To paraphrase Neil Young, nothing’s more valuable than a friend with the nerve to tell you when you’re pissing in the wind. At Christmastime 2010, I wrapped up my Winter Top 20 by saying:
- This is the strongest group of Oiler prospects I can recall. The 79-81 Oilers top 20 would have been better but after that this group must be the best. Potential and upside fall under the “If Wishes were Horses” category and we must know that some of these young men will falter. I think Oiler fans deserve good news by the tonne at this point in franchise history, so this list celebrates the future whatever it may be for the Copper and Blue. Source
That was a helluva list, the Winter Top 20. In all, 17 of the 20 men from that list made the NHL for at least a game. Seven years later? They’re all gone.
2010 WINTER TOP 20
The Oilers benefited from some strong early careers, specifically Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Jeff Petry and Devan Dubnyk. Note: Jeremie Blain is the player not listed here and the third man (Martindale, Roy) who didn’t appear in an NHL game.
I look at the rest of this list and think of opportunities lost. Linus Omark was a one dimensional player, but that dimension has great value. Teemu Hartikainen was dispatched in favor of Jesse Joensuu, but was that wise? And what of Magnus Paajarvi, he of the great speed? Martin Marincin remains a fringe player in Toronto but his numbers show he’s an effective NHL player, Brandon Davidson is finding his way and Devan Dubnyk has recovered his career in a big way. I think the theme from this top 20 should be ‘missed opportunity’ these years later.
2016 WINTER TOP 20
The Top 20 from last winter (2016) shows some promise. The wingers are going to be important and there are some viable options. Defense has been a primary focus since 2015, goaltending too. Peter Chiarelli absolutely hammered procurement on defense since arrival.
SUMMER 2017 TOP 20
This is the latest list, looks pretty balanced from here. Special attention paid to RW, leaving (imo) LW the area of greatest need for next summer at the draft. How many names here will play in NHL games? 17? We’re now entering an era that will not include lottery picks, the days of the 2010 Prospect list are down the line. Important to cash those picks in the second and third round. Ostap Safin finished the Four Nations Cup with four points in three games, he’s going to be a fascinating player to follow this winter. Second-round talent for sure.
Giants coach Jason McKee says he's hopeful Tyler Benson will be ready for WHL opening night. Won't be on ice at training camp.
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) August 23, 2017
That may offer us a clue about Benson at the rookie and main camps. I’m pleased the organizations appear to have the right goal in mind, getting this player completely healthy and then having him play a full WHL season. Godspeed, Tyler Benson.
Joey LaLeggia (EDM/BAK) actually converted from D to F at the AHL level to help his team’s depth chart.
— Ziggy (@Ziggy_14) August 19, 2017
This is an excellent look at Joey Laleggia’s season, he is a player to watch during training camp and in preseason. I can’t see him making the opening night lineup but goal-scoring wingers are always worth paying attention to in training camp. He is ineligible for waivers, so there’s no pressure there for the organization.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Edmonton’s 2010 prospect depth chart is all gone now, having been cashed by new general managers attempting to remake/remodel. We’re quickly moving away from the days when the Top 20 Prospects updates were the centerpiece of this blog, because the future is now. That said, names like Benson and Laleggia and Bear and Gambardella can still find a way to contribute in a support role. The heart of the order is close to capacity. Finally.