The Edmonton Oil Kings gave our city a tremendous thrill this spring and are back for another season. They are regarded as one of the best teams in the league, and should contend for the title again. For Oiler fans, there are some quality prospects already in the system to watch–and one very good center who looks like a top 10 pick in the 2013 entry draft.


Martin Gernat had a helluva season in 11-12, emerging as a quality option on the powerplay and moving up the depth chart smartly. Gernat has not played during the pre-season, and has a ‘lingering injury‘ to his upper body based on reports. If he can play a full season and takes a step forward, Gernat’s transition from junior to pro will be a much anticipated event this time next year.

Update: As listeners to Jason Gregor’s show will know by now, Gernat’s shoulder injury is now officially a concern. Jason spoke with Oil Kings GM Bob Green today and he suggested Gernat might be out for awhile. Bruce McCurdy has more here.


Mitchell Moroz took a giant leap forward during the Sep-Apr time period and the Oil Kings (and Oilers) will be hoping for more of the same this winter. I was astounded by the reaction to my reaction after the pick–a lot of hockey people were strong on Moroz and that was not reflected accurately in the season ending rankings. In this way, a fan’s disconnect to the hockey industry becomes obvious on draft days. Moroz is ‘trending’ in a big way, and may get a push this season on a skill line. He is one of the main ‘players to watch’ in the entire system.

Travis Ewanyk lost most of the regular season in 11-12 to injury, but he was healthy during the long playoff run and should be good to go this season. Ewanyk played in a couple of pre-season games and will be a big part of this year’s team. Although not known for his point production, Ewanyk did score 16 goals in his draft season.



The first time I heard the name ‘Lazar’ came while driving down the road listening to Corey Graham and Kent Simpson on the Oil Kings broadcasts (Team 1260, season opens Thursday night). Lazar has inspired some impressive verbal from very important places, including Washington Capitals director of amateur scouting Ross Mahoney:

  • “I think he’s a very honest player for his age. Sometimes the younger players come in and they’re very talented but they have to learn to play a little bit better away from the puck and backcheck, but he’s an honest player. He finishes every check, he goes hard to the net, he works in all three zones of the ice."

Lazar is already 6.00, 198 and won’t turn 20 until you’re shopping for a 2015 Valentine’s gift–lots of room to grow in the mean time. He led the team in playoff scoring (tied with Michael St. Croix–19 points in 20 games) and delivered a strong second half for the club.

The excellent blog WHL From Above says the following:

  • Lazar is a hard working kid with good size, skating ability and excellent offensive skills.  He’s shown the ability to play centre, as well as some wing and has also grown to be a very competent defensive player.  He plays the game much like NHLer Shane Doan. 



History tells us the three Oilers prospects will go one of three ways: derailed by injury, hit a wall early in their pro career and veer off into the sunset, or find a way to beat the odds and win NHL employment. This season we should expect a big step forward from Moroz based on role and opportunity, and for the other two men its a matter of building on what has gone before.

And for Lazar? His draft season begins with the young man among the 10 best draft prospects on the planet. That’s a lot of pressure, but his skills appear to warrant the praise. He is a player to watch.

  • Lowetide

    I’m interested in seeing how well he does this season. Based on things I was told after the draft, Moroz’ improvement from the beginning of the year through the Mem Cup was exceptional.

    This will be interesting. Will Moroz get a push on a skill line? If he does, will he make something of it? Shoud we expect 20 goals? 25? More?

  • Lowetide

    I seen Lazar in a playoff game, get the puck, scoot around a hit around centre, cut past a defecement outside-in, then roof a goal while getting tied up by the other defenseman.

    it was probably the winning goal too. I will great to take in a King’s games this season.

    It’s fun to watch this hockey. They all put in an honest effort.

      • I understood him just fine,this isnt grade school english class,what are you doing moonlighting as the A-B-C Police??

        If I cant read somthing I will ask for a clarification not insult somone elses english,writing,grammer,or spelling skills.That post was adequate.

        This is one of the most disturbing trends on forums,complaining about these skills when there is NEVER REASON TO COMMENT.Unless a post is unreadable there is no comment required,and at that you should simply request clarification.

        That is a rude and very presumptious type of question designed to create a negative dynamic not a positive one,for all you know that poster might have the best english skills in his Korean /Canadian immersion class,and this might be one of his first forays into english online talking about his favorite new sport.What kind of person asks such a question,or comments on anothers effort that way??I dont want to see people driven away because of rude comments.

        Thank you for your comment on Lazar and I dont mind your writing skills at all,they are quite adequate.

        • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

          If you’re going to be driven to write a rant as long as the last one every time someone breaks a moral ethics code here, or anywhere on the internet, then prepare to be disappointed as you won’t make a difference and will most likely get ripped on for doing so.

          It’s good to stick up for the little guy but no one is ever accountable on the internet, so you’re wasting you’re time, probably like I’m doing right now.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Moroz could be just the player we need, and if Harski can bring it, we’ll be a little meaner to play against.

    I refuse to give up on Ben Eager as well. He’s big, he can skate, and he’s absolutely insane. I remember one game last year where he and Hordichuk were crashing and banging, and Eager had the craziest eyes going in the penalty box. Hordichuk was sitting next to him giving him this “holy crap, what’s wrong with you?” look. If what he said about Renney handcuffing the goons is true, maybe Eager can start to let loose a little more if/when the season starts.

  • RexLibris

    And this is why I’m excited over the prospect that the Oilers could try to trade up (yeah, I know we do this every year) from somewhere in the 8 to 10th overall range using their two 2nd round picks to draft Lazar.

    I know I sound like a broken-record here, but I figure if I keep repeating it, well, it might just happen.