PLAYING FOR KEEPS

The Edmonton Oilers are over a week away from the beginning of their regular season, but their prospects are getting started in junior and Euro leagues. Early returns are very encouraging.

2013 ENTRY DRAFT

  • Darnell Nurse remains in Oiler camp, impressing everyone with his exceptional play. Likely to be sent down in the next few days.
  • Marco Roy has an injury so will miss the weekend Q games for the Armada. He enjoyed a solid training camp and should post good numbers in junior this year.
  • Bogdan Yakimov is 6, 1-3-4 in the KHL and has a faceoff percentage of 68.8%. It’s early, but the 18-year old is doing well in one of the best leagues in the world (he’s posting that offense on 9.5 minutes a night).
  • Anton Slepyshev is 6, 0-0-0 and struggling so far in the KHL, and doing it in 9.5 minutes a night. He has 5 shots on goal, but needs to post some crooked numbers.
  • Jackson Houck had some injury issues in TC but is playing tonight for the Vancouver Giants in their WHL season opener.
  • Kyle Platzer backed up his impressive training camp with 2 goals for London in their first OHL game tonight. It’s way too early to get excited, but he’s certainly showing up early and often in good ways.
  • Greg Chase was one of the few Hitmen who showed up against Edmonton tonight in their season debut, he was physical early and scored two goals as he ignited a comeback late. A player to watch all season long. 

2012 ENTRY DRAFT

  • Mitchell Moroz had a good training camp with the Oilers, scoring a goal against the Jets in the game before he was sent down. With the Oil Kings, Moroz has been elevated on the depth chart, playing on the big line and scoring a PP goal. Moroz may finally get a chance to play on a skill line all year, after two seasons on the checking line.
  • Jujhar Khaira has been injured but will play for the Oilers against Vancouver tomorrow night at Rexall.
  • Daniil Zharkov has a goal in 6 KHL games, playing 8.5 minutes a night.
  • Erik Gustafsson has no points in three SHL (Swedish Elite League) games.

2011 ENTRY DRAFT

  • Oscar Klefbom has performed well but looks shy of an NHL job at this point.
  • David Musil, Travis Ewanyk and Martin Gernat showed some nice things in main camp but are now heading to OKC for their AHL training camp and minor league assignment.
  • Frans Tuohimaa has played 1 game, allowed 1 goal and has an insane .954SP in the SM-Liiga so far this season. That won’t last, but it’s worth noting.

2010 ENTRY DRAFT

  • Tyler Pitlick has been solid in pre-season for the Oilers, and may actually be in the extended mix for 4th line employment. If he can build on the momentum–something he’s been unable to do in previous seasons–there may be a chance to salvage a career.
  • Martin Marincin is coming off a very good AHL season and has shown plenty of quality in pre-season. Likely one year away, he is on track for NHL debut some time this season.
  • Curtis Hamilton same old same old, injuries have impacted his pro career all down the line.
  • Ryan Martindale showed flashes during training camp, he seems to be more impressive in TC than at any other time during the year.
  • Tyler Bunz was not impressive during pre-season, and had a poor year in 12-13, but goalies develop in very strange ways. He’s still a prospect.
  • Brandon Davidson has overcome so much since turning pro it’s tough to believe he’s only entering his second season at that level. Turned some heads during training camp.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Miles and miles to go, but these kids are playing hockey for keeps. The long process of proving value to the NHL parent team is underway for another year. It looks very strong along the blue, with some interesting forwards. Goaltending is an area of great need for Edmonton, something that will no doubt be addressed in the months to come.

I’d count Klefbom, Marincin, Nurse, Yakimov, Chase and Platzer as players who are showing well early.

  • RexLibris

    Had a look at the scoresheet for that Oil Kings game. Yeah, calling it a physical affair with 94 penalty minutes handed out seems like a bit of an understatement.

    Crazy game, wish I’d been there.

