VIEWER GUIDE TO THE TOP PROSPECTS GAME

AND we’re back. The Top Prospects game has more prominence for Oilers fans than any other NHL team. Why? Unlike the other 29 clubs, Edmonton has been guaranteed a player from the game since the 2010 contest, and the player drafted immediately becomes the No. 1 prospect in the system on draft day. Embellishment? Not really.

We are not certain where the Oilers will draft this summer, and three of the top five players available this year are in Europe. That said, there is exceptional talent here, and if you are going to watch the game, here is a guide to viewing.

  • Mike Morreale of NHL.com has five things to look for here.
  • The rosters, sans revisions, was published January 7 and is here.
  • Steve Kournianos of the Draft Analyst has a stellar preview here. He was my guest on the Lowdown today and gave a terrific overview here.

Here is what I will be looking for.

  • R Vitalii Abramov, Gatineau Olympiques. NHLE of 32 points, that is a strong number. He is 5.09 and so the story is known. How good is he? We get a glimpse tonight.
  • D Jake Bean, Calgary Hitmen. I think the Oilers might like this guy, he has substantial offense and seems to be taking a step forward for the second year in a row.
  • D Jakob Chychrun, Sarnia Sting. He can wheel, that is what I want to see.
  • D Sean Day, Mississauga Steelheads. Highly-touted defenseman isn’t impressing in league play, I am curious to see what he is as a player.
  • F Dillon Dube, Kelowna Rockets. He has an NHLE of 25 points, I have him at No. 20 on my list. The Draft Analyst suggests he is more than a scorer, and of course one game proves nothing. Still, I would like to see a 5.10 two-way forward have an impact.
  • C Noah Gregor, Moose Jaw Warriors. NHLE is 20 points, Kournianos has him emerging as a genuine offensive option, with real power-play ability.
  • D Libor Hajek, Saskatoon Blades. I want to see what he looks like, have read much about him and the numbers don’t line up with the verbal.
  • G Carter Hart, Everett Silvertips. What I know about goalies couldn’t fill a junk drawer, but Hart arrives at the game with a .927 SP in a damned good league. I think he might be an outstanding goalie.
  • L Max Jones, London Knights. NHLE is 24 points, young power forward who can skate. There is a range of opinion, would like to see for myself.
  • L Boris Katchouk, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. NHLE is 21 points, he is exactly the kind of player I prefer. The Montreal Canadiens used to develop these two-way types by the dozen and if he can deliver enough offense, Katchouk might be a gem.
  • C Michael McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads. NHLE is 29 points, I am more intrigued about him than probably any other player. Craig Button describes a pretty impressive range of skills, he could emerge as a top 10 talent—I have him at No. 16 currently.
  • C Sam Steel, Regina Pats. NHLE is 21 points, that is shy for a prospect who is being talked about as a first rounder. I want to see him in the offensive zone.
  • R Taylor Raddysh, Erie Otters. NHLE is 31 points, that is a strong total and I think he is probably more offensively able than some of the players I currently have ranked ahead of him at this time (I have him No. 30).
  • L Simon Stransky, Prince Albert Raiders. NHLE is 23 points, Kournianos considers him a first-round talent.
  • L Matt Tkachuk, London Knights. NHLE is 50 points, he towers over the others in this game in terms of offense delivered—and the OHL is the best junior league on the planet. I am pretty sure he will go top five in this year’s draft, but where? I loved his WJ performance.

paigin svoboda

I spoke to Kournianos today about Ziyat Paigin and he was bullish on the young man’s future. Kournianos said he was surprised the big Russian went so late and that he is playing well in the KHL. The Oilers weakness at the NHL level is defense, but there are some hopeful things on the horizon. Paigin appears to be one of them.

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67 Responses to "VIEWER GUIDE TO THE TOP PROSPECTS GAME"

  1. Магия 10 says:

    Speaking of Oilers 1st overalls how about this bit of recognition noted in the last thread. Ironic that the dual wing all star is up there with him.

    https://twitter.com/wyshynski/status/692833874464739330

  2. raventalon40 says:

    I prefer Tkachuk as well. Fits the mold.

    But I prefer squeaking into the playoffs and losing in the first round to that. Experience is priceless and playoffs – even a taste – will change the way this young team trains and prepares in years to come.

  3. Water Fire says:

    Many of the teams whose defense Oiler fans envy drafted those players in the first round. The Oilers should draft Chychrun if due diligence says he`s healthy. Shoulder surgery done, tick that off the list.

  4. Klima's_Bucket says:

    Sure I like the looks of that Paigin fellow too, but do you think it is too late for him to learn how to shoot right?
    Maybe if he spends the offseason picking up cricket bats or samurai swords he can fix that issue.

  5. Water Fire says:

    Me too!

  6. Younger Oil says:

    This isn’t meant to be offensive, but a legitimate question, but do we think the failures of Belov and Nikitin, and Yakimov going back to Russia (for the time being) could deter future Russians from coming to the Oilers?

    I know things worked out decently well for Yakupov and Slepyshev, and still could for Yakimov, but it is still a concern, especially on the blue line.

