SUMMER 2012: TOP 20 PROSPECTS

The Edmonton Oilers were gifted with yet another #1 overall selection in this year’s draft. If they arrive there again in 2013 I expect a palace coup.

I love this picture. Ludvig Von Katz about to favor us with a piece on the piano and Superman dons the cape. Please Baby Jesus let these two empire builders win Stanley.

  1. R Nail Yakupov. You know, he might end up being the best of the bunch. MacGregor said the clincher was he never missed in close–he is one of those snipers touched by God. This is a wonderful addition to an already outstanding list of skill forwards that begins with Ales Hemsky and ends with the Nuge. I think this will be an excellent landing place for Nail Yakupov.
  2. D Oscar Klefbom. Young defender recently signed his pro contract had a strong WJ’s. His SEL play makes it difficult to know what we’re dealing with (complete D versus stay at home) but his WJ numbers (6, 1-1-2 +8) and play suggest he has a nice range of skills. The Oilers (I think rightly) plan to have him play in Sweden this winter and get a lot of experience in the men’s SEL league. It’s possible Klefbom comes right to the NHL at age 20. There were scouts who suggested to Dustin Nielson leading up to the draft that Klefbom>Ryan Murray. Encouraging.
  3. D Martin Marincin: Finished off his amateur career with another nice WHL season and Jim Byers told me they were impressed in OKC (6, 0-1-1 +4) when he got into action at the end of the year. 6, 1-2-3 +2 at the World Juniors for Slovakia and has a nice range of skills. 6.05, 200 now and I’m not certain if he progressed final year of junior. I do know he’s covered his draft bet, and Riley Nash is a distant bell. Marincin developing into an NHL player would be a major win for the scouts. If he could do it in a quick hurry it would make things a whole lot better. Best not to count on it.
  4. D Martin Gernat: Went 60, 9-46-55 +41 with the Oil Kings and played well in the WJ’s too. Gernat is such an interesting prospect, he could end up passing a few more players on this list before turning pro. Selected 122nd overall at last summer’s draft. Not to go all “saw him good” on you, but later in the season it seemed to me Gernat had added a physical element to his skating gifts. I don’t really know where he belongs on this list, but it could be higher.
  5. L Teemu Hartikainen: Slow starts have hurt him but each spring Hartikainen emerges with a good performance and enters the conversation for next year. He’s 29 games into his NHL career (5-5-10) and looks like he might be a 30-point winger based on his early resume. Good size, I think he has an exceptional chance this fall to make the big club. In fact, of all the kids in the AHL (including Pitlick and Hamilton) I think Hartikainen has the best future.
  6. C Anton Lander: Oilers made a mistake in keeping him up (56, 2-4-6) in Edmonton and he didn’t exactly deliver prime offense in OKC. Lander had a solid offensive season at 19 in the SEL and a year in OKC should get him back on track. He remains an organizational favorite based on leadership and his reputation as a defensive C remains (although it was not in evidence in the NHL). Even if you’re a great defensive player, you have to score a little. Lander isn’t the modern Bill Lesuk, but you might be able to see him from there.
  7. R Tobias Rieder: Wow, what a season. Started 52, 35-34-69 and then went super nova (24, 20-22-42 including playoffs) to end the season. Billy Moores says he works hard and doesn’t give up anything defensively, and also felt his game was “getting complete.” That’s a lot of good news on one player.
  8. G Tyler Bunz: Finished 2nd in the WHL in save percentage (.921) and is tracking equal/ahead of Dubnyk at the same age. Concussions a concern and he is likely to start in the ECHL but he looks on track entering pro. You never know with goalies, but there are things to like.
  9. L Daniil Zharkov: Pronman: Zharkov had a pretty impressive first OHL season despite somewhat underwhelming counting numbers. He’s a good skater who hits a desirable top speed, with good first step quickness, showing very good agility and ability to evade defenders. That last part is also due to his puck skills, which are plus, as he can really dangle and has a lot of individual ability. His goal to assist ratio may give the indication of a poor passer or a puck hog, and while he’ll occasionally look like the latter, he does show many instances of being a fine puck distributor. Zharkov is much better, though, at making moves and getting into shooting position where he displays high-end finishing ability. He shows a fine physical game, as while he still needs to put on strength, he has a projectable frame and will work hard on the forecheck and when he has to battle along the boards. Zharkov doesn’t show that same effort in the other end, and will have to address his defensive game significantly going forward.
