A BIG YEAR FOR ROOKIES?

nurse common

A year ago, I wrote “I don’t think we’ll see an Oiler rookie pass 30 games this season” which should have been your cue to bet the house it would happen. There were three rookies who passed 30 games in an Oiler uniform a year ago, making me look foolish! Never fear, I’ve got it covered this time!

THE ROOKIES 2010-2013

Since 2010 fall, Edmonton has played a lot of rookies — a lot! Here’s the damage (by TOI):

  1. Devan Dubnyk (10-11) 2061
  2. Magnus Paajarvi (10-11) 1231
  3. Jordan Eberle (10-11) 1220
  4. Taylor Hall (10-11) 1140
  5. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (11-12) 1091
  6. Justin Schultz (12-13) 1029
  7. Martin Marincin (13-14) 843
  8. Linus Omark (10-11) 783
  9. Jeff Petry (10-11) 713
  10. Nail Yakupov (12-13) 699
  11. Mark Arcobello (13-14) 618
  12. Anton Lander (11-12) 594
  13. Lennart Petrell (11-12) 578
  14. Luke Gazdic (13-14) 389
  15. Colten Teubert (11-12) 303
  16. Oscar Klefbom (13-14) 268
  17. Ryan O’Marra (10-11) 231
  18. Teemu Hartikainen (11-12) 221
  19. Chris VandeVelde (10-11) 207
  20. Tyler Pitlick (13-14) 90
  21. Shawn Belle (10-11) 82
  22. Taylor Fedun (13-14) 29
  23. Alex Plante (10-11) 45
  24. Brad Hunt (13-14) 38
  25. Phil Cornet (11-12) 21

This year’s additions include two quality defensive prospects, a college center who refuses to lose roster battles with draft picks, and an enforcer purchased via the waiver wire. I would guess one of Klefbom or Marincin end up having the strongest NHL careers, but that’s a guess and you never know.

The top talent in this four year cluster—Hall, Nuge, Yakupov, Eberle, Schultz, Klefbom, Marincin, Petry—is stunning in its quality and depth. This is an outstanding cluster.

2014-15 ROOKIE CANDIDATES

  1. C Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers. This is going to be fun. Jason Gregor
    has him at 215 pounds now. That’s one monster teenager. The depth chart at center should have him thinking there’s an opportunity waiting in TC. 
  2. D Oscar Klefbom, Oklahoma City Barons AHL. It’s only a matter of time, and Dallas Eakins
    used him in a tough zone start role out of the box. He’s an outstanding
    prospect.
  3. R Tyler Pitlick, Edmonton Oilers. Injuries and lack of
    offense had him scuffling through his entry-level deal, but he impressed
    enough people last season to get a real shot at the NHL this season. I
    think he’ll score enough to stay in the lineup if he’s healthy.
  4. Darnell Nurse, Sault Ste. Marie OHL. The Oilers put up
    roadblocks for all of their top-end defensive prospects, but I think
    Nurse has a chance at the 9-game look. If you look at the NHL Oilers
    today, this young man has a spot waiting for him in the ‘complete
    defenseman’ portion of the roster. Probably doesn’t play 200 NHL minutes in 2014-15, though.
  5. D Brad Hunt, Oklahoma City Barons AHL. It’s easy to
    forget about him, but the Oilers like these scatbacks and he could
    replace Phil Larsen on the big club next season. It’s more likely he
    spends the year in the minors.
  6. R Iiro Pakarinen, Oklahoma City Barons AHL. Gritty winger with some skill. I
    think he’ll be in contention for an NHL job in the fall along with
    Pitlick and Pinizzotto, but he is unlikely to get it if Pitlick
    performs well.
  7. D Brandon Davidson, Oklahoma City Barons AHL. Jason Gregor quoted new Oiler coach
    Rocky Thompson as saying that (after Marincin and Klefbom) this fellow
    is the one to watch out of the AHL stable moving forward. High praise.
  8. R Steve Pinizzotto, Oklahoma City Barons AHL. In a late-season audition a year
    ago, you could see why Edmonton dealt for him. Tough, physical and can
    skate plus play a little. There’s not 5% difference between this guy and
    a dozen end of the roster physical wingers, and that 5% is luck. We’ll
    see, but he has a chance.
  9. C Bogdan Yakimov, Oklahoma City Barons AHL. I’m excited
    to see the big man play in North America this winter. Yakimov could be a
    big part of this team’s future and he’s one of the forwards who can
    help turn the center position around in relatively short order.
  10. R Andrew Miller, Oklahoma City Barons AHL. Struggled
    for a long period last season, but came on late. I don’t know that he’s
    unique in any way—Arco is a much better offensive player and they are
    the same age—but he’s got a chance. 
  11. C Jujhar Khaira, Oklahoma City Barons AHL. Early days, but the Oilers are fishing for solutions at the position. Khaira is well down the prospect list but a strong performance in OKC might get him a look later in the season.
  12. L Curtis Hamilton, Oklahoma City Barons AHL. Scored a
    playoff goal and went 5-1-6 in a four-game run around the new year that
    must have caught someone’s eye.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

shawshank1

Last year, I didn’t think Marincin and Arcobello would play half the season and didn’t know about Gazdic.This year? I believe:

  • Draisaitl plays the whole year
  • Klefbom gets 50 games
  • Pitlick gets a big chunk of the year
  • Pinizzotto, Parkarinen, Hunt and Davidson play for extended periods due to injury.
  • Darnell Nurse gets 9 games and then we see.

