They arrive in our city from exotic places like Toronto, Regina, Norrkoping, Burnaby and Ann Arbour. They don’t yet shave, and we don’t yet have our favorites. Eventually, they find a way into the hearts of Oilers Nation and we begin the process with a new batch every fall.

What will this fall bring us? Ever heard of Nizhnekamsk?

Back in the olden days, before the internet, advanced stats and 24-hour commentary, a fan had to choose his favorite rookie from the Hockey News July edition. A long, painful list of names would appear from the draft, and the stories from each team (easily less than 500 words) would convey management’s belief that this fellow or another gent would win the day come the turning of leaves.

It was not terribly scientific. I always cheered for the underdog, the downtrodden, the 12th round pick. Nowadays it’s much easier, as the draft day profiles put their skills in order and we can have a pretty good idea about a player’s chances based on draft pedigree and what the team did over the summer to bury/push their chances come training camp.


Since the 2006-07 Oilers season began, Edmonton has been graduating kids to the NHL one 6-pak at a time. Lordy. If you went to the rink without a program, it would be the middle of the third period before you knew anything about the home team. Here’s a list–in order–of the rookies 06-12 and their TOI in their debut seasons:

  1. Jeff Deslauriers (09-10) 2798
  2. Devan Dubnyk (10-11) 2061
  3. Tom Gilbert (07-08) 1820
  4. Ladislav Smid (06-07) 1481
  5. Sam Gagner (07-08) 1238
  6. Magnus Paajarvi (10-11) 1231
  7. Jordan Eberle (10-11) 1220
  8. Taylor Hall (10-11) 1140
  9. Andrew Cogliano (07-08) 1112
  10. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (11-12) 1091
  11. Kyle Brodziak (07-08) 1033
  12. Jan Hejda (06-07) 795
  13. Linus Omark (10-11) 783
  14. Patrick Thoresen (06-07) 776
  15. Taylor Chorney (09-10) 730
  16. Jeff Petry (10-11) 713
  17. Curtis Glencross (07-08) 709
  18. Marc Pouliot (06-07) 600
  19. Anton Lander (11-12) 594
  20. Lennart Petrell (11-12) 578
  21. Liam Reddox (08-09) 481
  22. Brad Winchester (06-07) 476
  23. Colten Teubert (11-12) 303
  24. Danny Syvret (06-07) 295
  25. Jean Francois Jacques (06-07) 293
  26. Ryan Stone (09-10) 293
  27. Theo Peckham (09-10) 241
  28. Ryan O’Marra (10-11) 231
  29. Matheiu Roy (06-07) 226
  30. Teemu Hartikainen (11-12) 221
  31. Chris VandeVelde (10-11) 207
  32. Zach Stortini (06-07) 207
  33. Bryan Young (06-07) 151
  34. Steve MacIntyre (08-09) 86
  35. Alex Plante (09-10) 54
  36. Phil Cornet (11-12) 21

That’s spot on: one 6-pak per season, 36 rookies over a 6 year period. And this group has (at the top end) some outstanding talent. I don’t know that a team has had 20 rookies play 500+ minutes each in a 6 year period before, but would guess that it is seldom done. 


I think we’ll see the beginning of a slower period for Oiler rookies. Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz are as certain as a rainbow after the rain, but after that the candidates become more sparse. Perhaps one of Olivier Roy or Tyler Bunz will make their NHL debuts; or maybe Teubert grabs a job through injury and 12-13 becomes his rookie season, or Taylor Fedun beats him to it. MAYBE Tyler Pitlck has a fast start and gets here by Christmas.

All possible, none likely.


It means we’re coming to the end of an amazing cluster of Edmonton Oiler rookies that began in the wake of Chris Prongers trade and continued unbridled into the 11-12 season. The Oilers should be good enough to hold all but the very best rookies at bay.

Finally. Music!

    • Lowetide

      The rule states:

      To be eligible for the award, a player cannot have played any more than 25 games previously in any single season, nor have played in more than six games in two separate preceding seasons in any major professional league.

      Hartikainen played in 12 and 17 games, so would not (as far as I know) be considered eligble in 12-13.

  • French Toast Mafia

    The Oilers have been a factory for NHL caliber players who are sucessful,the organisation has continually been searching for another perfect storm of rookies,staying in clusters takeing cracks at createing a core that would be in the right dynamic to gel like the 80s Oilers,a good tactic historicly,but a misinterpretation of how the 80s Oilers actually came together as a group.

