After graduating an exceptional cluster of forwards over the last three seasons, the Oilers have the kind of prospect depth you’d expect: miles and miles of blue. With the likes of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov arriving in these seasons, there’s not a lot of room for top end skill forwards. The blueline is a very different matter.

  • #20 L Kale Kessy (#19 in the spring): Big, tough winger whose skill set is a perfect match for a major need in the organization’s pro ranks. Kirk Luedeke details Kessy’s strengths: "this is a kid who’s legitimately tough. Last year, he’d blast people and then turn around, looking for someone to take him on. And, he fought some guys older than him and more than held his own. He can go." Projection for 13-14: 4th line role and 15-20 points in Oklahoma City. Anything more than that and he’s going to zoom up this list.
  • #19 D Erk Gustafsson (#18 last Sept, #13 in the spring): 49, 7-16-23 +12 in the Allsvenskan (league below SEL). The Oilers have so much depth at the position it’s a good guess he’ll never play in Edmonton. Gustafsson has some nice things (Corey Pronman says "has a fair amount of skill and mobility, a little undersized which won’t help him, but considering that I thought he defended at an ok level as his reads were fine”) but the road is long now for any defensive prospect and Gustafsson is now 21 and there are many with a wider range of skills ahead of him. Projection for 13-14: Another solid year in Sweden, and then a trip to North America to see where he stands.
  • #18 C Andrew Miller (#17 in the spring): Boxcars at Yale (37, 18-23-41) and NHLE (82, 16-21-37) suggest he has enough offensively to play in the NHL. 5.10, 180 and 24 years old, Miller has (along with all of the other C’s on this list) a terrific opportunity to move up smartly in the organization.  Corey Pronman: center is a classic small, skilled college player. Miller displays above-average qualities in terms of his speed, puck skills and overall offensive instincts. In his Senior season especially he showed the ability to consistently create scoring chances and keep the play flowing in the right direction.” That’s a nice resume, and he could end up getting 4line minutes with NHL vets like Smyth and Jones.  That’s not a bad way to start. Projection for 13-14: He should be close to a point per game player in  the AHL and if he can post that kind of number he’ll get some consideration for NHL work. 
  • #17 D Brandon Davidson (#19 last September, #15 in the spring): Played well in OKC (26, 2-3-5) and NHLE (82, 3-4-7) when healthy and then turned it on in the post-season. Davidson did a lot of good work this season, and did it despite some health issues that slowed but did not stop him. He’s a thinking man’s defenseman, makes the smart play without a lot of fanfare. A bit of a throwback type, I don’t think we’ll see big offensive numbers from him in pro, but he’ll always be part of the PK rotation. Projection for 13-14: Another season of shutdown work in the AHL to establish himself as a strong defensive option.
  • #16 D Taylor Fedun (#20 last September, #10 in the spring): Fedun is in a tough spot now, he’s a solid AHL defenseman of some ability (he’s a good defender and can move the puck too) but he’s surrounded by youngsters pushing up the depth chart. His OKC (70, 8-19-27) and NHLE (82, 4-10-14) suggests he should be in the conversation, but Craig MacTavish has increased the competition on defense all summer long. He does have one advantage: he’s RH. Projection for 13-14: AHL regular at all three disciplines and possibly a callup for his first NHL games. Time is not his friend now, the Oilers are rolling in defense.
  • #15 L Mitchell Moroz: (#14 last September, #9 in the spring): 69, 13-21-34 numbers with the Oil Kings have him well below the kind of offense that will be required for him to play at a high level when he turns pro. Moroz NHLE (82, 5-7-12) has him in line to become a modern Zach Stortini–well below what was hoped for on draft day 2011. Projection for 13-14: A strong finish to his junior career is vital, he’s playing for a pro contract.
  • #14 L Daniil Zharkov: (#9 last September, #7 in the spring). Big forward who can skate, Zharkov is also an impressive offensive prospect. Aggressive in the offensive zone and a player who gets multiple scoring chances on the same shift, Zharkov scored 25 goals during the regular season after a poor start (he was 30, 8-3-11 -3 before New Year’s and 29, 17-15-32 +21 after January 1). 6.04, 212 now. His NHLE 82, 10-8-18. Projection for 13-14: Some good totals in the KHL. The Oilers prospect chart has a distinct Russian flavor now, Zharkov is 6.04 212 and is only 19 years old.
  • #13 C Greg Chase (NR, the first of the 2013 drafts): 69, 17-32-49 with Calgary (WHL). NHLE 6-11-17. This is a very interesting prospect. Chase at even strength last season (69, 13-23-36) posted superior numbers to Moroz in all three disciplines combined. Pronman: scouts praise his offensive mind and vision. He can slow the game down when he has the puck, hit targets through small lanes, and move the puck quickly when need be. He also has good hands, and when he is on, his offensive upside is apparent.Projection for 13-14: A big offensive season for the Hitmen.
  • #12 R Jackson Houck (NR, one of the 2013 drafts): 69, 23-34-57 with Vancouver (WHL). NHLE 8-12-20. Houck is physical and skilled, a nice combination, and he led his team in scoring so it isn’t like the stats were being zoomed by a better player as we see every year at the NHL draft. Cody Nickolet: an energy forward for the Giants.  He’s quick, plays aggressively all over the ice and has a good shot.  His best asset is that he never takes a shift off, knows his role and fills it to a tee.  Put up a good year offensively, but he will need to continue to work hard on that part of his game if he wants to carve out a top 6 pro career.  Projection for 13-14: He should improve offensively this season and the Oilers must love the physical element to his game.
  • #11 D David Musil (#12 last September, #8 in the spring): We’re finally going to see what he can do at the next level. Musil is a very good WHL defender but there have been questions about his foot speed since draft day. We’ll know this fall, as the scouting reports on this player are as wide as I’ve ever seen (some see him as a reasonable bet to arrive in the NHL within a year or so, others don’t think his speed will allow him to compete at the AHL level). Projection for 13-14: I have none that are reasonable. The range is so wide, I’m just going to sit back and watch. Someone is wrong, I’ll say that much.


