Anton Slepyshev should be having a strong KHL season in 2013-14 but his icetime has been cut back and his boxcars are not close to expectations. Slepyshev will turn 20 in May, and there are clouds on the horizon.
PREVIOUSLY NUMBER SEVENTEEN ON THE LIST
- December 2004: L Alexei Mikhnov
- December 2005: L Alexei Mikhnov
- December 2006: C Jonas Almtorp
- December 2007: G Jeff Deslauriers
- December 2008: D Johan Motin
- December 2009: D Cody Wild
- December 2010: L Teemu Hartikainen
- December 2011: D Dillon Simpson
- December 2012: D Colten Teubert
This is fun, looking back to the early part of the 2000′s to see what was happening. Mikhnov was off the pace badly by 2004 and it wouldn’t get better. Almtorp was a guy I always rated and he’s still going in the Swedish Elite League so he’s had a career, and Deslauriers made it to the NHL for a time (most recently 2011-12). Motin had 1 NHL game, Hartikainen is still Oiler property and Dillon Simpson has gone from humble beginnings to becoming an actual NHL prospect.
WHAT THEY SAID ON DRAFT DAY
- Pronman: Slepyshev was passed over in last year’s draft, mostly due to signability concerns. Despite being ranked 17th in last year’s Hockey Prospectus draft rankings, he falls to 45th this season, simply due to the depth of the draft class. He is an above-average skater, with agility and free movement, as his shiftiness makes him hard to check. He has a plus shot and he knows it, as his mentality is often shoot-first, even from distance. He can still make plays, and he does not have tunnel vision, but his playmaking skills are not his best element. His physical game has progressed, and he has added strength since last season. He can protect pucks moderately well. He will display physical effort, although it could be better at times. He also needs to work on his defensive game.
- ISS Scouting Report: “Perhaps the best player that was most shockingly left off the draft board last year, Slepyshev came back strong this year. A talented two-way player with good spirit, Slepyshev has great hands and can really make things happen from the perimeter with the puck. He shows good work ethic, can play physical and also can be a real pest to play against. He shows good power elements in his game and can protect the puck well and isn’t afraid to go into the dirty areas of the ice. Saw good minutes for Russia at this year’s WJC and should be in line to be one of their top weapons for next year’s event.”
ANTON SLEPYSHEV NHLE, BY SEASON
|PLAYER||TOTAL||NHL E (.78)|
|SLEPYSHEV 2011-12 KHL||39, 4-3-7||82, 7-4-11|
|SLEPYSHEV 2012-13 KHL||26, 7-2-9||82, 17-5-22|
|SLEPYSHEV 2013-14 KHL||25, 3-3-6||82, 7-8-15|
Slepyshev’s offense is down this season, and his TOI is also down (from 12:40 last season to 10:15 this season), both are bad signs. Hartikainen is eating his lunch, as are others on the roster. I think there’s a prospect here, but this is a player whose offense is a major portion of the overall value. If he’s not impressive in the boxcars, he’s not going to make the NHL.
PREVIOUS TOP 20 RANKING
- Summer 2013: 7
- Winter 2013: 17
In the summer look, I said “I may have him too high–we’ll see–but there’s not much doubt this guy can play”. However, Slepyshev isn’t earning icetime and that’s not a great sign for his future. He appears on the Russian list for the World Juniors, and maybe that’ll give us an indication about where he is as a prospect (tournament of small sample sizes warning applies) but right now this pick doesn’t look as promising as in summer.
Considering what they gave up to get him—the Oilers acquired picks #57, #88 (Slepyshev) and #96 (Kyle Platzer) from Los Angeles for #37 overall (Valentin Zykov)—one of these prospects (there are 5 in total, Oilers dealt #57 for the picks that turned into Bogdan Yakimov, Aidan Muir and Jackson Houck) needs to turn out in a big way. Right now, Yakimov looks like he’s a far better bet than Slepyshev.
The Oilers have avoided Russia over the years, and the Mikhnov disaster (he didn’t come because Visa, he didn’t come because girl, he arrived and needed glasses, and then he set foot on the ice and moved by sundial) kept them away for ages. The Yakupov selection seemed to open up the Iron Curtain 22 years after everyone else walked through, but a guy like Slepyshev is going to have to show a lot more than he has so far in order to make the grade.