A promising first look at Edmonton Oilers prospect Beau Akey
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
2 months ago
Beau Akey impressed the Edmonton Oilers fan base in his lone pre-season appearance against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday. So much so that fans let their emotions run ragged on Twitter when the Oilers sent him back to the Barrie Colts the following day.
Before we get deeper into how he performed in that game, let us explain quickly why he was sent down. Akey was the Oilers first pick of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft but was taken in the second round. In pre-season, each team has to ice at least eight veterans. Veterans are defined as players who have played 100 games in the NHL, played 30 or more games the season before, or former first-round picks. Akey doesn’t hit any of those categories and, therefore, wasn’t necessarily needed by the team.
The Barrie Colts season has already started, so the move allows him to get settled in junior. If he was a first-rounder, he would likely have stayed. But don’t worry, we will see him again.
Moving on, Akey played shy of 17 minutes, 16:26, on Sunday night. He registered three shots, with only one hitting the net.
Throughout the game, Akey showed his skating ability in various ways. The most notable was his alertness to jump into the rush. At almost every opportunity, last year’s 56th overall pick transitioned quickly with forwards and made himself an option in the attack. He also utilized this skill in the defensive zone, getting to picks first and putting pressure on puck carriers.
The skill that stood out the most for me was his forward-thinking. At every opportunity, Akey was advancing the play with his feet or the puck. Rarely did he retreat from the attack. With the attacking force the Oilers have, you want players with that mindset in your organization.
Akey is a high-risk, high-reward player, and the goal allowed against the Jets is an example. The Oilers were pressing for a goal, and Akey took a shot, which was blocked instantly. He then put the pressure on but couldn’t win it back. That sequence resulted in him being closer to the goal line than the blue line, and then, a couple of bounces later, Dominic Toninato got a breakaway and scored. It was a learning moment for Akey, who probably could’ve found a better option than shooting the put. It’s not a bad thing that he’s this way, either. It’s the way of the modern defenceman.
Overall, the positives significantly outweighed the negatives in Akey’s pre-season debut. He is an offensive mind puck skating defenceman with a ton of upside. A year in the OHL without Brandt Clarke will do wonders for him. Who knows when we will see him in the NHL, but the first sample size leaves us all wanting to see him more. Not to get ahead of ourselves, but the Oilers look to have a future NHLer on their hands from their 56th overall pick.
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