It is extremely rare for an air of mystery to revolve around any player in the modern era. We see video, get the vitals, run the NHLE and receive many thoughtful and accurate scouting reports on these players in their draft seasons. And yet, with Anton Slepyshev there is a certain delight in the news received this fall. On or around draft day, we were told he was 6.02, 194, but upon arrival this fall he was clearly bigger—6.02, 217—and the young man can wheel while also scoring goals. That’s a tremendous combination and partially explains the spike in this year’s rankings for the Russian.
PREVIOUSLY NO. 4 ON THE WINTER LIST
- December 2005: L Jean-Francois Jacques (166 NHL games)
- December 2006: C Andrew Cogliano (640 NHL games)
- December 2007: D Taylor Chorney (75 NHL games)
- December 2008: C Rob Schremp (114 NHL games)
- December 2009: C Chris VandeVelde (135 NHL games)
- December 2010: D Martin Marincin (95 NHL games)
- December 2011: L Teemu Hartikainen (52 NHL games)
- December 2012: D Martin Marincin (95 NHL games)
- December 2013: D Martin Marincin (95 NHL games)
- December 2014: C Bogdan Yakimov (1 NHL game)
Among the men on this list, Andrew Cogliano is clearly going to have the best career (I don’t see any in this group who look like they’ll challenge, do you?). That was a really bad trade. JFJ, Schremp, Hartikainen and Yakimov are the only players who haven’t played in the NHL this season, incredibly. Marincin is coming up on 100 NHL games, I still think he’ll have a career. Based on where they were drafted, and using NHL GP as the metric, Chris VandeVelde turned into a very good pick.
WHAT THEY SAID ON DRAFT DAY
- Corey 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.”
Ferraro on Anton Slepyshev: "That kid's a player. I saw him at World Junior & loved him. He's not a 3 years in the AHL" project. #Oilers
— Bruce McCurdy (@BruceMcCurdy) May 28, 2015
PREVIOUS TOP 20 RANKING
- Summer 2013: 7
- Winter 2013: 17
- Summer 2014: 18
- Winter 2014: 17
- Summer 2015: 9
- Winter 2015: 4
SLEPYSHEV IN THE KHL
- 2011-12 (age 17) 39GP, 4-3-7 (8:55 TOI, 28 shots) (1.21 points-per-60) (4.83 shots-per-60)
- 2012-13 (age 18) 26GP, 7-2-9 (12:40 TOI, 63 shots) (1.64 points-per-60) (11.48 shots-per-60)
- 2013-14 (age 19) 36GP, 3-5-8 (10:18 TOI, 59 shots) (1.30 points-per-60) (9.55 shots-per–60)
- 2014-15 (age 20) 58GP, 15-10-25 (12:26 TOI, 129 shots) (2.08 points-per-60) (10.73 shots-per-60)
— Marty Klinkenberg (@globemartyk) October 5, 2015
- Todd McLellan: “Yes. When I look at his game, and I watched the video again—the video doesn’t lie. He did a lot of the things we worked on today in the game. He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before. You can see it, he’s been around pro players for awhile.”
- Todd McLellan: “He has the ability to play a heavy game and use his shot. He’s played with speed guys and with grinders … he’s getting better night after night and he’s really opening the coaches’ eyes.” Source
Looks like Connor McDavid will center Taylor Hall and Anton Slepyshev in his NHL debut for the Oilers on Thursday.
— Mike Morreale (@mikemorrealeNHL) October 8, 2015
- Craig MacTavish: “He has a dynamic skill set. High-speed skill. He competes well. There’s plenty of tools there.”
- Corey Pronman: “He’s a highly skilled playmaker with good speed, whose all-around game and ability to win battles have been issues.”
- Lowetide: This was a nice draft pick by MacTavish/MacGregor. He has big league speed and size (6.02, 188) and posted his first quality KHL season at age 20 (NHLE: 28 points, including 16.5 goals). We should expect him to play in Bakersfield, and he’s willing to learn on the farm, but the numbers suggest he’s a better quality than most of the wingers Edmonton sent to the Barons for seasoning. Source
— Gene Principe (@GenePrincipe) October 6, 2015
Slepyshev’s TOI sample is so small there isn’t much to be gained here. One thing worth noting: His one NHL point came when he was on the ice with Taylor Hall. Slepyshev’s future with the Oilers, such as it is, will definitely be part of a skill line. Is he one of the members of the unicorn ‘third scoring line’?