  7. Water Fire says:

    Younger Oil:
    This isn’t meant to be offensive, but a legitimate question, but do we think the failures of Belov and Nikitin, and Yakimov going back to Russia (for the time being) could deter future Russians from coming to the Oilers?

    I know things worked out decently well for Yakupov and Slepyshev, and still could for Yakimov, but it is still a concern, especially on the blue line.

    Every player thinks he`s awesome, like a child, until it doesn`t work anymore. I think of Whitney being all mad at the Oilers until recently when he came to accept that his body couldn`t do it at teh NHL level.

    It depends on the player, but I doubt the Oilers are on the bad list given that they have been willing to drat and bring over.

  8. sliderule says:

    I would advise you leave Paigin in Russia till he is over ripe.

    The KHLers that come over do better when they can step into NHL.

    You bring him over and send him to Bakersfield were he is dropped into western American culture and doesn’t speak language.

    Within three months unless he is kicking ass he will be homesick for Russia.

  9. Lowetide says:

    sliderule:
    I would advise you leave Paigin in Russia till he is over ripe.

    The KHLers that come over do better when they can step into NHL.

    You bring him over and send him to Bakersfield were he is dropped into western American culture and doesn’t speak language.

    Within three months unless he is kicking ass he will be homesick for Russia.

    He is signed through 2017-18, suspect he makes a decision at that time.

  10. Rondo says:

    I’ll be watching

    Pierre-Luc Dubois

    Matthew Tkachuk

    Olli Juolevi

    Mikhail Sergachev

    Jakob Chychrun

  11. frjohnk says:

    I wonder how much of Tkachuks numbers is pumped up by playing with London.

    I still think he is a phenomenal prospect just curious about that.

  12. wheatnoil says:

    Lowetide: He is signed through 2017-18, suspect he makes a decision at that time.

    I took his quote to mean he’s signed up until next year, so only up until 2016/17. Am I mistaken on that?

  13. Lowetide says:

    wheatnoil: I took his quote to mean he’s signed up until next year, so only up until 2016/17. Am I mistaken on that?

    No, I wrote the wrong year. He should be UFA summer 2017 (now, he may sign inthe KHL again but he will have options).

  14. Lowetide says:

    McLeod with a chance, he didn’t get a good opportunity considering it was a breakaway (basically).

  15. Lowetide says:

    Goood shot by Raddych

  16. JDï™ says:

    Lowetide:
    Goood shot by Raddych

    Lots of heat on it.

  17. Lowetide says:

    Dubois looking good Big body, good hands.

  18. The Trade Guy says:

    D Libor Hajek, Saskatoon Blades. I want to see what he looks like, have read much about him and the numbers don’t line up with the verbal.

    I’m not an authority but this guy came touted from the import draft. He looks like the total package in terms of tools but so did Duncan Siemens, so I’m not falling for that. Plus the Blades are the drizzling shits and the fanbase is more interested in Edmonton’s cast off lacrosse team then the Priestner blades.

  19. Lowetide says:

    Liking McLeod

  20. G Money says:

    Lowetide,

    I suspect nepotism.

  21. stush18 says:

    Early but I’m liking McLeod and Clague. Chychrun is doing too much.

  22. JDï™ says:

    G Money:
    Lowetide,

    I suspect nepotism.

    Wood you draft him?

  23. David says:

    I know that the two big Fins are considered a cut above (after Matthews) but I like Alex Nylander more. He is going to be an offensive star. His brother too if he stays healthy. Unfortunately I don’t know if Nylander is a Chiarelli player. If he’s on the board when we pick I’ll be yelling at my t.v. to pick him.

  24. stush18 says:

    I can see gauthier as a player who drops. He has the size and is a goal scorer, but scouts still hold onto things like “strong character” and “selflessness”. Mantha fell a few years ago

  25. David says:

    stush18:
    I can see gauthier as a player who drops. He has the size and is a goal scorer, but scouts still hold onto things like “strong character” and “selflessness”. Mantha fell a few years ago

    Not a fan of Gauthier. I don’t believe he’ll be a difference maker in the NHL.

  26. geowal says:

    Ahh, a whole new generation to wonder about the pronunciation of “Tkatchuk”

  27. stush18 says:

    Can you imagine hall mcdavid and McLeod ripping down the ice together? Unleash the hounds.

  28. Visually better says:

    here’s my list:

    1. Matthews
    2. Lawson
    3. Puljujiarvi
    4. Crouse
    5. Laine

  29. Rondo says:

    I suspect Jakob Chychrun is on the top 4 list 2016 draft for the Oilers.

  30. Derek says:

    Jim Benning reminds me of Steve Tambellini alot. It’s so cool.

  31. David says:

    Rondo:
    I suspect Jakob Chychrun is on the top 4 list2016draft for the Oilers.

    Unfortunately he’s another lefty. For that reason I’d pass.

