This is Kim Issel. He was the 21st player taken in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft. He was a huge winger (6-4, 200) out of the WHL who had some talent (played on a Mem Cup winner) but the Oilers had so much depth in those days it was tough for even the first rounders to make an impact on the major league roster.
Issel had a pretty long playing career (he retired in 1999) for a guy who didn’t play much at all in the NHL (4 games) but his second and third AHL seasons were pretty damn good (34 and 36 goals) and when Austria called Issel answered and began a decade long nomad’s life outside the NHL pipeline.
There are more Kim Issel’s than true NHLers in the Edmonton Oilers system, and Guy Flaming’s latest crack at ranking them is interesting on a lot of levels. Robert Nilsson is ranked #3 and Marc Pouliot #6, which I would have thought should be reversed. Guy mentions that Pouliot spent only a week in California training and coach MacT’s conditioning concerns.
With Guy’s connections to the Oilers, I’m hesitant to suggest he’s wrong on something because:
- He has a pipeline to the scouts
- He does this for a living so his reputation is on the line when he writes these top 20′s.
I think the rating is incorrect. Nilsson may outscore Pouliot but he isn’t a better player, and conditioning may be a concern but there’s every chance Pouliot’s summer workouts didn’t end in California. He survived that horrible run last season and impressed the most important hockey man in the organization. MacT:
“From what I’ve seen from him, he plays a responsible game. There’s no reason he can’t play a third-line role if he can’t fill a top-two line spot. There are a lot of players, of which we have a few, who have to play on your top two lines, otherwise they’re not going to play. He’s not one of those guys. He’s a guy who can play that third-line centre spot.” (March 5, 2007)
I think Pouliot is a better player than Robert Nilsson, and he’s going to camp with a head coach who values the things he brings more than the things Nilsson brings. They’ll probably both make the club, but I don’t think Guy’s ranking is correct in regard to these two prospects.
Other interesting items from Guy’s article include:
- Schremp says he’ll be 100% healthy for camp.
- O’Marra has been 100% for two months.
- Guy sets up the Jacques situation perfectly, suggesting that with Penner’s signing Jacques is expendable but the Oilers need to play him in order to increase his value.
- Guy also has some nice insight into Brodziak’s increased chances with Pisani’s injury.
Guy Flaming’s Oilers top 20 is always an interesting and informative read.