SITTING IN LIMBO

The Edmonton Oilers don’t have many high-scoring options bubbling under, the big guns are already deployed in the NHL. Who are the offensive players in the system? Are any of them tracking as NHL players? Let’s have a look.

yakimov twitter1 (Bogdan Yakimov)

I’m using Vollman’s numbers unless otherwise noted. OKC Barons photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved.

FORWARDS (per 82GP)

  1. Greg Chase 11-15-26. From the depths of the draft to the top of the heap in one fell swoop. Look, I can’t explain it—this kid was a worthy second round pick by my metrics. I’m no draft expert, but it seems to me that when an NHL team sees a guy scoring points in his draft year—without a PP push—that’s maybe a guy to earmark at the draft. Good on the Oilers for a wonderful get. Now, sign him, find him a WHL coach who will use him on the power play, and get ready for a 100-point season in junior. By the way, that’s no idle argument. If you include his playoff time and the AHL cup of coffee, Chase’s season is 81GP, 40-55-95 in 2013-14. This is an absolute gem. 188th overall. Lordy. 
  2. Bogdan Yakimov 14-9-23. Already armed with a pro contract, Yakimov does appear to have some offensive ability. The NHLE’s  tell us we should expect a 50-point season if he plays the entire year in the AHL. This is an intriguing player, because we know he posted these numbers while playing 10 minutes a night. If you bump his playing time to 15 minutes per game—a reasonable estimate for a 2line C—we arrive at (approx) 82gp, 21-14-35.
  3. Jackson Houck 11-8-19. The Oilers selected so damn many players in 2013 it’s sometimes difficult to remember them all. Houck had a ghastly start, but came on as the season rolled along. He is somewhat unique on the Oilers list in that he’s a bruiser with some reasonable boxcars. Definitely a player to watch.
  4. Marco Roy 8-11-19. Wildly disappointing season, owing mostly to a couple of injuries. He should have stepped up smartly after going slightly over 1/1 in his draft year. Roy’s 2014-15 season will be very important, and there are options for him this year. Roy is old enough to sign a pro contract, but considering the lack of success we’ve seen from Pitlick/Hamilton, I suspect the organization will take the conservative route.
  5. Aidan Muir 6-11-17. After getting off to a very slow start in the USHL, Muir found his stride and finished well. I still have no real idea about the player—every photo features him in a giant man jersey—but the finish is intriguing and we’ll get a better view next season when he hits Western Michigan.
  6. Anton Slepyshev 5-9-14. In the same way we can mess around with the Yakimov offense, we can also tweak young Slepyshev’s boxcars. He played just over 10 minutes per game, so if we boost it to 15, the NHLE transforms to 8-13-21. Still no screaming hell, but the TOI clearly impacted both Russians and I think we get a clearer view by estimating an increase in playing time in order to level comparisons.
  7. Kyle Platzer 8-5-13. When he was drafted, we were informed that Platzer was a sleeper who couldn’t get playing time because the London Knights were so deep. When they finally dealt him, Platzer went 27GP, 13-6-19 (NHLE 82gp, 12-5-17). It’s hard to know what kind of player he is—Platzer did all asked in London, including playing the blue—but it’s never a good sign that you’re one year in to following a prospect and still don’t have an idea about him.
  8. Evan Campbell 7-2-9. Didn’t piss a drop forever,  then finally started to post some crooked numbers deep into the fall. This young man is 21, and there’s a certain urgency here. He’ll need to deliver some impressive numbers in 2014-15 to be considered a prospect, and I do think we can begin having the conversation about this being a miss selection. I don’t like to do that so early, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot here.

I’ll say that Chase, Yakimov and Houck are on track, we have legit concerns about Roy, Muir and Slepslappy, and that Platzer/Campbell are trailing by enough to be a real worry.

