That’s Theo Peckham in an Oiler uniform giving us a hint of what he’ll be doing over the next decade or so (barring injury or trade). Peckham’s arrows of development have never waivered in the breeze since his draft day. He’s improved on his already established skills and worked on the things that could be considered weakness, and Jonathan Willis suggests that he is in fact the top prospect in the organization at this time.
- Willis suggests that Riley Nash’s development “may be stagnating at Cornell” but I don’t see it that way. I think Nash is progressing just fine, but the Oilers (like Carolina a few years ago with Jack Johnson) seem to be unhappy with his choice of career path and have been very public about it. Nash’s progress seems reasonable based on his age and quality of opposition, and in fact Cornell went deep into the spring (compared to their own established level) with Nash playing a key role. I’d watch this situation closely this summer; the Oilers may follow Carolina’s example and send him out of town.
- Omark is the “best offensive talent in the system right now” as Jonathan contends, but is that reason enough to have made room for him this year? Linus Omark is 22-years old and his breakout season this year is not an established level of ability. Although he was drafted in the same season as Sam Gagner, Omark is in fact 30 months older than Gagner. He’s 4 months older than Andrew Cogliano too, and as such a big step forward in a Euro league (at his age) isn’t enough to make room on your big league roster for an undersized forward. My wish was for them to bring him over to see what he was, but it sounded like Omark and his agent were looking to cash in. My opinion is that Omark’s situation was well played by Tambellini even without the stated wish to get bigger over the summer. I don’t see a tremendous amount of evidence that Omark could replace Gagner, Cogliano or O’Sullivan among the smaller skill forwards and if we’re honest he may not be any better than Robert Nilsson at this time.
- I like his take on Dubnyk. It’s very hard to measure goalie performance when the team is so dreadful (call it the Gilles Meloche rule) and DD has had some nice things.
- I think he has the new hires from last summer (Cornet and Hartikainen) rated too high at this point. These kids have improved tremendously year over year but that’s to be expected both in level of maturity and opportunity. Improving incrementally over the next two seasons (and more) is the bigger test and as fans we (I) usually overrate that first season after the draft as a predictor of the future.
- I think he’s a bit too hard on Schremp. Whatever we think of him, the guy still has enough skill to approach a point per game in the AHL (this season aside) and there were some early season EV indicators that were positive.
Finally, I want to say that Willis’ work over the last few months has been exceptional. I have my favorites and no doubt you do too, but if you don’t start your blog tour with the Willis stops then you’re not as informed as you should be about the Edmonton Oilers.