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:
- C Connor McDavid
- D Darnell Nurse
- D Griffin Reinhart
- L Anton Slepyshev
- 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.