    We now have a core of #1 picks,but that is no guarantee of any type of sucess,if we dont manage this group as per the scouting and developmant we have initiated we will see the same historical disintegration of the cluster of core players we see today.This means we have consistantly been finding and developing clusters of potential core players and then because our SYSTEM sucked we kept disbanding them after they didnt show signs of developing and gelling as management projected they should.

    I believe all of these six-player cluster could have made a solid NHL core,as I believe we have a group today that could challenge for a cup this year if the right system is integrated,to much emphasis is put on talent and not enough on system importance.Plain and simple.

    Our scouting and development departments have OVERACHIEVED and our coaches and team managers havent found a system capable of utilising to their maximum the type of players the system has been churning out,there has been a communication breakdown within the organisation resulting in system changes designed to provide things fans wanted and to provide a compete level in the present time at the expense of system growing pains lasting years in a market that was in trouble for a long while.Really we let our coaches and their systems be dictated by the marketplace climate and politics as opposed to a 100% team evolution perspective.

    This year we have another chance to find this system the organisation needs to properly utilise this lates cluster which has been defined and chosen based on historical and sucessful Oilers developmental protocol.

    I hope the Oilers adopt a system that can allow them to continue to rotate rookies into the lineup as the system needs dictate,the farm team has seemed to find sucess lately systemwise so the question is wether or not the big team is even playing that system allowing a proper assesment of system suitability allowing these guys to seamlessly step right in.

    I hope we can get a suitable superior system in place that allows us to maximise all of the scouting and developments hard work and sucess,and one that finds a way to keep the system dynamic enough to accept the skill and talent we can ice and to allow that skillset to freely evolve to its fullest extent.

    I believe we have many guys ready to step up physically and skill wise,I have serious reservations about system continuity between our developmental systems and our big club,and I believe this creates a dynamic through which we get a less than accurate analysis of players system suitability.This is a core value issue and is affected tremendously by changes in coaches and system philosophys,we need to steady the boat before we consider our current and comeing crop of rookies.And then we need to keep the door open and players rotateing through regularly and we need to create contractual dynamics applying to all but the core group{and be honest with supporting players} that allow this and foster a league reputation for being willing to commit to our players and promote them 100% ,and also show a willingness to move them quickly when our system finds a more suitable piece,we will allow good players who arent a system fit to have full careers elsewhere and other teams will respect the quaility we offer them and provide those career opportunitys.

    Winning games makes this job much easier because then players are only asked to come in as system support to a stable environment,and it is easy to identify their system suitability,but if the team is loseing it is impossible to accurately asses their individual level of system suitability,leaveing us with only statistical methods to gauge their impact.

    Last year our farm team began to use a sucessfully catalysed system,maybe someone should ask what it is??Because our big club should be immediatly converting over to it.Creating this seamless opportunity for player transitions that is needed.If we accept that it was the system not the talent level winning on the farm last year then we need to seriously track and document the series of changes and adjustments that our farm club made and put a NAME to them,simply because it seems like we have the people down there now to dominate and compete at the championship level.I want to see as many of our guys come up from the farm as the system dictates and I want to see the Oilers manage that contractual dynamic better than they have in the past,its hard work and they need to do it.Theoreticlly we should see a season long trend where our supportive cast,excludeing our core players,are the recipient of most team injuries because they are paying the price more every game consistantly–hence a healthy rotation from the farm with zero hesitation.And more changes due to seasonal trends as the playoffs approach,injuries,or individual team tactical planning,if we consider more than physical skill and we allow the system to absorb that dimension internally through its core structure then we are looking to bring entirely different players up from the farm,we should be bringing up the most system educated players physical dimensions being secondary EVERY TIME.

    The only way our team should get bigger is if we also get system smarter at the same time,tradeing for big skilled players is no answer when we need system educated players as a premium.If a superior system dictates that an average size player more frequently fills system requirements and needs then that is how we must guage our organisational focus and evolution.If we base our developmental philosophys and actions on system evolution only then we will likely see a trend towards a team of average sized players with a gem or two like Ethan Moreau that are monsters,but very few,because a superior system demands “everyman” capabilitys in all core individual areas and their is little wiggle room for compensatory actions,a great shot will not make up for less than average anything,most times elite talents need to tone down more than they can handle in a superior system to make the “everyman”grade so they can develope a correct system perspective skill notwithstanding,and to get all these dimensions and more we just need to adopt the NewAge Hockey System.

