TOP 20 PROSPECTS (ON EDITION)

top 20

We are in the dog days of summer, not much shaking and several more miles until the World Cup of Hockey (which should be fun). In these relaxed days, it is a good time to look at the Oilers prospects and rank them heading into fall. I do a summer and winter list at Lowetide, but this one (done each August) for ON uses different criteria: On the ON list, I value being NHL-ready, odds of being a productive NHL player (as opposed to a top 6F or top 4D) and current opportunities on the NHL roster. Here goes!

20-16

  • No. 20—(NR) R Patrick Russell, St. Cloud State (41, 20-21-41). College winger via Denmark (??!?!?!), he displays scoring skills and some power forward tendencies. Speed is the issue, and as with all players we haven’t seen this is a guess (but he can score).
  • No. 19—(18) R Tyler Pitlick, Bakersfield Condors (37, 7-14-21). He has entered the period of his career where we can begin to use some phrases like ‘now or never’ and ‘journeyman’—these are not good phrases for a prospect. Still, the club signed him for another year and he will have a chance. Suspect he needs some luck, and a player like Iiro Pakarinen to fall out of favor. 
  • No. 18—(5) C Bogdan Yakimov, Bakersfield Condors (36, 5-10-15) and Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik (11, 3-1-4). He will play in the KHL this coming season (on loan) and I am tempted to write him off (NHL teams rarely forgive a prospect for bolting, as BY did a year ago). That said, he does have potential, so he makes the list just in case this situation turns around.
  • No. 17—(NR) RD Filip Berglund, Skelleftea AIK (43, 19-22-41) (SuperElite). Berglund is a solid prospect with a range of skills. I have him higher on my LT list, but the young two-way defender is likely several years away from the NHL. He has size (6.03, 209) skill (41 points in 43 games in Swedish juniors) and a bright future.
  • No. 16—(NR) LD William Lagesson, UMass-Amherst (27, 2-5-7). Lagesson is a very nice prospect, although much of his value comes from the defensive side of the game. He can skate, has size and a mean streak, and fans got a good look at his effectiveness during the World Juniors last Christmastime.

15-11

  • No. 15—(NR) L Tyler Benson, Vancouver Giants (30, 9-19-28). Edmonton may have stolen a top 15 draft talent early in the second round. In a season where he was never healthy, Benson (like Berglund above) has a range of skills and could make the NHL as a checker or on a scoring line. Plenty of potential, and he would rank higher, but is probably at least two healthy seasons away from the NHL.
  • No. 14—(17) D David Musil, Bakersfield Condors (67, 3-11-14). Big defender whose value is in his own end, he is NHL-ready and could make the big club this coming season. He is waiver eligible so the Oilers have to make a decision on him. Skills are duplicated by several younger players who are already ahead of him on the roster, so he may be blocked in Edmonton.
  • No. 13—(13) RD Ethan Bear, Seattle Thunderbirds (69, 19-46-65). He did everything right
    in 2015-16, and another year like that one and Oilers fans will have a right to be genuinely excited. Unique among blue on this list in that he is both righthanded and one year away from his pro career.
  • No. 12—(12) LD Dillon Simpson, Bakersfield Condors (57, 4-16-20). He is a fascinating prospect, because—despite playing in an organization with 4,000 lefthanded defensemen—keeps making small progress year over year. I don’t know how far he can go, but it is one of the really interesting stories in Edmonton’s prospect chain.
  • No. 11—(11) LD Joey Laleggia, Bakersfield Condors (63, 8-19-27). Laleggia can move the puck effectively but is a chaos blue and undersized for the position. I ranked him higher on the ON list because Edmonton has a clear lead for a PP QB and he can deliver at the college and minor league level in this area.

10-6

  • No. 10—(NR) LD Ziyat Paigin, Kazan Ak Bars and Sochi HC (45, 9-19-28)What an incredible season. He saw his contract was purchased by Kazak Ak Bars—a place he
    struggled early a year ago. That said, he blossomed in Sochi so should see feature minutes with Ak Bars. Among the things we might watch for? A
    return to the KHL All-Star game, an honor he earned this past season.
  • No. 9—(NR) LD Caleb Jones, Portland Winterhawks (72, 10-45-55). Genuinely excited to see his progress, Jones true ability was obscured
    by the scouting reports. His even-strength scoring in Portland, combined with impressive showings for the U.S. National team this summer in tournament play, mean he is a trending prospect in the organization.
  • No. 8—(15) LD Jordan Oesterle, Edmonton Oilers (17, 0-5-5) and Bakersfield Condors (44, 4-21-25).  Oesterle has an excellent chance to make the NHL (for at least a time) at this point. Although he brings chaos defensively, his speed is extremely useful in today’s NHL. Already ahead of pretty much all fringe candidates, Oesterle has to beat out only David Musil (at this point) to win the final D job out of camp.
  • No. 7—(7) R Anton Slepyshev, Edmonton Oilers (11, 0-1-1) and Bakersfield Condors (49, 13-8-21). 
    I still like Slepyshev as a prospect, he has size and speed—but he was very poor offensively. Edmonton badly needs inexpensive complementary skill wingers, so he has a real chance to help this team during 2016-17.
  • No. 6—(NR) L Drake Cagguila, North Dakota (39, 25-26-51). The great thing about Caggiula is that his signing addressed a major
    need. With all of the excitement over the Hall trade this summer, it is no wonder we overlooked it, but with the addition of Caggiula and other since the offseason began, Chiarelli has done a good job adding support in the skill wingers category. 

