Another Watershed Season

One year ago, the Edmonton Oilers graduated an enormous number of young men to pro hockey. The NHL kids (Hall, Paajarvi, Eberle) were joined by an exceptional group in Oklahoma City (led by Linus Omark and Teemu Hartikainen). This season there’s more excitement in store. Can this year’s prospects come close to the quality and depth of the 2010 group?

A year ago, we knew months out that the three gifted forwards had a really good chance to make the NHL Oilers. This season, only Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a strong candidate to graduate directly from junior to the big leagues. So, there’s a lot more bubbling under and Oklahoma City is where the action will be for prospects in 11-12.

  1. Yann Danis: He’s been within spitting distance of regular NHL employment a few times, but spent last season in the KHL (31gp, 3.05 .910). Danis is a solid AHL goaltender and may see some playing time with the Oilers should the club need a third option during the year.
  2. Olivier Roy: Junior goaltender is a famous prospect because of his inclusion on the Canadian WJ team, and boasted an impressive .911SP in the QMJHL this past season. In 09-10, Roy played 3 games for the AHL Falcons and posted a .913SP so he has had a cup of coffee at the pro level. I think there’s a chance Edmonton adds another goalie to the mix, and that would probably mean that Roy plays in the ECHL this season. No sin there, many NHL goaltenders spent some time there when they turned pro.

Desjardins’ NHL equivalencies-Defenders

    1. Taylor Fedun (NCAA) 12-14-26
    2. Bryan Helmer (AHL) 5-17-22
    3. Jeff Petry (AHL) 6-15-21
    4. Martin Marincin (WHL) 5-16-21
    5. Corey Potter (AHL) 3-15-18
    6. Brandon Davidson (WHL) 3-14-17
    7. Taylor Chorney (AHL) 2-11-13
    8. Colten Teubert (AHL) 3-8-11
    9. Alex Plante (AHL) 1-8-9
    10. Johan Motin (AHL) 1-3-4

New pro’s are in italics. One thing we need to understand from the get-go is that Taylor Fedun’s numbers are no fluke: he’s a legit prospect and at 23 is a guy to keep your eye on during camp and into the season. We don’t really know what he’s like defensively but he’s younger than Jeff Petry and if he can handle the rough and tumble AHL this is a player we could see in the NHL sometime this season.

It’s hard to slot all of the kids because not all of them will play. A guess at the OKC top 7 might be (in order):

  1. Bryan Helmer (AHL veteran)
  2. Corey Potter (AHL veteran)
  3. Jeff Petry
  4. Taylor Chorney
  5. Taylor Fedun
  6. Colten Teubert
  7. Alex Plante
  8. Martin Marincin
  9. Brandon Davidson
  10. Johan Motin

I suspect one of Chorney or Petry will make the big club, and that Davidson will return to junior this fall. Motin is a candidate for Stockton (or he might go home, it’s possible–he’s fallen off the map here) so the top 7 might be Helmer, Potter, Petry, Fedun, Colbert, Plante, Marincin.

There’s a lot of talent there, I think the Oilers have a nice mix of skill and toughness. The one negative? The depth chart lacks a complete player type with AHL experience aside from Jeff Petry. If Fedun proves to be a capable defender the Oilers will have captured lightning in a bottle; if Martin Marincin can play at this level the Oilers are going to be dangerous pdq.

Desjardins equivalencies-Forwards

    1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (WHL) 11-27-38
    2. Anton Lander (SEL) 14-20-34
    3. Tanner House (NCAA) 10-24-34
    4. Curtis Hamilton (WHL) 10-23-33
    5. Mark Arcobello (AHL) 15-16-31
    6. Lennart Petrell (SML) 10-18-28
    7. Ryan Keller (AHL) 17-10-27
    8. Hunter Tremblay (CIS) no equivalency
    9. Tyler Pitlick (WHL) 12-15-27
    10. Josh Green (AHL) 8-17-25
    11. Teemu Hartikainen (AHL) 10-13-23
    12. Toni Rajala (SML) 9-13-22
    13. Antti Tyrvainen (SML) 12-8-20
    14. Ryan O’Marra (AHL) 1-14-15
    15. Milan Kytnar (AHL) 6-8-14
    16. Phil Cornet (AHL) 4-10-14
    17. Chris VandeVelde (AHL) 7-2-9
    18. Cameron Abney (WHL) 3-5-8