    I still can’t look at that 2012 2nd round draft board without feeling anger. Fortunately, the source of my frustration also has a cathartic sibilance: Frk! Frk! Frk!

        • striatic

          There are just 2 second round picks from 2010 who are having any kind of impact at the NHL level right now. Justin Faulk and Tyler Toffoli.

          Pitlick looks like a dud considering he’s practically a first round pick, and Hamilton has been an AHL non-entity.

          The good news is that Marincin is tracking better than any player drafted in that round other than Faulk and Toffoli.

          • striatic

            There was also Brendan Gallagher, a fifth rounder that I’m sure surprised Montreal as much as anyone with his development. After all, they thought someone named Mark Macmillan from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the BCHL was a better prospect, drafting him in the fourth round. Goes to show you that the draft is often more luck than skill.

          • Craig1981

            I always wonder what would happen if a team scraped its scouting program and just used red line and ISS.

            ……..actually an article on who the Oiler would have if they did just use ISS since 2010 would be an interesting read.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            For 2010 using BMac’s blended list:

            http://www.tsn.ca/draftcentre/feature/?id=24944

            we get:

            #picked by oil/#in BMac’s list

            1. Hall/Hall

            31. Pitlick/Calvin Pickyard

            46. Marincin/TEEMU PULKKINEN

            48. Hamilton/JORDAN WEAL

            61. Martindale/MAX GARDINER

            Of course, that is just the player at that number. If I had the interest I would show the highest rated player available at the number picked… but that would be a lot of cross-referencing that I don’t want to do.

          • Craig1981

            If the took who was available

            1. Hall
            2. Jon Merrill
            3.Stanislav Galiev (or Pitlick if he was still around)
            4. Johan Larson

            I think we would of perhaps been ahead with the 2 and 4 picks, but lost in the 3rd. Pretty close to me. I couldn’t find a list that went past 30 but I think anything would be better than Martindale.

          • striatic

            There was also Brendan Gallagher, a fifth rounder that I’m sure surprised Montreal as much as anyone with his development. After all, they thought someone named Mark Macmillan from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the BCHL was a better prospect, drafting him in the fourth round. Goes to show you that the draft is often more luck than skill.

          • Craig1981

            I was not a huge fan when they called Pitlick’s name at the draft. But he does seem to have a chance to be the type of player the Oilers need.

            If you look at the 2nd half of the first round I think you will notice most of the players aren’t studs and we shouldn’t expect too much from early 2nd rounders.

            Think we are close to the same page here. It would of been nice to have one on there 31-32 picks turn out as difference makers. I remember on the draft they were talking about trading up but MBS talked them out of it. Wonder who they would of taken?

      • Yes, the Oilers sure missed a boatload of game changers in the 2010 draft. Sure, they could have had Justin Faulk, but then, Boston, Florida (twice!) and Chicago missed as well. They could have had Devante Smith-Pelley, but then again, New Jersey, Dallas, Minnesota, and Rangers missed as well. They could have any of Ludvig Rensveldt,Justin Holl, Kent Simpson, or Steven Johns, all household names, right? All Chicago Black Hawk second round picks, all looking about as major league as Curtis Hamilton. But playing draft hindsight is an intellectually lazy game. Its looking like 2010 just wasn’t that great a draft year.

        Instead, they picked two d-men who seem to be trending into NHL players (Marincin and Davidson), a project in Bunz, a possible in Pitlick, and a perennial all-star in Hall (putting more and more distance between himself and Seguin, despite some frequent posters insisting that Seguin was the smarter choice……not!)

        Looking more and more like the Oilers were the big winners in 2010.

      • RexLibris

        Too soon to compare 2010 and 2012.

        We’re just beginning to see returns on 2010.

        A fair and objective comparison probably won’t be possible until 2018.

        That being said, neither one, outside of the 1st round, looks to be a splendid group.

