OILERS NO. 4 PROSPECT (winter 2015): ANTON SLEPYSHEV

It is extremely rare for an air of mystery to revolve around any player in the modern era. We see video, get the vitals, run the NHLE and receive many thoughtful and accurate scouting reports on these players in their draft seasons. And yet, with Anton Slepyshev there is a certain delight in the news received this fall. On or around draft day, we were told he was 6.02, 194, but upon arrival this fall he was clearly bigger—6.02, 217—and the young man can wheel while also scoring goals. That’s a tremendous combination and partially explains the spike in this year’s rankings for the Russian.

PREVIOUSLY NO. 4 ON THE WINTER LIST

  • December 2005: L Jean-Francois Jacques (166 NHL games)
  • December 2006: C Andrew Cogliano (640 NHL games)
  • December 2007: D Taylor Chorney (75 NHL games)
  • December 2008: C Rob Schremp (114 NHL games)
  • December 2009: C Chris VandeVelde (135 NHL games)
  • December 2010: D Martin Marincin (95 NHL games)
  • December 2011: L Teemu Hartikainen (52 NHL games)
  • December 2012: D Martin Marincin (95 NHL games)
  • December 2013: D Martin Marincin (95 NHL games)
  • December 2014: C Bogdan Yakimov (1 NHL game)

Among the men on this list, Andrew Cogliano is clearly going to have the best career (I don’t see any in this group who look like they’ll challenge, do you?). That was a really bad trade. JFJ, Schremp, Hartikainen and Yakimov are the only players who haven’t played in the NHL this season, incredibly. Marincin is coming up on 100 NHL games, I still think he’ll have a career. Based on where they were drafted, and using NHL GP as the metric, Chris VandeVelde turned into a very good pick.

slepyshev capture

WHAT THEY SAID ON DRAFT DAY

  • Corey Pronman: Slepyshev was passed over in last year’s draft, mostly due to signability concerns. Despite being ranked 17th in last year’s Hockey Prospectus draft rankings, he falls to 45th this season, simply due to the depth of the draft class. He is an above-average skater, with agility and free movement, as his shiftiness makes him hard to check. He has a plus shot and he knows it, as his mentality is often shoot-first, even from distance. He can still make plays, and he does not have tunnel vision, but his playmaking skills are not his best element. His physical game has progressed, and he has added strength since last season. He can protect pucks moderately well. He will display physical effort, although it could be better at times. He also needs to work on his defensive game.
  • ISS Scouting Report: “Perhaps the best player that was most shockingly left off the draft board last year, Slepyshev came back strong this year. A talented two-way player with good spirit, Slepyshev has great hands and can really make things happen from the perimeter with the puck. He shows good work ethic, can play physical and also can be a real pest to play against. He shows good power elements in his game and can protect the puck well and isn’t afraid to go into the dirty areas of the ice. Saw good minutes for Russia at this year’s WJC and should be in line to be one of their top weapons for next year’s event.”

PREVIOUS TOP 20 RANKING

  • Summer 2013: 7
  • Winter 2013: 17
  • Summer 2014: 18
  • Winter 2014: 17
  • Summer 2015: 9
  • Winter 2015: 4

SLEPYSHEV IN THE KHL

  • 2011-12 (age 17) 39GP, 4-3-7 (8:55 TOI, 28 shots) (1.21 points-per-60) (4.83 shots-per-60)
  • 2012-13 (age 18) 26GP, 7-2-9 (12:40 TOI, 63 shots) (1.64 points-per-60) (11.48 shots-per-60)
  • 2013-14 (age 19) 36GP, 3-5-8 (10:18 TOI, 59 shots) (1.30 points-per-60) (9.55 shots-per–60)
  • 2014-15 (age 20) 58GP, 15-10-25 (12:26 TOI, 129 shots) (2.08 points-per-60) (10.73 shots-per-60)

2015-16

  • Todd McLellan: “Yes. When I look at his game, and I watched the video again—the video doesn’t lie. He did a lot of the things we worked on today in the game. He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before. You can see it, he’s been around pro players for awhile.”
  • Todd McLellan: “He has the ability to play a heavy game and use his shot. He’s played with speed guys and with grinders … he’s getting better night after night and he’s really opening the coaches’ eyes.” Source