5-1

  • No. 5—(10) G Laurent Brossoit, Edmonton Oilers (5, 3.61 .873) and Bakersfield Condors (31, 2.66 .920).  His camp has to be encouraged by the UFA selection of Jonas Gustavsson,
    and I think he will spend a lot of time in the NHL this year. The big question is can Brossoit beat out Gustavsson in training camp? I think he can.
  • No. 4—(20) C Jujhar Khaira, Edmonton Oilers (15, 0-2-2) and Bakersfield Condors (49, 10-17-27). He is now (imo) NHL-ready, and will probably be on the AHL/NHL shuttle all year long. You never know about prospects until they make the NHL, but he impressed me with his size, speed and ability to show up on the right side of the puck. Offense is a worry but he looks ready.
  • No. 3—(4) LD Griffin Reinhart, Edmonton Oilers (29, 0-1-1) and Bakersfield Condors (30, 2-8-10). Reinhart played well by eye later in the season, and the underlying numbers are close to Nurse. What does that mean? I suspect he will not make the big club out of camp (there are cap bonus issues due to the presence of McDavid, Draisaitl and Puljujuarvi) but he may well be in the NHL before mid-season. Edmonton will want to get a good long look at him before the expansion draft.
  • No. 2—(NR) R Jesse Puljujarvi, Karpat (50, 13-15-28). Dynamic player compared (by Red Line, no less) to Mats Sundin. I think the Oilers will try to resist throwing him into the deep end, but history going back to Sam Gagner suggests he will be on one of the top two lines on opening night.
  • No. 1—(1) C Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers (45, 16-32-48)Makes this list on a technicality (I use 50 NHL games as my graduation line in the sand), this young man is the real deal. Much to be
    decided in training camp, although wingers likely to be Milan Lucic and
    Jordan Eberle. Some of the early point predictions for McDavid are mind boggling, but he is so good it is to be expected.

Last year’s list is below, thanks for reading.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    that’s a nice list of prospects. nice job by the new scouts for finding 11 of the 20 on your list in only 2 years on the job! blows away anything Stu and his boys did in a much longer period.

  • vetinari

    @Lowetide

    On the goalie situation, we have to expose at least one goalie who is under contract for 2017/18 (or is a RFA on July 1st, 2017) in the expansion draft to Las Vegas.

    I assume that protecting Talbot is a no-brainer but Gustavsson will be a UFA at the end of the year while Brossoit will be the only other Oiler goalie of note to likely meet the expansion criteria (he will have one more season under contract after this coming season)and we have little in the pipeline after him.

    My question is do you think Edmonton will keep Brossoit as the Oilers’ NHL backup and risk making him more attractive as an expansion target or send him to the AHL to develop and hopefully fall under the radar of Las Vegas scouting?

    My guess is that Brossoit is slotted for the AHL with the potential of a few NHL callups during the season. Thoughts?

  • Lowetide

    I think Brossoit will be exposed, but suspect Edmonton will also leave one or more of Pouliot, Fayne, Davidson and Reinhart exposed. LV likely grabs one of them, they should have more substantial goalie options.

      • Seanaconda

        I think what happens this year will be more of a deciding factor of who is left exposed. Alot can change in a year.

        If the draft was tomorrow I would agree that davidson would be the 8th man protected. But let’s play the year out.

    • Ron Burgundy

      Not to mention there will be a buttload of quality G made available by other teams, a number of whom will be much more attractive than LB. Matt Murray, Scott Darling, Malcolm Subban, Cam Ward and others will not be protected. (General Fanager has a tool where you can make the calls to see who will be available based on current rosters – it’s a great way to kill part of an afternoon.)

      My guess is Chiarelli will protect 4 D even with the current roster (and for sure once he trades a pick for Shatty at the deadline…), which will leave Vegas the choice of Yakupov, Maroon, Pouliot or Reinhart. My guess right now is they would take Pouliot – he will help towards their minimum salary, only has one year left on his deal at that point, can slot in on any line or special teams, etc. Maroon is kind of attractive also, but Yak is Yak so seems risky, and like goalie there will be many quality D-man available so Reinhart and Fayne are unlikely to be taken.

  • Keepyourstickontheice

    I’m tired of trying to take the long view when it comes to the oilers, but surely with the crop of prospect defencemen in the system the Oilers will finally fix the D right? RIGHT?

    If they have one Brandon Davidson level breakthrough every year, things will start looking better and better. My bets are for Simpson(2017),Bear(2018), and Paigin(2019).

  • Stallions #35

    I am not familiar with how the expansion draft will work and if its at all possible that one or more teams will not lose any players.

    If so, do you think there will be more attractive players left unprotected than anyone the Oilers could offer?

    Just curious as it stands, I don’t imagine we will be in the top 10 teams that Las Vegas will be focusing on their picks on.

  • madjam

    We need a few to have big leaps , not just baby steps forward or negative growth . Our offense will stutter unless we get good results from our youngsters like McDavid , Draisaitl and Puljujarvi .

  • Glass

    If we make it out of the bottom 10 draft wise, I think we should package the 1st round pick of next draft with Pouliot (who will be exposed if we protect 4 D) and go after a top 4RHD at the deadline. If it takes adding a Simpson/Musil/Oesterle to sweeten the pot then so be it.