Edmonton Oilers prospects to watch at the Young Stars tournament in Penticton
5 months ago
The official unofficial start to the Edmonton Oilers season begins this weekend at the NHL’s Young Stars tournament in Penticton.
The roster was announced earlier this week in anticipation and many familiar names are attending the weekend. Those include Beau Akey, who the Oilers took in the second round of the 2023 NHL Draft in Nashville, former first-round pick Xavier Bourgault, as well as other draftees in Matvey Petrov, Tyler Tullio and Carter Savoie. One player not attending is former third-round pick Luca Munzenberger.
The tournament begins against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday, followed by games against the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks on Saturday and Sunday.
Despite many reports suggesting the Oilers don’t have a strong prospect pool, there are many names to look out for this weekend.
Xavier Bourgault needs to go out and prove himself to be the best player in this group. The Oilers missed on a couple of players by picking Bourgault at 22nd overall in 2021 and now is his opportunity to turn the Haters away. He had a decent first year in the American Hockey League, scoring 13 goals and 34 points in 62 games. The only rookie to score more than him was Noah Philp with 37 points; however, he played eight more games than Bourgault. A positive tournament from Bourgault could help leapfrog him into an impactful season back with the Condors.
The NHL Young Stars tournament will be the first time fans see Beau Akey in Oilers colours. The Oilers don’t have much of his style of play on the blueline. He skates well and can generate exciting offensive plays. Last season with the Barrie Colts, he finished 11 goals and 47 points in 66 games and only saw a drop in production after Brandt Clarke returned to junior. Akey is the prospect I am most curious to see play with Oilers high-end offensive prospects like Matvey Petrov, Carter Savoie and Bourgault.
It is not very often a seventh-round pick builds up hype. However, that is precisely what Maximus Wanner has done. He’s a 6’3″ offensive defenceman with good skating traits. In his last two seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors in the Western Hockey League, he scored 14 goals and 53 points in 99 games. Wanner also showed up big time in the playoffs with five goals and 14 points in 19 career WHL playoff games. The organization has big hopes for this guy, making him somebody to key in on in Penticton.
So there you have it—three players to look out for at the NHL’s Young Stars tournament this weekend. Again, despite what many say, the Oilers have plenty of young talent pushing their way through the ranks, and many we didn’t discuss today.
If you’re heading to the tournament, enjoy and get used to that feeling of being in the rink because hockey is back.
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