Taylor Chorney (wearing the “A”) is the most interesting name among the Oilers prospects bubbling under. Chorney is a little undersized for the NHL and doesn’t play a punishing stye, but he has some real strengths that are extremely valuable in today’s NHL.
Years ago, they would have called him a “mobile defender with a mastery of the head-man pass” but in today’s world he’s a puck mover who sees the ice well. He’s also a wonderful skater, just terrific and I hope his Frozen Four injury doesn’t impact his career.
- Harlan Anderson: 25-year old Alberta Golden Bear who had a nice CIS career and capped it off with a PTO and a few games (9gp, 0-0-0 -7) in Springfield. I haven’t a clue what will happen next in regard to his career.
- Sebastien Bisaillon: Such an interesting player. A little raw and slightly undersized for the NHL, he has all kinds of positives. Monster shot, good defensive skills and he delivered in the AHL (21gp, 3-7-10) before an ugly injury. Returned after a long layoff and helped Stockton in the playoffs. Undrafted with all his arrows going in the right direction.
- Taylor Chorney: I thought he’d be signed by now, that was the rumor. In the Sunday, April 27th EJ Journal Jim Matheson suggested the Oilers would sign him ” in the next week or two” but we haven’t gotten the news yet. Chorney did suffer an injury at the Frozen Four and that could impact his future but the early word was that it wasn’t too severe. If healthy, he’s probably the best player on this list. 43gp, 3-21-24 at UND.
- Josef Hrabel: 56gp, 3-10-13 in the RSL and he’s clearly a good player. The Oilers attempted to sign him recently but the agent blah blah blah. The math has been a fan of this guy from the start and I bet you he makes some noise somewhere. He’ll be a free agent June 1. If I lived in Europe and the Oilers drafted my son I’d buy him a soccer ball and tell him not to answer the phone when the Oilers called.
- Theo Peckham: There are some guys that just get it and Theo Peckham is one of them. HOW could he have passed all of the people he’s passed in so little time? Has he hit a wall yet? I wouldn’t bet on him staying behind Matt Greene on the depth chart for another calendar year. 59gp, 6-7-13 in the AHL and he played 1 NHL game. Consider the words of Coach MacT: “He’s a big, strong guy with decent foot speed for a guy his size and has a good first pass coming out of his zone. He started off in the East Coast League, but he’s established himself as one of the core guys in Springfield so it’s a good accomplishment so far. To come from the East Coast League to the NHL in his first year is a pretty good indication of his progress.”
- Jeff Petry: Rip Van Winkle body (6-2, 176) and a reputation of being a good two-way defender. Went 42gp, 3-21-24 in college (Michigan State) but didn’t get there until age 20. Guy Flaming loves him so much he has him rated as the #1 overall prospect in the system and Oiler scouts say extremely nice things about him. Bob Mancini: “Petry’s future is unlimited at his size, his mobility and he’s such a good passer. He’s very poised with the puck and he breaks his team out very well. He not only can make the 10-foot pass or the 20-foot pass coming around the back of his net but he can also look up ice and hit that guy who is 80 feet in front of him.”
- Alex Plante: His season was an epic fail. Quoting Guy Flaming: A serious training camp charlie horse that morphed into long-term back pain led to several months on the sidelines. Shortly after he returned to action, Plante was hit from behind and suffered a concussion after going head first into the boards. Perhaps most unfortunate is that during his long absence from play, the Hitmen went out and replaced him with veteran players who did not relinquish the ice time they picked up. Including playoffs he went 51gp, 1-4-5 and is apparently working out with Oilers fitness guru Chad Moreau.
- Mathieu Roy: Had almost as much bad luck as Plante this season. Went 20gp, 2-8-10 in Springfield and 13gp, 0-1-1 in Edmonton and missed a ton of time due to all kinds of things (Sportsnet says he missed 8 games this year because of “aches and pains” which sounds like a nickname to me). Signed to a nice $500k contract this season but may not clear waivers if sent out in the fall.
- Danny Syvret: He was the Oilers loaner this season. They loaned him to Hershey, they loaned him to the Spengler Cup and now he’s an RFA. Signing him would be cruel, but I think he can grab a job with an AHL team or in Europe and continue his career. 63gp, 2-18-20 for two AHL teams.
- Cody Wild: Oilers signed Wild on the strength of his NCAA season for Providence (32gp, 4-18-22) and he arrived in time to have a nice run in Springfield (13gp, 1-2-3) which should give him a nice head start for next year. One of three recently drafted college defenders (Chorney, Petry, Wild) who have a nice combination of skills that are similar to each other.
- Bryan Young: Crazy year for Young. He struggled so badly early on that he was a healthy scratch in Springfield over inexperienced options like Bisaillon. Through the end of December he was -14 for the Falcons and the organization implied he was trying to do too much. Things turned around in the new year and Young went +10 the rest of the way to finish up just over par. Young has an advantage in this group because he (along with Peckham) are the only pure defensive defenders and that has value. Looking into the future though, he’s in tough among this group.
This is a really nice depth chart. The Oilers don’t have an impact prospect but the three college kids are coming along and at least one of them should have a career. Theo Peckham has established himself quickly all down the line and he may end up being the best of the group.
I do a December and June top 20 list, but if there was a May list I’d include Chorney, Peckham, Petry and Wild inside the top 10 and all of Bisaillon, Hrabel, Plante and Roy in the top 20. And I like Young and Syvret too.
This is an area of strength for the organization and as crowded as the AHL is now with kids trying to establish themselves at the next level we could be looking at the same thing from the defensemen very soon.
It must be a nice problem to have for the Edmonton Oilers. The trick is keeping the right ones and sending away the rest for full value.