Anton Belov

  • #10 D Anton Belov (NR, undrafted free aqent signing) Outstanding KHL stats (46, 9-17-26) and his NHLE (82, 13-25-38) suggest he could have a major impact on the offense this season. 26 years old and 6.04, 216. He could be a major addition to the Oilers. Projectioned for 13-14: I rate him as an NHL regular this season.
  • #9 L Anton Slepyshev: (NR, one of the 2013 drafts): KHL numbers (11, 4-2-6. NHLE 18-6-24) give an idea of the offensive potential. A very talented winger who appears to have enough skill to run with the really good players. Pronman: He is an above-average skater, with agility and free movement, as his shiftiness makes him hard to check. He has a plus shot and he knows it, as his mentality is often shoot-first, even from distance. He can still make plays, and he does not have tunnel vision, but his playmaking skills are not his best element. His physical game has progressed, and he has added strength since last season. He can protect pucks moderately well. He will display physical effort, although it could be better at times. He also needs to work on his defensive game. Projected for 13-14: More progress in the KHL, and it would be nice to hear about improved play away from the puck.
  • #8 C Bogdan Yakimov (NR, one of the 2013 drafts): Finally! A big (6.05, 202) center with offensive potential. And he’s from Nail Yakupov’s hometown: Yakimov: “I’m extremely happy, because I’ve been waiting to be selected. I was already at the edge of my nerves, so this was a huge relief to be selected by anybody, particularly by the Edmonton Oilers. In Nizhnekamsk, the most favourite team of anybody is Edmonton Oilers, because Nail Yakupov is from the same town.” More than anyone on this list, I’m projecting Yakimov on little evidence.Why? Ryan Pike: He’s big. He’s physical. He’s willing to battle in the major traffic lanes to score. His game is not without warts, though. He could be a better skater and he lacks elite play-making ability. But he’s arguably more consistent than a lot of players, lacking huge peaks to his game but lacking massive valleys." Projection for 13-14: A strong season in Russia, with lots of KHL play and some offense. Yakimov turns 19 in October, the time to show well is now. 
  • #7 D Dillon Simpson (#15 in September, #6 in the spring): Simpson’s a trending player, now 6.02, 200 and playing a major role in a big time NCAA program–and he’s 20. The early concerns over footspeed appear to be gone, his offense (42, 5-19-24; NHLE: 82, 4-15-19) have him near the top of the Oilers D prospect table in that area. This guy was taken in the fourth round of the 2011 draft–that’s not exactly prime time real estate for uncovering NHL players. He’ll need to be signed after college. Projection for 13-14: He’s improved every year since he was drafted, why stop now? Good enough to force his way into a very deep pro depth chart when he turns pro.
  • #6 L Jujhar Khaira: (#16 in September, #4 in the spring): Michigan Tech boxcars (37, 6-19-25) and NHLE (82, 5-18-23) are interesting and suggest he’s going to have a chance to be a top 6F down the line. Khaira is the last (and the highest ranking) of a group of possible "power forwards of the future" on the top 20. Khaira (according to Redline) “does the dirty work in the corners, bangs bodies and wins battles, and loves to initiate heavy contact. Powerful stride with great balance and gets leverage on his hits. Has surprisingly soft hands and puck skills with playmaking ability.” Projection for 13-14: It looks like he’ll be a WHL Silvertip, and based on his NCAA numbers he should top 65 points in a full WHL season. This is going to be a big year for him.


