mcdavid capture chels

Corey Pronman of ESPN released his top 10 list of Oilers prospects earlier today. Earlier in the summer, Pronman ranked Edmonton’s prospect list No. 1 in the entire NHL on the strength of the Connor McDavid selection. The 10 list is a fascinating look at the Oilers immediate and long-term future.


Corey’s list is available via ESPN (Paywall) and he offers his views on each of the 10 players on this year’s list. Here is his top 5:

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  1. C Connor McDavid
  2. D Darnell Nurse
  3. D Griffin Reinhart
  4. L Anton Slepyshev
  5. D Ethan Bear

Leon Draisaitl is not eligible for the list based on his GP in the NHL last season (he is no longer eligible for the Calder Trophy). The top three names offer no surprise but it’s interesting that Anton Slepyshev—one of four forwards on the list—ranks so high and he’s certainly going to be interesting to watch in his first NA season. Bear’s inclusion at No. 5 may seem a little high, but his range of skills and impressive boxcar numbers in his draft year suggest he’s a substantial prospect.

The entire list and insight into each is available at ESPN. Source

Here are my notes (including NHL equivalencies) on each player after the draft:

  • C Connor McDavid. The franchise player. Connor McDavid is going to have growing pains, and we may want to
    pump the breaks on Calder trophy talk and calling
    the new arena ‘The House of McDavid’. NHLE: 82GP, 23-40-63.
  • D Darnell Nurse. The Oilers future on
    blue, it’s just a matter of when he arrives. The big item for Nurse is
    his speed — he’s a fast train who can recover quickly and pressure
    opponents into mistakes. I don’t think there’s evidence that he’ll score
    40 points a season, but that aside, Nurse does appear to have the full
    range of skills. NHLE: 82GP, 7-16-23.
  • D Griffin Reinhart. Big defender (6.04, 217)
    was a dominant junior player, basically neutralizing his part of the ice
    as an Oil Kings blue (and playing monster minutes each game). His one
    pro season contained (in his own words) some struggles but that’s not
    unusual for young defenders. A big part of his game is defensive but
    he’s not without skill, he’s able to jump into the rush and recover when
    necessary. He’s going to be part of the Oilers at some point next
    season, it’s only a matter of time.  NHLE: 82GP, 6-11-17.
  • L Anton Slepyshev. It is so difficult to
    project prospects who play in Euro major leagues. Slepyshev scored 15
    goals in a damn tough league playing 12:26 a night. That’s a substantial
    player, especially at 20. Began the KHL season with 39GP 5-7-12, then
    posted 19GP, 10-3-13 to end the year. 
    He could arrive quickly. We should be prepared for Slepyshev to be one
    of the feature stories of TC, maybe even gettin some rookie games alongside
    McDavid. NHLE: 82GP, 17-11-28.
  • (NR) D Ethan Bear. Early this season, I
    made a list of CHL defensemen who were showing up often in conversation
    about the 2015 draft. Bear impressed me as a guy who clicked off all of
    the boxes: Good skater, makes pinpoint passes, makes good decisions,
    calm feet, built like a tank (5.11, 200) and can hit hard. Bear didn’t
    get a lot of ink during the year but posted good numbers and what little
    was written about him was positive. I don’t know if the ‘saw him good’
    crowd or the math people (or both) recommended him but I’m pleased to see
    the Oilers grabbed him at a fantastic number. Cody Nickolet wrote a
    thorough and insightful item on him here. NHLE: 82GP, 5-9-14.


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      • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

        Is the word “First” to imply that you think we would not notice the number beside your post? Or where you wanting the whole Nation to follow you with second, third, fourth etc? I think I missed your point.

    • Truth

      It’s a shame ESPN has a paywall on their contributors contents. Just another little guy trying to make their way I guess!

      I don’t utilize anything ESPN because of the paywall BS for the same reasons I do 20 over the speed limit for a few miles immediately after realizing I passed a photo radar van while going the limit. Frustrating, unnecessary money grabs.

