OILERS TOP 40!

It’s taken a month and 40 names, plus a lot of quotes and stats and there’s still plenty of disagreement about the final numbers. That’s the fun of it! Here’s the winter top 40, Oilers edition.

  1. D Darnell Nurse: The long road of development continues in Ontario. The young man has a lot of skills.
  2. D Oscar Klefbom: His arrival in North America gave rise to hope he was actually NHL ready. Klefbom missed most of last season and of course is going through a period of adjustment, but he remains a highly regarded member of the prospect base.
  3. L Marco Roy has struggled with injuries, but when healthy is delivering a strong post-draft season. Quality offensive prospect with some secondary skills.
  4. D Martin Marincin: The big man finally made his NHL debut this season, and played well. Jonathan Willis reported recently that he has played well since returning to the minors.
  5. C Jujhar Khaira: Big, rugged center no longer the top forward in the system but remains the man with the widest range of skills married to potential. He’s having a tougher time scoring than we thought he would, but some of that is likely because Constantine.
  6. C Bogdan Yakimov: Huge Russian center began the season very well and has tailed off of late, but he has a nice resume and should be a load when he sets sail for North American hockey.
  7. D Anton Belov: Big Russian defenseman won a top 6D job with the Oilers and will make this list only the one time. He has struggled a little recently, but has been playing heavy minutes with Jeff Petry—a far cry from his job a season ago. A quality free agent signing.
  8. D Dillon Simpson: Closing out his college career with a flourish. Simpson plays all the tough minutes, top pairing, plus both special teams for UND. His progression from draft day through graduation has been exceptional based on all reports.
  9. D Martin Gernat: Turned pro this fall and the expectations were that he would play in both Stockton and Oklahoma City. That has happened, but he’s showing well in the AHL and the Oilers have to be happy with his performance.
  10. C Greg Chase: This is one of the truly exceptional stories of the Oilers list this season. Chase is 18-years old and delivering a strong offensive season–his NHLE is the best among amateurs—while maintaining his agitating style. Impressive player.
  11. L Mitchell Moroz: A big, tough winger who has 21 goals halfway through the season is going to get your attention, and in the case of Moroz it comes on the heels of a year in which his selection was universally panned. A hopeful arrow, and a delightful story.
  12. C Mark Arcobello: I believe there are readers of this blog who would have Arcobello top 5, but I’m satisfied with him here. HERE represents a major accomplishment, and betting against Arcobello at this point is a terrible idea. He joins Belov as the only NHL regulars this season who are on the list (and they will graduate).
  13. D Taylor Fedun: Like Arcobello, Fedun is a college grad-free agent signing and we hope to see more of them in the coming years. Fedun joins Marincin above him as players who have received their first NHL ‘cups of coffee’ this year.
  14. D David Musil: He began this season with the continued ‘divided house’ assessment of his professional future. Musil is an excellent defenseman, but is not a fast train and that’s a deal breaker in the modern NHL. Early in his pro career, Musil is showing his defensive ability but is also in a very difficult race to the NHL with some very talented players.
  15. R Tyler Pitlick: Rescued his pro career from oblivion with a strong training camp in front of new head coach Dallas Eakins. Pitlick even found his way to the NHL, where he suffered a costly injury in game 3. He’s back in the minors working his way to the NHL.
  16. R John McCarron: Big power winger with size and some skill in an organization parched for it. McCarron is not attached to the MacTavish regime, but it’s very likely we’ll see him in pro a year from now.
  17. L Anton Slepyshev: Russian skill winger has had a tough season so far, and fell off from his summer number. Slepyshev passed through his draft year in 2012, and his subpar season at 19 suggests we should be a little concerned.
  18. L Luke Gazdic: Enforcer grabbed off waivers and appears to have found an NHL home. His actual value to winning hockey games is not high, but based on his likely career games-played total I think this is a reasonable slotting. Gazdic has had an immediate NHL impact.
  19. D Erik Gustafsson: Swedish defenseman having a fine season in one of the top European leagues, his puck moving ability should have value for the new Oilers. We’ll find out how much value the Oilers place on him if Gustafsson comes over for TC 2014.
  20. R Jackson Houck: Power forward with some nice things on his resume, he’s having a season very similar to last year. Not a great sign, but not regressing either.

