Summer Top 20 *Updated*

The Edmonton Oilers have added a prospect since draft day, so I wanted to update my top 20. The additions this summer at the draft and via college free agency rank 1-2. For the prospect base, it’s been an outstanding year.

  1. W Nail Yakupov: Since the draft, Oiler fans got a chance to see “the release” which is the fanciest and most breathtaking asset for this elite prospect. It’s been such a fun ride reading all of these ridiculous scouting reports on each of Hall, the Nuge and now the Nizhnekamsk Nail. Corey Pronman has a wonderful description the the player here.  I’m doing my RE series now and have Mr. Nail at 44 points for 12-13′s season.
  2. D Justin Schultz: A better outcome for the prospect base was not possible based on availability and talent. MBS and the scouting staff grabbing the Russian followed by this splendid signing set up the summer perfectly. He’ll be 22 in the fall, had an NHLE of 82, 15-25-40 and more defensive awareness than has been suggested based on Ralph Krueger’s recent take.
  3. D Oscar Klefbom. Impressed the hell out of the Oilers at the recent development camp to the point where there’s a chance he comes over this fall. Oilers need exactly what he’ll be, but rushing him is a bad idea–and the Oilers don’t need to do it. Klefbom’s improvement in the back half of his SEL season suggests another year there might allow him to skip OKC altogether (although the AHL is a great place to stop on the way–just ask Jeff Petry).
  4. 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, Marincin developing into an NHL player would be a major win for the scouts. It’ll be very interesting to see where he lands on the OKC depth chart and how many special teams minutes he gets in 12-13.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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
  20. 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.

The original top 20 for summer is here. I added Justin Schultz, moved Mitchell Moroz up based on post draft conversations and Curtis Hamilton moves off the list. Some brilliant writing from Corey Pronman inspired me to update the list.

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46 Responses to "Summer Top 20 *Updated*"

  1. striatic says:

    i’d put the Finn ahead of the Martins but otherwise i think the list is spot on.

    you may have Cornet and Teubert a little low, but that’s more indicative of a lot of solid prospects coming up behind them than anything else.

  2. bookje says:

    A few years ago, I would look at these lists and think “Yeah, prospects, only about 4 of them have a chance to be NHLers” and now I would suggest that 16 of them have a chance to play in the NHL.

    Given that three or four top prospects graduated early and are in the NHL (and thus not on this list), that is impressive.

  3. striatic says:

    bookje,

    16 is a lot .. i think about 10 of them having a shot is more realistic while still being a crazy high number.

    Yak, Schultz, Klefbom, Hartikainen, Marincin, Gernat, Lander, Reider and Bunz are the class of the group, then there’s something of a drop off.

  4. remember reijo says:

    Wow…Pronman’s top 10 22 or under list is insane when you see it put on paper. How can we possibly suck much longer?

  5. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    It’s exciting to see all that potential…

    I hope it’s not considered irritating yet to add the darkhorse/* Fedun to this list.

  6. Ducey says:

    I would have Hamilton on my list at 14 and Cornet would not be on it.

    Hamilton is big body who profiles very similar to Pitlick. He had good numbers in junior and was on the Junior Team. He was started slowly by Nelson who said he was starting to find the range when he got hurt. I don’t think he can lose his status as good prospect because of injury.

    Cornet got off to a fast start and then tailed off. He doesn’t appear to profile as good enough to be top six and not physical enough to be bottom six. Maybe he will be your long lost Pisani/ Cleary but I have not heard anything suggesting he has the grit necessary for that.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Yeah, Fedun will be on the Christmas list for sure. Hamilton too, likely. I think that adjustment from junior to AHL is tough but honestly felt Hamilton would handle it. He really needs a strong fall and winter, this club has prospects by the ton.

  8. AussieRules says:

    Pretty solid top half of the list. I’m surprised that the likes of Jujhar Khaira, Mitch Moroz, and Joey Laleggia and struggling in his first season in the AHL could bump Hamilton off the list entirely. Considering how high people were on Hamilton after his final year in junior and how he performed at the WJC, I would have thought he’d get more leeway in terms of adjusting to the pros. I’m curious, are the same people you brush shoulders with around the golf course touting Pitlick as a player also raising concerns about Hamilton’s ability to rebound?