      It’s a shame too, because I know Pronman used to do great work. I assume it’s still good but there are too many excellent free sources of information out there to justify paying for one. Especially ESPN.

        • Truth

          You must be the Fiji water drinker.

          We are all entitled to an opinion. Mine is simply that ESPN should not be charging for their content. They ARE the big boys in the sports entertainment industry and would do just fine without implementing a pay-to-use insider system. If I am foolish for thinking so, so be it.

          As I mentioned previously, Pronman always had very interesting insights (and I’m sure he still does). I wish it was still freely available as I would (have continued to) be a frequent visitor to his site.

    • socaldave

      All these years of top picks and Bear and Slipyshov are top 5? Seriously? After McDavid the cupboards appear to be quite empty. No pressure Connor, no pressure.

      • Tony Montana

        You read the part about Leon not qualifying due to games played. Just in case you can’t figure it out, if he has played too many games then so have all the other first rounders drafted before him (Save Nurse who makes the list at #2)

    • mcjesus take the wheel

      Pronman is an idiot. His rankings are always awful. Just go back and look at his track record and comments and you’ll see he knows no more than the average person.

    • mcjesus take the wheel

      Could they not even offer Tkatchev a try out? I just want to see Tkatchev, Yakimov, and Shlepyshev on a line together at the young stars games.

      Make it happen Chi!

    • Truth

      Lowetide : C.Pronman one of the best , and always interested in his views and summations . To bad one has to pay for his info now . Mcjesus would have a tough time proving a source better than Pronman for info . I see he picks out Slepychev as a dark horse at Nbr.4 . Not to surprising , as times I have seen him , he looks very good . I doubt he would make team this year , as he has yet to adjust to N.American life .

      • mcjesus take the wheel

        I’m not talking about his rankings of the Oilersin this instance. I’m talking about Pronman being waaayyyyy off on his prospect rankings overall. Again and again. It’s out there to see. Go back and look at his past lists. They’re awful.

        • Joy S. Lee

          Care to share at least a little ammunition for your blitzkrieg against the guy? I know you’re saying “overall,” but negative generalizations – especially when squarely aimed at someone’s overall body of work – are a bit harsh to simply accept verbatim. A few samples might help sway my opinion; otherwise thanks for your opinion on his opinions, but I’ll respect his opinion as much as yours or others until proven otherwise. Not saying you’re wrong, but I’m not saying you’re right, either.

      • Joy S. Lee

        Fair enough. Yakimov could bring some vitally required elements for this organization, for sure. Wouldn’t Reinhart count, he hasn’t played enough NHL games yet, has he?

        I love the Slepyshev pick, as I think he is a potential wildcard, but I’m surprised Pronman ranks him this high. If he comes through like Pronman thinks, we could seriously be laughing (excuse the oxymoron, lol).

        What about Chase? Platzer? Wouldn’t they be ahead of Bear at this point? Laleggia, Broissoit, Reinhart, Laggesson, and is Pakarinen still eligible? There are some others to consider, who in my estimation would qualify as being ahead of Bear in terms of readiness, but Pronman wasn’t saying who would be in Edmonton soonest, he’s saying who the best prospects are long-term, correct? If so, Bear’s inclusion is just another real good sign about the future of our defense.

        Speaking of defense: And what of Justin Schultz, doesn’t he qualify? Oh, sorry, he’s a suspect, not a prospect… but at least he’s a Norris Trophy-esque suspect!

    • mcjesus take the wheel

      Is Draisattl able to play in the Rookie tournament? Since he is no longer an NHL rookie. Are there a set of rules for the tournament that outline who is eligible? As well what about players who have played significant games in other pro leagues, ie Slepyshev, or other AHL vets.

    • YakCity1039

      “I don’t think there’s evidence that he’ll score 40 points a season”

      I have to disagree. There’s a guy in the NHL that I’ve seen parallels to Nurse’s game and career so far. His name? Shea Weber.

