The Edmonton Oilers have Jeff Petry just past 200 NHL games, Justin Schultz in the 90s and Martin Marincin just past a baker’s dozen. The club also has Darnell Nurse ripping up junior, and a large number of prospects posting improving arrows in the AHL. How many of these kids can they develop in the next two seasons?


Corey Pronman’s Top 50 Prospects (paywall)

  • 8. Darnell Nurse, D, Edmonton Oilers: He wasn’t chosen to be on Canada’s team for the WJC, but I don’t think that is indicative of where Nurse is as an NHL prospect — he brings a ton to the table. He’s big, mean, a great skater and is pretty effective in both ends of the rink. His decisions aren’t always perfect and his shot could be a little better, but he’s a top-end prospect.

  • Willis: Klefbom has had struggles this year, but it does seem like he’s turned a corner. No other player on the blue line, or even on the team for that matter, has a wider gap between where he was at the start of the year and how he’s played the last few games. Taylor Fedun has been excellent throughout, Martin Marincin has made progress and Martin Gernat and David Musil have both evolved, but only with Klefbom have the strides been so large.


  • Dallas Eakins on Martin Marincin: " he’s a young kid trying to get his feet wet, he has played excellent for us, he’s had a great number of games in a row where on some nights he’s maybe been our most consistent and solid D."

  • Todd Nelson on Martin Gernat: “We’re starting to see the offensive side to him. With these young guys it’s always a work in progress. They have to learn all the things about going through their first pro season and try to develop some consistency.”


These are good young prospects, but they won’t all turn out, and even the ones who do won’t end up playing the heart of their careers as Oilers. Some 40+ years ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs had an enormous number of young and talented defensemen who all arrived at basically the same time.

1970-71 Toronto Maple Leafs

That’s an insane group of young players, six of those guys were considered to be good to outstanding prospects at the time. The Leafs should have employed most of these men through the 1970s, but the WHA came along and raided most of them. By 1973-74 though, Toronto had recovered.

1973-74 Toronto Maple Leafs

I think there’s a lesson here, even without the Godless WHA raids. Defensemen, like objects in your rear view mirror, may be closer than they appear (Marincin being an example) and may also be a mirage.

The odds of Edmonton ever employing a top 7D of Ekblad, Nurse, Petry, Schultz, Marincin, Klefbom and Gernat are zero. Some will flush out because of injury and some will be sent away for other needs.This extreme cluster development in a short time also clouds Dillon Simpson’s future—the Oilers have an outstanding NCAA prospect who may get blocked in the pro organization. Or he may, as I’m suggesting is possible, be one of the young men who ends up staying while others depart the scene.

It is an impressive group, and this season has some very good arrows.

(All Barons photos by Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved)

  • Lofty

    Morning, suckers. You all figured that this team would have somehow developed in the past few seasons, right? Wrong. You see this “hockey” franchise is simply a money maker for Darryl & I.
    We put together a business plan to suck money out of Edmontonians and figured hockey would work.
    Rest assured: I will fire Eakins when I feel some pressure but Bucky and Smith will stay on forever.
    If attendance drops, we are moving to Seattle.

  • Serious Gord

    Trade the pick and some of the prospects for experienced 1/2 line defense and forwards. The team cannot afford to wait for these wet behind the ears Defensemen to develop and there isn’t enough value in the expendable oil players to get back what the team needs.

    That is a horrific – Sophie’s choice type of predicament to be in and someone should be held accountable for it, but like Sophie, not choosing means far worse consequences.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      i wouldn’t be trading the pick now because A) it’s going to be too damn high and B) we’ve already traded our 2nd and 3rd rounders. keep and make the pick and use a few of our roster players as trade bait for what we need. my 2 cents.

      • Randaman

        I have an idea, why not offer Eberle, Yakupov, Klefbom and another prospect to Buffalo for their first rounder. That way we could potentially draft Draisaiti & Ekblad. I think Buffalo looks at that with interest. At least that would be close and open discussion?

        If not, I draft Draisaiti instead of Ekblad unless you like the idea of keeping Snow Pants as our #2 centre? I thought not.
        Go Niners!!

      • CMG30

        I have to agree, As much as the Oil need to make a trade for defense, their number 1 this year could very well turn out to be the first overall… again. What GM in the league will be willing to give the Oilers full value for that?

        • a lg dubl dubl

          Depends, if you offer the 1st pick with JShultz, and another prospect for Subban, Montreal just might take it to save on cap space while still getting the “tremendously offensively gifted”* Shultz.

          *I think those were the words KLowe said about him in his last interview on 1260.

          • Randaman

            “Mr. Short…”
            “Please. Call me John. My dad is Mr. Short.”
            “OK. John. Do you think the Bruins would trade us Ray Bourque for Marc Habscheid? Jim Matheson wrote that Habscheid is the next Wayne Gretzky and Bourque’s always hurt so maybe the Bruins are sour on him. I’ll hang up and listen to your answer.”

