The CHL and NCAA seasons are coming to an end, and the KHL schedule is over next week. We’ll have plenty of time to look through the prospects and identify those who have clearly stepped up, but it’s probably time for a quick progress review.
- D Darnell Nurse: I had him #1 after the draft and in the winter edition. He is 62GP, 12-36-48 for the season, meaning he’s healthy and playing a lot. His offense faded as the season wore on (after starting 18, 6-14-20 he’s gone 44, 6-22-28) but a lot of his value is defensive. We’ll have to wait and see what happens at the draft, but he remains the most valuable prospect in the system.
- D Oscar Klefbom: Number 2 in winter, suspect he’ll fall down the list in the summer. Injuries are becoming a larger issue with Oscar, and at this point I think we can begin to wonder if he’s going to have a Rick Ley-Carlo Colaiacovo career.
- C Marco Roy: Ranked him third in the winter when he was ripping up the Q (8, 2-11-13) but injuries have impacted him and Roy is 27, 9-8-17 since. He’s playing again and scoring at about a point-per-game pace, but that just keeps him running in place. Roy is a 1994 birthdate, you’d want him dominating by now. The injuries have had a big impact, and his first post-draft season reminds me of Pouliot.
- D Martin Marincin: The star of this year’s prospect group, he got a cup of coffee and then stayed for the entire meal. Marincin gives Oiler fans hope for the future, because if he can come in and play this well (make no mistake, he’s been gold) then it’s possible for Klefbom or another to do the same. It’s very important we remember the recipe: draft, two years in junior, more than one AHL season. Rinse, repeat. Klefbom should be ready next November or so, if he can stay healthy and we follow those timelines.
- C Jujhar Khaira: He plays in a very tight defensive system in Everett, so we have to filter the results. However, his boxcars (54, 16-23-39) are well off the pace of others on the list. He started the year 12, 3-5-8 and is 42, 13-18-31 since, so there’s slight progress. I’ll look deeper into his special teams numbers (compared to others) during the spring, but 7 of his 16 goals are PP (implying he spends time there).
- C Bogdan Yakimov: He began the season like a house on fire (27, 5-5-10) but hasn’t played much in the KHL since November (6, 2-0-2). He’s done well in the MHL and looked very good at the WJ’s. He reminds me of Peter Mahovlich, that’s a compliment.
- D Anton Belov. He’s been playing in front of me all season and I still can’t make a decision on him. I really like Belov’s play when he’s effective, but there are real and present dangers in his game. I don’t know if it’s foot speed or his ability to turn, but he ends up being the defenseman most likely to miss a beat and be taken out of the play (well, along with Mark Fraser since his arrival). I don’t know.
- D Dillon Simpson: The young man just keeps matriculating towards success. I’m really looking forward to seeing him at training camp in the fall and he’s a complete wild card. Jeff Petry didn’t take a helluva long time to get to the NHL, and Simpson’s a quick study. Began the season 11, 1-5-6 and is 22, 6-9-15 since then. Genetics. Who knew?
- D Martin Gernat: I nicked him this year because of a fairly slow start (8, 0-3-3 and he spent time in the ECHL). Since then he’s 36, 3-12-15 and playing a regular shift in the AHL. The progress of Marincin is exciting when viewing Gernat, because they’re similar players. Gernat was a 5th round selection and has some chaos to his game (and Martin doesn’t always apply himself based on what we read) but there does seem to be a player here. A nice season.
- C Greg Chase: Well hell boys and girls this one’s a big fly (that means home run). Chase was taken in the 7th round of the 2013 draft and leads all CHL players in points. He’s truculent, a pain in the ass and has skill. Started the season 23, 14-11-25 and is 43, 18-34-52 since. A wonderful young player. I’d pay money to know how much pp time he gets, and we’ll have a big look at his ev/pp/pk splits later in the spring. This guy has 22 EV goals—Eberle had 20 in the season after he was drafted.
- L Mitch Moroz: A strong final season in junior got him his pro contract and maybe a spring fling in Oklahoma territory. Began the season 24, 16-8-24 and is43, 18-20-38 since. It’ll be very interesting to see where the place him in the minors next season.
- C Mark Arcobello: The young C has done everything in his power to show the Oilers he is worthy of a roster spot. He’s currently laying waste to the AHL, and I can’t believe the other 29 teams haven’t noticed. He’s UFA at the end of the season, the ball is in the Oilers court.
- D Taylor Fedun: Similar story to Arcobello. Everyone who reports from OKC suggests Fedun is the best defenseman on the farm, yet he has played in only four games with Edmonton this season. I don’t think he’ll make it to the NHL as a regular with the Oilers.
- D David Musil: The skating issues continue to be a part of the conversation, but he’s played much better than some expected as an AHL rookie. I think the Oilers look at him more long term—he’s slotted correctly on this list—but he also plays the defensive game well. That’s a unique item in the Oilers system.
- R Tyler Pitlick: A good season for Pitlick, he finally made it to the NHL and looked good. I expect he could be recalled before the season is over. Began his AHL season 7, 1-2-3 and is 27, 7-10-17 since. Pitlick is 3, 1-0-1 in the NHL.
- R John McCarron: The big man started very well (13, 3-12-15) but has fallen off since (15, 4-3-7). I still think they sign him, and he might play a large role in OKC next season. Reminds me of Colin McDonald.
- L Anton Slepyshev: He looked brilliant at the WJ’s, and started his KHL season 25, 3-3-6. Slepy is 11, 0-2-2 since and doesn’t seem to be getting the same level of playing time compared to a year ago. I believe he has one more year on his contract, wonder if the Oilers are pondering bringing him and Yakimov over at the same time.
- L Luke Gazdic: Oilers had three picks in the 2007 first round, and they’re going to get more out of a Dallas depth pick from that year than anyone but Gagner. Gazdic’s skill level confines him to 4line and means his outer marker is Zach Stortini (who was a better player), but the organization values this player-type and Gazdic’s success (they’ll sign him soon) means fans won’t see Cam Abney taken in the third round anytime soon. That has value.
- D Erik Gustafsson: A fascinating prospect and I do hope the Oilers sign him and bring the man over. Began the SHL season 30, 0-13-13 and then went 12, 2-4-6 after that on the way to a good year in Sweden’s best league. Shoots left, which may be important.
- R Jackson Houck: He began the year very well (33, 17-11-28) and is 31, 13-15-28 since. I have Houck, Chase and Moroz as a trio moving forward, idea being Edmonton is looking for a player who can play with skill while also winning battles and showing physical play. Moroz is bigger than the other two, but Chase and Houck are better hockey players.
The entire look at the organization from winter is here.
Our guests today include Paul Reinhart, goaltending coach Eli Wilson and Jonas Siegel from TSN 1050 in Toronto. We’ll also talk trade deadline and look forward to the big games tonight in the NHL.