NURSE44

DEFENSE (per 82GP)

  1. Darnell Nurse 5-14-19. This is a solid number, I think that’s in the range of expectations for Nurse. A lot of his value will come from defensive play, and if he ever does spend time on the power play it’ll be miles down the road. Those numbers would fit in with Jason Smith, and Nurse should fall into a Smith/Eric Brewer range offensively.
  2. Ben Betker 2-5-7. I like this prospect, despite the NHLE. He’s a big guy with speed, and they got him deep in the entry draft. He’s basically a Matt Greene type, only take 158th overall. Interesting player.

There’s a lot of fretting going on over Darnell Nurse, but I’m not among the group who is losing sleep about him. Nurse had a season of progress, spent some time in the AHL at the end of the year, and looks sufficiently blocked at the NHL level for next season. Another year in junior and let’s see how this turns out. It is a good reminder for all of us to keep these things in context. Hockey prospects don’t develop in a straight line, and defensemen can absolutely look like they are lagging behind early in the process. Let’s try not to eat our young here.

As for Betker, everyone appears to love the guy. I can’t find a negative word about him. He’s a big guy with footspeed. Crazy crazy. I’ll count both of these young men as good arrows.

RANKING THE 2013 OILER DRAFT GROUP

  1. D Darnell Nurse
  2. C Greg Chase
  3. C Bogdan Yakimov
  4. L Marco Roy
  5. R Jackson Houck
  6. L Anton Slepyshev
  7. D Ben Betker
  8. L Aidan Muir
  9. C Kyle Platzer
  10. L Evan Campbell

I think the Oilers have three players on track as actual NHL prospects, and then a group who will need to step up the pace in order to be considered for pro hockey. At this point, Darnell Nurse and Bogdan Yakimov are already signed to pro contracts. Chase, Roy, Houck and Betker would seem like locks for pro contracts sometime this season or next spring.

The rest are in limbo.

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27 Responses to "SITTING IN LIMBO"

  1. sliderule says:

    Platzer might be a sleeper.He looked good at rookie camp.

    Slepyshev showed real well at WJC. .I am not sure of his Khl contract but I think the oilers will wait to see if he breaks out next season.

    Yakimov also played well at WJC..Took all the big face offs and showed that his skating is more or less on par with Draisaitl.Is that a complement ?I guess if you are almost 6-5 it is.

  2. Lloyd B. says:

    Who are the offensive players in the system?

    There is a joke in here somewhere.

  3. jake70 says:

    “The Edmonton Oilers don’t have many high-scoring options bubbling under”

    This. To get value contracts, some of these non-first round forwards have to start breaking through. I mean there is a “help wanted” sign on the Oilers front door and these guys don’t seem to see it. Jobs are there on silver platters, do all it takes to get one.

    Looking back at the last 4 drafts (starting with Hall), how many first rounders did they have really? 5? Hall, RNH, Yak, Nurse, Klefbom?? It was pick 1, 31, 91 etc. This is where they failed one could argue….couldn’t convert any existing roster players and non-first round picks into more first rounders in those years. Lack of creativity.

  4. Ducey says:

    8.Evan Campbell 7-2-9. Didn’t piss a drop forever, then finally started to post some crooked numbers deep into the fall. This young man is 21, and there’s a certain urgency here. He’ll need to deliver some impressive numbers in 2014-15 to be considered a prospect, and I do think we can begin having the conversation about this being a miss selection. I don’t like to do that so early, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot here.

    Its really hard to tell with freshmen. They don’t typically get a lot of ice time – especially early on. Plus UMass Lowell was 29th in team offence (1st in team defence). Their top scorer had only 30 pts in 41 games.

    His 9 goals and 2 assists indicates that he doesn’t know how to pass or didn’t have anyone to pass to. He was 1st among freshmen forwards in scoring on his team.

    I don’t think that Campbell will be Johnny Gadreau (who had 80 pts ! in 40 games this year) but until he is getting more icetime it will be pretty tough to tell if he will turn into anything.

  5. Hammers says:

    Nurse has to go back to junior and the others are as you described but I have a question on Slepyshev as I originally thought he was the higher rated of the two Russians a couple of years ago and wasn’t drafted as they thought they wouldn’t come over here . Not sure if you know for sure but maybe someone does .

