Oilers June 2008 Top 20 (11-15)

That’s Chris Vande Velde with a point blank chance against Boston College. He’s a big man with some skills and is moving up the list of Oilers prospects nicely.

The Oilers currently are very strong in prospects at center and defense, less so on the wings and they are probably in a spot of bother in net.

I would guess that the Oilers will select a goalie early in next season’s draft if all things remain the same.

The Oilers don’t really have 20 terrific prospects, they have about a dozen and then a bunch of guys who will or won’t overcome various problems and become NHL players. Vande Velde is probably the last of the Oilers prospects whose range of skills suggests they can play NHL hockey in more than one role. Which means we’re getting to the checkers, role players and offensive players with flaws. Vande Velde (and I believe Bisaillon) are among the group that can make it in more than one capacity.

  • #11- C Chris Vande Velde: Before he was drafted, Vande Velde got some very nice reviews (including a reference to Keith Primeau in one Redline post). He had a wonderful season, probably did more to advance his cause than anyone not named Liam Reddox on this list. 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. Good size and skill, if he can duplicate this past season one suspects he’ll turn pro. December rank: 18th
  • #12- D Sebastien Bisaillon: He had an injury plagued season but the numbers say he’s a player. He has possibly the best shot of the D prospects on this list. He ranks behind the 3 college group because he’s more of a “chaos D” than the others and he is slightly undersized, plus of course the injury may have set him back. The Oilers have made some nice decisions out of the Q since 2001. December rank: 19th.
  • #13- LW Bryan Lerg: A shooter who is a step ahead of several players in terms of being NHL ready because he’s 22-years old. Lerg went 20-19-39 in 42 games for Michigan State (NCAA) and led the club in powerplay goals (10). When Edmonton signs a college free agent or an undrafted junior said player often ends up having a career at the high levels of pro hockey. Lerg is a player of interest, especially considering the LW injury concerns detailed earlier. Size a problem. December Unranked
  • #14 D Josef Hrabel: The math has been a fan of this guy from the start and I bet you he makes some noise in TC. He’s a smooth skating defender who makes a nice outlet pass and a plus shot. He should be closer to NHL ready than anyone but Mathieu Roy and Theo Peckham on this list. Interesting player. December unranked
  • #15 D Johan Motin: Motin’s draft pedigree was stellar before the start of the 07-08 season (ISS had him 13th overall as late as November) but he has some nice things in the resume. Strong skater, good passer and he can move the puck efficiently. His decision making wanders toward “high risk” and he needs to mature but he looks like he might be a player. A very nice +5 at the World Juniors. December unranked.

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