Every Prospect In The System (Forwards)

This is Colin McDonald in a Springfield Falcons uniform. It’ll probably be same Bat-time, same Bat-channel for McDonald in the fall as he continues his pro career.

The Edmonton Oilers have a ton of hockey players “in the system.” As a fan, keeping track of them can be time consuming. At any given time there are probably 50 names that are bubbling under, some of them having been drafted 5 or 6 years ago.

I offer this as a public service, with the only request being that if someone is missing please point it out.

The following is an update on all of the Edmonton Oilers prospects I’m personally aware of, and I believe they are all still on the priority list of the parent club.

  1. Jonas Almtorp: Played in North America this season. 37gp, 2-2-4 in Springfield and then 27gp, 7-10-17 in Stockton. He’s apparently going back to the Swedish Elite League and will play for Brynas next season. One guesses his NHL dream is over.
  2. Troy Bodie: He grabbed an AHL job in the fall and stayed with Springfield all year long. 9-6-15, -7 in 65gp isn’t earth shattering but he survived. Bodie plays a simple game and is physical, and he could probably get a game or two in at the NHL level if he hangs around the minor leagues long enough.
  3. Alexander Bumagin: Playing in the Russian Super League at age 20 is no small feat. Bumagin went 31gp, 8-7-15 for Mytishi Khimik in his 20 year old season, ranking 12th on his team in scoring. Mikhnov went 51gp, 7-9-16 in the RSL at the same age, as a point of reference. The Oilers treat their Russian prospects like lepers so getting him to North America will probably be like climbing Everest but there’s something to like here.
  4. Robby Dee: His college career began last fall (24gp, 1-2-3) with Maine. He had all kinds of injury (shoulder) problems after being drafted in 2004 and then stayed an extra year in the USHL because he wasn’t going to play much with Maine. Another serious shoulder injury followed and then this year with Maine he didn’t do much. Oilers retain his rights until he leaves college so they can keep him on their list for three more years but it doesn’t look promising.
  5. Matt Glasser: Winger went 40gp, 6-2-8 with Denver University in his sophomore season. After starting 17gp, 0-0-0 to start the year his numbers improved (23gp, 6-2-8) to the point where he’s at least worth wondering about for next season.
  6. Stephane Goulet: He’s a prospect of interest. His AHL numbers (36gp, 9-5-14 at age 21) include a very nice final 20 games (8-2-10) and a period in March where he scored 5 goals in 5 games. I imagine he’ll get a full season with Springfield in 08-09 but there seems to be some goal scoring talent there.
  7. Jean-Francois Jacques: In 132 career AHL games, he’s scored 45 goals. He’s freaking huge and seems to have some idea about the rules of the game and how he can impact its outcome. He did some nice things during TC and the Oilers always say nice things about him but his inability to perform in the NHL added to injuries (a hyper-extended elbow and now a herniated disc) cast a bit of a shadow over his career. When healthy, he can do stuff. The Oilers are at a point where a decision needs to be made, as he’ll need to clear waivers if sent out this fall. Big power forwards always get another chance
  8. Fredrik Johansson: He went 24gp, 4-1-5 in Springfield and in Stockton was 37gp, 5-13-18, and the Oilers are unlikely to sign him to another contract. He apparently has nice skills and can play a two-way game, but not at a high enough level to be considered an NHL prospect.
  9. Mikhail Joukov: Known by several different spellings, it no longer appears to matter. He’s still playing in the Russian Super League (43gp, 3-8-11) and has played in 130 regular season games in what many call the second best league in the world. The Oilers will likely allow him to become a free agent this summer.
  10. Milan Kytnar: ISS liked this player quite a bit: Reliable two-way center plays hard every shift. Great hand-eye, anticipates well, coachable. Strong skater with a minus first step, good hands and size. Accurate passer, can shadow his man. Good playmaker who sees the ice well. He played for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL this season, scoring 62gp, 9-13-22 which in junior are not terrific results even for the checkers. It doesn’t look like there’s much here to get excited about at this time.
  11. Bryan Lerg: Oilers signed the 22-year old to a 2-year entry level deal in the spring. Lerg went 20-19-39 in 42 games for Michigan (NCAA) and led the club in powerplay goals (10). He also led the team in goals last season and was a major part of the 2007 national championship team. He’s a goal scorer and someone to follow through training camp and in Springfield for 08-09. He’s listed at 5-10, 175.
  12. Colin McDonald: He went 73gp, 12-11-23 in his AHL debut this past season, tying him for 48th overall among rookies in that league. His -22 sticks out as a pretty large negative and the one thing we can say for him is that he was a better scoring rookie than Brad Winchester. He’s still a prospect but needs to show vast improvement to get his name in the mix of possible callups.
  13. Jacob Micflikier: Undersized skill center who scored enough in Stockton (29gp, 10-27-37) to earn a shot in the AHL (he went 8gp, 1-4-5 with Springfield in March). He certainly has enough skill to help the minor league team.