      Weber WHL career (GP-G-A-P-PPG) 190-26-65-91-0.48

      Nurse OHL career (GP-G-A-P-PPG) 221-36-98-134-0.61

      Weber AHL career (GP-G-A-P-PPG) 57-12-15-27-0.59

      Pretty good so far (for Nurse) if you ask me. Nurse should be an all-around defensemen in 5-8 years, one of the best in the game. There’s plenty of evidence he’ll score 40+ points a year.

        • Joy S. Lee

          @YakCity1039 @Robin Brownlee

          RB is right, the evidence is far from overwhelming on Nurse’s offensive trajectory. And, I know I’m out on an island here with this one, maybe except for YakCity1039 and a few others, but I believe Nurse could be the closest thing we’ve seen of Paul Coffey since… Paul Coffey. Whew…I said it.

          Furthermore, I think he and McDavid could form a duo similar to the Oilers’ heydays of Gretzky/Coffey, where the D-man pushes the play forward by carrying the puck up ice impressively fast… which works tremendously to the advantage of an offensive catalyst like McDavid.

          Go ahead and call me crazy, there’s a decent chance you are correct to do so. But, I’ll stand by YakCity1039’s prediction – Nurse will be a force on the offensive side of the puck as well as the defensive side, especially when he is surrounded by – and growing with – as much talent as will be on display for the Oilers. I don’t think this kid is going to be denied his opportunity, and as unlikely as it is that this year will be his annointment… he’s a very determined young man. I won’t put any possibility past him. Let’s not forget that Paul Coffey took several years and endured multiple fan plea’s for a trade before he became the best defenseman on earth for quite some time (yes, that’s another opinion of mine; I’m allowed to have it, and no one can convince me otherwise…next to Bobby Orr, Coffey was the most impactful defenseman in history, and before you argue, check out who was on the ice for about 33 minutes a game against the Russians in those epic best players on the planet tournaments and series).

          Sorry, it became a rant after I realized I’d get a lot of flak for my opinions. Point being: in my opinion, Darnell Nurse will be a force on the entire sheet of ice, it’s just a question of when.

      • bradleypi

        I agree. Not so much with the webber comparison but that nurse could easily score more than 40 points at some point. Just look at the forwards he’s gonna be playing with for the next 10 years. It’s like lowetide doesn’t believe that these young guns are ever gonna figure out how to score…. especially seeing as how he’s predicting connor will only score 60 points this year. If connor doesn’t surpass 70 points this year I’ll consider it a huge disappointment. And for the record lowetide, exactly what “growing pains” do you foresee for Connor. It’s like you don’t believe in him or any of the other young oiler forwards to help him through the year.

        • camdog

          Given that Crosby had over 100 points in his rookie year, I get that 60 would be disappointing in that light. But we’ve got a tougher division, a tougher conference, and a team with its first good coach in a while and plenty of lessons to learn.

          Also, watching McDavid at a few different events I have very much gotten the impression that it always takes him a little while to figure things out before he can really use his gifts fully. It’s not a big deal in the slightest, he’s usually been a rookie or way younger than his competition when he’s been in these situations.

          I’ll be kind of disappointed if he doesn’t score or have a wicked assist on opening night (because we’re all kind of waiting for that first point), but for his play style it seems like he learns the game a bit first whenever he gets bumped up to a new league or tournament. He relies a lot on his shiftiness and that requires some studying the competition.

    • Jaxon

      I know I’m a broken record on Oilers blogs, but I’ll throw this out there anyway. Based on his last 25gp (11G, 5A) in the KHL, Slepyshev’s NHLE is 28G-13A-41Pts. Now that would be an impressive rookie season. I think veteran options may keep him down for the season opener but he will impress and be called up very soon and may stick. I’m looking forward to seeing where he fits in (maybe with Draisaitl and Pakarinen who also might start on the Condors?)


