Every few months (whether you need it or not) I like to update you on that wild Craig MacTavish trade set at the 2013 entry draft. It may end up being nothing, but I don’t think all players will miss: Someone won that deal, and I think it might be MacT.
- First trade: Edmonton trades 37th overall (Valentin Zykov) to Los Angeles for 57th overall (William Carrier), 88th overall (Anton Slephyshev) and 96th overall (Kyle Platzer).
- Second trade: Oilers trade 57th overall (William Carrier) to St. Louis for 83rd overall (Bogdan Yakimov), 94th overall (Jackson Houck) and 113th overall (Aidain Muir).
It is important to remember that Edmonton gave up only Zykov for the other picks, but I always like to include Carrier in the group just for fun. Also, for our purposes today, I am not going to include Jackson Houck (Oilers did not sign) and Aidan Muir (Oilers may or may not sign) and focus only on the pro players in the deal. As it happens, this is highly convenient because all other players spent time in the AHL this year.
NHL FOR ONE!
I have a feeling Anton Slepyshev is going to win this trade for the Oilers. Despite scoring just four goals in 19 AHL games, the young Russian impressed during his NHL time and I imagine we will see him again soon. Slepyshev’s combination of speed, size and skill is NHL calibre and he could push for regular NHL employment in the fall.
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
You can never be sure about any prospect, and Bogdan Yakimov’s recent decent to jump to the KHL is a concern, but Slepyshev appears to be the real deal.
FIRST YEAR AFTER DRAFT
Draft year +1, Zykov (the original trade target) looked like a worthwhile investment. He was the only prospect over one point per game (although the Russians were already in pro) and his NHLE was clear of the pack.
SECOND YEAR AFTER DRAFT
Draft Year +2, Zykov has company beyond a point-per-game in junior, and there are now three men playing pro hockey (two AHL, one KHL). I don’t think you could really argue much distance between the top four on this list, and Carrier—playing pro—may have been hampered by lack of playing time. Not much clearance, certainly less of it than in year one after draft.
THIRD YEAR AFTER DRAFT
Since these players are all in the AHL, I didn’t feel a need to include NHLE in the table. Platzer is once again at the top of the table, and Carrier has moved up. I give extra credit to Slepyshev for playing 11 games this season (Yakimov got into one in 2014-15) but your mileage may vary.
Note: I did not include Muir and Houck in third year glance, for me the deal is easier to suss out with all of the AHL players on a line. I think MacT will win this trade, but it is folly to suggest anyone can see the best player in this group. If there was an expansion draft, and all players in the deals were available, I would suggest Slepyshev is the most attractive option.
WHAT KIND OF PLAYERS ARE THEY?
- Sabres GM Tim Murray about William Carrier: ”He was a first-round touted kid that missed half the season with an ankle injury. He’s got size. He’s got skill. He’s got stuff that we have to help him with and that’s another part of it. We’re going to try to really buckle down here with our development program and help young guys get better. He’s just that – he’s a prospect.” Source
- Mike Futa, LAK President of Personnel on Valentin Zykov: “He really knows himself as a player; sometimes kids have a problem critiquing themselves. He was a kid that fit the Kings’ culture. Not having a first round pick, we feel that we acquired a first round caliber player. He’s a thicker body. He’s more of a Dustin Brown-type physical body, as far as where he should end up. He should be a real heavy puck guy in the corners, but a lot more vision and play-making ability, I would think. He’s always shown the ability to make plays and [be] a real strong passer who can finish, as well. I think that there’s a pretty high bar as far as the expectation.” Source
- Kyle Platzer on Kyle Platzer: “I think we’re all smart enough to know what we are. I’m not going to get 80 points a year in the NHL but it is my goal to be an offensive guy and somebody reliable without the puck. I do want to be a hard-nosed, two-way guy, a heart-and-soul player instead of trying to skill my way into the NHL.” Source.
- Todd McLellan talks about Anton Slepyshev: “We 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.” Source
- David Staples, on Bogdan Yakimov: As for Yakimov, he started slowly this year but is now becoming more of a force in games. At 6-feet, 5-inches, 230-pounds, he’s massive and a difficult load for any defender to budge. He’s also got some skill, though like many huge players, it often looks like he’s loafing on the ice. But Big Yak looks like he’s loafing both when he’s playing poorly and well. He can chip in five or six chances and a game and still look like he’s not going all-out, even as he dominates. Source
I believe you have to wait five years, and we are not yet three years after the draft. Still, this looks very good for Edmonton—not because of one dominant player, but due to three very good bets in Slepyshev, Yakimov and Platzer.
(Note: Yakimov’s bolting to the KHL may or may not impact the trade. I made it less of an issue here, we should be able to discuss it at length come summertime when we meet again about that crazy trade).