Picks 21-30 are here and 31-40 are here.

GRADUATES FROM LAST SEASON (WINTER 2012)

  • #1 Nail Yakupov: Stu MacGregor: “One of the things that really impressed– whenever he got in all alone on a goaltender,  he didn’t miss, he put it in. He has the potential — and I want to say potential —  to score 30 goals or even more.”
  • #2 Justin Schultz: The bloom is off the rose this season, but one year ago he was leading the AHL in points and the honeymoon was in full swing.
  • #5 Teemu Hartikainen: Harski was the first sign that new GM Craig MacTavish viewed the minor leaguers differently. Hartikainen had eaten all his vegetables during his entry level deal, worked his way up to the NHL for some looks, and was ready to assume the role (somewhere between Brad Winchester and Dan Lacouture) of big role-playing winger. The Oilers didn’t see it that way, Hartikainen is in Russia and the Oilers have moved on (although they retain his rights).
  • #11 Anton Lander: Still trying to catch on in the NHL, his offense has awakened in the AHL and that might be enough for him to get some traction in the NHL.
  • #17 Colten Teubert: He’s long gone blue now, but at one time he was considered to be a part of the future.

 LIKELY TO GRADUATE THIS SEASON (WINTER 2013)

  • #7 D Anton Belov: A lot of anger toward him recently, but I think that has more to do with the quality of opposition he’s facing. Belov was a terrific free agent addition, and is certainly among the 6 best available, many would argue he’s among the 4 best in Edmonton currently.
  • #12 C Mark Arcobello: The Oilers needed to sign him this past summer or lose Arcobello, and that contract has been real value this year. He’s been an effective player in an area of weakness, and has had an impact on the season.
  • #18 L Luke Gazdic: Plucked from waiver at the end of training camp, Gazdic has become an NHL regular and allowed the Oilers to trade Mike Brown.

 

 

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25 Responses to "OILERS TOP 40!"

  1. RexLibris says:

    #3 worries me.

    He looks great when he plays. That last point being the caveat emptor of this prospect thus far – when he plays.

    Like all Oilers prospects, and a few young players that aren’t Oilers property, I hope for the best for them. But Roy’s injuries have me concerned about development. These kids are all in a tight race at this age and the smallest slip up can cost them significantly.

  2. Manitoba Oilers says:

    I still don’t see what people see in Khaira I don’t know if he would break my top 15

  3. Manitoba Oilers says:

    Wouldn’t Gazdic be graduating also

  4. Lowetide says:

    Manitoba Oilers:
    Wouldn’t Gazdic be graduating also

    Yes. Sorry, missed him.

  5. Shingen says:

    I think it will be interesting to see how the draft strategy from 2013 pans out – trading ‘quality’ higher picks for quantity mid to late round picks. On one hand, if the draft assessment is that there isn’t much separation in the 50-150 picks, then the strategy might make sense. On the other hand, I think there are currently 3 prospects in the system that have a reasonable likelihood of making the NHL (Nurse, Klefbom, and Marincin), a few others with a combination of potential and risk (Roy’s injuries, could even move Klefbom into this category for the same reason) and a whole bunch of long shots. It looks like the grades at Hockey’s Future have (recently?) been updated to reflect the same: lots of probability of success ranked as D.

    In light of this strategy, I think the Hartikainen decision adds to my concern. Considering the number of 6th round picks that actually develop into NHL players + the move to draft a bunch more in that range this year, it then seems odd that Teemu is in the KHL right now. Sometimes player value is based on draft pedigree (both within the drafting team and also in the league), so quantity may have less market value a few years from now, and I’m not sure about the commitment with the Oilers to see depth player development through. Maybe this is based on history: Cleary and Brodziak as examples… Some on the list may turn into valuable players, but I’m not sure how many will be dressed for the Oilers when it happens.