  • #5 D Martin Gernat (#5 in September, #3 in the spring): Had some injury issues this year but was effective when healthy. His Oil King numbers (WHL reg/playoffs combined: 45, 9-21-30, NHLE 82, 5-11-16). I spoke to an NHL scout about him (an eastern conference team) and he told me Gernat’s game has developed well defensively, his footspeed and size will be his pro calling cards and we should not expect a lot his offense to come with him to pro hockey. Projection for 13-14: This season may be difficult, there’s no clear spot for him in OKC. Gernat may end up spending time in the ECHL or even Europe. His long term potential is impressive.
  • #4 R Marco Roy: (NR, the 2nd highest ranked of the 2013 drafts): This young man is a fascinating prospect. Skill, grit and a work ethic have me very interesting in tracking his progress. Redline Report: While thought of as a grinder who brings passion and intensity to each shift (which is accurate), that is short-changing his skill level. Good skater with speed and balance, and accelerates well. Wins a lot of races for loose pucks and is always 1st into corners. Works his bag off every shift and comes back hard on the backcheck. He’s an absolute buzzsaw with a motor that never quits. Projection for 13-14: He went 65, 29-38-67 last season, those are very good numbers. If Roy can post something north of 80 points in a full year Oiler fans might be looking at a future NHL top 6F. 
  • #3 D Martin Marincin: (#4 in September, #2 in the spring): It’s really important to remember how difficult it can be to transition to pro hockey via the AHL. Over the last decade, Oiler fans can count on one hand the number of defensemen who have been developed through the minors. For every Jeff Petry, there’s a dozen Alex Plante’s and Taylor Chorney’s. Marincin isn’t there yet, but his OKC numbers (69, 7-23-30) and NHLE (82, 4-12-16) suggest he’ll bring some offense to the show–although playing with Justin Schultz padded his numbers. Todd Nelson: As long as his body keeps maturing, he’ll be able to sustain the game at the NHL level. He’s rangy and green still, but there’s tremendous upside. Everybody is looking for 6-foot-5 defencemen with offensive ability. I think he has great opportunity to see games in the NHL.” Projection for 13-14: This is a terrific prospect who may be less than a year from NHL ready. Marincin’s continued development gives the organization a lot of options.
  • #2 D Oscar Klefbom: (#3 in September, #1 in the spring): A nice range of skills and he’s close to NHL ready. The only thing keeping him from being #1 in health, and that is (imo) the big concern with this player. Based on a number of reports and anecdotal evidence (the MacT monologues), this player is absolutely part of the future and will be in the NHL the moment he’s ready. Projection for 13-14: Complete health is vital, extended NHL time is likely.
  • #1 D Darnell Nurse: (NR, the highest ranked of the 2013 drafts): This year’s 1st round pick is shy of the recent #1 overalls but leaps to the top of the charts on the strength of a wide range of skills and emerging offense. This is a quality 2-way defense prospect. Kyle Woodlief: is the most naturally physical defender (in the draft). He made good strides in his offensive game and has a heavy shot that is an asset on the power play. He likes to dish out punishment along the walls and easily separates his check from the puck. Nurse also scores off the charts in both his character and intelligence levels, and at a gangly 6-5, already has the footwork of a much smaller man. Finally, we have anecdotal evidence that he was playing  some tough opposition. Projected for 13-14: A significant improvement in boxcars (68, 12-29-41 OHL last season) and a strong push for a WJ roster spot on a deep team.


