The season began with a lot of promise for Anton Slepyshev. He got noticed early and often, and early days Oilers management picked him out of the crowd.
— Marty Klinkenberg (@globemartyk) October 5, 2015
- 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
Ferraro on Anton Slepyshev: "That kid's a player. I saw him at World Junior & loved him. He's not a 3 years in the AHL" project. #Oilers
— Bruce McMcCurdy (@BruceMcCurdy) May 28, 2015
We now know the Oilers had some bonus/cap issues (leading to Leon being sent down) and that the team was in fact looking for players who have “the ability to play a heavy game.” Anton Slepyshev was impressive enough to win an NHL job early, but the pucks weren’t going in and he lost his job to Iiro Pakarinen. That is a concern. Why?
Iiro Pakarinen isn’t a high bar, and Slepyshev didn’t (as I thought he might) rip up the AHL. Slepyshev had some injury issues during the year and that cost him time. Since returning, he is 12, 3-3-6 and has an assist in each of his last two games. His assist today came on a goal by Matt Ford, with fellow Russian Bogdan Yakimov getting an assist.
Maybe the combination of getting healthy, adding Yak 2.0 and a small push up the depth chart is what the doctor ordered. The Oilers don’t have many players in Bakersfield who have received positive endorsements from men like Ray Ferraro. It is imperative the organization finds a way to get him to the next level as a productive player.
- Slepyshev on what he needs to do in order to get back to the NHL: “When the Oilers management sent me down to the AHL to play in Bakersfield they clearly let me know what I did well and what I needed to work on. I took what I needed to work on and have been developing those skills in the AHL. In my time in the AHL, I have learned to think faster on the ice and make quicker decisions. I also learned how to play stronger and win battles against the boards. I now understand what a smart decision in this kind of hockey is and I understand what an unwise decision is. I am trying to find the keys to success in this league. I have been working on things that will translate into points. Points are what I really lack.”
Small victories are big steps.