  6. Bushed says:

    LT:

    Speaking of Gazdic, what’s happened to SMac?

    Haven’t heard a peep about him for a long time…

  7. Old School G says:

    Any chance at all for Hartaikanen to work his way back?

    I thought we had a really good role player there, still do.

  8. justDOit says:

    Bushed,

    http://okcbarons.com/index.cfm?fa=roster

    and WOW, does that look like a bad roster. MacT couldn’t even get a average AHL scorer for Omark?

  9. Lowetide says:

    justDOit:
    Bushed,

    http://okcbarons.com/index.cfm?fa=roster

    and WOW, does that look like a bad roster. MacT couldn’t even get a average AHL scorer for Omark?

    Didn’t want the contract back. That’s a good call, actually.

  10. Lowetide says:

    Bushed:
    LT:

    Speaking of Gazdic, what’s happened to SMac?

    Haven’t heard a peep about him for a long time…

    Played defense last night in OKC. Klefbom flu.

  11. justDOit says:

    Lowetide: Didn’t want the contract back. That’s a good call, actually.

    Well SMac is the contract they really didn’t need, but I see your point. Having that many face-punchers on the farm, and no proven scorers is much less than ideal. That both NHL and AHL teams for this organization suck at the same time is demoralizing for fans and players alike.

    At least now I can kick back, relax, and watch the Oiler prospects in the WJCs. Both of them.

    Once again, thank you Tambi: http://toonclips.com/600/9845.jpg

  12. jake70 says:

    So if I am a fan in OKC that can take them or leave them, which player would make me take them? All the offensive guys are gone. Send them Yak maybe? ;-)

  13. jp says:

    Lowetide: #7 D Anton Belov: A lot of anger toward him recently, but I think that has more to do with the quality of opposition he’s facing. Belov was a terrific free agent addition, and is certainly among the 6 best available, many would argue he’s among the 4 best in Edmonton currently.

    Agreed. I find it difficult to understand how anyone could NOT consider him among the best 4 Oilers D at the moment. Not trying to say he’d be in that slot on a better team, but he is a top 4 D on a team in the NHL. This was a great signing. Plus he’s almost certainly still adjusting to the NHL game and has some more to offer offensively going forward. Don’t be mad at the player for the situation he’s been thrust into.

  14. Cameron says:

    Lowetide: Didn’t want the contract back. That’s a good call, actually.

    Really? Omark looks like a useful NHL player by my eyes, so how is getting back a late pick and no other player a ‘good call’?

    Here’s a question, would the Oilers do;

    —> Edmonton: Giordano-D, Backlund-C

    For;

    —> Yakupov-R/L, Klefbom-D or Nurse-D

    ?

    Calgary gets a game-breaker to help the rebuild, and a young D-man prospect with upside, Edmonton gets a heavy minute defender with a wide range of skills, on a good contract and at a good age, and a 2 way pivot who is a little light on offense, but who pushes the river the right way.

  15. Manitoba Oilers says:

    No ^^^^^^^^ Not doing that ever and I have Gio on my olypic team. For Yak alone I wouldn’t do that let alone add in Nurse or Klefbom I would rather stick with the players we have and wait for Klefbom/Nurse/Marincin/?Ekblad? To develop

  16. leadfarmer says:

    Man did the Steelers just get screwed by crappy refereeing.

    Oh yeah and at some point you have to trade some of these redundant players, even if they end up having good carreers elsewhere. Their value will keep dropping because they dont work well together so at some point you have to make a tough decision. Good thing we have an experienced GM to make that decision.