  14. Alexei Mikhnov: He had a decent playoffs this spring (16gp, 3-5-8) and a solid regular year (52gp, 14-20-34, +15) and with just one year remaining until he’s UFA one would think the Oilers are going to think long and hard about bringing him over. There’s a problem: he’d want a one-way deal and the Oilers have other, more proven options. Despite the nice numbers in the RSL there’s no real evidence Mikhnov is clear of players like JF Jacques and Rob Schremp, two of many he’d have to beat out for a slot on the big club in the fall. There’s a chance another NHL team might trade for him at the draft, maybe a team like Columbus.
  15. Riley Nash: Nash went 36gp, 12-20-32 (.889) for Cornell who averaged 2.83 goals-per-game. His career is tracking in a similar fashion to Chris Higgins and as of this weekend he’s on the radar for the World Junior camp. I think he’s the best prospect on this list. .
  16. Ryan O’Marra: Being named an ECHL All-Star wasn’t in the plans but he made it anyway. His scouting report talks about two-way play and being the best OHL faceoff man but to say he hasn’t delivered since coming to training camp would be an understatement. O’Marra scored 31gp, 2-7-9 in Springfield and 24gp, 11-9-20 in Stockton. He followed that up with a nice playoff run (6gp, 2-7-9) and would have to be considered a candidate for the AHL next season. The fact we’re even talking about that shows just how far he has fallen since arriving in this organization.
  17. Linus Omark: Omark was 20-years old the day he was drafted and overagers usually perform well after being selected by Edmonton. Certainly since Prendergast took over the scouting department, Jussi Markkanen, Ales Pisa, Mikko Luoma, Kari Haakana, Kyle Brodziak, Danny Syvret and Mathieu Roy have covered their draft number. Omark had a very nice SEL season (55gp, 11-21-32) but he’s 5-9. I’d expect him to see North America at some point in time for a full season, and he’s coming to prospect camp in June.
  18. Geoff Paukovich: The Oilers signed him last August, a full year before he had to come out of college. They’ve done it a few times (Radunske) when it hasn’t worked out and Paukovich was sent to the ECHL in the fall where he spent the entire year. He went 70gp, 13-13-26 and scored a goal in the post-season for Stockton. He’s another of the Coke Machine picks.
  19. Marc Pouliot: MAP went 55gp, 21-26-47 in Springfield and hung around the NHL for another 24 games (1-6-7). I’m a fan and hope he makes the top 12F in the fall and stays all season, but I think it’s reasonable to suggest he could be playing in another organization come October.
  20. William Quist: Raw skills. Size, speed and you hope he swings the bat better than Billy Ashley. Quist is coming to prospect camp June 1st. He played all over the place this season, mostly in Division 1 where he went 17gp, 6-7-13. There’s talk of him coming over to Canada for his final year of junior.
  21. Brock Radunske: Big winger spent the year in Germany (Augsburg Panthers, 37gp, 7-19-26) and there’s no word about any return to North America. He’s still listed on the Oilers website and he did score 38 goals in an ECHL season, but the fact remains he has managed only 28 AHL games since turning pro in 2004. As far away from the NHL as anyone on this list, I’d expect.
  22. Liam Reddox: Pulled into Nazareth feeling about half past dead and left Dodge City golden. He did it all, PP, PK, checking line, scoring line and did it well across the board. Reddox went 65gp, 16-28-44, +10 for the season and he finished up at a point-per-game pace. All of his arrows are pointing in the right direction and it’ll be even better if the Oilers follow through on their rumored plan to cull the herd of fringe NHL forwards.
  23. David Rohlfs: Kevin Prendergast once said that Rohlfs is huge, an excellent skater and uses his size well in important places on the ice. Those are pretty important skills for hockey prospects but he played the entire season in the ECHL (65gp, 16-16-32) with only a cup of coffee in the AHL. He turns 24 in June and would appear to be behind a plethora of similar talents including Troy Bodie.
  24. Rob Schremp: He has more arrows pointed in the right direction now than he’s ever had, and this fall needs to be his showcase. Schremp had a very nice AHL season (78gp, 23-53-76, finished top 10 in points) and ended strong (last 20: 9-14-23) and healthy. There should be no Sam Gagner’s or Andrew Cogliano’s or Robert Nilsson’s taking the spotlight away and should he have a strong TC he may force the Oilers hand in terms of making their decision on him. The problem remains a spot in the batting order.
  25. Tim Sestito: He’s already signed a 2-year deal this spring so Sestito is as secure as any minor leaguer in the system at this time. He went 77gp, 7-10-17, 175pims with Springfield and will no doubt fill the same role in 08-09.
  26. Tyler Spurgeon: He’s always hurt. I don’t know if the organization can even count on him moving forward, as his latest injury (concussion) may be career threatening. Horrible luck for a guy who seemed to be able to handle the AHL (12gp, 1-7-8).
  27. Slava Trukhno: Much heralded prospect struggled at the AHL level this season, especially at EV. He had a 9-game streak where he went 7-5-12, +3 and that appeared to have taken place about the time Pouliot was recalled and Trukhno enjoyed more skilled linemates and increased powerplay time. I still like him more than Schremp and suspect he’ll have a breakout season in 08-09. Finished 64gp, 14-21-35 in Springfield.
  28. Chris Vande Velde: Had a wonderful season, probably did more to advance his cause than any of the age 20+ prospects on this list in 08-09. It’s important to remember though that despite the impressive year (43gp, 15-17-32) he did it at age 20 in his sophomore season in the NCAA. He was also on a terrific skill line quite often, with 06-07 Hobey Baker winner Ryan Duncan and former 1st rounder T.J. Oshie.