First, I included RNH just for fun, he’ll either play in the NHL or junior there is no chance he suits up for OKC this season (he could join them after his junior or NHL season is over but that’s a distant bell). There are a few too many names, but one guesses that Abney will start in the ECHL and I haven’t read much on Toni Rajala coming over. So, with that as the backdrop the depth chart might look like this (too many C’s so I’m moving people around):

  1. C Anton Lander
  2. C Tanner House
  3. C Ryan O’Marra
  4. C Chris VandeVelde
  5. C Milan Kytnar
  6. L Lennert Petrell
  7. L Teemu Hartikainen
  8. L Curtis Hamilton
  9. L Hunter Tremblay
  10. L Phil Cornet
  11. R Ryan Keller
  12. R Mark Arcobello
  13. R Josh Green
  14. R Antti Tyrvainen
  15. R Tyler Pitlick

Look about right? Lots of new to the AHL types but Petrell is a very experienced and talented winger and Lander might be this year’s Omark (who ripped it up in OKC and forced his way onto the NHL roster). Lots of quality here and some names that could have NHL careers. We’ve followed the draft picks for a long time, this is where the rubber hits the road for Lander, Hamilton and Pitlick.

Fun times ahead.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    If RNH makes the team would they move Gagner to the wing then? I’m just wondering because I’m on the “keep Sam” bandwagon, he still has too much to offer and would hate to see him get traded.

  • Lowetide

    I think they’ll run with 4C of Gagner, RNH (against the softer opposition and with offensive linemates) and Horcoff, Belanger (against tougher opponents and with available veterans and young players with an idea–Smyth, Hemsky, possibly Eberle and then Jones, Eager).

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Petry makes big club for sure & Davidson makes the OKC squad! Marincin should go back to junior! OKC should read like this:
    Helmer
    Potter
    Plante
    Teubert
    Chorney (if he clears waivers)
    Davidson
    Fedun
    Motin
    Aiello

    RNH should go back to junior to mature physically & experience the world juniors (hopefully with success).

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Sam will get 1st or 2nd line duties, probably produce between 60 to 70 pts. which will make him a better trade target when RNH joins the team ‘next’ year. Oilers are in no hurry to rush RNH.

    • a lg dubl dubl

      I agree that Gagner will get 60-70 pts this season but my question then is why trade him if he’s putting up those #s? Even if RNH joins the team next yr wouldn’t you want more than 2 guys on your team that can get that many points (Hall, Eberle). Spread the wealth I say!

      EDIT: I forgot Hemsky *facepalm* make that 3 players who get 60-70pts this yr

      • Your point is valid in regards to Gagner but what i’m trying to do is project the lineup under optimum conditions i.e. (RNH having a knock out year in junior & at the world championships, Lander progressing along nicely etc.). Having said that we have the veterans Horcoff & Belanger, who I think will have great years. Pencil in Lander (one of a few possibilities) & then RNH. Where does Sammy fit in that scenario?

          • Cowboy

            Just me, but I’d be waiting until I:

            (a) have Hemsky re-signed,
            (b) RNH and/or Lander show something at the NHL level.

            before I worry about trading Gagner because I might be too deep in 2 years.

            By the time Lander is ready to be a top 3 C, Belanger may well be gone/traded or 2 years might have passed and he’s a 4th line C in quality.

            In fairness, I realize the poster I was replying to specifically said “what i’m trying to do is project the lineup under optimum conditions”, but what I’m now saying if I wouldn’t trade Gagner now because of a potential best case scenario a year from now. I’d let it play out, and then decide what to do, with the obvious caveat of anyone’s available if the deal is right.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    From a cap management standpoint alone shouldn’t we push RNH back a year? we’re going to have some issues in 2 years, and pushing the Nuge’s rfa year back one extra makes a lot of sense. It’s not like he has dominated and won in Junior. Eberle was well served playing some extra junior years, and with Brule still in the mix, along with older ahl players like VV and Omarra, along with the more seasoned and physically ready Lander, it makes no sense to play RNH this year. He could be our best centre, but if you want to manage your assets and cap properly you should be holding him back. Eberle was one of our best players after his draft year in camp, but we still sent him down because we had no spot for him. Same with the Nuge. Unless you move Gagner, you may as well wait.

