Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Pipeline

Over the last three seasons, the Edmonton Oilers have been producing outstanding rookie crops by number and quality.


  • To be eligible for the award, a player cannot have played more than 25 games in any single preceding season nor in six or more games in each of any two preceding seasons in any major professional league.
  • Source


  • Oscar Klefbom (60, 2-18-20)
  • Leon Draisaitl (37, 2-7-9)
  • Andrew Miller (9, 1-5-6)
  • Iiro Pakarinen (17, 1-2-3)
  • Tyler Pitlick (17, 2-0-2)
  • David Musil (4, 0-2-2)
  • Brandon Davidson (12, 1-0-1)
  • Jordan Oesterle (6, 0-1-1)
  • Bogdan Yakimov (1, 0-0-0)
  • Darnell Nurse (2, 0-0-0)
  • Curtis Hamilton (1, 0-0-0)
  • Laurent Brossoit (1, 2.01 .961)
  • Tyler Bunz (1, 9.00 .750)


  • Connor McDavid (45, 16-32-48)
  • Iiro Pakarinen (63, 5-8-13)
  • Brandon Davidson (51, 4-7-11)
  • Darnell Nurse (69, 3-7-10)
  • Adam Clendening (20, 1-5-6)
  • Jordan Oesterle (17, 0-5-5)
  • Jujhar Khaira (15, 0-2-2)
  • Griffin Reinhart (29, 0-1-1)
  • Anton Slepyshev (11, 0-1-1)
  • Anders Nilsson (26, 3.14 .901)
  • Laurent Brossoit (5, 3.61 .873)


  • Drake Caggiula (60, 7-11-18)
  • Matt Benning (62, 3-12-15)
  • Anton Slepyshev (41, 4-6-10)
  • Jesse Puljujarvi (28, 1-7-8)
  • Jujhar Khaira (10, 1-0-1)
  • Dillon Simpson (3, 0-0-0)
  • Laurent Brossoit (8, 1.99 .928)


  • RD Ethan Bear. Bear has improved across the board since his draft day. He ended up winning WHL Defenseman of the Year, posted 67gp, 28-42-70 and playoffs 17gp, 6-20-26 and could find his way to the NHL during his rookie pro season.
  • R Mitch Callahan. An obscure option, Callahan has been a consistent performer for the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL. Although he has played just five NHL games, Callahan is proven at the minor-league level and may get a look with the Oilers.
  • G Nick Ellis. A strong first season of pro has Nick Ellis on the radar. He posted 34gp, 2.69 .918 for Bakersfield and is probably the first recall option this fall.
  • LD Caleb Jones. He is a fascinating prospect, partly due to foot speed. His scouting report on draft day didn’t imply a lot of offense, but he delivered 63gp, 9-53-62 in regular year and 11gp, 2-8-10 in the postseason. He could surprise, has a nice range of skills.
  • L Joey Laleggia. A position change may be a key turning point for his pro career. Mid-season 2016-17 he moved from left defense to left wing, and from Boxing Day forward, he went 43gp, 18-13-31.
  • R Kailer Yamamoto. Extremely likely he’ll return to the WHL but he has enough skill to make things interesting. Small, fast and impact offense His boxcars (65gp, 42-57-99) were fantastic. If he did make the NHL team, he could keep the string of impact prospects going for another year.


The Oilers have enjoyed a tremendous run since the fall of 2014, with Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Oscar Klefbom, Matt Benning, Darnell Nurse and Jesse Puljujarvi all arriving to form a pristine cluster. As the Oilers mature, finish higher in the standings and draft later in each round, the club is less likely to have openings for rookies. Not coincidentally, it is being matched with a slower period in the procurement pipeline.

  • Oilerchild77

    Nice to see an Oilers organization with a firm idea of what type of player they are looking for at the draft table and in free agency. This is how an organization with good management and a proper plan looks like.

