Here is my rundown of the Top 20 Prospects for 2011. I do a list based on a blend of importance and value to the Edmonton Oilers.
1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins C - The class of the list and a player with the highest of upside and potential. Ceiling - First line playmaking center.
2. Jeff Petry D - A Dman that is more than capable to be solid at both ends of the ice. When he identifies how to use his shot, he will increase his offense ten-fold. Ceiling - First pairing two-way Dman.
3. Oscar Klefbom D - A Dman that is almost a polar opposite of Petry. He knows how to use his shot, but needs to work on how to work in his own zone. All will come with experience, a willingness to learn and a good attitude. Ceiling - First pairing two-way Dman.
4. Anton Lander C - Is destined to be a 3rd line center. He has the work ethic, the drive and the leadership to do so. Could potentially be a 2nd liner in with the right line combination. Ceiling - 2nd line shooting center.
5. Tyler Pitlick C - Position will determine his value. He is far more valuable if he can turn out to be a center than a winger. The Oilers have a need for a RH shooting center and he fits the bill. Also has value as a punishing on the forecheck type winger. Versatile player. Ceiling - 2nd line shooting center
6. Martin Marincin D - It will be interesting to see where he starts the year. At this stage of the game his offensive side has emerged more than his defensive side which is surprising. He might benefit from another year in junior. Ceiling - Middle pairing Dman.
7. Curtis Hamilton LW - If Curtis Hamilton is 7th on your prospect depth chart, you have a deep prospect pool. Hamilton will be a jack of all trades winger, score a little, check a little, be tough to play against. Ceiling - 2nd line grinding winger.
8. Linus Omark LW - Omark is an interesting case study. His year could really go either way. Shoot for the moon or straight in the dumpster. I still think he would benefit from understanding the importance of being a depth player/sub player. If he struggles early, the coaching staff could struggle with him. Ceiling - 2nd line playmaking winger.
9. Olivier Roy G - Its a big year for Roy. If he ends up in OKC to end the year, thats good, if he ends up in Stockton to end the year, thats bad. Roy needs to establish himself fairly quickly as the Oilers now have a dearth of goaltenders to run through if anyone falls off the tracks. Ceiling - Potential starting goaltender.
10. Tyler Bunz G - One of the goaltenders that wil be hot on Roy's heels chasing him for a job in the pros in the future. Bunz will be heading back to junior this year, but possibly could get a chance to star for Canada on the U20 team. Ceiling - Potential starting goaltender
11. Ryan Martindale C - I feel he will be lower next year, but as of now, he does have high potential. Martindale has some fence mending to do with Oilers staff regarding work ethic and desire. Has nice offensive flair at the junior level. Ceiling - 2nd line playmaking/shooting center.
12. Teemu Hartikainen LW - Grinder type winger that battles hard for the puck. Has some modest offensive skill that counterbalances his defensive game. Will have an NHL career as and up and down winger. Ceiling - 3rd line grinding winger.
13. Jeremie Blain D - Had an impressive half a year in the QMJHL. Modest offensively, modest defensively. Not overly tough, but more of a puck mover. Overall a pretty non-descript game. Ceiling - Middle pairing Dman.
14. Colten Teubert D - Tough, defensive minded defenseman. Working on trying to bring some offense since arriving in OKC. Has a ways to go, but is on track to arrive in the NHL some time in the future. Ceiling - Bottom pairing Dman.
15. David Musil D - Kind of in the same boat as Teubert. Big and tough but still trying to find an offensive dimension to his game. He has great tools for a big man, just a matter of trying to develop his mental skills. Ceiling - Bottom pairing Dman.
16. Brandon Davidson D - A meat and potatoes type Dman. Not as tough as Teubert and Musil but comes with a hint more offensive potential. Will be a serviceable Dman throughout his career. Ceiling - Bottom pairing Dman.
17. Toni Rajala LW - A forgotten prospect after heading back to Finland after a solid year in Brandon, "have wheels will travel" is the motto for Rajala. Dynamic speed to go with a gifted offensive skill set. Not much grit to his game. Ceiling - 2nd line playmaking winger.
18. Samu Perhonen G - Big, lanky, athletic goaltender that has a nice frame to become a solid goaltender. Still very raw and unproven though. Will have to make many necessary steps before being in the big show. Ceiling - Potential starting goaltender.
19. Antti Tyrvainen LW - Crash and bang type winger. Some call him tough, others call him dirty. Either way, he is a player that will make an impact on the game. Has some decent offensive skills as well. Ceiling - 4th line banging winger.
20. Travis Ewanyk C - Tenacious, checking line center. Loves to be lined up against the other team's best. Rare for a junior player to relish in such a role. Has a long road to get to the pros and needs to continue to develop and improve each year. Ceiling - 4th line center.
Final thought - The Oilers can really use some right handing shooting forwards in the future. Only Pitlick shoots right. It will be tough to run a power play without it.