TOP 20 PROSPECTS, 2014

top 20

And we’re back! It seems like only yesterday (that’s a lie) we gathered together to count down the best prospects in the Oilers system heading into fall. A year ago, the three best prospects were defensemen and six of the top 10 patrolled the blue.

A lot has changed in 12 months.

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  • No. 20 (not ranked last summer) G Laurent Brossoit, Oklahoma City Barons AHL. Posted a .923 SP in Bakersfield, and has earned the right to push Richard Bachman in OKC this fall. Goalies are like knuckeballs, you just have to wait for them to land. Jury is out.
  • No. 19 (#17 last summer) D Brandon Davidson, Oklahoma City Barons AHL. Turned a corner mid-season and appears to have a chance to make some inroads in the NHL. He’s fighting an uphill battle (there are a large number of D on this list) but there’s a chance.
  • No. 18 (not ranked last summer) G Zach Nagelvoort, Michigan Wolverines, NCAA. Nagelvoort had a .929SP in a damn good league last season, and he could be one year away from turning pro. I have him ranked as the best goalie in the system—which should concern the Oilers—and we can probably predict additional goaltenders being added via college free agency and the draft in 2015.
  • No. 17 (not ranked last summer) D William Lagesson, Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL. Described as being physical and
    defensively sound, Stu MacGregor made special note of his ruggedness in the moments after the draft. The Oilers need that player, but this fellow is miles away from the NHL. 
  • No. 16 (#9 last summer) L Anton Slepyshev, Ufa KHL. The slick Russian winger
    needs to play more this coming season and post some boxcars. It’s
    frustrating to see a talent like his not getting to see the light of day
    as an everyday player. I hope the Oilers bring him over next season.

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  • No. 15 (#11 last summer) D David Musil, Oklahoma City Barons AHL. I spoke to an NHL scout when Musil was a member of the Oil Kings and he expressed doubt Musil could play a full season in the AHL with his lack of foot speed. Well, Musil did it first time out, and drew positive reviews across the board. The skating is an issue, but this man can play defense and is very physical. He may be an NHL player by the end of his entry-level deal.
  • No. 14 (#15 last summer) L Mitchell Moroz, Oklahoma City Barons AHL. Moroz arrives at the pro level after a strong final year in junior. He scratches an organizational itch for a big, physical forward and could surprise in his first year in Oklahoma City. The competition on the wing at the AHL level is less than overwhelming.
  • No. 13 (not ranked last summer) R Tyler Pitlick, Edmonton Oilers. He’s such a strong ‘saw him good’ prospect even some of the math people are onside despite lukewarm results in pro hockey. I’ve always liked him, and believe he’ll begin to establish himself as an NHL player this season.
  • No. 12 (#12 last summer) R Jackson Houck, Vancouver Giants WHL. Big power
    forward is a year behind him, but may end up out-Morozing Moroz when all is said and done. He’ll be playing under a new coach this season and could post 40+ goals if things break right.
  • No. 11 (#4 last summer) C Marco Roy, Quebec Remparts QMJHL. He’ll come to rookie camp without a contract, and it’s likely he’ll play an overage season in junior. For a second round pick that’s unusual, but the injuries a year ago played havoc on him, and the Oilers may feel they sped up the process too quickly on Pitlick and Hamilton in a similar situation. Absolutely needs a killer season.

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  • No. 10 (#5 last summer) D Martin Gernat, Oklahoma City Barons AHL. One of my favorite prospects in the system, watching him grow as a player with the Oil Kings was a pleasure. Posted a solid rookie AHL season and is now a legitimate pro prospect. It’ll be a grind, but he has a very nice range of skills and (based on anecdotal evidence) significant determination. 

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  • No. 9 (#6 last summer) C Jujhar Khaira, Oklahoma City Barons AHL. I badly want to place him higher, but Khaira’s lack of offense appears to be real. I’d guess that he’s more likely to play in the NHL than some of the men ahead of him on this list, but he projects as a 3-4C at the top end. He’s a perfect fit for the Oilers as the heir apparent to Boyd Gordon. 

gregor simpson

  • No. 8 (#7 summer last summer) D Dillon Simpson, Oklahoma City Barons AHL. Dillon Simpson makes the list this year at a very high number. Credit his development as a complete defenseman while in college. It’ll be interesting to see where he starts and ends on the Barons’ depth chart. 

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  • No. 7 (not ranked last summer) C Mark Arcobello, Edmonton Oilers. Arcobello clearly has the confidence of management, reflected in the fact the club refrained from adding a potential 2C or 3C this summer. There’s significant evidence he can play a solid two-way game, with offense being the major red flag from here. 