  • Craig MacTavish: “He has a dynamic skill set. High-speed skill. He competes well. There’s plenty of tools there.”
  • Corey Pronman“He’s a highly skilled playmaker with good speed, whose all-around game and ability to win battles have been issues.”
  • Lowetide: This was a nice draft pick by MacTavish/MacGregor. He has big league speed and size (6.02, 188) and posted his first quality KHL season at age 20 (NHLE: 28 points, including 16.5 goals). We should expect him to play in Bakersfield, and he’s willing to learn on the farm, but the numbers suggest he’s a better quality than most of the wingers Edmonton sent to the Barons for seasoning. Source

SLEPYSHEV WOWY

slepyshev wowy

Slepyshev’s TOI sample is so small there isn’t much to be gained here. One thing worth noting: His one NHL point came when he was on the ice with Taylor Hall. Slepyshev’s future with the Oilers, such as it is, will definitely be part of a skill line. Is he one of the members of the unicorn ‘third scoring line’?

vollman f nov 13

The Vollman has him in a good spot and his possession numbers aren’t terrible. You’d like to see him in the lower quadrant, filling the net with other youngsters while facing the soft parade. That day may be coming soon.

THE FUTURE

The thing about Anton Slepyshev is that we didn’t really know about his range until he got here. In watching exhibition games, it was clear that the combination of speed, size and skill makes him a far more significant prospect than previously suggested—we were missing the final chapter of the prospect book on him. He did score 15 KHL goals and impressed before the regular NHL season. We don’t have a full season of watching Slepyshev—and he might not have enough offense to play on the wing with one of these ridiculous centers—but the KHL season and the impressive fall are enough to get him here.

Oh, and the Chiarelli line above about Slepyshev versus Leon? I suspect NHL GMs have to tell fibs when cap issues arise and decisions like this are made. That’s my guess, anyway.  The top three names on the Winter Top 20 for 2015 are well clear of the rest of the men on this year’s list. Anton Slepyshev comes right after the big three, ahead of a prospect with higher pedigree, because the Russian’s offensive potential and speed have high value. In five years, he could be famous.

THE 2013 DRAFT

  • Darnell Nurse, No. 7 overall. A quality prospect who has delivered in the early days of his pro career. Has a range of skills and has had good-to-great games already the NHL season. No. 3 prospect, Winter 2015.
  • Marco Roy, No. 59 overall. Didn’t earn an NHL deal, signed to a minor league contract and played early days in the ECHL. Recalled to the AHL, we’ll see how things go.
  • Bogdan Yakimov, No. 83 overall. Mammoth Russian progressing, although he’s a little shy offensively this season in the AHL so far. A candidate for the Winter top 20.
  • Anton Slepyshev, No. 88 overall. Slick Russian winger impressed in camp and won an NHL job. Currently in the minors, but he’s bona fide. No. 4 prospect, Winter 2015.
  • Jackson Houck, No. 94 overall. Unsigned, playing in junior. No longer in the organization.
  • Kyle Platzer, No. 96 overall. New pro playing well in Bakersfield, good results. A candidate for the Winter top 20.
  • Aidan Muir, No. 113 overall. College winger, not scoring. A candidate for the Winter top 20.
  • Evan Campbell, No. 128 overall. College winger with decent results so far this year. A candidate for the Winter top 20.
  • Ben Betker, No. 158 overall. First year pro in the ECHL currently. Big, strong and good speed. A project. A candidate for the Winter top 20.
  • Greg Chase, No. 188 overall. Turned pro but was sent to the ECHL. Performed well there and was recently called to the AHL. Talented player, but no draft pedigree. A candidate for the Winter top 20.

It’s early days, but the 2013 draft may end up being what I hoped the 2010 draft would become. Craig MacTavish was at the helm for two drafts and came away with Darnell Nurse and Leon Draisaitl in those two years. Those two men look like cornerstone players who give further strength to the murder of No. 1 overall’s skating around the rink.

It’s the later round selections in 2013 that could really help the organization. Slepyshev is in the first year of his entry-level deal and by the end of it could be delivering impressive offense for cents on the dollar.

Bogdan Yakimov is a gigantic human being who can play hockey, never a bad idea. I’m not absolutely certain where he’ll play when NHL-ready and in all honesty it might be in another NHL city. That said, if Leon’s home in the bigs is RW, then another tower in the middle could find room.

We’re just closing the books on the 2010 draft, and even then Martin Marincin and Brandon Davidson are pushing for a better day. The 2013 draft houses new pro players like Kyle Platzer and Greg Chase, no one knows their road or where we’ll find them in 2018.