    Regardless i think camp decides it, and I predict Lander will show better the then Nuge, which will make the decision all the easier.

  • And as for the Gagner rumours, they may a year too early. I know the bikini lady mentioned Petry and Gagner for Bogosian. That is a huge overpay, I could see Petry and Gagner for Green from Washington. Those two young potential all stars along with a pick gets you a top end player, not a young player with potential like Bogosian.

    Question to everyone here. if you moved Petry and Gagner fro Mike Green, then signed a Dominic moore type for 4C (making our centres RNH/Lander, Horcoff, Belanger, Moore), are we a playoff team? or are our goalies still not good enough.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I never get tired of looking at that Oklahoma fan pic.

    I’m torn over whether RNH should stay or not. Based on 89’s first ten games I thought it was a no brainer keeping him here but in hindsight perhaps it would have been better to send him down? Perhaps his production was a result of being game ready day 1 of the season after playing the Russians over the summer?

    If RNH does the same how do u send him down?

  • Lowetide

    Dave: If he earns it, if he plays well enough in TC and pre-season, they have to keep him. I don’t think there’s any real argument against it, and it’s the same situation as we saw with Hall a year ago.

    If you give your future a difficult task and he clears the hurdle, then you make him part of the present.

  • Cowboy

    all this talk of what we should do with RNH I find very interesting. I get that what most of you are giving is your opinions, and I am all game for that. But what I fiond funny is many times on these boards and others, people talk as if they KNOW what is best for RNH and the OILERS despite seeing what he can really do. I have my opinion (same as ol Bob Stauffer) but that is beside the point.

    A couple things to remember when it comes to what to do with RNH next year…..

    1) Wait and evaluate at rookie tournament, then evaluate at Main camp, evalate again at pre-season. If he has shown what is required or needed out of a 1st or 2nd line centerman then he moves to the first 9 games of the regular season. At that point is he can continue at the the growth level that is required of any player with X amount of experience for that position, he stays. Its really simple actually.

    The key here , is he has to play a top 2 centerman game.

    2)To compare RNH to Eberle in his development would be wrong. Why/ the place they were drafted and the early development curve. To compare against Gagner would be wrong. Why? again many variables. But RNH was drafted as a #1 (#2 in some peoples eyes). He has always been a elite level talent to this point. Gagner was a good talent and played well, but he is a different player.

    3) Saying someone should get back to jr because of weight and strength. Why? Steve S has already commented that this is not a issue at this point with him or the Oilers organization. I find it funny how people that are not in the scouting business for a proffession claim to know something different…lol. But as mentioned earlier, if strength and weight is a issue, it will show earlier in camp or by early season games.

    4) Guessing how a players development would have been, is only GUESSING. Gagner going back to jr in no way was a option in the oilers opinion. Myself, i thought he should cause the early season games to me he looked lost. The oilers thought he was better served on the big club.

    Bottom line…RNH will make Believers out of the fans but most of all the OIlers club if he is too stay. IMO…there will be very little second guessing if he is kept, and it will be because he earned his spot, was not given his spot. I have heard this from Oilers brass during Development camp. (ok, i know I should not be ease dropping…lol)

    However, if there are any doubts, at all, he will be sent back after being given a little experience time early season. He will get thos e early games, that I am pretty sure of (of course that is only my opinion)

    cheers

    ‘keep your stick on the ice’

    • O.C.

      “The key here , is he has to play a top 2 centerman game.”

      ? Just like Sequin did last year?

      There are no “has to” rules. If it’s better one way than the other, that’s how they choose.

  • Shane Leavitt

    I never get tired of looking at that Oklahoma fan pic.