    Also, is Alex Plante too old to make the list? I realise most people don’t see enough upside in Plante, but I wonder how much judgement is clouded by his draft selection? There’s no arguing it was a reach to select Plante where they did, but the guys a big-bodied all-round, AHL allstar defenseman. I recognise that foot speed and concussion issues hamper his chances of being anything more than a depth option, but surely he’s more likely to carve out an NHL career than some of the above listed defensemen?

  9. regwald says:

    OMG … Wellwood has a career year and all he gets is a 1 yr 1.6M from the Jets.

    Bet that Gagner gets more than that. I guess there’s some NHL GM’s out there who aren’t convinced of his value.

  10. Lowetide says:

    Gagner will get more. They’ve qualified him.

  11. D says:

    LT,

    Kudos to you for keeping things interesting in a VERY slow hockey period.

  12. bookje says:

    I don’t think 16 will make the NHL, I mean 16 of them are at least maybes. In the end if 4 or 5 of them graduate it would be a tremendous success.

  13. regwald says:

    Lowetide:
    Gagner will get more. They’ve qualified him.

    I was just putting it out there for DSF to see … he likes to make them a comp all the time.

  14. sliderule says:

    Where did MPS go?
    Back to SEL?

  15. Lowetide says:

    D:
    LT,

    Kudos to you for keeping things interesting in a VERY slow hockey period.

    I’m not sure how interesting a re-issue post is, but I’m trying. the Oilers could help a guy out with a transaction or two!

  16. Traktor says:

    Lowetide: I’m not sure how interesting a re-issue post is, but I’m trying. the Oilers could help a guy out with a transaction or two!

    Gagner’s arb is next Friday.

  17. remember reijo says:

    Im optimistic to a fault about the Martins. I just see the size and the points they put up, and I pray to the Slovakian gods that they become serviceable. All these D will have real package value soon as well in case opportunity kicks the door down and cuffs Tambo in the back of the head.

  18. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    sliderule:
    Where did MPS go?
    Back to SEL?

    I think with his full season + he’s off the “prospect” team… though you could make a strong case that had his development followed its natural (re: Detroit) course he’d be one of our top prospects coming out of OKC right now (or soon enough at any rate).

  19. blackdog says:

    How about (and you may have already done this) a comparison between your top 20 lists LT, maybe do a few per post, just to see where each ranks, see who made it and who did not?

    I think that would be interesting, a little writeup on what became up as well as their boxcars.

    I think this is a hell of a list, especially considering the youngsters already with the Oilers who are still just kids.

    Like Pronman a lot, its interesting to see the take of someone who is outside the org. A lot of praise for many of these kids.

  20. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    LT, on the Goalie situation…

    Do you see OKC going Danis as #1 to Roy (or perhaps Bunz), or riding shotgun?

    Is it possible (if NK gets flushed somehow, or there’s an injury) to see Roy and Bunz take over OKC as 1-2? would mgt. be comfortable without a vet down there? (i.e assuming Danis becomes DD’s backup)

    I imagine all that money for Danis says they expect (in one way or another) that he will see some NHL time this year, no?

  21. Lowetide says:

    Rom: I think it’ll go:

    1. Dubnyk
    2. Khabibulin

    OKC
    3. Danis
    4. Roy

    Stockton
    5. Bunz

    And then if NK gets hurt (I think he’ll see the IR this season early if he doesn’t perform at a high level) the Oilers will run Roy and someone. I don’t think there’s a great chance the club runs Roy/Bunz often, they could send NK down for rehab assignments too.

  22. Lowetide says:

    BD: Good idea.

  23. bookje says:

    Lowetide: I’m not sure how interesting a re-issue post is, but I’m trying. the Oilers could help a guy out with a transaction or two!

    Here’s an idea for a new post. I have noticed that Tambellini (or rather the management team as a whole perhaps) has gained a lot more respect in this blog lately, including from yourself. I went into the summer supportive of Tambellini (and co), but with a healthy dose of “He could still totally mess this thing up”, I am more confident now, but still not fully convinced that they can build a contender. I do get the sense that they won’t do something totally stupid like give Gagner a 10 year 50 million contract to help his confidence.

