Watching Anton Slepyshev last night (and in Game 5) we are once again reminded about the importance of developing talent outside Round 1 of the draft. Part of an unusual trade (actually two deals) on the 2013 draft floor, Slepyshev has the look of an actual NHL player. What are his chances of making the Oilers next season? Long term?
This is the complete NHL equivalency for minor leaguers, college men, juniors and European players this past season (plus goalies and their SP). Some players may not be listed (like Evan Campbell) but the players who are likely to graduate to pro are here. (I use the Vollman method, which includes a push for younger AHL players).
Slepyshev didn’t spend much time in the minors this season, but as you can see he delivered very well in Bakersfield for nine games. Among the candidates to graduate full time to the NHL 2017-18, it seems reasonable to suggest Slepyshev and Jesse Puljujarvi are the most likely (along with Griffin Reinhart from the defensive group).
At the NHL level, he scored 1.34/60, and that is a shy total. However, Slepyshev’s most common linemates were Drake Caggiula and Milan Lucic—both men suffering through poor offensive seasons at even strength. His ICorsi/60 ranked No. 3 among Oilers forwards this year (all info here via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com) and that’s a strong number.
|Individual Corsi – The number of corsi events a player takes (shots + shots attempts that missed the net or were blocked)|
Let’s assume the Oilers RW depth chart this season houses a top three of Leon Draisiatl or Jordan Eberle (1R), along with Jesse Puljujarvi (2R) and Zack Kassian (3R). By my estimate, Slepyshev would be in direct competition with Tyler Pitlick and Iiro Pakarinen (if they return).
Let’s further assume the Oilers LW depth chart by fall has Patrick Maroon (1L), Milan Lucic (2L) and Drake Caggiula (3L). That would mean Slepyshev’s competition includes Benoit Pouliot (if he remains), Jujhar Khaira and Joey Laleggia.
So, all things being equal, Slepyshev has to outperform Pitlick, Pakarinen, Pouliot, Khaira and Laleggia to make the top 4 lines or represent the extra winger on the roster. He’s inexpensive next season, doesn’t have to be protected and is showing offensive potential. This is not a lock by any means, but Slepyshev has a shot at this roster in the fall. Todd McLellan slow plays youngsters not named Connor McDavid, but Slepyshev is forcing more minutes with fine play. Last night’s GWG probably helps him with gaining the confidence of the coach, and it will be a long time before fans forget that breakaway marker.