28 Players. The ones you need to keep track of are the fringe NHLers (Pouliot, Schremp, Jacques, Mikhnov, Reddox), the very talented college kid (Nash), the former Q scoring star (Trukhno) and the college man who found another gear (Vande Velde).

The rest of them have skill sets that are easily duplicated and therefore must rely on luck, hard work and endurance to survive another year and move up the ladder. The chances any of those 20 spending more than 25 games in the NHL are not high, but history is full of names that were in a similar spot at the same age.

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25 Responses to "Every Prospect In The System (Forwards)"

  1. Boondock says:

    I think the Oilers could be more picky when it comes to signing their prospects. Why do we fill out our 50-man list with some of our late round picks who have shown marginal improvement since being drafted when we have done so well with undrafted free agents?

    Were Goulet, Paukovich, Johansson, Radunske, Rohlfs, etc. better bets than what was available in the CHL and NCAA free agent pool? To my eye, Lerg seems to be a better prospect than all of these guys going forward, and we’ve done well in the past with Bergeron and Conklin and Bisaillon is a promising d-man. From the amount of guys who make the NHL from that NCAA free agent pool, you have to wonder if the Oilers should be going there with more regularity.

  2. honkey says:

    Almtorp is probably going home to Sweden but he’s not going to play for Brynäs. But maybe some other team pick him up.

  3. doritogrande says:

    “Why do we fill out our 50-man list with some of our late round picks who have shown marginal improvement since being drafted when we have done so well with undrafted free agents?”

    A good suggestion. I have a candidate. Check out Justin Azevedo of the Kitchener Rangers in the Memorial Cup. I love this kid’s style of play and he’s put on an offensive clinic the entire season. He’s a bit older than most CHLers, but his 36 points in 20 playoff games speak pretty loud. For comparisons sake, Boedker has 35. 43 goals in the regular season to boot.

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php3?encode=TRUE&pid=80238

  4. Lowetide says:

    I think Azevedo will be invited to an NHL camp in the fall, kind of like Colton Yellow Horn.

    The Oilers drafted and signed all of their Coke Machines and brought over a few Swedes but there’s only one on the list I’m upset they signed (Sestito, said so at the time).

    We can point to them passing over Azevedo but if one of the drafted kids doesn’t get signed and ends up in the NHL (Lombardi) then there’s a P.R. price to pay there too.

  5. Dennis says:

    Unless he’s overpricing himself — and I can’t imagine he is unless either him or his agent are delusional — I can see no reason why Pouliot doesn’t have a job with this club in ’09. He came back and battled and showed an own zone awareness and flashes of playmaking and he should be cheap for awhile?

    He was 10/4 in terms of real EV after he was recalled, no?