  • #94 sized hole where my heart used to be...

    I though maybe i invented the P.M. (perpetual motion ) game plan only to find several teams have hybrids of it . Newage system seems to also be a hybrid of it as well . Every system seems to have a short shelf life nowadays . Adaptation required of todays teams and size , speed and toughness is required to make any system (s) successful. Special teams are a priority in todays multi facited games .

    Almost every action is followed by an equal and opposit reaction (pun) . Dynasties in todays parody league set up seems draconian -unlikely to happen .

    • #94 sized hole where my heart used to be...

      Sounds like a smoke-screen to me.

      You fail to recognise that I can fully support the NHS on a technical level at any time,your Perpetual Motion system sounds interesting ,why not post how it works here right now,and make sure you go beyond the similaritys to the NHS I have posted and while you are at it could you please define the meaning in hockey context of the word “hybrid”that you use,what exactly is a hybrid??and what is a non-hybrid–the defineing factors??And what does it mean in your Perpetual Motion system to be a hybrid??

      If you can reply with some technical data ,I would love to learn more.

      How would your system have played the LA kings system last year,technically speaking compareing facet for facet,dont be shy,then please explain some of the philosophical supportive mantras behind your systems core values if thats ok as well,I will respond point for point with NHS data and we can compare maybe we can build a better wheel,who knows.

      You really should post more of your system data here,there are a lot of great hockey minds here and also a lot of really smart suck-holes who will critique your data with baseless drivel ,just to kick the hornets nest,so be careful as you never know who you will meet in cyber-space,but dont be afraid to share your PM system and all of its attributes,I am haveing a great time shareing the NHS and its superior attributes.

      Do you have any documented instances of NHL team integrateing and utilising your system??Because I sure have a lot to support the initiation of my NHS by NHL teams,if you need a little help I can show you some really great albeit unconventional ways to have your data acessed online by NHL

      • French Toast Mafia

        sorry for the break,technical glitch.

        I can show you some really great albeit unconventional ways to have your data acessed online by NHL players and teams,its easy and any web marketing book or site will detail what to do,you just need the quality of product thats all,the rest is easy.

        Dont be disappointed if it takes a long time to be noticed and to have your data implemented for a tryout,as these are pro teams and they DO NOT take action on any type of change without some positive results to support such action,there are many layers,protective layers to the decision makeing process.

        But dont give up because if your data proves usefull to the players or teams you provide it to it is easy to document your datas implementation as long as you have some average hockey system knowledge to see when team adjust as your data has dictated in a paralell timeline to the datas provision,its pretty hard to deny,because game films are here to stay and so are your live realtime web posts,its a piece of cake to prove if teams and players actually acess and utilise your specific data.And it feels great seeing your data come to life on the ice as well,I highly reccommend you post some more of your data and join the fun.Your data could change the game as we know it or be a factor in such change,if the data is utilised.

        listen you need to trust yourself and not allow your vision to be shrouded by conventional thinking,that is what last years champions focused on,every single year a new winning dynamic is materialised and although the systems may change the winning dynamic does not,hence your need to continue developing your system and matching it against what we are seeing played today.

        If anyone cirticises you or trys to undermine you individualism and your cojones for jamming something new in their stove-pipe then consider it a cost of doing business and a sign that you are heading in the right direction,thats what winners do,force things to change,and the more winning the individual or system the more factors it will strive to control and utilise,so if you arent stepping on anyones toes every single day till you win a cup you are doing things wrong.If you get lucky like I did with the NHS amd the LA Kings you will be able to document a team winning a Stanley Cup utiliseing your system data in its inaugural year and have it documented for eternity on tape and in cyber-space.

        Please share more of your system data it sounds a lot like the basic constant movement evolutionary forces behind our systems are catalysed somewhere as yet to be identified,if we compare notes this spot will become apparent.

        Does your system have any defensive structure at all and if not how do you compensate for that missing dimension?

        How does your system iniate offense??Through consistant zone transitions or free flowing with no transitional system requirements beyond clear zone entrys?

        How does your system approach tactical line presentations by opposeing systems,how is that dynamic addressed?Do you match lines defensively?Or not at all?

        Please post more this sounds great.