  17. Hammers says:

    jp: Agreed. I find it difficult to understand how anyone could NOT consider him among the best 4 Oilers D at the moment. Not trying to say he’d be in that slot on a better team, but he is a top 4 D on a team in the NHL. This was a great signing. Plus he’s almost certainly still adjusting to the NHL game and has some more to offer offensively going forward. Don’t be mad at the player for the situation he’s been thrust into.

    Reminds me of Hedja . Just hope McT gets him signed . Hedja’s just got better each year after we lost him .

  18. jp says:

    Hammers: Reminds me of Hedja . Just hope McT gets him signed . Hedja’s just got better each year after we lost him .

    Yeah, and potentially with more offense. Agreed that MacT needs to sign the man.

  19. jp says:

    Cameron,

    Manitoba Oilers:
    No ^^^^^^^^ Not doing that ever and I have Gio on my olypic team. For Yak alone I wouldn’t do thatlet alone add in Nurse or Klefbom I would rather stick with the players we have and wait for Klefbom/Nurse/Marincin/?Ekblad? To develop

    I’m not quite as strong on the not trading any of them stance. I just think if it does happen it needs to be for a truly elite player in return.

    Performance of past #1 overalls doesn’t guarantee Yakupov success, and there have certainly been misses, but these guys almost always develop into stars. Yakupov is struggling this year, but he was at a 29 goal pace in his rookie year.

    Look at the 1st forwards drafted each year before Yakupov:
    2011 – RNH
    2010 – Hall
    2009 – Tavares
    2008 – Stamkos
    2007 – Kane
    2006 – J. Staal (#2)
    2005 – Crosby
    2004 – Ovechkin
    2003 – E. Staal (#2)
    2002 – Nash
    2001 – Kovalchuk
    2000 – Heatley (#2)
    1999 – Stefan

    You need to go back 14 years until there’s a real miss. How many of those guys would you trade Giordano for? There’s no guarantees, but in all likelihood Yakupov will develop into a perennial top 10 or 20 scorer. Patience is the key, or at least getting an absolutely stellar return.

  20. Bushed says:

    Thanks, guys.

    SMac on D–wow.

    Love the guy’s heart, but I can’t even picture that–especially the skating (backwards and all, at speed).

    Different topic–don’t know why MacT is so intent on freeing up so many contract spaces, but here’s hoping it’s for something good. Lord knows, we need something good.

    Another topic–shifting gears into that Christmas and family time–hope all on this blog enjoy some Christmas cheer, special times with loved ones, and a great New Year.

  21. RexLibris says:

    Cameron,

    Omark couldn’t crack the top six on the Oilers under a coach who cut his teeth developing players for the NHL.

    Not a good sign.

    I love the player but he has warts in his game. I hope he catches on elsewhere, the NHL could use his talent and showmanship, and he is a tough, hard-working little bugger in the offensive zone.

    29 teams had a shot at taking him for free. They all passed. Even this time MacTavish canvassed the league and this was the best offer on the table.

    Take his story into consideration when evaluating Gaudreau’s development.

  22. RexLibris says:

    jp,

    I’d put Giordano into the same category as Erhoff and Campbell in that they aren’t top-drawer defensive studs, but really good top-pairing defenders. Any one of them makes the Oilers better right away, but that speaks more to the current state of the blueline than the players themselves.

    The offer is entirely speculative because there is no way that MacTavish would hand a player with such potential over to a provincial rival. It would be like Shero sending Malkin to the Flyers.

    The crux of the issue is that the two teams, Flames and Oilers, have needs that the other could address were it not for the intense rivalry and zero-sum game that both are playing.

    The Oilers need to hunt elsewhere and the Flames need to figure out their way. If the Oilers can get their collective scheisse together and Burke does to the Flames what he did to the Leafs, they’ll meet again soon enough.

    At which time we can cheer for the Oilers to beat the Flames and restore balance to the Force.

  23. justDOit says:

    Woodguy:
    Jones tells Katz and Lowe to “wear it”

    http://www.edmontonsun.com/2013/12/22/jones-oilers-should-wear-it

    I assumed RYAN Jones. That would be sumpin!

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