The regular season is finished for Edmonton’s CHL prospects, which gives us a chance to look at progress and perhaps gain some clues about the future for some of these kids. The Oilers have significant pressure on their 50-man list for next season, so it is not certain they will sign all eligible players graduating from junior.
- R Tobias Rieder (Kitchener OHL) 52, 27-29-56 after an enormous season (85 points in 60 games) one year ago. He’s 20, suspect the Oilers will sign him as he has a nice range of skills and plays in all three disciplines (17Ev, 8PP and 2PK goals this season). NHLE: 82, 13-13-26 (age 19 season).
- L Daniil Zharkov (Belleville OHL) 59, 25-18-43 is almost a photocopy of his previous season. Began slowly and played much better in the New Year. His 22 even strength goals is a significant total. He’ll return for another junior season in 13-14. NHLE: 82, 10-8-18 (age 18 season).
- D Martin Gernat (Edmonton WHL) 23, 3-10-13 and finishing up a trying season. Gernat was out with a shoulder injury early, and it took significant time to get back into the lineup. Once there, he showed just how much he’s improved during his Oil King career. I’m excited for his future, this kid looks like the real thing. If this were a baseball player, we’d be talking about 5-tool ability. NHLE 82, 3-11-14 (age 19).
- L Mitchell Moroz (Edmonton WHL) 69, 13-21-34 started off slowly but improved his play as the season progressed. Spent much of the year on a designated checking line, perhaps indicating the Oilers see him in that role. I would have thought the club might have been projecting him as more of an offensive player, but based on how he was used I suspect they see him as a checker/energy player. Moroz had 10 EV and 3PP goals. NHLE 82, 5-7-12 (age 18 season).
- D David Musil (Edmonton WHL) 62, 9-22-31 and a quality defender at the junior level. Watching Musil play his final stretch of junior was a pleasure, he’s really a good coverage defender. The question is footspeed, we’ll begin to find out about his pro career in the fall. All 9 goals were at evens. NHLE: 82, 4-8-12 (age 19 season).
- L Travis Ewanyk (Edmonton WHL) 58, 8-15-23 but the 119 pims are what might earn him a contract. The Oilers are extremely high on this player, or at least they were midway through this past season. I don’t think he’ll ever deliver enough offense to play in the NHL. NHLE 82, 3-7-10 (age 19 season).
My guess is that it shakes out like this:
- Rieder signs and plays with OKC next season, possibly on a line with Pelss and Lander.
- Zharkov returns to Belleville.
- Gernat signs with the Oilers and starts his pro career in OKC.
- Moroz returns to Edmonton.
- Musil signs with the Oilers and starts his pro career in OKC.
- Ewanyk is not signed.
Now watch them sign Ewanyk tomorrow. I think the safest bet to play in the NHL is Musil, but the potential of this kid Gernat is damn exciting. He might take his entire entry level deal, but I’ll tell you this kid has so much more than a guy like Alex Plante did at the same age. Wide, wide range of skills.