The trend for Edmonton rookies is up markedly in 2014-15.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    the fact is none of us know, unless we work for the Oilers, whether Nurse, Klefbom and Draisaitl are NHL ready or not. just watch the howling from us fans if all of these guys, along with Marincin, end up playing all season! we’ll end up using the usual words like “rushing” them and all that BS!

    • Oil Vice

      Barring another injury riddled season the club won’t be playing all these kids……and wait a bit before you cheers your own comment if you are first to comment 😛

      • Quicksilver ballet

        The notion of “rushing” a player into the NHL has become a truism around these parts. I am with Manfly on this one, it’s freaking annoying.

          • 24% body fat

            These three were not rushed. They had nothing left to do and no where else to grow in junior. The AHL may have helped but that was not an option.

            Did they have softmore slumps, yes. Does this happen to a good chunk of rookies yes.

            Look at Oreily, (how many 2nd round picks make it there first year. Bergeron! Lets go draft plus 1, Tofolli, Pearson (2 years older yes), Saad, etc. These players succeed not because they were better players at the draft but because the organization was in an optimal situation for them to succeed and grow.

            When you have the talent Chicago, LA, and St. Louis does you can put these guys anywhere in the line up and it works.

            Gagner was the only offensive player other than hemsky when he joined. I wonder why he didnt learn defense, it probably wasnt the oilers primary concern when he joined.

            Nuge was needed as a number two center the day he was drafted and as the number one the following year.

            Yak would have went to Russia.

            If the oilers had depth other than Eberle and Hall, and in Gagners case Hemsky and Penner, than maybe these players would be a luttle more successful in their careers so far.

            But they were not rushed by any means. There was no other options other than Yak in the KHL to further their development.

          • HardBoiledOil 1.0

            whether or not Gagner ever went back to junior or into the AHL for a year or two or not, i doubt he’ll ever be any better than he is now. Nuge was runner up for rookie of the year in his first season, had been playing with a bum shoulder in his 2nd year and struggled, but did well statistically last year despite long stretches of low point production, so i don’t know why you’d think he’s been “rushed”? he’s been rather successful so far. and Yak is physically an NHL player, he just needs to realize that he has to work harder in the best league in the world and not try to rely on his talent to get him out of trouble like you can apparently do in junior. but perhaps going back to junior and then the AHL might have brought back a complete NHL ready player in Yak’s case?

    • Craig1981

      No, no, no!!!! The Oilers ruined MPS, Gagner, RNH, and Yak by calling them up too early and ruined Schremp, Omark and Arco, by having them play in the AHL too long!!!

      And now the Oilers are about to ruin Nurse and Driestal by either playing them in the NHL too soon or not having them play soon enough…… (I’m really not sure which choice I will complain about, but I will let you know in 3 years if they haven’t won the Norris or Art Ross).

    • camdog

      When was the last time the Oilers knew a thing or 2 about player development? If any of them suffers the traditional dislocated shoulder or blunt head trauma and miss 30 games, darn right I’ll be yelling and screaming.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    If someone could photoshop an Oiler jersey onto the beloved Morgan Freeman. That would certainly be gif of the last half decade for Oilersnation. Park that baby on the shelf right next to the MacTavish/Vince McMahon WWE gif.

    Hope has driven more than a few here insane. For the life of me though, I can’t think of any specific posters right now off hand…..

    Oilers Redemption, coming soon we all hope.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    If they converted Darnell, and played him at center. Could they fast track him and keep him this coming season?

    He’d be a forward then, and not potentially a damaged rushed blue liner……eh?

    I only want to help….

    • I don’t know if you were trolling, but this was exactly what I was thinking last year in training camp. Teach the guy to take a faceoff, and he doesn’t look that different from Jordan Staal IMO. You know he’d be defensively responsible, and he knew his way around the offensive zone in limited time in the show. How valuable is Byfuglien now that he can play either end of the ice? Brent Burns?

  • CMG30

    I firmly believe that play should dictate who sticks. The top performers stay and everyone else goes down. Too many egos involved in who eventually makes the roster.

    • Except in Ference’s case.