Still early days for the 2013 draft, and yet the arrows are showing up and heading in a good direction. Anton Slepyshev could be a notable Oiler in the coming seasons. We can’t see that from here, but there are good indicators.

ANTON SLEPYSHEV, EDMONTON OILERS

  • 5×5 points per 60: 0.64
  • 5×4 points per 60: nil
  • Qual Comp: No. 10 among F’s
  • Qual Team: No. 9 among F’s
  • Corsi Rel: 2.2 No. 6 among F’s
  • Corsi for % 5×5: 48.2
  • Zone Start: 53.2
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 5/0
  • Boxcars: 11GP, 0-1-1

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34 Responses to "OILERS NO. 4 PROSPECT (winter 2015): ANTON SLEPYSHEV"

  1. Pouzar says:

    he’s a player. We’ll ruin him

  2. Visually better says:

    ^^^^^^^

  3. Ca$h-McMoney! says:

    Like the player, wish he was given more rope when in the bigs this year, but on a long list of issues with this season it’s far down the list.

    My favorite part of looking at the 2013 draft, despite making a really good trade for depth picks, remains the Darnell Nurse selection. Not only because it looks like he’s a good player, but because he wasn’t the obvious choice. If I had to rank my preference of the available players at that spot, I’d have him #1 (Ristolainen would be #2, he was my pick at the time but having watched both now I prefer Nurse).

    Lots and lots of people were blowing their brains out for the big Russian, who has managed a whopping 3 points this year on a team that scores every 4 minutes or so.

    I’ll take Nurse any day, even if developing that player type takes a little time.

  4. dustrock says:

    LT, love the use of “murder of #1 picks”, nice double entendre.

  5. DBO says:

    If 3 scoring lines can happen, I assume it’s Drai as 3C. Unless Lander can find some range, or he is flanked by two offensive players (ala Horc with Hall and Eberle years ago). I’d try to run:

    Hall-Nuge-Draisatl
    Pou-McDavid-Eberle
    Slepyshev-Lander-Yakupov
    Hendricks-Letestu-Purcell

    The Lander line can be a bit more sheltered. Giving McDavid two vet wingers allows him to not be as sheltered, and that 4th line gets the D zone Gordon treatment. And anyone on that 4th line can play up to fill for the he youth if needed.

  6. PhrankLee says:

    I love this guy. AHL is perfect for him this year.

    He has a lot to adjust to.

    Anyone having problems with hockeystreams dot com today?

  7. Loyal2theoil says:

    I hate proposing trades, vut maybe Lander+ for Lazar? Throw in what else needed for wiercoch maybe?

    http://www.tsn.ca/lazar-struggling-to-find-permanent-spot-in-lineup-1.394687

  8. dustrock says:

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/30-thoughts-try-bigger-nets-in-the-all-star-game/

    Looks like our eyes on Drai last year were right that he got gassed, and it’s just not happening this year:

    20. Same question as above to Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl, with 13 points in eight games since his recall. “Last year, my third game was against the Kings, and by far it was my toughest. I don’t think I touched the puck once,” he laughed during a phone conversation Monday. “To be honest with you, it showed me what the NHL was really like.” Draisaitl was minus-3 that night, a stark contrast to last weekend, when he had two points as Los Angeles beat the Oilers 4-3. He looks like a totally different player, saying he tried some new workout routines in the Czech Republic with a trainer named Marian Voda. “At the beginning, there were some things I couldn’t do at all.” Like what? “The Bosu Ball. I was struggling with the co-ordination, but it became naturally easier and easier. It helped me a lot. I can just feel it on the ice now…a million times stronger, not as tired as last year, where I was falling off by the third period.”

    21. Apparently, Draisaitl had somewhat of an epic meeting when told he was going to AHL Bakersfield at the start of the season. He let the Oilers know how upset he was, but wouldn’t specifically go into what was said. “I was really disappointed…being the last guy cut was hard for me to take,” he admitted. “It took about a week to get over that and it showed in the way I played. Then you think, ‘This might be good for me, working on weaknesses.’ My mind changed.” By the way, Leon, are you a centre or a winger? “I don’t really know,” he laughed. “I say I like to be a versatile player.” Good interview.

  9. stush18 says:

    Is Reinhart still eligible for this list? If so I would have had him ahead of slepyshev.

