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Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Oilers Pre-Draft Top Ten Prospects

As the Oilers get set to add another group of prospects to their ever improving stable of youngsters it’s time to take a look at what they currently have stocked in the cupboard.

The Chiarelli management team has actually done a pretty good job refuelling the pipeline over the last three seasons. I’d have confidence in this group to hit the nail on the head a couple of more times in 2018.

The most important thing about this list is that the majority of them will be calling Bakersfield home this season finally providing that program with some legitimate NHL prospects. Good news for Jay Woodcroft.

OILERS TOP TEN – JUNE 2018

1. Kailer Yamamoto – RW

Yamamoto impressed the Oilers during his brief stint with the club last season. After struggling early in his return to Spokane Yamamoto took over offensively in the second half of the year.

The Oilers love him because he thinks the game at an extremely high level. I’d expect Yamamoto to get another extended look in the pre-season, possibly into the regular season.

If he spends the majority of the year in the American Hockey League he should be given the ice-time and opportunity needed to hit the 50 or 60-point mark. 

ETA: January 2019

2. Ethan Bear – D

Ethan Bear made the most of a late-season opportunity this past spring. The boost of confidence he received at the end of the year will hopefully lead to a big year.

I don’t think Bear will be ready to start the season in Edmonton but he’s likely ahead of schedule for the organization. A full year of running the point on the power play in Bakersfield is exactly what Bear needs.

ETA: October 2019

3. Caleb Jones – D

I think Caleb Jones’ long term potential is flying under the radar a little bit. Jones was a point per game player in his final year with the Winterhawks. In his first pro season with the Condors, he put up 17 points in 58 games.

He won’t be an offensive dynamo at the next level but I’d be shocked if he doesn’t become an NHL regular. For a 21-year-old he thinks the game at a high level, which should allow him to become a workhorse in Bakersfield this season.

ETA: January 2020

4. Tyler Benson – LW

The good news for Tyler Benson is that he managed to play 58 games for the Giants this season. The great news is that when he was playing, he was producing. Benson averaged 1.19 points per game during the regular season and then tacked on 11 points in seven playoff games for Vancouver.

The local product got a taste of the AHL at the end of the season and factored in on three goals over a five game stretch. Oilers fans should be excited to see a full year of Benson in Bakersfield.

ETA: January 2020

5. Cooper Marody – C/RW

The Oilers were very happy to pluck Cooper Marody out of Philadelphia. Well, I haven’t seen much of Marody but I’ve been told by a scout that he is a highly intelligent player with the ability to slow the game down.

He was dominant at times this past season in Michigan, finishing the campaign with 51 points in 40 games. From what I’m hearing, the organization is expecting him to get some games with the big club this season. He’ll be 22-years old in December.

ETA: March 2019

6. Kirill Maksimov – RW

The Oilers scouting staff were in fine form when they selected Kirill Maksimov in the 5th round of the 2017 draft. Maksimov exploded offensively after being sent to Niagara mid-way through the 2016-2017 season. He continued to roll this past season recording 80 points in 62 games with the IceDogs. He finished with a team leading 34 goals. Maksimov is oozing with potential and may be the most intriguing prospect in this group.

ETA: October 2021

7. Stuart Skinner – G

We always assumed Stuart Skinner had all the tools to be an elite goaltender at the WHL level, he proved that this spring. A mid-season WHL blockbuster landed Skinner in Swift Current and that’s where he took his game to another level.

Skinner topped all goaltenders with a .932 save percentage and 2.20 goals against average on his way to a WHL championship. The Edmonton native outperformed Carter Hart in the WHL Final. Hart is thought by many to be the best goaltending prospect in hockey. I may be jumping the gun but I think the Oilers have their goalie of the future.

ETA: January 2020

8. Dmitri Samorukov – D

Dmitri Samorukov has adjusted well to the North American game over the past couple of seasons in the Ontario Hockey League. Samorukov’s point total jumped from 20 as a rookie to 34 as a sophomore in Guelph.

If he does eventually play in the NHL it will be because of his size and defensive game. He won’t be joining the Oilers anytime soon but could be worth the wait.

ETA: October 2021 

9. Ostap Safin – RW/LW

Ostap Safin is a giant with a lot of offensive potential. I’ve heard him described as highly skilled but still needing a lot of work in other areas of his game.

At this point, I’d say he’s a long-term project for Jay Woodcroft and his crew in Bakersfield.

ETA: October 2021

10. Aapeli Rasanen – C

The good news for the Oilers is that there is no rush for Rasanen as he just wrapped up his first year at Boston College. Rasanen put up 16 points in 32 games as a freshman.

He’s a player who has become a big part of the Finnish National Program for his age group and has produced well offensively at international events. This kid is certainly someone worth keeping an eye over the next few years in Boston.