            Oiler fan. The only difference is instead of AM radio it’s the interwebs where the myopians hang out.

          • Oh AM radio is still full of single digit Oiler fan IQ’s. Just tune into Stauffer’s show some day while at lunch and prepare to laugh your ass off.

            Honestly. Sometimes I think Bob must hide a bottle under his studio desk “deep in the bowels of Rexall Place”. No wonder he goes on and on and ON about tree planting and exploits at the South Side Athletic Club.

          • a lg dubl dubl

            So you’re saying Ekblad, JShultz, and say Musil/ or Simpson wouldn’t get Subban?

            FYI Bourque was trade with Andrychuck for Rolston, Sami Phalsson, Grenier and a 1st round pick. Subban is no Bourque

          • Serious Gord

            Ray Bourque was a 39 year old pending ufa with zero intention of signing anywhere that didnt have a shot at the cup, which at the time Boston did not.

  • Word to the Bird

    A ray of hope in an otherwise horrible organization.

    Let’s not POISON these kids by sending them up into the boiling cauldron of dysfunction that is the Edmonton Oilers.

    This team still needs a couple of solid and dependable defencemen who can mentor these kids and keep them in line when they lose their way.


  • a lg dubl dubl

    I know he’s not really classified as a prospect because of his age, but why no Fedun in that list? Id gladly take him over Petry right now.

    If you could LT, who on that list would you put in a package for a top 2 dman? Excluding Ekblad obviously.

    Myself it’d be Gernat, Shultz and Petry

    EDIT: Not all in one trade, those 3 would just be my choices to offer up.

    • Oil Vice

      Given Fedun’s leg injury they decided to give him lots of ice time in an important role to get him back to where he was prior.

      Its also a bit of a numbers game. If the Oil attempt to trade any of their dmen prospects they’ll get better return on the players who were drafted or have played in the NHL. Fedun is undrafted and has a couple (really solid) NHL games on his resume.
      These facts don’t garner much return in the trade market.
      I think management realizes they’re better off keeping him and growing the other assets in the short term.

      Fedun is ready…they should make room for him.
      A guy his age to make it to the NHL undrafted and have a horrific injury as he did and make it all the way back again?!? …We all know the story…

      We NEED that kind of pure WILL, WORK ETHIC and FOCUS on our team!!

    • Lowetide

      I didn’t include Fedun because of age. I do think he’s going to get a callup and could have a career, though.

      As for who I would package? My keeper list goes Nurse, Klefbom, Marincin, so it would be Gernat, Simpson, Musil, Fedun, Belov etc.

      Oh, and I saw your post. I would consider trading Justin Schultz for a more complete defenseman.

      • a lg dubl dubl

        Thanks for the response! Im still hoping Musil can keep working on his foot speed, he sounds like a sloid stay at home dman with a nasty edge to his game.

        Has Simpson been signed yet? if not wont he go back into the draft this summer?

          • a lg dubl dubl

            I hope they do sign him, if he’s as good as whats on paper, it shouldn’t be long before he can crack the bottom pairing at least.

            Either way, looking at capgeek, MacT has some juggling to do with the prospects, never mind the top 6 dmen on the Oilers roster, that are FAs within the next 2-4 years.

          • a lg dubl dubl

            In defense of the Oiler management, IMO they are just starting to break away from “draft forwards only” approach, last couple years with Simpson, Klefbom, and Nurse in the fold, management is getting the d prospects they should have had to go with Eberle, PRV, and Gagner

          • pkam

            To be fair, other than drafting BPA with their 1st overall, the Oilers management had been drafting big forwards and defenseman with their mid-range picks.

            2010: Pitlick (big forward) 31st overall, Marincin (big defenseman) 46th overall, Hamilton (big forward) 48th overall, Martindale (big forward) 61st overall.

            2011: Klefbom (big defenseman) 19th overall, David Musil (big defenseman) 31st overall.

            2012: Mitchell Moroz (big forward) 32nd overall,
            Jujhar Khaira (big forward) 62nd overall, Zharkov (big forward) 92nd overall.

            Management know the problem and they are working on it. But these prospects need 4-5 years of development before they can be NHL ready, then another 2-3 years of NHL conditioning to be reliable. And only about 10% of these prospects will make it to the NHL.

            It is a long process with a low rate of success. If we can develop Pitlick and Marincin to play in NHL in the coming year or 2, the management has done a pretty job in the last 3-4 years.

  • Word to the Bird

    We’ll it would be nice to see a lot of these young guys on the team, the reality is we need help in 2014/15 season. We will run out of years with our supposed high end talent or they will want out. Let’s sell high for a change rather than wait for the “Gagner” to occur.