    I’ve been reading monsieur Lowetide for a year ‘n a half now and that is atleast the third time he’s used it. Nice.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Hopkins will be staying and anchor that second line between Hall and Eberle. A play making center between two finishers sure looks good on the paper.

    As opportunities present itself this season the Oilers should try and slot Gagner on the right side, a little this versatility like this may allow him to see time on the PP.

    • Yeah, about that. He’s been making those plays two tiers below the NHL. How about we wait and see how he plays in the 9 games he’ll get up here in the men’s league before slotting him in permanent-stylez?

      • Yep lets see the kid in blue and orange before we get too excited.

        Same goes for Lander.

        And if at sometime in the future they look better than Gags. Then trade Gags.

        I am not a huge Gagner fan but trading him now doesn’t really make sense,

        . . . especially for Bogosian when just added Barker.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Everything this kid does now is above average as NHL’ers go. Quicker feet, quicker hands and a quicker brain, despite the strength concern he’ll seperate himself at training camp and show he belongs. He may have an up and down first half like Hall did last season but by seasons end, he’ll be every bit as good as advertised. After yet another 30th place finish last season, there’s no way he’s going back to junior.

        • You can’t seriously say that given that he hasn’t played one single minute against NHL’ers. What’s your comparison to base this grandiose claim on? Oh I forgot – THERE ARE NONE.

          C’mon man. It’s the Red Deer freakin’ Rebels we’re talking about here and RNH is NOT the second coming of the great one.

          At this point he’s a promising top-tier prospect. He’ll stay that way until he proves himself against the best players in the world.

          You might want to refrain from indulging in HF boards fanboy talk. You know most of the commenters over there don’t even have a driver’s license yet, right?

          • Quicksilver ballet

            The kid will show he’s a player right from the getgo David, just like Hall did last season. Combined with the fact he’s competing against players on the 30th place team in the NHL and not against the best players in the world i think he’ll hold his own amongst a few of his future teamates.

            The kid thinks the game on a different level than most players……he’ll remove all doubt and show he belongs come training camp. It doesn’t matter that he’s only 6-1 and 175 lbs, if he shows he can play, he stays.

            Most kids benifit from having a long leash in hopes they’ll eventually develope into an NHL player, Hopkins isn’t one of them.

          • Wanyes bastard child

            wow somebody dosent believe in rnh im pretty confident the kid makes the team hes been exceptional in every level hes played at and just remember hes the number 1 pick the best of his draft he was picked for a reason. wwhen he was 15 he plated against 19 and 20 year olds for 5 games and had 6 points. The kid will be fine and we all need to stop comparing him toeberle and gagner they are not number 1 picks

  • WHA Oilers Fan

    Teams are looking, make that salivating for that elusive, top end #1 centre. By everyone’s account, Nugent-Hopkins is, and will be that for the Oilers. Most likely starting this year. He may not perform at that level in his rookie year, but that is his role for this team.

    Teams that have a bon fide #1 centre have as their next priority a big, physically strong, (non –smurf like) offensively and defensively oriented #2 centre. Easier to find if you have #1 in place.

    If the deal presents itself, the Oilers should trade Gagner (and Petry or whoever) as rumored for Bogosian or a Bogosian-like player who can become that #1 defenceman all teams covet as well.

    Get a strong #2 center later.

    Gagner is not part of the team’s future.

    • YFC Prez

      I dunno as much as I like the potential Bogo has it is just that… Potential. Even if Gagner has peaked he is a capable #2 in his current abilities. Bogo has not shown to be anywhere near a #1 yet. Current comparisons Gagner>Bogosian… I don’t like the gamble. But Petry plus high pick for Bogo is a gamble that I could understand.

      • WHA Oilers Fan

        In three years, when the Oilers should be legitimately considered to be a threat to contend, and not just a one and done playoff hope, Horcoff will still have a role as a solid, defensively responsible, gritty 3rd or 4th line center (not to forget leadership). Gagner can’t fill that position. In three years, the Oilers will need more than an adequate but undersized and defensively challenged player at the 2C position. Oh, I forgot IMO.