      • Recent Vancouver draft history in terms of NHL games played:

        2007 – 0 NHL gp

        2008 – 144 (139 Hodgson – traded away, 5 Sauve)

        2009 – 31 NHL gp (Schoeder)

        2010 – 0 NHL gp

        2011 – 5 NHL gp (2- Jensen, 3 – Corrado)

        2012 – 0 NHL gp

        Chin up son, they’ll get there one day!

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      Couldn’t agree more. Always thought Frk was a gamer, last year with Droiun and Mackinnon proved it. Big body, great shoot has a tendency to play chippy. Detroit will mold this young jeti.

  • striatic

    what Yakimov is doing at his age in the KHL is extremely impressive but i don’t think we can expect him to keep up this rate of point production or face-off percentage.

    given the minutes he’s playing, unless he’s the second coming of Malkin there is a heck of a lot of luck at play here.

    i mean Yakimov’s per 60 minutes scoring pace is higher than Kovalchuk’s right now, and that simply cannot last.

  • Craig1981

    Is it just me or is Darnell Nurse really making it hard for people to send him down. If this was any of the last 3 years he’d probably be in the starting lineup. Thankfully we can actually treat prospects like prospects now lol.

    • Lowetide

      That last game was outstanding. They have to send him down, though. He’s going to be a very good defenseman if he continues to develop but there’s no reason to push.

  • Went to the Oil Kings tonight.. hell of an opener. Not sure how many powerplays were handed out, but everything was getting called. Also found it funny that there were two boarding calls, almost identical, called just a few minutes apart. The Hitmen got 2 on theirs, Mitch Moroz got 4. Weird. But it was fairly balanced in the Oil Kings favor to start.

    New jerseys look pretty slick, although they almost seem like a rip off of the London Knights, in a way.. just brighter green.

    One of the fights was awesome. Brandon Baddock is an animal. Josh Thrower caught an Oil King good with a big open ice hit, head down it looked like. Baddock didn’t hesitate to jump all over him, throwing in a few good uppercuts and landing some big shots. It was a hell of a scrap.

    All in all, an awesome game!

    Not sure what to make of Mitch Moroz. He seems to fit well enough on the PP, but at times you can’t help but think about how the Oilers must be forcing that. But I think he skates quite well.. just not sure if the hands are quite there. WE’ll see. I’m sure he’ll get a lot of minutes to find out what he can do.

  • Craig1981

    Starting night line up should include three surprises;

    1) Nurse – 9 addition games in the NHL are better for his development than 9 games in the CHL. Then send him back because +30 minutes a night playing hockey are better for his development than the practice roster in the NHL.

    2) Pitlick – give Tyler 30 legit games in the NHL we need to see what we have, he has speed, a big body and how much better do we expect him to get in the AHL?

    3) Symth starts in the press box in favour of Hamilton or Joensuu. It would be a slap in the face for Symth, but if we can change the pictures in the dressing to reflect the current…..

  • oilredemption

    Speaking of WHL hockey I watched the ice vs rebels game last night. Obviously Sam. Reinhart was out of his league highly intellectual on the ice and a great leader. Would have liked to see him more aggression and a little more urgency and selfishness but the elite talent is there. Unfortunately his team is not at the same talent and very sloppy. A few times he made plays for tap ins and dragged the defenders to him and the other guy couldn’t connect. One player who I was extremely impressed with was Connor bleackley he’s a kid to watch this year. He hits, he passes very well and has toughness to go with that skill.

  • I am the Liquor

    Ryan Hamilton is not an nhl player. Neither is Pitlick, who has the hockey sense of a stick of gum.

    Nurse, on the other hand has made a case for himself to stick around, if only for a trial at the beginning of the year.

    Tbh he looks like one of our best dmen out there period, albeit it has not been against nhl competition.

    Also it is becoming increasingly embarrassing to see people try to defend our draft record. Outside of the first round we have had nothing or next to nothing for ten years.

    • I am the Liquor

      He says a lot of dumb crap for effect, but he is on the money in regards to the competence or lack thereof when it comes to the team’s management.