  6. Ducey says:

    More on Campbell. I can’t find any TOI but here is a summary. He was a scratch for 8 games in the first half of the season and had very few shots. Once he started playing regularly, his shots went up quite a bit.

    http://www.hockeyeastonline.com/men/statistics/players14.php?umlm25

    10 of his 11 points came in last 17 games he played.

    And he went 2-1-3 in 5 games in the playoffs.
    http://www.collegehockeystats.net/1314/pstat3s/heastm

  7. mumbai max says:

    Ducey:
    More on Campbell.I can’t find any TOI but here is a summary.He was a scratch for 8 games in the first half of the season and had very few shots.Once he started playing regularly, his shots went up quite a bit.

    http://www.hockeyeastonline.com/men/statistics/players14.php?umlm25

    10 of his 11 points came in last 17 games he played.

    And he went 2-1-3 in 5 games in the playoffs.
    http://www.collegehockeystats.net/1314/pstat3s/heastm

    Playing tends to have a positive impact on shots! :-)

  8. VanOil says:

    “I’m no draft expert” – LT

    Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    You are not a professional or amateur scout. You are not a hockey executive or coach. You are not the paid employee of any NHL team. But, you are a draft expert.

    My evidence is as follows; LT has both as an amateur and professional obsessively followed drafts (in various sports) for decades. LT has published and broadcast comprehensive lit reviews of pre and post draft scouting reports for years. LT has read most of, if not all, published material on the history, theory and statistical analysis of NHL drafting. LT interviews and interacts with other draft experts, prospect analysts and even the occasional pro scout and coach. Most compelling evidence is that thousands of us joyfully read and listen too LTs expert analysis of both past and future drafts.

    Please LT keep up the good work. But except this statement;

    Lowetide is a draft expert.

    You may not be ‘The Man’ but you are our ‘Man of the Draft’

  9. Bruce McCurdy says:

    VanOil: Lowetide is a draft expert.

    Seconded.

  10. Melman says:

    VanOil,

    That’s an interesting point and I agree completely. If we start from the position that there are some people who visit this blog regularly that are: a) of above average intelligence, b) have devoted massive hours (call it more than 10,000) to studying, considering, viewing, discussing not only hockey but underlying metrics and predictors of success, c) thanks to Al Gore have access to all kinds of player information, and d) over time their recorded opinions of what will/won’t work have regularly turned out to be correct – I think it’s a very defensible conclusion that there are some amongst us (I am NOT including myself) that would perform better in the job the those that are employed by the bottom tier NHL teams. Everyone knows a dad (or mom) who is a far better mechanic or carpenter than a good chunk of the guys who do it for a living.

  11. VOR says:

    I would third Bruce or join him in seconding. That said, and with no desire to thread jack, have you all seen the article from CBC’s website about the UBC study on when NHL players peak:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/when-nhl-players-peak-hockey-metrics-1.2646054

  12. callighenfan says:

    LT, I love your site, but if I can make a plea: is there any chance you’d consider switching to the away-uniform color scheme? It’s really hard to read white text on a dark background, especially on a laptop.

  13. mumbai max says:

    callighenfan:
    LT, I love your site, but if I can make a plea: is there any chance you’d consider switching to the away-uniform color scheme? It’s really hard to read white text on a dark background, especially on a laptop.

    PLEASE GORD, let it be thus.

  14. LostBoy says:

    Hammers:
    Nurse has to go back to junior and the others are as you described but I have a question on Slepyshev as I originally thought he was the higher rated of the two Russians a couple of years ago and wasn’t drafted as they thought they wouldn’t come over here . Not sure if you know for sure but maybe someone does .

    Slepyshev was ranked as a high second rounder on most of the main lists in 2012 (I think he was 35th on the final ISS list and that was typical – some lists said he had first round talent but was ranked lower because of teams’ wariness over whether he’d come to North America [Pronman actually had him 17th overall]). It’s very unusual for someone ranked that highly to be passed over entirely, but he was locked into a two year KHL contract at that point, didn’t attend the combine, and basically sent out signals that he wasn’t interested in leaving the KHL. I don’t know if the tune changed in 2013 or if the Oilers just decided to swing for the fences.