  • Nail Yakupov has graduated from the prospect list, but his impact on the current list is impressive. The Oilers spent a couple of draft picks at the 2013 edition on Russians, signed Belov and Zharkov is also a potential member of the Russian invasion. This is historic in Oiler terms, and comes fully two decades after the rest of the NHL. It makes sense–they’re familiar with the climate!
  • Defensemen are all over the list: 4 of the top 5, 6 of the top 10 and 10 of the 20 are blueliners.
  • The 2010 draft has had a lot of heartbreak. Kristians Pelss was an up and comer, Drew Czerwonka, Tyler Bunz and Brandon Davidson have experienced injury. The trio of forwards (Pitlick, Hamilton, Martindale) taken in the 2nd and early 3rd rounds are no longer among the 20 best prospects in the system. Taylor Hall is in the NHL, and two 2010’s (Marincin, Davidson) remain on the list.
  • Oilers need a goalie prospect.
  • KHL regular season begins this week. Oilers have a lot of prospects over there this season.
  • The spring 20 is here.
  • The September 2012 top 20 is here.
  • YFC Prez

    I’m surprised to see Marco Roy at #4, I should start paying a little attention to the kid I guess.

    redline report sure has grabbed my interest

    EDIT also surprised to see Pitlick fall completely out of the top 20, had very high hopes for that one!

  • Lowetide

    if The Kleffboms, Nurse’s or Marincin’s are actually better then Potter, Larsen, Greby, OLD Shultz, etc…why not give them a shot rite now….why cant Oilers have a rookie on the number 1 line like The Wild did…I know it may be a lil easier playin along side Suter but damn, if Nurse is as solid/physical/2way player as everyone says he is then lets use him NOW! if him or Kleffbom can outplay Petry, Smid, Ference, Shultz then let the kids PLAY!!!

    I dont want Nurse & Kleffbom ancoring the blue line after we gave up on Ebz, Gagz and whoever else and trade them away……….let our STALLIONS RUN TOGETHER!!!!!

    Kleffbom-Justin Shultz


    yes Shultz on 3rd pairing….give him all the PP time he wants!

    • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

      coming from someone VERY high on Anton Belov!! I believe NOBODY knows what we are getting, hes exactly what we need BIG two way mean Dman… and your hearing it here 1st….possibly be on our 1st line D pairing by Halloween!!!!

  • Boardwalk Brown

    If it was a top 21 list would Ewanyk be #21?? He’s going to be good. Doesn’t have the offence in the WHL that Greg Chase does but Ewanyk will be better than Moroz.

  • DSF

    #10 Anton Belov is actually 27 years old and has around 300 professional games to his credit.

    Calling him a “prospect” seems a bit of a reach to me.

    If that’s a “prospect” there are hundreds of other older players hanging around the fringes of the NHL, AHL, KHL, SEL and other leagues who would also be considered “prospects” if teams signed them.

    • Puritania

      He doesn’t have NHL experience and therefore is a prospect. Age doesn’t matter. Thought you were smarter then that. Your losing it. Gonna tell us about your hockey career one of these days?

        • Quicksilver ballet

          Ok, according to Hockey’s Future definition of a prospect, your right. Still, why do you always pick apart small pieces of articles? And why so negative all the time? Just wondering…

          • Craig1981

            Agreed, I actually agree with DSF this one time (I would not consider Belov a “prospect”)but his constant insults at writers articles make it hard to side with him.

  • Puritania

    Any chance we’ll continue to get contributions from Steve Dangle and Andrey Osadchenko? I thought they did an absolutely fantastic job during the lockout, and would love for them to keep us up to date on our prospects in the KHL.

  • “#5 D Martin Gernat, NHLE (82, 5-11-16)…we should not expect a lot his offense to come with him to pro hockey.

    #3 D Martin Marincin, NHLE (82, 4-12-16) suggest he’ll bring some offense to the show–although playing with Justin Schultz padded his numbers.”

    LT, given they both have 16 pts NHLE and one did not play with the dynamo, how do you explain this opinion?

    • Lowetide

      Gernat’s offense comes from the PP. This past season with the OK, he went 23, 1-5-6 at evens and 23, 2-5-7 on the PP. So in order for him to deliver offensively now that he’s turning pro he’ll need to get a lot of PP time.

      And that doesn’t happen to most defensemen, they usually play evens and a more experienced player gets the PP time.

      Marincin by the way was 69, 5-18-23 at evens and 69, 2-5-7 on the powerplay in the AHL.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      He’s a scout, offering up his opinion on dp Jackson Houck. Cody’s not an Oiler prospect.

      Or, did I miss this attempt at a little cloaked sarcasm?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    He’s last on your list, but the most interesting kid to me is that Kale Kessy kid. 20 yrs old, like to see this kid sooner rather than later. With still a few soft spots on the roster, lets see if this kid is more Clint Eastwood than Vin Diesel. In todays no hit NHL, he could instigate some retaliatory type pp’s.

    • Craig1981

      You know this kid cant come to the show and play a kids game. Him and all the other kids who think they can kid around are just kidding themselves. Kids dont belong cause kids are kids you what im sayin kid. ?