    What else is there?

  6. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: No argument here, but reading the spring/summer tea leaves I don’t think he’s a lock. Lowe’s statement about thinning the Triple A players may mean Jacques and Schremp but I think it may mean Pouliot, too.

  7. Dennis says:

    LT: do you have a direct link for that Lowe quote? Just after the reg season came to a conclusion, Lowe said it might be time to get rid of the middling in exchange for draft picks — those are my words because I doubt Lowe will ever use “middling”;) — so I guess we’re talking about the same quotes or intentions here?

    I’m not saying young 78 can go on to be signed for a nice rate and succeed while playing tough min but we may be looking at the next Hejda: a guy who was useful right under the Oilers noses and was allowed to walk.

  8. Lowetide says:

    Dennis: Zipping around the Al Gore, here’s a few links

    http://209.85.173.104/search?q=cache:dmSr7B89Q5sJ:slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Edmonton/2008/04/08/5229786-cp.html+kevin+lowe+trades&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=ca

    “We’ll see what happens. I think we have the assets to do it. We’ve built them up over a number of years so, ideally, we’ll try to utilize that asset base to improve upon the high-end aspect of our organization.”

    From a Dan Tencer interview, quoted from an HF post

    http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?t=514944

    “If we were going to do it we wouldn’t be moving any guys that we feel would play a big part in our organization in the next couple years. If it’s there I’ll do it and I’ll give it some effort but it’s not a main focus like it was last year.”

    There’s also a Kevin Lowe interview on the Oilers site that delves into it. The specific quote I’m thinking of isn’t out there tonight, however.

  9. Taylor says:

    If history teaches us anything it’s that what Lowe says and what Lowe does are seldom synchronous.

  10. Ducey says:

    For some (likely irrational) reason I think we might see Kyntar take a big step forward this year. I think coming in from Slovakia and playing his first year as an 18 year old (he turned 19 today according to TSN) in the WHL had to be a huge adjustment.

  11. Bruce says:

    He was 10/4 in terms of real EV after he was recalled, no?

    What else is there?

    Uhh, special teams?

    Agreed that MP was impressive after his return (almost as good as Zack’s +19/-9 after New Year’s, eh, Dennis?), but he’s in pretty deep down the middle with 10, 13, 16, 19, 51 and 89 in the mix. I for one like him a lot better as a centre than a winger, how about you Dennis?

    Looking ahead I like Pouliot better than Reasoner (tho’ I’m not sure MacT thinks the same way) and he showed more at ES in a month than Stoll did all year, but those vets bring a lot of moxy and experience that it may be unrealistic to expect the youngster to replace, esp. on special teams. There is a lot in Marc’s game to like, he’s a rangy skater with significant two-way skills and a pretty good head for the game (give or take line changes). It’s not hard to envision him as a strong penalty killer, but it’s a little tougher to project him as a reliable faceoff man which is a real worry with a team full of young pivots. Which is Stoll’s strength of course, and one of the reasons why he’s going to be a tough guy to replace.

  12. Bruce says:

    ps: Great piece, LT.

  13. Jonathan says:

    Were Goulet, Paukovich, Johansson, Radunske, Rohlfs, etc. better bets than what was available in the CHL and NCAA free agent pool?

    I’m going to step in here and defend Goulet. I know he’s an ECHL guy, a poor bet, etc., etc., but I really don’t mind taking a chance on a guy with his scoring record (that 2005-06 season looks awful nice).

    As for the rest, yeah, no kidding. Hopefully Lerg is the start of a trend.

  14. kiwihockeyfan says:

    very nice synopsis on the group. I was thinking that plante should be included as well, then the guru’s can discuss the merits of him being included as a prospect. aslo, i don’t think people should exclude o’marra from the group of ones too watch. he could pleasantly surprise when healthy and with fresh leadership on the farm

  15. Dennis says:

    Bruce: I like him more as a centre, as well, and mostly because of what LT”s always liked about him: his ability to make a pass.

    We’re all going around in circles here trying to figure out what Lowe’s gonna do regarding 16 and 19 and until he does, no one can say for sure how this team will wind up looking.

    But, the main thing in 78′s factor is that he should come cheap. We’re already paying a bunch of guys and it won’t be long before Messrs. 13 and 89 are getting paid as well. When it comes to 78, here’s a guy who should be able to play top nine minutes and do it at an affordable rate and that should matter. We could bring back 16 for one more year — and I like what he does from the faceoff circle — but is he going to sign longterm at a bargain?