  15. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    The Harder They Come is an awful film. Great tunes though.

    ———-
    IIRC Muir has an option to join WM this Fall or Next.

    http://www.sbncollegehockey.com/western-college-hockey-recruiting-ncaa/2013/2/11/3978942/aidan-muir-commits-to-western-michigan

    http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=207023

    He had an OK season on a screaming powerhouse of a USHL team. Indiana is in the finals with Waterloo right now. Up 2-1 in the series (best of 5). He was scratched in the 2nd game:

    http://ushl2011.stats.pointstreak.com/boxscore.html?gameid=2440521

    and has only one goal through the playoffs (8 games) so far. Him and Betker are the ultimate “draft and follow… in 5 years” kind of players. Both have promise (glimmers of) but it is so far off… who the hell knows.

  16. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    I think your ranking is right for the most part, but I’d go:

    Betker
    Slappy
    Platzer
    Muir





    Campbell

    for the bottom of the group.

    I think the team splits on Platzer are more convincing than you do

    http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/roster/show/id/9455

    and I really have trouble justifying that Campbell pick. Overager, can’t score a drop.

    “Bob Brown, come on down, pick us a winner!”

  17. justDOit says:

    callighenfan:
    LT, I love your site, but if I can make a plea: is there any chance you’d consider switching to the away-uniform color scheme? It’s really hard to read white text on a dark background, especially on a laptop.

    I feel that a dark background is much easier on the eyes.

  18. RexLibris says:

    “I’m no draft expert”

    …but you do play one on television!

  19. RexLibris says:

    justDOit: I feel that Scarlett Johansson is much easier on the eyes.

    Fixed that for you.

  20. fifthcartel says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=100479

    I wish they would have picked Patrik Bartosak with that pick. They could have used another goalie in the system.

  21. VanOil says:

    If the Habs lose this series will I ever have to listen to Glenn Healy talk about hockey or what ever he mutters about again or has Sportsnet hired him?

    CBC should have went out with class and had Bob Cole do the series.

  22. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    fifthcartel:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=100479

    I wish they would have picked Patrik Bartosak with that pick. They could have used another goalie in the system.

    You’re not the first to mention it either. 5th round is good place to take a G and it seems like a good strategy to nab one a year.

    Sometimes it strikes me how poorly John McCarron’s much more highly touted brother performed in the OHL this year:

    http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=145517

  23. Rebilled says:

    Never get to watch the Oil Kings. Sweet goalie move there.

    Goilkings!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKDXuCE7LeQ

  24. delooper says:

    Regarding the “I’m no draft expert” quote, I’d say, you’re about as close to an expert one can be without officially being an expert. I don’t know what kind of sponsorship deal you have to have to officially be an expert. My impression was you already had that. But if you don’t want to be considered an expert, by all means, I’ll pretend along with you.

  25. delooper says:

    LT, have you considered writing a before-McKenzie, before-Redline, before the central-scouting-service draft report, and then compare that to the standards once they emerge? You could gauge the truth of your quote that way, I suppose. Maybe write-up a 2015 draft report right now, with the limited information you have, just for kicks.

  26. godot10 says:

    OT: The Zeppelin issue is actually back, this time Stairway to Heaven, and from a band their toured with:

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-05-15/led-zeppelins-stairway-to-heaven-vs-dot-spirits-taurus-a-reckoning

    Jimmy Page, one of the great interpreters of music on guitar.

  27. borisnikov says:

    VOR:
    I would third Bruce or join him in seconding. That said, and with no desire to thread jack, have you all seen the article from CBC’s website about the UBC study on when NHL players peak:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/when-nhl-players-peak-hockey-metrics-1.2646054

    From the article…

    They analyzed peak performance in a number of ways, but the statistics they relied on were regular season points scored and plus-minus for skaters and save percentage for goalies.

    No disrespect the the authors of the study but take your pick of fancy stats blogger as someone who’d probably give a better argument about peak seasons. Just straight points and plus minus? Really? There must be something more to it.

    Has anyone ever read that sport’s analytics periodical? Is it legit?

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