        • a lg dubl dubl

          I get what your saying but IMO i think contract or not Horcoff will be the 1 to go, dont get me wrong the guy is all heart and for the most part solid defensivly, but in 2-3 yrs time i see Samwise taking over his role as a 2/3rd line centerman dont forget Gagner is only 21 HASNT reached his “peek” yet and hasnt really palyed with top line players, the only way i see Gagner getting moved within 2yrs is if 1 of the 3 kids wants in the ballpark 7-8mil ala Stamkos bling after thier ELC then yea hes gotta be moved forsure.

  • YFC Prez

    I think Maracin should play another year in the dub. He would be a 6 or 7th dman on the Barons I think it would be better if he could dominate junior and learn the NA game for another year.

  • Cowboy

    Sorry, thread interuption.

    Via Twitter TreenasOil:

    1 hour ago: ” Jets asked for SMID instead of PETRY”

    16 Min ago: “Oilers turned it down, want to move PETRY instead, see more upside in SMID, talks continue”

    And now back to our regular programming.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Unless something is coming back with Bogosian then I don’t think this is a great move. I all for trading Gagner if it pots us a bonofide dman. Bogosian could be that guy but COULD is the main thing, I think Gagner and Petry for Bogo is an overpayment…it could pay off and Bogosian could be a top pairing dman, he has all the tools but as of right now I don’t even think I would do Gagner for Bogosian straight up.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Oilcruzer you wrote….

    (? Just like Sequin did last year?

    There are no “has to” rules. If it’s better one way than the other, that’s how they choose.)

    In regards to Sequin. Two different factors happening with him. First is…thats how they bring in their rookies. They do not get top line minutes in Boston, they have to learn at lower stages and prove themselves in the way Horcoff did back in the day. The oilers seldom do this. Second…they will IMO and from what I hear ,require that skill ability of a top two centerman to stay up in the NHL. That is why you have Tambo saying we dont need to rush. Sequin in his camp last year did not impress. They just felt they wanted a development curb for him at a pro level and AHL was not available to do for him.

    Not to mention Tyler sequin as a player is better suited to play a 3rd or 4th line role or even wing (which he did on afew occasions this year).That is not saying he wont work his way into a 1 or 2 line centerman. (i think he will not be more then a second line centerman but thats just my take on him) Tyler’s game is quite different from RNH. RNH’s game is suited for the top two line role.

    BUT, even if the oilers were to do something different and allow RNH to play ,lets say a 3rd or 4th line role (which I can not see happening) they still require seeing him play like a top two centerman in order to not be sent back to JR (which their is no shame in doing that).

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Not that i’m complaining, but when i see them touch in the middle like they do on Ms. Oklahoma, i find it difficult to regain the ability to concentrate for most of the next hour. The younger the veiwer the more difficult it must be to carry this burden.

  • Bogo has the size and skill we need on the backend. He’s a young guy with highend talent, and would fit nicely into the rebuild. Who else out there on D could we realisticly get via trade or UFA??? Pull the trigger, and we have one more piece locked up!

    *************************

    Being out here in Vancouver, there’s not many Oiler fans. I just started a new Blackberry BBM Group for ALL Oiler fans to join. Hit me up to join the Oiler discussion and fun! My pin is; 23363199.

    Go Oil Go!

    • Hemmertime

      Scott Hannan.

      I’d argue he’d be about as good as Bogosian now. We wouldn’t have to move Gagner. We don’t need to solve our #1 D man problem right now. Whitney will do just nicely (2nd in PPG on D last year – realistically he shouldn’t keep that up, but top 10-15 in PPG is realistic).

      We’ll either worry about trading for our D man next year or take one off Free Agency next year or 2 away. Once Hall pops 35 goals and our PP comes together a bit more Edmonton will be a desired spot for a D. Our prospects are good, but not great. The current D isnt offensive enough to take over PP, should be able to come in and play your role and not have your position usurped (ala Brian Campbell in CHI). D is too hard to draft anyway – Bogo only got 17 pts too.