    • Jaxon

      Is Slepyshev here in Canada .. Wonder if he trained over here this summer.
      He and Yak2 are key pieces of the near future…..MacT gets no respect for these gutsy picks in the very late rounds….

      • Joy S. Lee

        Why would MacT get credit for picks that haven’t amounted to much yet? I mean, they have potential, but that’s what draft picks are. Let’s wait before praising MacT for what might be good picks… though I get your point. I’m excited to see how both develop, too.

    • R U Kidding Me!

      I don’t get everybody predicting 60 some points for McDavid this season. Nuge got 52 points and missed a quarter of the season rookie year.

      Do people forget McDavid is going into the NHL with the same hype as Crosby. Not to mention the fact he’s going to be immediately playing with players like Hall, Eberle, RNH and Pouliot.

      Around 80 points or better is what I see happening if he plays a full season.

      • God I hate the Flames

        Totally agree. I think the people who are going out of their way to be the “voice of reason” and projecting a Johnny Gaudreau-esque level (65 points) of production for McDavid’s first year are going to end up looking pretty ridiculous. If they end up being correct, and he can’t top the hated rival’s rookie season, I will feel more ripped off than that time I spent 3 weeks in Jamaica on vacation (cue Family Guy type flashback of me on the beach: “Oh boy, parasailing? Here’s all the money I have, why don’t you just take what you think is fair?”)

        • Cowbell_Feva

          McDavid will obviously become a better player than the smurf down south. However McDavid is much younger when breaking into the NHL. 3 years younger. That is a big factor in this converstation.

          Also, the fact he played predominantly with Jiri Hudler who had a career year. I believe he was one of the highest scoring forwards in the NHL post All-Star break. That alone was a huge reason why Johnny Smurf got 64 points.

          Without watching Connor play a single NHL game people are drinking the McKool-Aid way too much and talking about 80+ points?? I don’t think (especially given our team’s blueline) that a mid-60 point season from an 18 year old rookie is monumentally bad.

          Would I love him to do what Crosby did his first year? Of course. But seeing as Benn won the Art Ross with 87 last year, I am not holding my breath. Video sessions, defensive structure and better coaching has led to less scoring. Give Connor a year or two before piling on unrealistic expectations.

      • Lowetide was listing NHLE based on last year’s junior production. It’s not his personal prediction.

        That said, points have been falling for years. The Art Ross winner last year only had 87 points. Could McDavid break 80 points, or even 100 like Crosby? Sure, it’s possible. But if we’re being realistic, the 60-80 range is likely where he’ll fall if he plays a full season.

      • camdog

        If any Oiler forward can get 80 points next season I would be shocked. An 80 point season would be good for 6th in the entire league last year.

        I just don’t have faith in the The Oilers defence and their ability to move the puck up the ice and get it to the forwards in flight.

    • God I hate the Flames

      Pump the brakes on the Calder talk? Why would we do that? This player is supposed to be head and shoulders above any other player to enter the league in the last couple of decades or more. If he’s not even the best player in his draft class- even in the very first year- then it will be a HUGE disappointment!

    • MillHoodsHockey4Life

      I could be wrong but wasn’t Gaudreau’s rookie season as a 21 (22) year old after his years in college? Tavares would be the more appropriate comparable- in age, experience, position and size.

    • hagar

      The only thing I care about after all these years is actual performance return. I do enjoy his take on Griffin, and feel he was picked up on a decent value vs potential.

      Of course it is tough to give up a couple first picks for the guy, but there is something there. I still say the same about scrivens.. the guy has Jonathan quick style potential, but the circumstances can dictate performances.

      We have all seen things in Ben that can be a future mind blower if he keeps his head in check, and learns how to handle the puck.

      This game is a fine line of mental and physical.. Jordan used to be the best back checker in the entire league when he first came in, but he slid to the rep of a poor back checker.. we just need some things to start clicking… Players can have fun, and revert back to what got them in the nhl to start with.