    • Reg Dunlop

      But… I was assured by the stats denizens on Lowetide’s site that Chia should be fired into the sun for trading Hall, Ebs and Marincin, signing Russell, burying the great Fayne and scrubbing the all-star Pouliot. Now my faith in math has been shaken.

      • Bagged Almond Milk

        At least LT doesn’t remove any comments where you disagree with him…. cough cough Brownlee… or freak out if you question lowe… cough Jason cough…. I meant to say I love the Oilers and lowe, Mac T, Howson, Brownlee and JG are never wrong. I’m sorry for ever questioning the royalty. Remember when rb said Larson wasn’t within a 5 dollar cab ride of Hall? I remember. I also remember when the Oilers finished 30th for so many years and the playoff run this year once the golden boy was traded. Some people surrounding the Oilers need to grow up, the smartest people in the room syndrome must be contagious…. Lowe must throw some good dinner parties

      • fisherprice

        It’s almost like being a GM is a multi-faceted jobs with lots of elements to it. Drafting has generally been a strong suit of Chiarelli & Co.’s time in Edmonton. I don’t really see how that makes Chiarelli’s very suspect trade history any better.

        • Ivan Drago

          You mean because he hasn’t clearly won every trade in your opinion it’s suspect? The only bad trade was Griffin for our picks. That trade was shortly after PC was hired and I’m sure largely influenced by Green and MacT. PCs mistake was placing trust in them. I’m sure he learned from it.

        • Oilerchild77

          Yeah, he’s madeva couple of questionable trades in the past. The Seguin and Reinhart deals come to mind. But he’s been right more than he’s been wrong.The Hall trade was a good one. Got rid of a cancer and got a solid top 4 RHD in return who was locked up at a good cap hit for 5 more years. That’s a win.

  • Randaman

    I think this is the year to slow the train a little. It seems we are getting to the stage that most of the roster is set and we can let these kids percolate so to speak and be more than ready when the time is right.

    • ColoradOIL

      Agreed. Darnell spent ample time being ‘developed and it paid off. He was a huge and pleasant surprise when he got the call up. If all the others have time to build their game, the future will be bright for the Orange and Blue!

      • Johnny Stomper

        Copy that on Darnell. I still feel he’s gonna turn into a powerhouse of defenceman. He brings something unique and we havent seen his true potential. When he grows into that frame and settles into his wheel house look out. Im expecting a big year from him.

      • FuNky ANGER

        What are you talking about???? “Darnell spend ample time being developed? He played 17 games in the AHL before making the big club full time. How is that ample time for development? You could almost argue that he basically went straight from junior to the Oilers. Yeah tons of time for development there.

  • Rama Lama

    I like the fact that PC is trying to improve the farm team more than any other GM we have had in the past. I know that MacT tried this approach only to realize that he could not pick out a polar bear in a heard of buffaloes. Let the cream rise to the top…….it’s about time!

  • Ivan Drago

    As a side note this comments section is still terrible. No edit button (still) and not being able to see which comments posters are replying to his just stupid. Complete lack of flow. And I don’t give a crap if the content is free, it should be. Even the pages are sorted bad. Before the big ON purge all this stuff made the site fun to go to. Why mess with a good thing BM?

  • Hockeyfan

    i used to enjoy visiting the nation sites. they suck butt now. what a lame excuse for improvement. no wonder readership and commentary is tanking. accept the fact the changes failed miserably.

  • FuNky ANGER

    What a stupid article … “The Oilers have enjoyed a tremendous run since the fall of 2014, with Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Oscar Klefbom, Matt Benning, Darnell Nurse and Jesse Puljujarvi all arriving to form a pristine cluster.”

    All those players except for Benning were drafted in the 1st round. And all were drafted in the top 7 or higher except for Klefbom who was drafted 19th overall. The tremendous run was due to the Oilers not doing well in the regular season and continuing their high draft status. You’d expect players drafted that high in the first round to be players for your organization within a couple years at most as they are the most ready for the NHL. Wake me up when the Oilers drafted in the 4 and 5 rounds make the team and then make an impact.