We’re mid-summer and trying to remember how to mix drinks on a Saturday night, so no better time to discuss Edmonton Oilers’ prospects. I do a Top 20 in June and December on Lowetide (here), but the ON summer edition focuses on being NHL-ready. Here we go.
- No. 20 (Last Summer: NR) RC Aapeli Rasanen. Sioux City (USHL) 38gp, 7-18-25. He looked very good at the just concluded World Junior Summer Showcase, has a lot of two-way ability and playmaking skill. Rasanen will attend Boston College this season and probably play a depth role.
- No. 19 (Last Summer: NR) RD John Marino. Harvard (NCAA) 35gp, 2-13-15. Marino showed well in his first college season, played a two-way role that may have obscured offensive ability. The hardest players to project are college players, we just don’t see them much and only one or two play defenders prominent offensive roles. Could be a sleeper.
- No. 18 (Last Summer: NR) R Greg Chase. Bakersfield (AHL) 48gp, 3-11-14. He has now played 76 games for Bakersfield, posting 5-18-23. I don’t think he’s played enough through two seasons, perhaps the organization has already made their decision on him. I’d like to see a full year with Bakersfield to see if he can score at that level.
- No. 17 (Last Summer: NR) LD Ben Betker. Bakersfield (AHL) 30gp, 1-5-6; Stockton (ECHL) 5gp, 3-2-5). Big blue (6.06, 228) turns 23 in the fall. He had a 5×5 GF-GA of 23-17 and that’s a good number. He is a defensive defender but that size (and some speed) has value.
- No. 16 (Last Summer: No. 20) R Patrick Russell. Bakersfield (AHL) 68gp, 8-9-17. He shoots the puck a lot (150 shots, 2.21 a game) and was deployed heavily on the penalty kill. Speed was an issue, that’s a difficult thing to overcome. His shooting percentage was very poor a year ago, could spike in 2017-18.
- No. 15 (Last Summer: No. 18) LC Bogdan Yakimov. Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik (KHL) 50, 3-8-11). He looked really good in North America (training camp) but also bolted for the KHL when optioned out to Bakersfield (he did wait 36 games waiting for the recall, this was 2015-16). Edmonton retained his rights so maybe there’s a future here.
- No. 14 (Last Summer: No. 17) RD Filip Berglund. Skelleftea (SHL) 47gp, 0-9-9. Two-way defender already playing pro in Sweden. Berglund averaged less than 10 minutes a night in the SHL this past season, you want to see that stretched out in 2017-18. I think he might come over next fall.
- No. 13 (Last Summer: NR) G Dylan Wells. Peterborough (OHL) 52gp, 3.07 .916. Year over year save percentage progress (.871 to .916) was amazing and his playoff performance (.930) added to the strength of his season. Played at the WJSS and had moments of brilliance and inconsistency. Oilers clearly like him, club has signed him already.
- No. 12 (Last Summer: No. 15) L Tyler Benson. Vancouver (WHL) 33gp, 11-31-42. His 1.27 points-per-game trails Kailer Yamamoto (1.52) among WHL forwards from 2016-17 but shows how much skill Benson brings. A promising young player, he would rank much higher if not for injury concerns.
- No. 11 (Last Summer: No. 12) LD Dillon Simpson. Edmonton Oilers (NHL) 3gp, 0-0-0; Bakersfield (AHL) 53gp, 3-8-11. Played in his first three NHL games this season and was quietly effective in limited time. Ryan Stanton and Keegan Lowe may block him from another trip to Edmonton this winter, but that’s to be determined.
Last year’s list is here, tomorrow 10-1.