    So, perhaps you could point out the things that have given rise to your improved disposition to management and the things that still concern you. I have my own mental list of both of those, but I will let you post yours first because I think I can save time by just mostly agreeing with you.

  24. bookje says:

    You could do some retrospace type stuff (http://my-retrospace.blogspot.ca/) with an Oilers twist. Comments on uniforms from the 80′s, discussions of how big microphones were in hockey booths in the 70s, big hair in the crowds, etc.

  25. DSF says:

    regwald: I was just putting it out there for DSF to see … he likes to make them a comp all the time.

    Wellwood put up 45 points as a rookie an d has been running in place, with some injury ups and downs, ever since. Sound familiar?

    At least we have a pretty good idea about the market value of a third line centre who scores 40-50 points.

  26. jake70 says:

    Slow night on the hockey front…..but boy, this Robert Blake interview with Piers Morgan is pretty wild, holy man. Unreal.

  27. sliderule says:

    Do you think Nelson will give a push to more of our prospects this year.

    Hamilton and Pitlick might have been better served going back to junior than being healthy scratches and not much ice in OK.

    Marcinin got in a few games played well and then even after Teuberts injury didn’t get a sniff in the playoffs.

    He seemed to go with the older guys and our signings out of college.

    That’s not the best for development of the players who the oil want to know if they have the skill to play at NHL level.

  28. OilLeak says:

    Interesting that Wellwood only got 1.6 million. It seems that NHL GM’s have been overpaying for defenseman and goaltenders and holding back on payment for secondary scoring. I like the number that Wellwood got because it bodes well for the Gagner contract and other comparables seem to be reasonable as well.

    I will be shocked and perhaps a little angry if Gagner gets more than 3.5 million. I will be very pleased if he signs a multi year deal in the 3-3.25 million range. Now if Gagner only signs a 1 year arbitration award, it may be time to trade him for a defenseman.

  29. gd says:

    LT,

    This list is pretty exciting. It’s pretty.impressive when Musil is #13. With the addition of Schultz the prospect list does a pretty good job of hopefully balancing the roster in the next few years. I hope the money the OIl has invested in player development pays off because there should be at least 10 NHLers on this list.

    Hopefully there at least 3 top 4 Dmen on this list, one of the goalies is at least an NHL backup, and there are 3 NHLers among the size and grit guys Hartikenan, Lander, Zharkov, Pitlick, Khaira and Moroz as that would definitely fill out a contending roster in the next three years.

    The one thing the roster might be missing is the 6’2″ or taller 2nd or 3rd line Centre. I do have good hopes for Pitlick to at least be an effective 3rd liner, whether it is at C or not. I looked up his uncle’s career and he had a pretty solid 6 year career for a 9th rd pick who didn’t get a regular NHL job until 29, so there’s a family trait to maximize talent and opportunity.

  30. Lowetide says:

    gd: the way my list works is the wider range of skills goes higher. so Musil is very likely to play more NHL games than at least two or three of the kids in front of him. But this is a very strong list.

  31. DSF says:

    OilLeak:
    Interesting that Wellwood only got 1.6 million.It seems that NHL GM’s have been overpaying for defenseman and goaltenders and holding back on payment for secondary scoring.I like the number that Wellwood got because it bodes well for the Gagner contract and other comparables seem to be reasonable as well.

    I will be shocked and perhaps a little angry if Gagner gets more than 3.5 million.I will be very pleased if he signs a multi year deal in the 3-3.25 million range.Now if Gagner only signs a 1 year arbitration award, it may be time to trade him for a defenseman.

    The Gagner contract will go a long way to indicating if Lowe his sock puppets have any idea about market value.

    Considering the Dubnyk,Sutton and Potter deals, I expect a huge overpay.

    The smart thing to do would be having Sam play tougher opposition and PK on a one year deal and pay him on the results.

  32. stevezie says:

    I’m pretty stunned Wellwood didn’t get more. If her repeats those numbers he’ll more than double that salary next season, but as the Spartan said, “If”.