  10. R Tyler Pitlick: Started 42, 5-8-13 in OKC and then found the range a little and finished 33, 4-13-17 (including playoffs). He received solid reviews in conversations with both Todd Nelson and Jim Byers during the season and I think he’ll blossom next season in the AHL.
  11. G Olivier Roy: Clearly overqualified for the ECHL based on his stats, Roy remains a solid prospect and could get a chance to be an OKC starter before the more highly rated (by me, anyway) Bunz. Roy has a chance to become prominent next season, as the organization stubbornly holds on to Khabibulin as an NHL option. Roy could end up being the OKC starter in 12-13.
  12. D David Musil: Showed us what he is with quality defensive play at the WJ’s. Smart, savvy defenseman and he’s not yet 20. Lost his season to injury but has a nice future. I have him below the others because I don’t think he’ll be much offensively. Musil as a defender could be better than any of the young men ranked above him.
  13. D Dillon Simpson: Young man’s draft day scouting reports were all over the place but he’s settled in as a solid 2-way defender at a big time NCAA school, age 18. I think this guy might come quickly once he turns pro. I could be badly underrating him here.
  14. L Jujhar Khaira: Redline: this kid is big, mean, aggressive, nasty, and guess what… he can score too. Does the dirty work in the corners, bangs bodies and wins battles, and loves to initiate heavy contact. Powerful stride with great balance and gets leverage on his hits. Has surprisingly soft hands and puck skills with playmaking ability. Creates lots of space for smaller teammates and makes everyone braver. Very raw defensively.
  15. D Colten Teubert: A tough, physical defender, he can play effectively in the AHL but clearly has some way to go (as seen in his NHL play). Another season in Okla City is likely, but we shouldn’t forget about this guy. Coach Nelson mentioned a few times how much they missed his presence after he was lost to injury.
  16. D Brandon Davidson: I think he might spend some time in the ECHL. A wonderful story, I’ll cheer like hell for him and he ended his amateur career in style. Davidson turns 21 in August, it’ll be interesting to see where he lands first year pro and what role he plays.
  17. L Phil Cornet: Took some time to find the range in pro hockey (we need time on ice to properly follow progress) he scored 24 goals in the minors and played 2 NHL games. A season to remember for Cornet, there’s every chance
  18. D Joey Laleggia: Pronman: he’s a good skater with a great offensive mind who would be a nice shot in the dark pick in the mid-rounds due to his notable offensive upside. He flashes high-end hockey sense with his quick game processing and he’s really effective moving the puck out of his own end and controlling the blue line on the power play. Laleggia has solid puck skills as well, at times showing above average, but he is a much better passer than he is an individual creator. He skates well, moving fluidly in all four directions. His main weakness is his physical game, which is below replacement level. I’ve seen him listed at 5’10″, which is generous in my opinion as he looks pretty small on the ice, and he is not effective at all when he’s engaging. Despite his hockey smarts, I don’t see him as being effective defensively to any notable degree at the pro level.
  19. L Curtis Hamilton: A disappointing season and then an injury has Hamilton falling down the depth chart. He was the 48th pick in 2010 and finished up junior in fine fashion. That step to pro hockey was perhaps hindered by his age (he played 17 AHL games before his 20th birthday) but he’ll badly need to show progress in 12-13.
  20. L Mitch Moroz: Redline Report: Big, edgy power forward plays an in-your-face style and looks to initiate hard contact all over the ice. A feared enforcer who picked up 20 fighting majors, yet skates and handles the puck well enough to take regular shifts. Coaches eventually rotated him into the top six to give scoring lines a boost – gives smaller, skilled linemates more room to work with his physicality. Has surprising offensive tools with a heavy snap shot. Puckhandling confidence is soaring and he’s willing to try things with the puck now he wouldn’t have dreamed of six months ago. Skating enables him to play in open ice and even has decent lateral agility. Spins off checks to find space and gets to open ice. Emerging force uses great size/strength to dominate below the circles and is impossible to move around crease. Development curve is heading straight up and has upside.

