In looking at the Oilers forward depth chart, it’s almost impossible to slot Ryan Potulny. They can’t send him down to the minors, so that gives him an advantage over players like Rob Schremp and Liam Reddox. He’s a shooter on a team that doesn’t have enough of them, so that gives him an advantage over players like Gilbert Brule.
Potulny has played center in the NHL (43.5% success rate in 278 faceoffs in 06-07 and 43.8% in 32 attempts this past season) and once led the entire NCAA in goals scored (38 goals in 41 games in 05-06). He is apparently a hard worker and has made gains in terms of play away from the puck so generally speaking he’s a young player who looks like he might have an NHL future.
So, why did the Flyers trade him for a mid-level prospect? Well they’re pretty deep in forwards and Potulny has had 2 full pro seasons to show them what he can do:
- NHL 44gp, 7-7-14 (.318)
- AHL 100gp, 36-45-81 (.810)
His AHL scoring rates are less than Pouliot’s (.886) and Schremp’s (.878) and a little better than JF Jacques (.776) over the same time period. His 36 goals in 100 games (.36 per game) trails Pouliot (.398) but is better than Jacques (.313) and Schremp (.272). I suspect Potulny will need to perform well beyond all three Oilers prospects in order to make the grade and if Jacques is healthy (and it was reported today that his back is much better) Ryan Potulny would have to be considered a long shot for the Oilers roster.
Among the “pure offense” prospects, I’d slot Potulny behind Schremp and ahead of Trukhno and Lerg.