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  • No. 6 (#13 last summer) C Greg Chase, Calgary Hitmen WHL. Appears to be on a mission to make NHL scouts look like idiots. Taken in the 7th round of the 2013 draft, he flourished in his draft +1 season and earned an invite to World Junior camp. He scored twice in the first exhibition game of the 2014-15 season and is absolutely a quality NHL prospect.

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  • No. 5 (#8 last summer) C Bogdan Yakimov, Oklahoma City Barons AHL. He was Bogdan when Bogdan wasn’t cool. Big Russian impressed a lot at WJ’s and in the KHL last season, and will attempt to do the same in the AHL in 2014-15. I’m not certain the KHL and AHL are on the same level, but we’re about to find out. 

klefbom draft capture

  • No. 4 (#2 last summer) D Oscar Klefbom, Oklahoma City Barons AHL. I have him here, suspect the Oilers like him more because of his defensive acumen. Klefbom is strong, physical, can move the puck and is an outstanding skater. Since his skills don’t lend themselves completely to the numbers, and since my list relies heavily on them, there’s a chance he’s underrated here. 

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  • No. 3 (#3 last summer) D Martin Marincin, Edmonton Oilers. Marincin arrived in the NHL before first-round pick Klefbom and flourished. The question now: How long can he hold the lead? I’m guessing it’ll be for some time, and Marincin will have the better career but this is going to be close. 

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  • No. 2 (#1 last summer) D Darnell Nurse, Sault Ste. Marie OHL. 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. The only question left is when will he arrive? I’d guess at least nine games this fall, and then we’ll see from there. 

draisaitl capture

  • No. 1 (not ranked last summer) C Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers. This is going to be fun. Jason Gregor
    has him at 215 pounds now, that’s one monster teenager. There are no
    guarantees in life, but this young man has an enormous chance to make
    the fall Oilers. He’s in the city working on making that happen, and you
    have to love the work ethic.

Last summer’s list is here. 

SUMMARY

  • Graduating from the list: Anton Belov
  • Demoted from the list: Daniil Zharkov, Andrew Miller, Erik Gustafsson, Kale Kessy
  • No Longer in the organization: Taylor Fedun
  • Total Goaltenders: 2
  • Total Defensemen: 8
  • Total Centermen: 6
  • Total Wingmen: 4
  • Areas of strength: defense, center (the organization has done well addressing these weaknesses)
  • Areas of weakness: goaltending, two-way wingers

September 2012 is here. 

All Barons’ photos by Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved.

    • camdog

      YAWN – I am so sick and tired of “what they can be” and “what they should be” and “what they could have been” and “what the hell happened to them.” Just start the season already and let’s get some winning games under our belts so that we are NOT out of the playoffs by December. Who knows for sure who will make the team, who really cares right now, who knows for sure who will excel or bomb. Give them ALL a chance and then do some serious analysis come February – until then, stop the “what ifs” and let’s enjoy some HOCKEY.

    • Reg Dunlop

      Belov ‘graduating’? What are we, a KHL farm team?

      I have to take issue with 2 items, Pitlick ranking 13th even though we can all agree he will most likely be in the NHL this year and Leon Kraftwerk. How can a guy with ECHL skating mobility rank ahead of Marincin, who proved to be a solid player as a rookie?

      Thanks for the list man. You love drafts, I love lists.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      hoping like crazy that big guys with talent will make it to the Oilers like Moroz, Chase, Yakimov, and Khaira. we need these guys. having McCarron, Houck and Lagesson make the NHL down the road would be a bonus too. anyone know what’s happening with McCarron? back to college or is he going pro to the AHL?

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      How much better would the list look if it contained Tobias Ryder and Toni Rajala. Tobias will probably make the show in Pheonix, and Rajala could of had the Arcobello career path. OKC would of been a powerhouse with these two there. There is the two offensive two way wingers we are lacking in our depth charts in OKC.

    • Sevenseven

      At least there are some promising centers and defense in the system. Ive always felt wingers and goaltenders are easier to pick up in free agency and trades.

    • BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull

      I’m sorry but I just can’t buy khaira as a legit NHL prospect… Even Gordon scored at the junior level…. 44 points in your draft plus 2 year in junior does not scream prospect to me…. My prediction is he will be in Switzerland or Germany once his ELC expires.

    • I still think Belov is better than he got the chance to show. He made one mistake on national TV and aparently that was it. I’d still gladly have him as my 7th without injuries, which would end up being top 4 at certain times during the season (lol, not my doing it just happens).

      I’m not saying we’re going to the Cup with Belov. Just saying that one guy tryin his best to not look a fool in his first year in the league isn’t going to change the fate of a bottom feeder, no matter who it is.