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230 Responses to "SUMMER 2012: TOP 20 PROSPECTS"

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  1. copperblueandwhite says:

    Captain Obvious,
    So if everyone, even those who like the Moroz pick, thinks the Russian is better than Moroz, why did he fall to the fourth round?

    KHL fears…plus everyone read Red Line…go to the Belleville Bulls site and watch the videos…Zhark’s a player…and big as a house with good feet and a laser shot…great pick, imo at 91st.

  2. sliderule says:

    On TSNs recap of the draft the comment was made that there was a rumor that oiler management overruled the scouts on first pick.
    To me that would only be good management as the scouts should recommend but the guys whose ass is on the line should make the final decision.

  3. spoiler says:

    Thx, bro. I think it might have choked on the long link.

  4. nathan says:

    sliderule,

    As we saw yesterday with the 3rd-5th forward sliding out of the top 10 even if you’re picking BPA it’s a lot to ask the scouts to make a close call between a forward and a defender. Your pay them to ranks upsides and downsides and most likely outcomes.

    They can’t make every final call. Which is why the head scout may bring a forward and a defender to management and complete the discussion without his staff.

  5. nathan says:

    “KHL fears”

    copperblueandwhite,

    The further the guy is away from the NHL the bigger the KHL risk.

  6. jake70 says:

    sliderule:
    On TSNs recap of the draft the comment was made that there was arumorthat oiler management overruled the scouts on first pick.
    To me that would only be good management as the scouts should recommend but the guys whose ass is on the line should make the final decision.

    SR, I am not sure if you favored Yak, but let’s say you did in fact like him #1, and the management overuled the scouts and went Murray, would you feel the same? (not suggesting you wouldn’t but just curious).

  7. Woodguy says:

    oilersfan:
    Woodguy

    Give it up on Garrison. He is a Canucks fan, so are his parents. He is going there, we don’t have a chance.

    Besides, how much offense do you think he puts up without Brian Campbell? I bet less than half..

    I’m way more interested in him shutting down top opponents than his offence.

    Smid and Petry did an admirable job playing the toughs last year, but they were a little over their head.

    Having 3 D pairs play against comp that they can handle is a dream of mine.

    Its gone unfulfilled since 2006.

    We wait.

  8. Woodguy says:

    spoiler:
    I have a comment sucked into moderation purgatory.

    Often multiple links in a post get it caught in the filter.

    Usually when you embed the link rather than just cut and paste.

    I cut and pasted 5 links in one post in this thread and it didn’t get caught.

  9. FPB94 says:

    copperblueandwhite,

    Haha Redline. One guy gets fired from one of the best scouting teams in the league and people listen to him.

    God they’re brutal.

  10. spoiler says:

    Woodguy: Often multiple links in a post get it caught in the filter.

    Usually when you embed the link rather than just cut and paste.

    I cut and pasted 5 links in one post in this thread and it didn’t get caught.

    But, but, but, I like embedding.

    England its usual lethal self from the spot I see.

  11. Marc says:

    Simmons (of the Toronto Sun) thinks that the Rangers, Canucks, Oilers, Blackhawks and Red Wings appear to be the favourites for Schultz.

    http://www.torontosun.com/2012/06/23/burke-what-might-have-been

  12. SoxandOil says:

    If Gagner does get traded, what could we package with Belanger to get Eller from Mtl?

    Then our centre situation would go Nuge, Eller, horcov, VDV

  13. FPB94 says:

    SoxandOil,

    Nothing. Belanger is not an option.

    (And I don’t think Eller is that free, Plekanec might be, excellent 2 way center with a scoring touch)

  14. regwald says:

    Marc:
    Simmons (of the Toronto Sun)thinks that the Rangers, Canucks, Oilers, Blackhawks and Red Wings appear to be the favourites for Schultz.

    http://www.torontosun.com/2012/06/23/burke-what-might-have-been

    If I was Schultz how much ice time does he think he will get in NY ? I agree, a tight defensive system there, but unless Sather trades someone, that is a tough top 6 to get into.

  15. Romulus Apotheosis says:
  16. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Dreger over at TSN claims the Shenn/JVR deal was in the works for a long time but came together kind of on the fly after the draft…

    I’m hoping that means no secret deal in place for Schultz.

  17. gd says:

    Romulus Apotheosis:
    here’s an interesting article of the shiv in the back to gain leverage variety:

    http://www.thestar.com/blogs/article/1216435–cox-maple-leafs-could-pry-roberto-luongo-loose-with-offer-for-cory-schneider?bn=1

    I hope Burke does it, as the entertainment value of him being a hypocrite, plus putting the screws to Gillis would be priceless.

    P.S. I also think it would be a great move by Burke

  18. Marc says:

    regwald: If I was Schultz how much ice time does he think he will get in NY ? I agree, a tight defensive system there, but unless Sather trades someone, that is a tough top 6 to get into.

    I think this is a lot like the MSM discussions about who the Oilers would pick first overall – they don’t have any solid information so they just speculate.

