(photo by Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved). In part two of our look at the Oilers top 20 prospects and their progress this season, we look at #21-30 and those outside the top 30. Progress for some, regress for others.
- #21 Brandon Davidson: 6, 0-1-1 in the AHL. It started as a positive season, and then hockey didn’t seem as important with the news that Davidson is battling cancer. Early returns were positive and we hope and pray for good health and a complete season in 2013-14.
- #22 D Kyle Bigos: 20, 4-7-11 in the NCAA. Bigos is a senior so will need to be signed during the spring. At 6.05, 230 I don’t think the Oilers think twice about signing him and bringing Bigos to pro hockey. He’s somewhat unique in that he’s big, strong and has a mean streak–something the organization doesn’t have a lot of in the pro ranks. Flat
- #23 G Frans Tuohimaa: 11, 2.35 .908 in SM-Liiga. At 21, Tuohimaa is a solid backup in a very good European league. However, I’m not sure the Oilers sign him this spring. Why? A couple of reasons. First, the Oilers claimed goaltender Niko Hovinen on waivers recently and that suggests the club is looking to improve their pro goaltending from outside. Second, Tuohimaa was drafted in the 7th round, so the Oilers would need to like him a lot more than Perhonen for them to sign Tuohimaa (it is unlikely they’ll sign both goalies). Up arrow.
- #24 L Kristians Pelss: 12, 0-5-5 in the AHL. Pelss has been an interesting story since draft day. A cool story about his draft came out via Stu MacGregor: “I think he could fit into the Oilers plans in a role as a high energy guy who can skate. I was at the World U-18 with Oil Kings general manager Bob Green when we both saw the kid. Frank Musil did some clandestine work to see if he’d come over to play for the Oil Kings. Knowing that, I figured ‘Let’s take a swing at this guy.’ We even had to add him to the Central Scouting draft list so we could pick him. When you do that he only appears on your list.” Pelss has been part of the ECHL invasion of the Barons roster and will be moving up the list. Up arrow.
- #25 C Mark Arcobello: 43, 14-25-39 in the AHL. Arcobello ate Josh Green’s lunch and then thrived when the Nuge left town. That my friends is a helluva season no matter what happens from here on out. Arcobello will be RFA this summer and looking for a nice bump in dollars and an NHL chance. Is it there? I think we can agree that it is a lot closer now than it has ever been for him. Up arrow.
- #26 L Toni Rajala: 15, 5-5-10 in the AHL after going 29, 18-20-38 in Stockton. Rajala is 10, 4-4-8 with the Barons since his recall and has passed all of the other prospect wingers on the Barons. He is as blocked as blocked can be at the NHL level, but how can you ignore what he’s doing? Entering next season, Rajala is probably a feature player in OKC and a solid option for callup. Up arrow.
- #27 C Chris VandeVelde: 38, 2-8-10. Along with Lander, the Oilers have “4th line C candidates” covered on the futures depth chart. Unlike Lander, VV has never scored well at any level of pro hockey. Really, the item here is that it is incredible he’s STILL a prospect! Long after Cogliano became an NHL player, and long after Taylor Chorney, Danny Syvret and Slava Trukhno failed to make the grade, our man VandeVelde is still hanging in there at age 25. Oilers like him a lot by the way, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him with the Oilers this season at some point. Flat
- #28 C Ryan Martindale: 17, 3-6-9 in the AHL. Of all the players I didn’t expect to see do well this season, Martindale ranks right up there. Skilled but prone to bouts of invisibility, Martindale began the season 6, 0-3-3 and then spent a long period injured. I didn’t read much on him, but upon return he’s been on a very nice run (check out the recent article at this blog). I don’t know that he’ll progress beyond an AHL career, but that was a question mark even one month ago. Up arrow.
- #29 L Phil Cornet: 15, 4-2-6 in the AHL. Quickly becoming the Oilers minor league Rasputin (they can’t kill him) Cornet was an early and easy option to Stockton when all the gifted wingers arrived for the lockout. After his recall, kids like Pelss and Rajala received the early push, but recently Cornet (7, 4-2-6) has been finding the range. Shooting more too, 12 shots in those 7 games. Up arrow.
- #30 D Erik Gustafsson: 41, 6-13-19 in the Allsvenskan (league below SEL). Swedish puck mover had a terrific start and then settled in, but is on fire lately (14, 3-8-11) and I think they might bring this guy over soon. Shows all of his teeth in each photo. Up arrow.
BULLET POINTS ON BULLET PLAYERS
- R John McCarron (20, 5-7-12 at Cornell, NCAA) is having a nice season. He’s 6.03, 215 and if he can find the net once in awhile McCarron could have a career. He’s certainly big and strong enough.
- G Samu Perhonen (13, 3.39 .897 in Finland 2) has been struggling again this season and his signing is not a sure thing. Perhonen is a big goalie (6.05, 196) and a third rounder so I’m betting he gets a contract anyway, but Tuohimaa has outperformed him.
- L Travis Ewanyk (40, 5-12-17 in the WHL) is a player the Oilers value highly (there was a funny exhange around Christmas between Bob McKenzie and Tyler Dellow where McKenzie stated the Oilers liked him a lot). The things that make him valuable to the Oilers: he’s physical and can check some too. As is the case with many of the Oilers prospects in the current group, offense is going to be a question.
- F Kellen Jones (26, 4-9-13 At Quinnipiac, NCAA) has not been scoring at previous levels and is an unlikely signing this spring.
- R Cameron Abney (21, 4-3-7 at Stockton, ECHL) doesn’t seem to be fighting much this season. Either he’s hurt or no one wants to fight him.
- D Nathan Deck (25, 1-5-6 in the AHL with OKC) is a player who has impressed this year when the blue were down a quart or two. Barons signed Randy Jones to a PTO today so maybe the music stops but I’m cheering for him.
- C Tanner House (30, 3-1-4 in the AHL with OKC) is the final center on the list who can’t score. Holy hell the Oilers must love these guys.
- L Antti Tyrvainen (14, 2-1-3 in the AHL with OKC) is a good agitator. I know because he irritated the hell out of Jonathan Willis while taking stupid penalties during the lockout. Jon graded the games along with Bruce McCurdy and David Staples for the Cult of Hockey and it was good for several giggles when Jon got his tyrpewriter rolling over Tyrvainen. Man, lockouts suck.
- G Niko Hovnein (1, 3.00 .903) could have an impact on the organization or none at all. My guess is that he’s going to be in the rotation next season and that is bad news for the Finn goalies. We’ll see.
Who did I miss?