Photo Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

Slepyshev and Traction

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).

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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.

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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.

  • OriginalPouzar

    I don’t think Slepy will ever have the offence to jump in to a top 6 role but I do think he will soon be an every day NHL player in the bottom 6 – hopefully for the Oilers.

    As Lowetide points out, the team needs cheap contract and, in particular, value contracts – these often are found from within. Slepy is super cheap next year and will likely continue to be cheap during his second contract.

    If he can play solid 3rd/4th line minutes and be responsible all over the ice while continuing to shoot volume, he’ll likely outplay his contract in the near term.

    He’s a good skater and seems to have a good hockey IQ so I think he can also develop in to a valuable PKer.

    • Reinman

      Don’t listen to the people telling you what you can’t do. You have all the skills required to be a top 6 forward. You have speed, good hands, and the size. Up to you whether you push your way into a top 6 role. Or better yet give us a Pittsburgh like offense that is pushing 3 scoring lines.

  • mb

    Going to need to keep finding players like Slepyshev. Players with talent and are cheap. The must compliment the players that eat up a lot of cap room. Oilers will bring a lot of these types cause not all them will work out.

      • Keepyourstickontheice

        Slepyshev, while being an attractive player to many teams, is not going to demand premiere rubles in the KHL like a Radulov or a Kovalchuk situation. I think playing in the NHL playoffs, and the opportunity to do so for the foreseable future will have a bigger draw than the marginally more scratch.

  • Word to the Bird

    He might not be scoring at a high clip but by my eye looks much more effective than our other depth players (looking at you Hendricks and Pakarinen). He can wheel, has a great shot and works hard. Most of all, he’s willing to carry the puck and gain zone entry rather than just dump it in.

  • Big Jacks Meat

    Slep is a keeper , 3rd liner with a bit more seasoning. Big, Can Skate has great Shot. Hey Jesse is that you.. 2 good guys to have going forward. This team
    depth I have not seen in years , we may not win the cup this year but I am happy as a fan , did us proud. 2 Years from now I want it all. ALL OF IT.

    Whats going on in Calgary today ? Who really cares lol…

  • 99CupsofCoffey

    How beautiful is it to think that someone like Slepy has to be outstanding to make the top 3 lines. Depth is a wonderful thing, and something we haven’t seen for quite some time.

  • Tombstone

    It’s all going to come down to Salary Cap.
    Not only that but what about attracting Collage free agents. They’re only going to sign if they have a good chance of making the team.
    Oilers have Dria, Ebs, Kassian, and Slepy on RW. Obviously Ebs days are numbered and Jesse Puljujarvi will make his way on the rooster but if you’re Spencer-Foo( RW) will he sign here if Oilers sign Slepy, Pitlick, and Kassian to long term contracts.
    Oilers will be cycling a lot of players in and out of their system when Drai and McDavid are signed. It’s not worth it to get attracted to guys like Slepy.

  • Tombstone

    Those Russian born players are told by their government to take as much money as you can because they still pay Russian taxes. There is no ways Slepy signs if he can make more money elsewhere. It easy for use to say sign him but it’s not as easy what people think.

    • Payne

      Russians living abroad have to pay the 13% tax rate as if they were at home, but there’s no legal requirement to provide evidence of overseas earnings. Thanks to salary disclosure, that party was short lived. I’m not so sure players are instructed to make as much as possible or else, which likely was the case in the past, but I would agree they, and their representation, are probably encouraged.

  • giddy

    Love Slep’s “shoot first” game that he plays. Hasn’t been rewarded too much but getting shots on net while playing on the 3rd/4th line is invaluable and eventually some of those are going to go in. Could almost use that on the 2nd line PP, as often no one seems to want to pull the trigger on that squad.