On Friday, I had a chance to discuss Edmonton’s prospect list with Corey Pronman of ESPN. Corey is one of the most respected names in prospect evaluation and a lot of that comes from his tireless work with video, scouts and the hockey industry. I find Pronman’s assessments interesting for two reasons: He is very specific in his words and he leaves very little middle ground. I spoke to him about his Top 5 prospects among Edmonton’s long list of players and what we might expect from them in the coming season.
- Connor McDavid: “He will be on the Oilers top 6F right away and there’s a non-zero chance he passes Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the depth chart by the end of the season. Once he skates in his first NHL game in October he’ll be in the upper echelon of the NHL in terms of his speed and skill. It’s just a matter of his physical game and what he does this summer to get ready for the physical grind and much bigger, stronger players facing him.”
- Nurse and Reinhart: “There’s a small gap (between the two) I like Nurse a lot, he edges Reinhart in my opinion. There’s also an age difference between the two—Reinhart has already played one year of pro—I think they’re similar in terms of proximity to the NHL, they’re both on the bubble. I think Nurse has a little more of a dynamic element to his game. Nurse’s skating is a little bit better and they both project as good defensive players, I think Nurse can bring a little more offense to the NHL.”
- Anton Slepyshev: “He was a top prospect in the Russian program for a number of years but had never really shown enough in the KHL. He always did well against his peer groups and in international competition. This past season, as a 20-year-old, he started to see the needle move a little bit for him. He didn’t play amazing, but in the second half he was very good in the KHL. He showed he could play well versus men—very highly skilled, flashy, a quick forward—he probably isn’t the best off the puck but with the puck he can make a lot happen.”
- Ethan Bear: “He’s not a really flashy guy, I don’t think he’s won a major accolade or anything of the sort. He was consistently impressive this season, especially against his own age group. I thought he looked good at the Ivan Hlinka and U18’s, he looked like one of the better 1997 defensemen. Throughout the entire WHL season he was very good—not amazing, but steady in both ends. He could move the puck, he played hard and showed good hockey sense on both sides of the puck.”
LOWETIDE TOP 10
- C Connor McDavid NHLE: 82GP, 23-40-63. Destination: NHL from opening night.
- C Leon Draisaitl NHLE: 82GP, 15-26-41. Destination: NHL before Christmas.
- D Darnell Nurse NHLE: 82GP, 7-16-23. Destination: NHL from opening night.
- D Griffin Reinhart. NHLE: 82GP, 6-11-17. Destination: NHL by the trade deadline.
- C Bogdan Yakimov. NHLE: 82GP, 10-13-23. Destination: AHL for 2015-16, with a cup of coffee in the NHL.
- W Iiro Pakarinen. NHLE: 82GP, 16-11-27. Destination: AHL to start, callups to the NHL early and often.
- C Kyle Platzer. NHLE: 82GP, 12-17-29. Destination: He’ll spend his rookie pro season in the AHL.
- C-R Greg Chase. NHLE: 82GP, 8-16-24. Destination: AHL all year, with an NHL look-see possible.
- L Anton Slepyshev. NHLE: 82GP, 17-11-28. Destination: AHL marksman.
- D Ethan Bear. NHLE: 82GP, 5-9-14. Destination: WHL all year, hopefully plenty of PP time.