The Edmonton Oilers took forever to commit themselves to a Russian pipeline but they’re all-in now. Yak is in the NHL, Yak2 is on the way and one of their top prospects on the wing is Russian Anton Slepyshev. He’s free to sign in North America this summer and should be successful in the AHL. Is he an NHL talent? Can he replace one of Hall, Eberle, Perron or Pouliot on the skill lines?
PREVIOUSLY NUMBER SEVENTEEN ON THE LIST
- December 2004: L Alexei Mikhnov (2)
- December 2005: L Alexei Mikhnov (2)
- December 2006: C Jonas Almtorp (0)
- December 2007: G Jeff Deslauriers (62)
- December 2008: D Johan Motin (1)
- December 2009: D Cody Wild (0)
- December 2010: L Teemu Hartikainen (52)
- December 2011: D Dillon Simpson (0)
- December 2012: D Colten Teubert (24)
- December 2013: L Anton Slepyshev (0)
We’re in the ‘Hail Mary’ section of the list, even the first and second rounders who landed here were suspects more than prospects when they arrived. Jeff Deslauriers had a little rumble there and Teemu Hartikainen could still have a career. Dillon Simpson and Slepyshev (second year in a row at No. 17) remain hopefuls from this list.
- 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 KHL, BY SEASON
|SLEPYSHEV 2011-12 KHL||39, 4-3-7||8:55||1.21|
|SLEPYSHEV 2012-13 KHL||26, 7-2-9||12:40||1.64|
|SLEPYSHEV 2013-14 KHL||36, 3-5-8||10:18||1.29|
|SLEPYSHEV 2014-15 KHL||39, 5-7-12||10:44||1.72|
Slepyshev has recovered nicely this season, scoring at a solid rate for his KHL team. I’m not certain it’s enough to play in the NHL on a skill line, but it’s comparable to Teemu Harikainen on the same team (2.10) when you factor in PP time (Harski has PP goals, Slepyshev none).
PREVIOUS TOP 20 RANKING
- Summer 2013: 7
- Winter 2013: 17
- Summer 2014: 18
- Winter 2014: 17
I thought about ranking Slepyshev higher but he’s still playing less than 11 minutes a night. That’s a tell for me—the KHL coach has better options—and Slepyshev is no longer a kid (21 in May). Even with this ranking he is among the Oilers top prospect wingers, with only Iiro Pakarinen (No. 5), Tyler Pitlick (No. 10) and Jackson Houck (No. 11) ahead of him. Guys like Marco Roy or Greg Chase may move to wing but the skill winger position is wide open on the prospect tree.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING THIS SEASON
- Corey Pronman, ESPN: Anton Slepyshev-EDM played 7 minutes today in the KHL, but he was able to get on Russia’s National Team? #doesnotcompute
- Corey Pronman, ESPN: In the Karjala Cup (don’t ask), Slepyshev-EDM played for Russia’s Mens National Team. In 3 games, Slepyshev got 2 points.
- Lowetide Blog: We will have a good chance to see Russian Anton Slepyshev at the Spengler Cup over Christmas. If he can cover over next fall and score well enough, it will give Edmonton a badly needed skill winger.
It is so very hard to project these Euro kids because the KHL is a top pro league in Europe and he’s losing playing time to good players (fewer at-bats, tougher pitching). However, he’s 20 now and should be earning it, we haven’t see that this year. His points-per-60 is encouraging and I’m looking forward to seeing him at the Spengler and as an AHL player. I can’t say with authority that he’s shown enough for us to expect him to be a feature player as a rookie in the minors. He is certainly worth signing in my opinion. He could be badly underrated at this number but I’m comfortable putting him here based on the evidence available.
2013 NHL DRAFT
- Darnell Nurse, No. 7 overall. Good arrows, played 2 NHL games and made WJ team. No. 2 overall prospect.
- Marco Roy, No. 59 overall. Scoring well after early injuries. No. 11 overall prospect.
- Bogdan Yakimov, No. 83 overall. Mammoth Russian progressing smartly. No. 4 overall prospect.
- Anton Slepyshev, No. 88 overall. Slick Russian winger with slight uptick in the KHL. No. 17 overall prospect.
- Jackson Houck, No. 94 overall. Struggling some this season. No. 12 overall prospect.
- Kyle Platzer, No. 96 overall. Emerging as a quality NHL prospect this year. No. 9 overall prospect.
- Aidan Muir, No. 113 overall. Now in college, scoring a little. Candidate for winter 20.
- Evan Campbell, No. 128 overall. Scoring well in college this year. Candidate for winter 20.
- Ben Betker, No. 158 overall. Huge defender continues to progress. Candidate for winter 20.
- Greg Chase, No. 188 overall. Signed a contract, strong camp, finding his way on the coast. No. 6 overall prospect.
Slepyshev is the seventh player from the 2013 draft to make the top 20. That draft and the 2011 edition are much stronger than 2012 and 2014 and should deliver more NHL players. It’s important to remember though that not everyone will make the NHL and play 200 games. If the Oilers get three players from this draft who make that plateau it should be considered a strong year. Right now, I would not put my money on Slepyshev being one of those players.