ETA: October 2022

THE WRAP:

Chiarelli and his staff have done a better than average job restocking the cupboards over the past three years. Their current top ten has a nice mix of players at various positions and no real glaring weakness. You could be concerned by the fact that there are only two centers on this list but when you have McDavid, Draisaitl and Nuge under control for a long, long time that would just be nitpicking. While most of us are thinking the smart play is at a d-man with the 10th overall pick I think the door is probably wide open for the best player available….more on that later in the week…from Dallas.

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  • OilersBro

    I know we don’t like Chiarelli here because of his abysmal trades and free agent overpayments, however, you cannot deny that he has done a great job of stacking the shelves with young talent.

    • Craig1981

      There is much more to being a GM than just trades. From dealing with the farm team to not saying your starting goalie isn’t a starting goalie. Chi is actually good at those. I don’t knowhow you do it, but he needs help (or his responsibility taken away) when it comes to trades.

  • JimmyV1965

    Bizarre to look at this list and see that we actually have some real prospects. And the list doesn’t include guys like RHD Filip Bergland or LHD William Laggesson. Both were in Sweden last year.

  • QuitForRealThisTime

    Don’t know much about Cameron Hebig, but he seemed to have pretty good numbers in the WHL. Could be in Bakersfield next season I believe. Condors look like they will have a lot of new faces.

  • VK63

    the good news for these prospects.
    Chia has run the Oiler cap management wagon into the ditch.
    They will get their looks early and often… given the Oilers development record…… PAIN meds advised. (for the fans).

  • 18% body fat

    all top 10 were drafted in range or later than ranked, and also drafted for skill.

    Deharnias, Brindamour, Campbell, Coughlin, Cairs, etc…. are terrible picks, no reason for any of them were they were drafted or even being drafted. So much skill on the board. And here we are hoping for a player like Andreas Johnson to be in the pipeline. Well he could have been added to the team easily, and if you look at his pre draft stats he was good. Height was the issue.

    The draft is not hard. Skill skill skill, maximize your assets. This can even be done with 6th and 7th rounders.

  • OriginalPouzar

    I watched four Michigan games after the Marody acquisition (as an aside, my goodness can Quinn Hughes skate).

    Anyways, I was pleasantly surprised by Marody’s game – he was more skilled than I anticipated and was absolutely and “all tools/all situations” type of player – trusted by his coach for big faceoffs, defensive situations, PP, PK, etc. Similar to how I see Rasanen but more skilled.

    Of course, he was a bit older than many of his teammates so expected to lead offensively but he earned his points with skill and a good hockey IQ.

    Then he goes on to have a very good showing in the few games he played in the AHL – put up some points and, from accounts, was the best player on the ice in at least one if not two of the games.

    A great acquisition by Chiarelli as the main piece of the Maroon deadline deal.

    He will have a top 6 role in Bakersfield and hopefully has a great season.

    I hope the Oilers are able to acquire a veteran 4C and allow Marody to develop in the AHL all year unless he forces a call-up with his play.

    He is definitely no sure thing for the NHL but he is definitely a real prospect.

  • OriginalPouzar

    One prospect that has potential to be an absolute steal is Maksimov – what great arrows for a 5th rounder.

    He has a lethal shot – hard, accurate and he gets it off quickly. From what I’ve seen of him, its a shot I don’t think we’ve had at forward since Jason Arnott.

    He loves to one-time it from the Ovechkin spot and many many of his goals were from that spot this past season.

    Hopefully he continues to develop and “makes it” because if he does develop enough for the NHL, that shot will score goals.

  • Moneyball

    Say what you will about Chiarelli but I hope he sticks around for a while. He has fixed the fundamentals flaws the organization has had regarding drafting. When he first got here he directed the scouts to spend more time scouting for later rounds than the first round. Changed most of the scouts and made smart trades on good prospects. A good team to day has good internal development and is less reliant on trades. Since EDMONTON is not a free agent magnet this is the only way we will win. Since he has got here I see a lot more positive than negative.

    • ROILYDoGG$

      I would assume because they played in Europe? But I think Lagesson and Berglund could acgully be pretty high up on the list for dmen, possibly around bear and Jones. Any word on Mantha, what’s with the eye or health issue ?
      Agree with money ball 100% Chai has been pretty solid on drafting and small moves college signings to fill the farm as ive said before. I believe if he didn’t pull that Reinhart deal he would have much more love, that was a bad gamble that never turned out and I would assume that’s why he’s here is because that was Greens poor advice.
      We need a solid pick this draft plus get great picks in the lower rounds like Akil Thomas and a few RH shot dmen, not a fan of Merkley or TY Smith.