top 20

It’s been a long 52 weeks for Oilers fans but if things break right we should be able to mock at least one division rival by Halloween (knock wood, salt over shoulder, Hail Mary full of Grace). As I do every August at the august Oilers Nation, here’s the current top 20 prospects bubbling under. Some of these young men are going to rock the NHL soon. VERY soon!


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  • No. 20 C Jujhar Khaira (No. 9 last summer).  He is big, strong and has speed, wonder if he gets time as the F who blocks out the sun on the power play. There needs to be an offensive spike this year.
  • No. 19 G Eetu Laurikainen (Not ranked last summer).  He’s an option for the Oilers and they need good ones. No idea where he plays but remain convinced he’s a good bet.
  • No. 18 R Tyler Pitlick (No. 13 last summer).  In an era where the Oilers specialty seems to have been drafting players who look the part but can’t deliver, Pitlick’s double whammy (scoring and injury issues) have him perennially somewhere in or around this list. He looks good to me, hope he can put it all together this season.
  • No. 17 D David Musil (No. 15 last summer). The Rodney Dangerfield of the Oilers prospect list, he’s continues to gain fans with a simple style and smart defense. His entry-level contract has seen mostly good arrows, he just might make the NHL.
  • No. 16 D Brandon Davidson (No. 19 last summer). I don’t know anyone who cheers against this young man, and he has emerged as the best AHL defenseman in the system. I expect he’s going to get a strong chance at the roster this fall (waiver eligible) and may well push some of those overpaid veterans out of the way.


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  • No. 15 D Jordan Oesterle (Not ranked last summer). He’s a little higher than he should be based on performance, but the man has wheels and in today’s game that’s a big deal. Oesterle has to learn all kinds of things (his retrieval skills aren’t good enough) but he’s a good prospect.
  • No. 14 R Andrew Miller (Not ranked last summer). One of the older prospects to ever appear on this list, Miller’s spike offensively in the AHL and impressive showing in an extended NHL look have him here. If the Oilers are looking for speedy wingers to play with all of these impact centers, Miller has to be on the list of options.
  • No. 13 D Ethan Bear (Not ranked last summer). One difference between the ON August list and my top 20 at Lowetide: New picks tend to score lower at Oilers Nation. That said, I think this is a substantial NHL prospect with a range of skills and believe he’s going to surprise this coming season. A great draft pick for the Oilers.
  • No. 12  D Dillon Simpson (No.  8 last summer). His adjustment to pro hockey took a little longer than some expected, but Simpson was showing well by spring and should take on a more significant role in 2015-16. One thing facing all blue in the system: There are SO many of them! Tough competition. 
  • No. 11 D Joey Laleggia (Not ranked last summer). I’m normally against ranking one dimensional types high on this list, but Laleggia is an exception for two reasons. First: What an offensive player! Fantastic numbers in college have me excited to see him in Bakersfield. Second: His college coach made a point of talking about JL’s progress defensively and that’s a very big item. There’s no clear sailing here but he’s got the kind of talent that gives a player lots of chances.


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      • No. 10 G Laurent Brossoit (No. 20 last summer). What a season! Edmonton’s lack of depth in goal has been addressed (with more to go) but Brossoit merely needs to keep going. Impressive player. 
      • No. 9 C-R Greg Chase (No. 6 last summer). The Oilers badly need Chase to turn out because he brings a lot of things that are unique on this list. An agitator of the first order, his skills make him capable of playing (potentially) on a scoring line eventually. A very significant player for the future but he’s going to have to work at it because the competition will be immense. 
      • No. 8 C Kyle Platzer (Not ranked last summer). A young man with a range of skills, he could end up on a checking or scoring line in pro. As is the case with Greg Chase, a lot of what happens for Platzer will depend on offensive output. If he brings his offense to pro, he could have a solid career. 
      • No. 7 R Anton Slelpyshev (No. 16 last summer). He’s been up and down this list like a yo-yo but at this point he has a real chance to impact Bakersfield (and make it to Edmonton) in 2015-16. Slepyshev is fast, skilled and slippery, can’t wait to see him in TC. 
      • No. 6 W Iiro Pakarinen (Not ranked last summer). A delightful addition to the Oilers prospect group, he flew past several highly touted prospects in OKC like a rocket-sled on a rail (thanks, C.W. McCall). He brings a rugged style, speed and some skill to the game and is absolutely in the NHL mix. Unlike many on this list, Pakarinen’s time is now. He’ll need to pass (and stay ahead) men like Andrew Miller and Tyler Pitlick to make the grade.

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      • No. 5 C Bogdan Yakimov (No. 5 last summer). It looks like he’s running in place but nothing could be further from the truth. A strong TC led to an average start in Ok City but he found the range when Anton Lander got the NHL call. Great expectations for this player.
      • No. 4 D Griffin Reinhart (Not ranked last summer). Peter Chiarelli didn’t trade two valuable picks in a deep draft to watch this young man wilt in Bakersfield. He’s a big defender with one year in the minors (and some NHL games) to his credit. It’s hard to keep a good man down, suspect any demotion lasts like a snowflake in a hot place.

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      • No. 3 D Darnell Nurse (No. 2 last summer). He’s grown (up to almost 220 now) and he’s matured (I’m not buying this urge to roam business, Nurse will play the style dictated by the coach) and we are going to be witness to a fantastic career. Darnell Nurse was tailor made for the Edmonton Oilers fan base. We love him already.

