

    • I understand that comparing a kid who hasnt played a game to superstars is generally setting yourself up for disappointment, but I think there is a collective forgetting of the fact that we’re talking about the 1st overall pick here.

      RNH will always be compared to superstars for his whole career, and rightfully so considering his pedigree. It is valid to compare him to Kane. That is a standard by which he needs to live up to. Same goes for Hall.

  • If,big if RNH makes this team out of camp I’ll be surprised. It may come down to chemistry between Hall,Ebs and RNH. If this line shows any life during the preseason its going to be hard to justify a return to Red Deer. What are the odds that RNH does not find that chemistry? Slim and none and none just walked out the door.We all could be giving our heads a shake come December. With Smyth back? I still don’t see Brule as part of this lineup. Will the Oilers overpay for Konopka on July 1st? I think one of him and Montadour on the D would certainly make this lineup more competitive>

  • Try to find the core to Edmonton and do your best to make them better, this team really could use another lottery pick in the 2012 heavily weighted D-man draft.

    This may not be a good philosophy for Coaches who want to keep their jobs. But I don’t see why we need to get better with players who serve as a plug and will be gone within 3yrs.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I’m thinking the Oilers will keep Hopkins here no matter what. He’ll make more progress playing 60-80 games here than he would in Red Deer. Loan him to the world juniors if you think he could use the confidence boost.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    Loved Harti at the end of last season, his toughness will be relished in this lineup. I don’t know about that prediction that RNH plays over 70 games. They better be feeding him fatty cheeseburgers 4 times a day for the next 3 months to get him ready!

  • Little Buttcheeks

    I think that the Nuge will get a long look. I really like what Teemu brings to the table so I expect him to play his fair share of games. I am just hopeful that we can stay reasonably healthy this season as opposed to constantly have to shuffle young players in and out of the lineup.

  • Drew - Team no more tanking

    Hey LT, just wanted to know what you think is good progression this upcoming season? Personally I hope we are not a lottery team and don’t expect the playoffs. I think that a 10th in the West finish would almost be ideal, in fact I can think of an argument as to why it would be better long-term than getting the last playoff spot.

    • Lowetide

      Drew: I’d say 11-12 in the west would be a nice season for the Oilers. The club was well off the pace a year ago, but Dubnyk has some experience now and perhaps they’ll add a defenseman or two this summer.

      The addition of Smyth improves the special teams and if they could find someone to win a faceoff then that would help too.

      If healthy, I think the Oilers outer marker is about 12th in the west. Having said that, Columbus and Minnesota should be better and I’m not certain which teams will be worse.

      Western conference is a bear. 15th in the conference could come down to a Battle of Alberta.

      • Drew - Team no more tanking

        I guess I want Calgary to come in 9th and Edmonton to come in 8th, but don’t expect that to be the case. Maybe 1 more year finishing behind Calgary followed by a decade of running over them…