  33. OilLeak says:

    DSF: The Gagner contract will go a long way to indicating if Lowe his sock puppets have any idea about market value.

    Considering the Dubnyk,Sutton and Potter deals, I expect a huge overpay.

    The smart thing to do would be having Sam play tougher opposition and PK on a one year deal and pay him on the results.

    I think Gagner can play tough comp, but also needs good teammates to do so. Hemsky and Hall wood be linemates for Gagner. I’d still feel better about a long term deal now apposed to a 1 year deal. Gagner will be more expensive in a year and 1 year closer to free agency. Even if Gagner doesn’t improve his totals significantly, he’ll still have value if signed to a reasonable deal.

  34. DSF says:

    OilLeak: I think Gagner can play tough comp, but also needs good teammates to do so.Hemsky and Hall wood be linemates for Gagner.I’d still feel better about a long term deal now apposed to a 1 year deal.Gagner will be more expensive in a year and 1 year closer to free agency.Even if Gagner doesn’t improve his totals significantly, he’ll still have value if signed to a reasonable deal.

    Well, he might be able to do it…year 6 would seem like a good time to find out.

  35. Lowetide says:

    Longer the better. 5 times something.

  36. DSF says:

    Panthers sign 6’2″ 210 centre Peter Mueller to a 1.75M deal.

    The former 8th overall pick has a career high 22 goal 54 point season.

    Golly, that Tallon is a smart man.

  37. DSF says:

    Lowetide:
    Longer the better. 5 times something.

    Bend it like Borcoff!

  38. bookje says:

    DSF:
    Panthers sign 6’2″ 210 centre Peter Mueller to a 1.75Mdeal.

    The former 8th overall pick has a career high 22 goal54 point season.

    Golly, that Tallon is a smart man.

    16 points last year – puts him right in line with Smid and Belanger on last years scoring charts.

  39. DSF says:

    bookje: 16 points last year – puts him right in line with Smid and Belanger on last years scoring charts.

    Very low risk…very high reward.

  40. rickithebear says:

    We are gradually establishing a strong 25-32Year veteran base.
    The exciting part is it looks like our scouting department will be providing top 6 and top4 calber prospects from rounds 1 to 5. A pick and choose of cheaper contracts.

    i hope the success does not dry up.

  41. rickithebear says:

    stevezie: I’m pretty stunned Wellwood didn’t get more. If her repeats those numbers he’ll more than double that salary next season, but as the Spartan said, “If”.

    wellwood 60.5% zone start against 3rd comp. 2.35 EVP/60 and he got 2.25 EVP/60.

  42. DSF says:

    Gagner…55% ozone starts….51% ozone finish.

    8th highest QC. 2.15 EVP/60.

    Same player.

  43. commonfan14 says:

    Owners apparently came in with a starting position where they threw everything they could possibly want and added the kitchen sink.

    I don’t really get why they want to limit contracts to 5 years though. It’s terrible to be stuck with a player who goes south on a really long-term deal, but owners are mostly just signing elite players to those deals and they’re doing it for strategic reasons.

    Why take it out of the equation before the concept really blows up in more people’s faces?

    I don’t really want the Oilers prevented from signing the superkids to more than 5 years.

  44. godot10 says:

    DSF:
    Panthers sign 6’2″ 210 centre Peter Mueller to a 1.75Mdeal.

    The former 8th overall pick has a career high 22 goal54 point season.

    Golly, that Tallon is a smart man.

    Yep. Dale Tallon is so smart that he couldn’t sign Jason Garrison because of the contract he handed out to Ed Jovanoski last year.

  45. leadfarmer says:

    Tallon is so great that he overpaid for waiver wire production with Mueller when he could have had wolski to do that for a million less.

  46. DSF says:

    godot10: Yep.Dale Tallon is so smart that he couldn’t sign Jason Garrison because of the contract he handed out to Ed Jovanoski last year.

    Garrison wanted to play in Vancouver….he left money on the table to do it.

    Florida currently has almost $22 million in free cap space and are sitting about $6 million under the cap floor.

    I don’t think Jovo’s money has a bearing on anything that happens this offseason…do you?

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