No Oilers prospects expected to play at 2024 World Juniors
3 months ago
Like during the Decade of Darkness, the Edmonton Oilers are outside of a playoff spot looking in before the start of December.
But unlike during the Decade of Darkness, there won’t be any prospects for fans to get excited about during the World Junior Championships.
Over at The Athletic, Scott Wheeler and Corey Pronman took an early look at what teams Canada, the United States, Finland, and Sweden could send to the tournament, and none of them featured any Oilers prospects.
This year’s World Juniors will feature players who were born in 2004 or later, so it’ll largely be players from the 2022 draft. The Oilers have been in win-now mode over the past few years so they don’t have much to show from those two draft classes.
First-round pick Reid Schaefer was traded to the Nashville Predators as part of the return for Mattias Ekholm and, even then, he’s a late-2003 birthday and isn’t eligible to play in the World Juniors this year. Goaltender Samuel Jonsson and forward Joel Maatta, Edmonton’s fifth and seventh-round picks, were also over-agers, leaving defenceman Nikita Yevseyev as Edmonton’s only WJC-eligible prospect from the 2023 draft. Russia isn’t in the tournament, so Yevseyev won’t be either.
That leaves us with the 2023 draft, where the Oilers only had three selections. Their seventh-round pick, Matt Copponi, is having a solid season at Merrimack College, but there’s no chance he’s in contention for even a look. The same goes for Nathaniel Day, who was selected in the sixth round. The 18-year-old goaltender has an .860 save percentage and a 4.06 goals-against average in 18 games with the Flint Firebirds of the OHL.
Edmonton’s best chance at a player in the World Junior Championship would have been Beau Akey. Their second-round pick had four goals and nine points in 14 games as a defenceman for the Barrie Colts. However, he had season-ending surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder, so he won’t be in the mix until at least next season.
The Oilers have a 5-12-1 record and sit 10 points out of the final Wild Card position. Many of their prospects have aged out of the World Junior Championship, like Philip Broberg, Xavier Borgault, and Tyler Tullio. However, the prospect pool is an area of weakness for a team that looks like they may not make the playoffs this season, and that’s reflected in likely having no prospects in the World Junior Championship.
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