  10. Pouzar says:

    dustrock,

    Also

    “Also getting strong reviews? Anaheim/San Diego’s John Gibson: “Ridiculously good.”

    Ya know who has a better SV%? 🙂

  11. LMHF#1 says:

    Slepyshev is a really interesting player with a unique skillset and experience. He’s exactly the kind of guy you need for depth at the forward position. I’m still a little disappointed they never gave him a regular line to play on and instead just bounced him around or took him out of a role after the first period of games. Good thing is, it isn’t now or never for him.

    Schremp leads Portland in scoring so far this year.

  12. Lowetide says:

    stush18:
    Is Reinhart still eligible for this list? If so I would have had him ahead of slepyshev.

    Reinhart is eligible, yes.

  13. Drew says:

    Loyal2theoil:
    I hate proposing trades, vut maybe Lander+ for Lazar? Throw in what else needed for wiercoch maybe?

    http://www.tsn.ca/lazar-struggling-to-find-permanent-spot-in-lineup-1.394687

    Not trying to be a bad guy but…

    Why would Ottawa do this? looking at the age and history of the players this does not make any sense.

  14. Caramel Obvious says:

    Looking at the AHL stats, there is nothing happening with that team. No one is looking good.

  15. matt says:

    I dream of unicorns. And a healthy team. And Anton Lander playing like he did at the end of last year. Absent that, what I hope to see in the second half of the year is:
    Pouliot-RNH-Eberle
    Hall-Draisatl-Purcell
    Klinkhammer-McDavid-Yakupov
    Korpikoski-Letestu-Hendricks

    In the meantime, who can get Yakupov going again? What is Derek Roy up to?

  16. Dr. Taboggan says:

    Caramel Obvious,

    Agreed. Although LB is playing great and I hear that the Nikitin kid has top-4 potential.

  17. Jordan says:

    @G-Money

    Congrats – You’re an AM Radio superstar!

    @LT

    Love your visual of the bubbling cauldron of brains, stewing and filtering the unrefined ideas of how to quantify the value of defensemen and gradually through time and refinement and high-pressured discussions, delivering pearls of wisdom and analytics. It rings true to the work many have done around this blog for the last decade.

    God, we’ve been so horrible for a full decade, we’ve spent most of it trying to quantify just how bad we’ve been.

    The fan in me wants to weep uncontrollably. The nerd in me wants to put on a cape and laugh maniacally.

  18. Pouzar says:

    Forward lines:

    Hall-Draisaitl-Purcell
    Pouliot-RNH-Eberle
    Hendricks-Letestu-Yakupov
    Korpikoski/Lander-Miller-Pakarinen

    The Oilers defence looked as follows in their first drill:

    Nurse-Sekera
    Klefbom-Fayne
    Davidson-Gryba
    Ference-Schultz

    Reinhart rotating in

  19. Jordan says:

    Pouzar,

    I like this very much.

    Esp. the 4th line. Lander-Miller-Pakarinen. The Baron Line.

    Except.

    Those last two d-pairings. Ew.

    We know Gryba needs some time away from the ice. And Ference needs all the time away from the ice. so….

    Davidson-Schultz is where this needs to go.

  20. Drew says:

    Jordan:
    @G-Money

    Congrats – You’re an AM Radio superstar!

    @LT

    Love your visual of the bubbling cauldron of brains, stewing and filtering the unrefined ideas of how to quantify the value of defensemen and gradually through time and refinement and high-pressured discussions, delivering pearls of wisdom and analytics.It rings true to the work many have done around this blog for the last decade.

    God, we’ve been so horrible for a full decade, we’ve spent most of it trying to quantify just how bad we’ve been.

    The fan in me wants to weep uncontrollably.The nerd in me wants to put on a cape and laugh maniacally.

    i missed the show today, dam work! G-Money was on? Big congrats!

  21. pts2pndr says:

    Pouzar,

    As a relative new guy to the site have you you reasoned and or measured out why? I think it is time that we start to research what we should be doing to not ruin good draft choices! I believe that we should for example have a Russian speaking coach as part of the team particularily if we are going to draft Yakopov, Yakomov, Slepeshev etc.

  22. Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons says:

    Lowetide: Reinhart is eligible, yes.

    I’m shocked that Reinhart is lower than Sleppy on this list.