      • Quicksilver ballet

        It’s best a fool remain silent, than open his mouth and remove all doubt.

        Do you even look at the jibberish you put up, before you hit the post comment button? Go back to school idiot!

        • Quicksilver ballet

          Calm down son have a sence of humour. I think Kessey is a great player. Im from the Kamloops area and have seen him play a few times. Hes absolutely fearless I mean he backs down from no one. Hes also got a knack for scoring when it matters most. He’ll be on the big club within a couple years I hope.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            Why not sooner rather than later? Edmonton doesn’t really have an abundance of players with his capabilities. As long as his footspeed doesn’t make Steve MacIntyre look like a gazelle.

            If there’s room for a fresh new face in this league, Edmonton would be one of the softest lineups to crack. Let him rattle all of the AHL’ers currently wearing NHL jerseys. I’d estimate half the NHL is filled with AHL caliber players. He’s affordable and can rub salt into that wound. We need a kid like that now. He can handle 7-10 mins a night.

  • I’m excited for the future. Safe to say our top 6 forwards are pretty much locked down for the next 6-7 years as RNH and Yak will sign something similar to Hall and Ebs (cap should rise to allow for this, plus we’ll be shedding Hemmer, Smyth and Shultz Sr. salary). Plus, our D line up 2-3 years from now could be easily be Petry – Smid, Nurse – Shultz, Klefbom – Ferrence, plus Marincin, with a lot of D talent on the young side of prime and lots great hockey left in the tank. Even that line up playing today is likely stronger than the past editions of our blue line without time to ripen and improve.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      thats exactly how we will line up next year on D!!!

      and I love it…Pety Ladi & Ju Shultz will all have another year of maturity & Ference will be our wiley ol vet…don’t rule out Belov returning after a strong season!

    • Craig1981

      No , because I believe Nurse was a bust , and our top 6 is too small . There was a fine option available to add some size to the forward group at #7 , but alas , it was not meant to be . Nurse will be a #5-#6 at best . If he’s lucky .

      • Quicksilver ballet

        I guess your gonna prove the whole NHL scouts who said he was EASILY the Best PHYSICAL & Defensive DMAN in the draft……..seeing how hes also 6’5 in my opinion he seems like the perfect guy to play along side Justin Shultz!!! Next season 🙂 on the top 4

  • Lowetide

    Despite the constant negative ramblings of a couple of everyday posters, I genuinely feel that the Oil will be a much more competitive team than we have seen in a very long time.

    One can always find fault with how the Oil have managed themselves over the last number of years. The “win/loss record” does in fact reveal the downside of the organization. However, I still believe in this club, it is the team that I am a fan off and as much as I have been disappointed over recent years, I see the Oils’ fortunes changing. Being at the bottom and or near for as long as the team has, it is only logic to think the upward is where the arrow is pointed. There are just too many good players on the team now to not think any other way!

    Nobody in their right mind will say that Lord Stanley will be visiting this city next season but this team is building into a contender. I can see the Oil being in the mix in a couple of years. I, like many other fans want this team to win and win lots!

    The negative nellies on this site be damned, I cheer for the Oil despite their record and will continue to do so. GO OIL GO!

    PS: Rumour has it that one of the “Green Men” out of Vancouver has been identified and is a frequent negative poster on Oilernation.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I honestly BELIEVE they just need to get into the places I don’t care if its 8th seed or last wild card whatever…….but once their inn, your gona see Hall, Eberle, Gagner, Hemsky play there hearts out!!!!

      I say the 1st year we make playoffs, we will be in the west conf. final!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • Craig1981

    Unlike pseudo madjam in blog #23 , we need Nurse to develop quickly for his physical presence .
    Like most of our propects, we need depth and support players with size , grit and physical presence more than just the smaller skilled personnel . We need players who can impose their presence on other teams (role players ) coming out of the farm – as we sadly lack that dimension now . We already have the skill , just not the size , grit and depth to compliment it .

  • Lowetide

    It is not a stretch to say that if players are eligible to win the Calder then they can be considered prospects. Sergei Makarov at 31 years old, Peter Stastny at 24, etc etc.. It is not too late to turn your inner negative Nancy around DSF. Hell, if you strap on the skates I dare say you can be a prospect 🙂

  • Oilerz4life

    What’s with the hurry to insert Nurse into the line-up? He’s an excellent prospect and has the potential to be a great NHL defenceman, but he could still fill out and develop so that when he is ready, he will be effective to play his physical game at the NHL level. There’s a difference between throwing hits in Junior and throwing hits in the NHL.