    I doubt it.

    Anyway, I’ll wait to see what Staples says about how many errors Pouliot committed once he was recalled and then and Only Then will I make my final decision on him regarding the ’09 roster.

  16. Jonathan says:

    I was thinking that plante should be included as well, then the guru’s can discuss the merits of him being included as a prospect.

    This is just a list of forwards. I would imagine the list of defensemen is coming soon.

  17. Bruce says:

    I’ll wait to see what Staples says about how many errors Pouliot committed once he was recalled and then and Only Then will I make my final decision on him regarding the ’09 roster.

    Hey Dennis, a serious answer to your tongue-in-cheek comment. So happens I was just looking up errors to research a post for Mudcrutch’s site. Pouliot made just 3 errors in 24 games, including just 1 in the 15 since his recall.

    On a per 60 basis (ES minutes only), and excluding GlenX who had great numbers that were corrupted by the trade, Oiler forwards ranked in this order:
    Horcoff, Torres, Moreau, Penner, Stortini, Pisani, Pouliot, Sanderson, Cogliano, Gagner, Nilsson, Hemsky, Reasoner, Brodziak, Jacques, Stoll. Which give or take a couple of exceptions like Gagner and arguably Stoll who had a nightmarish season, seems a reasonably decent ranking of the defensive prowess of the players in question.

    So fwiw, this metric supports yours and my view that Pouliot is a responsible defensive player (give or take the occasional line change, and I am very glad for his sake that we didn’t miss the playoffs by 1 or 2 points).

  18. Dennis says:

    Interesting.

    Staples is the father of the error so if Lowe doesn’t clear a spot for a young and affordable guy like 78 who doesn’t “make” a lot of errors, will Staples take him to task for it?

    Will one of the net’s two biggest Lowelinguists take his buddy to task for this particular sin of omission?

    I doubt it because the Wings and the Ducks could both pick 25th overall and Staples would believe Ana’s pick as more value — see: value of Pronger picks versus picks surrendered for offer sheets from teams that consistently pick high — and Staples also believe that Lowe can injure players with his mind.

  19. Lowetide says:

    I like Pouliot a ton, always have. However, if the Oilers go another direction this fall I don’t think anyone can really suggest he didn’t get his chances.

  20. Jonathan says:

    I don’t know if he counts or not, given that he’s been signed to an AHL contract, but this guy should warrant some consideration for inclusion on this list.

  21. dawgbone says:

    I was hoping the Oilers would drop Rohlfs back to defence. He played there for almost 2 seasons in Michigan and he’s got a lot of good traits for a defenceman.

    He may not have the offence to play forward, but he’s got some interesting skills that could probably translate to the NHL level in the right role.

  22. Bank Shot says:

    Rohlfs skates like a hunchback. Completely irrelevant I know, but for a guy listed as 6’3″ he sure looks like a little feller on the ice.

    I’m also in the camp that O’Marra should be included in the list of guys to watch. I think he’s still got as much chance, probably more, to carve out a career in the show as a guy like Reddox.

    Liam is a great story and all, but the guy is a less talented version and smaller verison of Thoresen by the sounds of things. There isn’t much room for “Rudy” on NHL checking lines.

    O’Marra sounds like a giant ego at this point, but you’d think once he gets the message that he isn’t that special, he’s got the size, skating, and talent to carve out at least a fourth line existence with this team or another.

    I wouldn’t fret too much about Pouliot. The Oilers have shown strong aptitude in finding serviceable bottom of the roster players whether it be through draft or trade. If Marc isn’t pluggin the four hole, they’ll find some other body to do it just as well, and likely for smaller dollars. Sure would be nice if he had an epiphany, if for no other reason then to save the Oilers org the disgrace of drafting one of the only lemons in the 2003 first rounf.

  23. Dennis says:

    LT: Not surprisingly, I disagree:)

    Once again, not saying this could be a mistake on the level of “Greene over Hejda” but the comparisons can be made because it’s a guy in the hand who’s a good bet to be a value buy.

    Sure, the guy’s unlikely to ever show enough offense to be able to cover a “first round pick in the ’03 draft” bet but he damn sure looks like a bottom six outscorer for cheap.

  24. Lowetide says:

    Well I’m never going to argue against Pouliot as a player, he has all kinds of positives.

  25. Dennis says:

    I’m on the defense about arguing how he’s viewed by the org.

    I’m Hejda-ing him just in case;)

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