  23. jp says:

    Pouzar:
    Forward lines:

    Hall-Draisaitl-Purcell
    Pouliot-RNH-Eberle
    Hendricks-Letestu-Yakupov
    Korpikoski/Lander-Miller-Pakarinen

    The Oilers defence looked as follows in their first drill:

    Nurse-Sekera
    Klefbom-Fayne
    Davidson-Gryba
    Ference-Schultz

    Reinhart rotating in

    So, I guess that means Reinhart is probably headed to Bakersfield when Schultz returns.

    Would have been nice to see him with someone who could move the puck before sending him away, but it’s going to hurt him to spend some more time in the minors.

    I’ve got no real complaints otherwise with those lines or pairings.

  24. jp says:

    Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons: I’m shocked that Reinhart is lower than Sleppy on this list.

    I’m surprised too.

    Does that mean you’re questioning his ability to be a top 4 D LT?

    Guess we could just wait till tomorrow for the answer 🙂

  25. Lowetide says:

    Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons: I’m shocked that Reinhart is lower than Sleppy on this list.

    Slepyshev earned it, he’s a very strong prospect.

  26. Lowetide says:

    jp: I’m surprised too.

    Does that mean you’re questioning his ability to be a top 4 D LT?

    Guess we could just wait till tomorrow for the answer :)

    Not at all. I still think Reinhart will be a good NHL player for a long time.

  27. G Money says:

    Jordan: @G-Money
    Congrats – You’re an AM Radio superstar!

    Drew: i missed the show today, dam work! G-Money was on? Big congrats!

    Whaaaaaaaat?! If I was on, it was an imposter!

    I assume maybe some of the stuff I’ve been noodling of late came up?

  28. jp says:

    Lowetide: Not at all. I still think Reinhart will be a good NHL player for a long time.

    Good to hear.

    He’s shown glimpses of 2-way ability, so I’m *hoping* for a shutdown defender who’s not devoid of offense.

    Looking forward to your thoughts on him when they come.

  29. Jordan says:

    G Money:
    Whaaaaaaaat?!If I was on, it was an imposter!

    I assume maybe some of the stuff I’ve been noodling of late came up?

    You assume correctly!

    LT name-dropped you in a discussion with Travis Yost about evaluating defensemen, and all of the thoughtful analysis that happens through the comments section here.

    I’m pretty sure that if you’re name-dropped like that on AM Radio, you’re entitled to a guest appearance on the show. I’m also pretty sure LT did it intentionally, because he’s hard up for analystics guests (read with all possible sarcasm – we all know he has access to the best guests, so if he wants you, he thinks highly of you).

    So… better get on those toastmasters classes!

  30. Drew says:

    Jordan: u

    We can start the G-Money drive for air time???

  31. böök¡je says:

    G Money:
    Whaaaaaaaat?!If I was on, it was an imposter!

    I assume maybe some of the stuff I’ve been noodling of late came up?

    It was probably the “Steve Smith” version of G-Money. We all have one.

  32. Undisclosed_Personal_Reasons says:

    Lowetide,

    There’s a lot to like about Sleppy: size, coach-ability and the potential for skill and speed–but I haven’t seen that potential translate yet.

    On this team, I think his best bet for job security is to play the “heavy” game Chia Pete and TMac are looking for first and then bring the skill. A player who fits on the third and could bump into the top six when he’s on his game.

    But, imo, there’s a sizable drop from Nurse to Sleppy and a not so clear a gap between Nurse and Reinhart (count me as one dissatisfied with current D metrics with a preference towards shot quality metrics such as dangers chances against).

  33. Genjutsu says:

    I’m happy with the player and I think you couldn’t write a better script on how to handle his pro career so far by the Oilers.

    He killed it in camp so the keep him while Ebs was out.

    Let’s him know where he has to get to.

    Send him down to figure it out.

    Hope he gets it.

  34. Water Fire says:

    There is nothing not to like about Sleppy. Skilled, fast, size, young. One of the best things for me is he also seems to have a mature and great attitude. He’s going to work to I think, and it’s key as we have seen with Paddle. He may not get into the top 6 but he is exactly who I want in the bottom 6 come playoff time.

    So many series are decided by role players. As McLellan said many times the top lines saw off, and I would way rather have Sleppy on a break away or shooting from the slot than Gazdic, The Colonel or Letestu, no disrespect to those fine gents.

    Throw in a Chase in a bit and there is some skilled jam to round the team out, and give Anton some round puckers to play with.

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