Monday, July 16, 2012
Oilers Top 20 Prospects 2012
Here is my rundown of the Top 20 Prospects for 2012. I do a list based on a blend of importance and value to the Edmonton Oilers. My cutoff for qualifying as a prospect is playing less than 40 games in the NHL.
1. Nail Yakupov RW - The latest 1st overall pick and a dynamic offensive winger. Will likely play on the big club out of the gate and a player with the highest of upside and potential. Ceiling - First line scoring winger.
2. Justin Schultz D - An agile Dman that enhances a team offense, through gifted skating and excellent vision. High hockey IQ. Capable defender as well. Ceiling - First pairing offensive Dman.
3. Oscar Klefbom D - Klefbom is a solid two-way defender with leadership abilities. All will come together with experience, a willingness to learn and a good attitude. Klefbom and Schultz could prove to be a solid 1st pairing of the future. Ceiling - First pairing two-way Dman.
4. Taylor Fedun D - Fedun was on course to make the big club last season until a frightful leg injury ended his season in the preseason. Should challenge for a spot on the club again this season. Smart puckhandler on the backend. Ceiling - Middle pairing puckmoving Dman.
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 Gernat D - 5th rounder from 2011 turned out to be a hidden gem. 6'5" defender with mobility and offensive flair. Needs to work on the defensive game somewhat but he has a reach advantage on most players. Ceiling - Middle pairing Dman.
7. Martin Marincin D - Didn't have a breakout WHL season last season. Put up modest point totals for Prince George/Regina. Better off now trying him in the AHL now. Sink or swim time for Marincin. Had a 6 game audition with OKC last season. Still needs to bulk up. Heavy shot is his calling card. Ceiling - Middle pairing two-way Dman.
8. Teemu Hartikainen LW - Hartikainen has been an AHL/NHL tweener the last couple of seasons. Will likely get the same treatment this upcoming season. Works hard, but his skating is average for the NHL level. Can play gritty and score a little. Needs to find a niche at the NHL level. Ceiling - 2nd line grinding winger.
9. Tobias Rieder RW - Rieder has adapted very well at any level he's played at. Has a variety of tools at his disposal but shooting is his best talent. Can play a variety of roles but has excelled in a scoring role with his Kitchener team. Ceiling - 2nd line scoring winger.
10. 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
11. Tyler Bunz G - One of the goaltenders that will be hot on Roy's heels chasing him for a job in the pros. Bunz will be starting his pro career off this season, likely will start the season off in Stockton. Ceiling - Potential starting goaltender
12. Curtis Hamilton LW - He and Hartkainen have flip-flopped spots this season. It was a slow start to Hamilton's pro career. Learning curve is a little longer than first anticipated but the tools are there to become a solid pro. Ceiling - 2nd line grinding winger.
13. Joey Laleggia D - Offensive minded, diminutive Dman. Interesting upside to this player, could become a Marc-Andre Bergeron type, or could turn into Taylor Chorney. Ceiling - Middle Pairing offensive Dman.
14. Jujhar Khaira LW - Khaira has a well rounded offensive game. Mostly a playmaker but can score a bit. Big body, but doesn't play overly physical. Playing in low-leveled leagues doesn't help his prospects, but I'm sure he will soon find his way to higher playing leagues. Better sooner than later. Ceiling - 2nd line offensive winger.
15. Daniil Zharkov LW - Big bodied, one shot scorer. Will remind some Edmontonians of Dustin Penner at times, but will put up numbers. A little more of a finished product than Khaira but less dimension to his game. Ceiling - 2nd line scoring winger.
16. 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. Injury plagued season hurt his development but looked more confident in his ability in his shortened season. Ceiling - 3rd line center.
17. Kristians Pelss LW - Pelss really found his role with the Oil Kings last season as a tenacious, pesky, up and down winger with a lethal shot. His shot might make him a top 6 forward but I feel his overall game will be better suited as a third liner. Ceiling - 3rd line winger.
18. Colten Teubert D - Tough, defensive minded defenseman. Will likely play the role of AHL/NHL tweener again this season, like he did last season. Not a lot of dimension to his game. Ceiling - Bottom pairing Dman.
19. 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.
20. 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.
Final thoughts - Oilers can still use more right handed shooting forwards. Much like last year, the only forward that shoots right is Tyler Pitlick. Oilers are lacking in the center department as well as they only have 2 centers on the list. The defense is slowly shaping up nicely. A nice blend of offensive and defensive minded Dmen. Goaltending has some decent prospects as well.