Anton Slepyshev is a skill-winger of note playing in the KHL. Edmonton drafted him in 2013 as an overager, and have been biding their time until the Russian’s contract expires. It’s likely they’ll sign him (if he’s willing), so we’re left to watch and wonder what he’ll bring if he plays in North America.
- Craig MacTavish: “He has a dynamic skill set. High-speed skill. He competes well. There’s plenty of tools there.”
SLEPYSHEV IN THE KHL
- 2011-12 (age 17) 39GP, 4-3-7 (8:55 TOI, 28 shots) (1.21 points-per-60) (4.83 shots-per-60)
- 2012-13 (age 18) 26GP, 7-2-9 (12:40 TOI, 63 shots) (1.64 points-per-60) (11.48 shots-per-60)
- 2013-14 (age 19) 36GP, 3-5-8 (10:18 TOI, 59 shots) (1.30 points-per-60) (9.55 shots-per–60)
- 2014-15 (age 20) 2GP, 0-1-1 (8:25 TOI, 2 shots) (3.57 points-per-60) (7 shots-per-60)
We’re just two games into the new schedule, but there are some things worth mentioning (don’t pay any attention to the points-per-60, we’re two games in). Slepyshev, at 20, is playing fewer minutes per KHL game than he did in 2011-12, as a 17-year old rookie. This is alarming. Longtime Oiler fans will remember Jani Rita dying on the vine in the SM-Liiga, as he warmed the bench for a coach focused on winning over development.
You can’t blame the coach, and in the case of Slepyshev, I’m not certain we can blame the Oilers. A contract is a contract, and Slepyshev’s window (apparently) opens at the end of this season. Having said that, if his KHL team (Salavat Yulaev) isn’t going to play him, perhaps a mid-season transfer is possible?
In today’s game, Slepyshev did play 4 minutes in the second period and recorded his first point (a first-assist) of the new season.
The Oilers have astounding talent at the NHL level on the wings, but things can change quickly. Remember the time Edmonton passed on Zach Parise at the draft because they had all kinds of small forwards like Mike Comrie? And we ALL remember how that turned out.
The Oilers have an asset here, and Anton Slepyshev’s time-on-ice should be double current totals. It’s early in the season, but he’s 20, and not playing a regular shift. Oilers fans talk a lot about failed draft picks and the scouts being unable to uncover talent, but part of that process is making sure your best kids get their at-bats.
Russia or Oklahoma, it doesn’t matter. Anton Slepyshev needs to play hockey this winter.