      He really doesnt watch prospects at all so any type or prognostications are just regurgitated bafflegab.

  • I am the Liquor

    Don’t write Smyth out just yet, he’s got heart, and he’s an oiler through and through, he can ignite the team @ any given game, maybe he’s lost half a step, but he’s more than offset it with his tireless fore-checking and back checking, every team needs a Smyth’s type player to succeed!

    • Spydyr

      Smyth was a gem unfortunately he has too many miles on him now.Watching the Vancouver game he looked like he did late last year.Slow no stamina.Sad to see, the team would be better served giving a young player a chance.

  • mr_automatic

    What’s interesting to me is that I’ve never really seen too much questioning lately surrounding the Musil pick. I remember seeing the Oil Change episode when they sent Frank out of the room, but I’m sure that he had his input before then. Looking at the current roster and prospect depth it’s been analyzed ad nauseum about the lack of size in the top 6 and the lack of quality goaltender prospect(s). Would either Brandon Saad or John Gibson not fill those needs? The knock on Musil at the draft was foot speed and the knock on Musil currently is still foot speed.

  • SuntanOil

    I remember talking to Marc Moro the night he was drafted here in Edmonton. Was happy to be drafted but VERY disappointed to not be drafted in the first round (He was drafted 27th overall by Ottawa with the first pick of the second round). I remember thinking back then that being the first pick of the second round had to be almost as good as being first round. Turns out Marc Moro was justified in his disappointment and I was just… … wrong.

    Since then I’ve kept a bit of an eye on the first pick of the second round (and subsequently who was drafted 31st). It turns out that since the league went to 30 teams the first pick of the second round has never really turned out to be much. The lone exception may end up being Jakob Markstrom, but until he proves it in the NHL, he hasn’t broken the trend yet (Remember when many thought that JDD was going to be a regular NHL goalie?)

    My point is simply this – the first pick of the second round seldom works out. I wasn’t expecting Tyler Pitlick to be any different, so if he does somehow manage a career it will be a bonus in my books.

    I hope this posts with some form of clarity:

    2010 – 31 Edmonton Tyler Pitlick C Minnesota State U – Mankato

    2009 – 31 NY Islanders Mikko Koskinen G Blues [SM-liiga]

    2008 – 31 Florida Jacob Markstrom G Brynas Jrs. (Sweden)

    2007 – 31 Buffalo T.J. Brennan D St. John’s Fog Devils

    2006 – 31 St. Louis Tomas Kana C Vitkovice HC [Czech]

    2005 – 31 Anaheim Brendan Mikkelson D Portland Winter Hawks

    2004 – 31 Pittsburgh Johannes Salmonsson W Djurgardens IF Stockholm

    2003 – 31 Carolina Danny Richmond D U. of Michigan [CCHA]

    2002 – 31 Edmonton Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers G Chicoutimi Sagueneens

    2001 – 31 Phoenix Matthew Spiller D Seattle Thunderbirds

    2000 – 31 Atlanta Ilja Nikulin D Tver (Russia)

    1999 – 29 Washington Michal Sivek C Czech Senior League

    – 31 Washington Charlie Stephens C Guelph Storm [OHL]

    1998 – 28 Colorado Ramzi Abid L Chicoutimi Sagueneens

    – 31 Vancouver Artem Chubarov C Moscow Dynamo

    1997 – 27 Boston Ben Clymer D U. of Minnesota [WCHA]

    – 31 NY Islanders Jeff Zehr L Windsor Spitfires [OHL]

    1996 – 27 Buffalo Cory Sarich D Saskatoon Blades [WHL]

    – 31 Chicago Remi Royer D St. Hyacinthe Lasers

    1995 – 27 Ottawa Marc Moro D Kingston Frontenacs

    – 31 Edmonton Georges Laraque L St. Jean Lynx

  • All that Platzer kid has done since training camp is score goals. I don’t know how he does it but he is always in the right place at the right team. Him and Chase are prospects to watch this year.