The Vollman has him in a good spot and his possession numbers aren’t terrible. You’d like to see him in the lower quadrant, filling the net with other youngsters while facing the soft parade. That day may be coming soon.
The thing about Anton Slepyshev is that we didn’t really know about his range until he got here. In watching exhibition games, it was clear that the combination of speed, size and skill makes him a far more significant prospect than previously suggested—we were missing the final chapter of the prospect book on him. He did score 15 KHL goals and impressed before the regular NHL season. We don’t have a full season of watching Slepyshev—and he might not have enough offense to play on the wing with one of these ridiculous centers—but the KHL season and the impressive fall are enough to get him here.
Oh, and the Chiarelli line above about Slepyshev versus Leon? I suspect NHL GMs have to tell fibs when cap issues arise and decisions like this are made. That’s my guess, anyway. The top three names on the Winter Top 20 for 2015 are well clear of the rest of the men on this year’s list. Anton Slepyshev comes right after the big three, ahead of a prospect with higher pedigree, because the Russian’s offensive potential and speed have high value. In five years, he could be famous.
THE 2013 DRAFT
- Darnell Nurse, No. 7 overall. A quality prospect who has delivered in the early days of his pro career. Has a range of skills and has had good-to-great games already the NHL season. No. 3 prospect, Winter 2015.
- Marco Roy, No. 59 overall. Didn’t earn an NHL deal, signed to a minor league contract and played early days in the ECHL. Recalled to the AHL, we’ll see how things go.
- Bogdan Yakimov, No. 83 overall. Mammoth Russian progressing, although he’s a little shy offensively this season in the AHL so far. A candidate for the Winter top 20.
- Anton Slepyshev, No. 88 overall. Slick Russian winger impressed in camp and won an NHL job. Currently in the minors, but he’s bona fide. No. 4 prospect, Winter 2015.
- Jackson Houck, No. 94 overall. Unsigned, playing in junior. No longer in the organization.
- Kyle Platzer, No. 96 overall. New pro playing well in Bakersfield, good results. A candidate for the Winter top 20.
- Aidan Muir, No. 113 overall. College winger, not scoring. A candidate for the Winter top 20.
- Evan Campbell, No. 128 overall. College winger with decent results so far this year. A candidate for the Winter top 20.
- Ben Betker, No. 158 overall. First year pro in the ECHL currently. Big, strong and good speed. A project. A candidate for the Winter top 20.
- Greg Chase, No. 188 overall. Turned pro but was sent to the ECHL. Performed well there and was recently called to the AHL. Talented player, but no draft pedigree. A candidate for the Winter top 20.
— Bakersfield Condors (@Condors) November 4, 2015
It’s early days, but the 2013 draft may end up being what I hoped the 2010 draft would become. Craig MacTavish was at the helm for two drafts and came away with Darnell Nurse and Leon Draisaitl in those two years. Those two men look like cornerstone players who give further strength to the murder of No. 1 overall’s skating around the rink.
It’s the later round selections in 2013 that could really help the organization. Slepyshev is in the first year of his entry-level deal and by the end of it could be delivering impressive offense for cents on the dollar.
Bogdan Yakimov is a gigantic human being who can play hockey, never a bad idea. I’m not absolutely certain where he’ll play when NHL-ready and in all honesty it might be in another NHL city. That said, if Leon’s home in the bigs is RW, then another tower in the middle could find room.
We’re just closing the books on the 2010 draft, and even then Martin Marincin and Brandon Davidson are pushing for a better day. The 2013 draft houses new pro players like Kyle Platzer and Greg Chase, no one knows their road or where we’ll find them in 2018.
Still early days for the 2013 draft, and yet the arrows are showing up and heading in a good direction. Anton Slepyshev could be a notable Oiler in the coming seasons. We can’t see that from here, but there are good indicators.
ANTON SLEPYSHEV, EDMONTON OILERS
5×5 points per 60: 0.64
5×4 points per 60: nil
Qual Comp: No. 10 among F’s
Qual Team: No. 9 among F’s
Corsi Rel: 2.2 No. 6 among F’s
Corsi for % 5×5: 48.2
Zone Start: 53.2
Shots on goal/percentage: 5/0
Boxcars: 11GP, 0-1-1