  • WHA Oilers Fan

    If you can land Bogo for Gagner and Smid/Petry I am not sure Id do it. No ones convinced Bogo’s the second coming of Weber however the risk might be worth it. Giving up Petry does not bother me because your essentially getting a guy whos going to to fill that role. Petry in my estimation still needs time in the AHL. He showed good and bad glimpses. There are big holes in his game.

  • Peter Griffin

    It’s funny how perspectives change given time.

    Before the draft lots of us were worried about picking RNH. Now that we did, he has progressed from too small, to not elite, to pretty amazing, to the next Sakic, to can’t miss, to he has to play because all first overall picks do.

    Shouldn’t it be that the best thing for him is the thing to do? He obviously is physically immature and maybe a year to grow is a good thing, skilled enough or not.

    Kane, the comparable of choice, is 5’10” and 178 (per Hawks). RNH is at least 3″ taller and lighter, so is a very skinny guy, even compared to Kane. Kane at the same weight as RNH is still a stronger guy because he is significantly shorter. Although it may not matter, please understand how small this guy is.

    So many of you lamented that Gagner’s mediocre start in the NHL is all because he was rushed, but now it’s the only option for RNH?

    Take a deep breath everyone, although it is getting more exciting to be an Oilers fan, we are still getting our assess handed to us again this season.

    It’s all part of ST’s master plan.

    • When he was drafted Kane was a little over 150 pounds. He gained significant weight since then. RNH is already 20 pounds heavier than Kane was at the same time.

      I dont think anything is obvious except the fact that all of us are merely guessing at how ready RNH is or isnt.

    • Peter Griffin

      Haha well Kane is also alot older and just because he is shorter doesn’t make him stronger a guy could be 220 and a guy at 180 could still be stronger, plus I don’t care how much RNH can curl or bench press I am more concerned about leg strength and core which I think isnt all that bad.

  • I am a little worried about the future of our collective language/communication skills given the reality that texting and acronyms will be the death of proper English. The last thing that I do before hitting “enter/send” is review what I have written. While I am not pompous about being correct in the brush strokes that compile our resulting communications, I think that we can all take a little more time to ensure that we’re at least close to being correct? Refer back to “wow” and others!! Beyond that, I believe that the Oilers are on the cusp of an embarrassment of riches in terms of talent. Consecutive 1st overall picks does not ensure success at an organizational level(reference the Islanders and “mad Mike’s” tragic premature shedding of talent), to that end, I have complete respect for the big picture being developed and nurtured by the Oilers’ collective brain trust. This includes the oft, inexplicably maligned, Kevin Lowe and all of the subsequent contributors to the rebuild or “Oil Change”. From top to bottom, this is an organization that will once again set the bar and provide the template for organizational excellence. Granted, they have borrowed heavily from the Detroit organization, but why not identify the most successful model and then emulate it??
    It might be argued that the Oilers fell in to the first rendition of dominance through fortuitous drafting, but I would suggest that the key moment for that collective was understanding that they possessed the perfect storm and they stood aside and freed the reins. What would have become of that team had they not had the supreme confidence of Pocklington, the smugness of Sather, the recognition that they possessed a completely unique collection of talent?? In other hands, that “TEAM” would not have become what they did!
    One way or another, you can only ever interpret reality in real time. You do not have the benefit of hindsight in the moment that it happens. Revisionist history is destined for those too afraid or too naive to call it in real time. For all of those eager to condemn or bash in hindsight, I suggest that you try and make the decision as it arrives. Think back to 2006, you count 15 wins in the post season(16 gets you engraved), before we knew Mrs Pronger would dictate the unraveling of what was a solid core. UFA stud Horcoff (finished 2nd in regular season and playoff points) needs an offer sheet, what do you do? It seemed at the time that he was a key component to the Oilers moving forward…Kevin was in a no win situation. To condemn him now is asinine, he would’ve been thrashed if he let him go for nothing! The numbers posted dictated the eventual salary. Despite the fact that Shawn has not since posted the numbers worthy of his contract, he is, at very least, a consummate professional and a great example for the next wave of Oiler talent. Forgive me if I have any typos or punctuation errors…at least I tried!