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

    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

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

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

  • 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

    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.