    I don’t think I’ve seen a single report about where he’s going that has information from anyone close to or linked to Schultz. I wouldn’t be surprised if every one of the purported favoured destinations for Schultz can be traced back to one or more of the following MSM ‘educated’ guesses:
    – he went to Wisconsin so he must want to play with his former teammates
    – he’s Canadian so he must wants to play for a Canadian team
    – he’s from BC so he must want to play for the Canucks
    – he once said that his favourite city was Edmonton so he must want to play for the Oilers
    – he wants to make as much money as possible in his next contract so he must want to go to a team that will give him a top 4 role and first line PP time
    – Anaheim kinda sucks so he must want to go to a team that doesn’t suck

    Once one of the MSM throws a couple of potential destinations out in print, then a few other pick it up. Before you know it a media consensus has formed as to Schultz’s likely landing spots.

  19. copperblueandwhite says:

    FPB94,

    copperblueandwhite,

    Haha Redline. One guy gets fired from one of the best scouting teams in the league and people listen to him.

    God they’re brutal.

    Ya ain’t it the truth…and I always get my hockey info from USA Today…NOT….George Burnett has some very good things to say about Daniil on the Bulls website….plus there are videos of all the highlights of the Bulls games….and this guy can be a highlight reel guy..it’s worth checking out.

  20. sliderule says:

    Jake70
    I would be pissed that they passed up my guy .

    However If I was the GM and I didn’t agree with the scouts consensus I would want the authority to overrule the scouts.

  21. godot10 says:

    regwald: http://www.torontosun.com/2012/06/23/burke-what-might-have-been

    regwald: If I was Schultz how much ice time does he think he will get in NY ? I agree, a tight defensive system there, but unless Sather trades someone, that is a tough top 6 to get into.

    You realize that many models like Kate Upton are hockey groupies. New York offers more than one way to score.

  22. copperblueandwhite says:

    nathan,

    “KHL fears”

    copperblueandwhite,

    The further the guy is away from the NHL the bigger the KHL risk.

    Don’t be surprised if this kid is top 10 in OHL scoring this season…and true, I think some of these guys are smarter ($$$$$$) to play KHL rather than slog it out in the AHL…but I think Zharkov’s post draft interview suggests he’ll work his butt off to make the Oilers in 2013-2014; he wants to upstage Yakupov is the feeling I got…for 91st overall this is a great risk/reward pick, imo.

  23. regwald says:

    godot10,

    sure, there would be lots chance to connect with models in NY … especially as a healthy scratch in the press box. lol

  24. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    godot10:
    You realize that many models like Kate Upton are hockey groupies.New York offers more than one way to score.

    haha!!

    what a seriously terrifying beauty:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/gavon/kate-upton-in-a-patriotic-bikini-for-gq

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/provincialelitist/the-kate-upton-gq-gif-collection

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/mattcherette/have-a-45-second-staring-contest-with-kate-upton

  25. DSF says:

    Marc:
    Simmons (of the Toronto Sun)thinks that the Rangers, Canucks, Oilers, Blackhawks and Red Wings appear to be the favourites for Schultz.

    http://www.torontosun.com/2012/06/23/burke-what-might-have-been

    Also in the Simmons piece:

    ” My hunch, five years from now: Alex Galchenyuk will be the player from the 2012 Entry Draft that everyone will covet .”

    Book it.

  26. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    DSF: Also in the Simmons piece:

    ” My hunch, five years from now: Alex Galchenyuk will be the player from the 2012 Entry Draft that everyone will covet .”

    Book it.

    Haha!!

    how many players from that draft has this been said of… it’s become an empty platitude. Jank is also said to be the best player in the draft 10 years out…

    any takers?

  27. Traktor says:

    DSF: Also in the Simmons piece:

    ” My hunch, five years from now: Alex Galchenyuk will be the player from the 2012 Entry Draft that everyone will covet .”

    Book it.

    Just like you booked that Jonathan Huberdeau will be better than RNH.

    Yawn.

  28. DSF says:

    Traktor: Just like you booked that Jonathan Huberdeau will be better than RNH.

    Yawn.

    Still to be determined of course.

  29. frenchfrog says:

    It’s still to be determined, but you still look stupid for saying it.

  30. Jonathan Willis says:

    Why did Daniil Zharkov slide? Easy:

    First two months in the OHL: 18GP – 15G – 4A – 19PTS
    Rest of the way: 32GP – 8G – 9A – 17PTS

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