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      • No. 2 C Leon Draisaitl (No. 1 last summer). I know he’s no longer No. 1 and he didn’t spend the entire season in the NHL, but lordy what a talent. It’s easy to overlook the size, the skill, the straightaway speed, but it’s an enormous skill package. Draisaitl will be overshadowed at TC but make no mistake: THIS is a big part of Edmonton’s future.

      oilers mcdavid tsn

      • No. 1 C Connor McDavid.If he plays all 82 games, I think 75 points is reasonable and if he loads up on carbs and power-play points, we may see a point-per-game. Incredible luck, once in a lifetime lottery. Music!

      Last year’s list.

      • YakCity1039

        Everyone’s excited about McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nurse (and for good reason) but I’m just as excited about guys like Yak2, SleppySlappy, Platzer, Chase, LaLeggia. These guys are gonna be INTEGRAL to the team going forward.

        • Lowetide

          The truth is I don’t know that much about Jones. His offense (a lot of what my list reflects is offensive potential) wasn’t obvious from last season and there isn’t much about Jones online (I can find far more on Bear).

          That said, Jones looked very mobile at orientation camp and he might very well be among the 20 best, even ahead of Bear. We’ll know a lot more next summer.

      • Oil Vice

        Are we finally at the point where we have a surplus of assets?! Unfortunately we’ll have to see some of these gems traded sooner or later. In Chia we trust!

      • Randaman

        There always seems to be one surprise every year that shows better than expected . My dark horse candidate is J.Laleggia . Being similar numbers offensively to Bruins small defenseman while developing ( same size and weight) Torey Krug , and also same type path from college . Might he be an offensive find for our defence ? I think i’ll put him on our radar for exhibition season at least .

      • Randaman

        If he reaches his potential, Nurse will be the Ryan Smyth of defencemen, as in the most favorite player of the fans and the one who personifies “oiler”.

      • Randaman

        We’ll get some value time to watch them play Sept.11-14th/2015 in Penticton Young Stars Classic , thanks to live streaming every game of tourney . The times for Oilers are MDT and our first game is against Vancouver , and is tentatively set for Sept.11 (8:30 P.M.) , Calgary Sept .12 (8:30 P.M.) , and Winnipeg Sept. 14th at 12:30 (afternoon ) .

        That stint will be followed by a date Sept.16th for first live and home game at Rexall Place with the Golden Bears – tickets go on sale Friday I believe . Price is $30.00 by the sounds of it .

      • Randaman

        From what I hear and read Eathan Bear may just be the next “Gator”

        Wouldn’t that be nice..

        I thought Davidson looked very good last season when he got the chance.

      • NJ

        Interesting that LD is ahead of Nurse. What happened in half a season of WHL hockey that makes LD NHL ready? From all appearances it seems Nurse IS NHL ready and the only thing keeping him off this squad is likely our D depth (ha-ha) and the fact that he doesn’t have to clear waivers.

      • Serious Gord

        Look for Draisaitl to possibly be on top two lines because of his ability to handle the corners , rough going , and protect possession while standing . Hall and Eberle are still tentative in those areas and frequently play from the seat of their pants . They both play well except when pressured along the boards . It was still quite noticeable in the Worlds Tourney replay that was on TV tonite against Belarus . I do not expect McDavid will play that tentative , nor Draisaitl . For same reason it is doubtful Nurse will not make team as well seeing as he also has one of our better active sticks and reach . Reinhart should be right up there with Nurse physically at least .

        I like Lowetides top 4 and think they all stand an excellent chance on being on our starting team/roster this year .

        • bradleypi

          Lol. If Mact and klowe were still in charge, oilersnation would be calling all these kids bums but now they are all sure fire nhlers? And in reality outside of Reinhart, nurse, Leon and connor the rest are 50/50 to make the show. Most of them are on their 3rd or 4th year in the ahl.

          • bradleypi

            A few years ago everybody on this site was complaining that the Oilers never developed anybody and that all our prospects were being rushed to the NHL. As a result their development was sub standard.

            Now we have the Oilers actually letting a few of our top prospects season in the AHL and you are criticizing the team for this.

            As for the majority having 50/50 odds of making the NHL, is this some new revelation on your part?

            • ubermiguel

              We lucked into McDavid, rushed Draisaitl and traded for Reinhart. For 3 of our top 4 “never developed anybody” and “rushed to the NHL” are still valid. But it is definitely a better list than previous years. If our bottom 6 is full of guys we drafted in a few years then we can say the development system got fixed.

        • Lowetide

          Great question, and I don’t know the answer. I know there are teams (like Winnipeg for example) who would have prospect lists that run far deeper but it’s a really tough call.

          I like this list a lot, but also liked the 2010 list and there was a massive derailment on that list.

      • Nomad787

        I still don’t get why you’re so high on Miller. There is no way someone of his one dimensional skill set would fit in the bottom six and he is nowhere near good enough to play in the top six. Pitlick or Pakarinen can play bottom six and will be useful pieces in that part of the line up. The Oilers already have too many soft one dimensional offensive players.

      • The Goalie 1976

        Hi LT,

        Great list. I would bump Broissiot up to #6, based on how well he did, plus how important it is to have a legit potential starter prospect. Too bad we will lose him in the expansion draft. Damn, that possibility still irks me. I was hoping next season 2016-2017 to have hi backup Talbot, if everything goes well.