      He could easily end up being our worst d man…
      Looking at Fayne, Nikitin, Marincin, Jultz, Petry, Klefbom, Ference, and Nurse…. I can’t help but think Ference is the weakest link, and there’s almost zero chance he gets dealt.

      • Dan 1919

        Dmen should be good at defence first, especially in the Oilers case. Maybe have one or two offencive guys on the team if none of them can defend and put up points as well.

        Ference is far better in his own zone than Petry. How you came to the conclusion that Petry’s average to below average offence mixed with very weak defensive skills is better than Ference, I’ll never know.

        Ference is a very good role player dman playing 4-5-6D.

        • There isn’t much data to quantify how good Ference is defensively, but when it comes to qualcomp, toi, corsi, and zone starts…. Overall Petry was miles ahead of Ference. If you want to argue that Ference is better defensively than Jultz and Nikitin you’re definitely right, but Petry? Not sure I follow.

          When I put all the info together(offense included) Ference comes out at the bottom. Look at his bubble in the Vollman … He’s not just drowning, he’s a corpse at the bottom of the pool.

    • Bob Cobb

      That’s just Lowetides writing style, completely inconsistent but full of off the wall ideas, almost like a monkey and a typewriter flinging crap a the walls and hoping something sticks, its almost Eklund-esque the way he writes.

  • bazmagoo

    I believe we all need a dose of Josh Oiler for his insight. If your reading this Josh… May you please interject some expert analysis on the subject please.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Thanks Harry Scabs (if that even is your real name?)

    Darnell Nurse is going to be a real masher in the NHL. We got a football player on skates people. Mean, tough, and the boy can play hockey too. In a few years people will look back and think what a steal the Oilers picked in the 2013 draft as there were six others selected ahead of this bad boy!

    KLEFBOM is a Nik Lidstrom type dude. Needs more time. Sorry to burst the bubbles of all the Klefbominions out there?

    Now Marincin is a Bad Boy! Dude can play hockey. Will be a BIGTIME minute muncher one day. Dude is like 6ft6. Too bad I can draw stickmen that weigh more than him. He needs to eat, train and inject some testosterone Enanthate and nandrolone decaonate. Throw in 5-6 tabs of d-Bol in per day as well. Anabolic steroids will give him a little mean streak as well. Roid Rage!!

    Mr. Darnell Nurse is beating up little boys in Jr right now. He needs to start fighting and battling with the big men now.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      I don’t agree with you on the blood doping talk although it was funny… Sounds like you know of what you speak. I do however agree on big Darnell. Amazes me how low under the journalism radar he flies…almost as if they don’t want to jinx him. I was thrilled they drafted him and believe he will be a top flight defensemen for years to come with an upside ala Pronger.
      I’m a Kledbom naysayer but I hope the kid proves me wrong and lives up to all the hype. So far am not at all convinced he’s going to make it as more than a depth guy.
      Excited to see the Leon the Professional at work!!!
      Go Oil

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    I’ll be watching Marincin and Yak very closely this year, here’s hoping both of them come out swinging.

    I hope Leon sticks too, the guy is going to be enormous when he hits 21/22. Depending on his foot speed, I could see him contesting Nuge for the 1C spot eventually.

    Anyone think of a cool nickname for Leon yet? I like ‘The Professional.’

    • Rob...

      “Anyone think of a cool nickname for Leon yet? I like ‘The Professional.'”

      He’s from Cologne… so how about The Colonel. That way when Schultz is asked about why he didn’t choose to pass to Leon, he can respond ‘I see nothing!’ in a german accent

  • GlennH

    I’m really starting to believe (and hope) that Darnell Nurse will be a pleasant surprise this coming season. No one can predict the future, but he seems awfully determined to crack the lineup out of camp this year, and if he does – I see him sticking. He adds an element of snarliness on the backend, that we’re really missing right now.

  • Sorensenator

    Darnell and Leon should just inject themselves with HGH and steroids – they would be unstoppable. I can see Darnell dummy people behind the neck with one arm out already, Leon will be able to skate through players down the middle like its a pylon drill, get pumped up!

  • Wow, three defensive prospects each with their own strengths and weakness, all fighting for one roster spot.

    Klefbom looks like he brings the most size. I think he has offensive tools, but it seems as though those are being coached out of him, and they are emphasizing a more stay at home style game ala Smid.

    Marincin appears to be the most developed and NHL ready for the job, but does not have the weight to fill his frame. When he does, he will likely be one of the better pure defenders in the NHL.

    Nurse by my eye has the largest potential, but is the least ready for the job. At over 200 he has gained weight, but it might not be enough. He also appears to have the physicality and mean streak to play in the very competitive western conference.

    Here’s hoping Schultz can continue to develop and learn the defensive side. In 2 years time, the Oilers D core could look like this:

    Nurse Fayne

    Klefbom Schultz

    Marincin Petry