      I wonder how many have slipped by us like this with more.

      Goodbye, Jeff; we knew you wheel.

      Thus it was spoke.

      May he fly.

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      Not sure how their win column will look , but it s likely the Barons will have an exciting team this year.

      Should have an exhibition game against the Oilers, see how that works out.

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      Holy cripes I can’t wait to see what Nurse can do. I’d like to see what weight he’s at now – if he can fill that lanky frame out and keep his mobility and agility I’ll be ecstatic. I remember last year in the pre, he had the puck behind the net, two forwards coming at him, and he banked the puck off the boards on the backhand, spun off the check, then skated the puck out. He did the spin twice in a row on both attackers, I couldn’t believe the agility he had for such a tall guy.

      I feel a mancrush coming on.

    • Joe Mamma

      There was a good piece in the COH today on Yakimov. They had him ranked slightly higher at the #4 slot for prospects. The kid will surely need some seasoning in the AHL, but I was really impressed with his attitude toward developing and learning the North American game. Seems eager to learn to play a more physical style of game, and he has the size to do it effectively. With more ice time in the A, and some good coaching from Nelson, this one might just turn out to be a real diamond in the rough.

    • YFC Prez

      I see Greg Chase as a Butch Goring type in the future. Nasty human being to play against. Could score, fight and PK like no mans business.

      Greg Chase has the right stuff and heavens to murgitroid the kid has the desire and heart to be an NHL player.

      JK needs seasoning in the AHL to bring his BCHL game up to NHL ready status. Ifhe ever figures out the offensive side of the puck at the NHL level the Oilers will have monster in the attic.

      Darnell Nurse will like Martin Gernat eat and then Eat some more and then go to the gym and do some more work there. Once they pour on some man size they’ll be tough to keep off this team.

      Remember how Hall looked at 18?Look at him now. RNH in 5 years will be solid as a parking block.Even EBS is shedding the baby fat when you look at his facial features.

      LD and YAK are going to chewup the soft line minutes and score and score some more.

      fun times ahead/

      • YFC Prez

        see Greg Chase as a Butch Goring type in the future. Nasty human being to play against. Could score, fight and PK like no mans business.

        Really, did you ever see him play?

        score? yes PK? yes Fight? don’t recall ever seeing him do that

    • Oil Vice

      Hey LT any insight as to why Chase wasn’t drafted before the 7th round? I feel as though Pitlick is a comparable player with similar numbers in junior. I see them competing for similar roles in the near future as well. I believe Pitlick could’ve slid much further if the oilers didn’t have such pressure to draft strong, physical forwards that year. This is certainly a great illustration as to the crap shoot that is the draft sometimes.

      Chase=Diamond in the rough?
      Given the intensity he plays with and the solid junior numbers I don’t see how he could have gone so unnoticed.
      Definitely pumped to see how he turns out.

    • YFC Prez

      I am thoroughly enjoying the fact that the oilers finally have a couple ( where the heck did those guys come from) prospects in their pool. An undrafted Arco and a very late round Chase. Been awhile since we had a quality prospect with a high probability of becoming an NHL player drafted outside of the top 60 picks.

      And I still have faith in you Pitlick. There’s a player there…. I just know it!

    • YFC Prez

      //Marincin arrived in the NHL before first-round pick Klefbom and flourished. The question now: How long can he hold the lead? I’m guessing it’ll be for some time, and Marincin will have the better career but this is going to be close.//

      1) Marincin was drafted a year before Klefbom.
      2) He was drafted in the 2nd round in a stronger deeper draft class than Klefbom’s.
      3) Slovakia had become a bit of a hockey prospect wasteland prior to Marincin. The Oilers seemed to know (unlike other teams) that he was headed to North America for junior hocky.
      4) His build and physique is (tall stick-man) is outlier-ish for a D.

      Marincin is arriving perfectly on schedule. By the book, step by step. Klefbom basically is too, despite being plagued by injury.

      I like both. There is room for both.

    • The Soup Fascist

      The name “Butch”, Chuck Norris stubble of steel and helmet that was basically three pieces of thin styrofoam duct taped together, may have given a false impression that Goring was a tough guy. Nice player though.

      Chase is not really a huge fighter, nothing like Uncle Kelly. However, he will drop them at times. If he keeps trending I think he could be a bigger Brad Marchand, which would be awesome in many ways. However that can become a distraction too.

      Sometimes the very best pests often have a hard time turning it off and can piss off teammates with bad penalties and antics that go over the line (Avery, Marchand, Burrows, etc). Don’t know Chase at all. Might be the rare breed that can turn it on and off, agitate the other team but yet know where the line is. Here is the thing. Very few can. Let’s hope Chase is one of those guys.