  32. Visually better says:

    A quick look at some of the Forwards we discussed a lot last spring and how they’re doing this year:

    (3) Dylan Strome- OHL/ 33gp= 68 points

    (4) Mitch Marner- OHL/ 34gp= 70 points

    (6) Pavel Zacha- OHL/ 32gp= 39 points

    (9) Timo Meier- QMJHL/ 31gp= 48 points (2 different teams)

    (10) Mikko Rantanen- AHL/ 25gp= 31 points

    (11) Lawson Crouse- OHL/ 28gp= 31 points

    (12) Denis Gurianov- KHL/ 43gp=5 points

    (14) Jake Debrusk- WHL/ 38 gp= 40 points (2 different teams)

    (15) Zack Senyshyn- OHL/44 gp=41 points

    (16) Matt Barzal- WHL/ 34gp= 54 points

    (17) Kyle Connor- College/ 21gp= 36 points

    (19) Evgeny Svechnikov- QMJHL/ 32gp= 50 points

    (20) Joel Eriksson-Ek- SWE/ 30gp=10 points

    (21) Colin White- College/ 22gp=31 points

    (23) Brock Boeser- College/24gp=27 points

    (24) Travis Konecny- OHL/38gp=60 points (2 different teams)

    (25) Jack Roslovic- College/23gp=18 points

    (28) Anthony Beauvillier- QMJHL/26gp=43 points

    (30) Nick Merkley- WHL/38gp=45 points

  33. Lowetide says:

    Derek:
    Jim Benning reminds me of Steve Tambellini alot.It’s so cool.

    I get that vibe, too.

  34. JDï™ says:

    Derek:
    Jim Benning reminds me of Steve Tambellini alot.It’s so cool.

    I think it was Benning on Behind the B who, in defending the group-think decision to trade Seguin, said, “We were right on Raycroft, and we’re right on this.”

  35. RexLibris says:

    JDï™,

    Somebody had their Wheaties this morning.

    Nice work. Glad to see someone else putting in yeoman’s work on the puns. It reduces the likelihood of LT banning me.

  36. JDï™ says:

    RexLibris,

    We’ll go down together bud, but you should know better than to encourage the guy who came up with Connorrhea.

    Also, I’m an anti-glutite.

  37. Lowetide says:

    Betker assigned to Norfolk.

  38. AsiaOil says:

    For those interested in Shattenkirk – NYR trade talk by Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News:

    “The team is solid but could still use an upgrade or two and Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News looks into some options the team could explore leading up to the Trade Deadline. It’s believed Kevin Shattenkirk would like to play for the Rangers and would strengthen the team’s defence. Leonard says Shattenkirk would likely cost the Rangers either Rick Nash or Chris Kreider.”

  39. wheatnoil says:

    http://www.beerleagueheroes.com/oilers-progress-through-50-games/

    This is good post that builds on LT’s comparison of this year to last year, except breaking it up in 5 game rolling segments.

  40. jonrmcleod says:

    Lowetide:
    Liking McLeod

    I know nothing about him, but it would be nice to have a McLeod on the Oilers.

  41. Lowetide says:

    Dubois and Laberge are killing it right now.

  42. dustrock says:

    Seeing “Katchouk” is funny because it’s the phonetic spelling of how to really pronounce ” Tkachuk”. Chuk is spelled with a “y” in Ukrainian so any Chuk properly is a “chook”.

    Most common Canadian pronunciation is “Ta-chuk”.

    Anyway that ends the lesson on how to pronounce my name.

    My dad had the tl;dr version: drop the T and sneeze.

  43. NYCOIL "Gentleman Backpacker" says:

    Hi from Japan, where the Bank of Japan just now implemented negative interest rates. That’s a bit of a shocker. Pillow cases being stuffed as we speak, most likely, since people will have to PAY to keep their money at a bank now.

    Japan is a savings culture, so I can’t imagine the government achieves its aim and gets people to spend. Their attempts to weaken the yen further and fan inflation notwithstanding.

    They will talk about this in history and economics books one day for sure. The question is how does this end?

  44. DRFNsuperstar says:

    Bean can really handle the puck, Sergachev is silky smooth. Those two have looked better than the team Cherry D to my eyes. That Laberge fellow looks really similar to Perron

  45. JDï™ says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”: negative interest rates

    I just read this, and was going to ask, wtf?

    So with a central rate of -0.1%, what will be the rate passed on to bank customers? A little more positive than this, or more negative?

    This seems like the craziest thing I’ve heard of, this side of taxpayers bailing out the industry in ’08.

  46. Quinlan says:

    I thought Tkachuk was underwhelming, as was Nylander. Liked McLeod, Gauthier was okay, Chychrun did not look appreciably better than Juolevi or Sergachev. Day actually looked pretty good – solid skater.

    Which is to say… you can’t really come to many conclusions after one game.

    Kinda weird that so much stock is placed on one single sample, a game played under very unnatural and odd circumstances.

  47. Lowetide says:

    Quinlan:
    I thought Tkachuk was underwhelming, as was Nylander. Liked McLeod, Gauthier was okay, Chychrun did not look appreciably better than Juolevi or Sergachev. Day actually looked pretty good – solid skater.

    Which is to say… you can’t really come to many conclusions after one game.

    Kinda weird that so much stock is placed on one single sample, a game played under very unnatural and odd circumstances.

    I wonder how much weight teams put on these games. I suspect a player CAN improve his stock, Day probably did, buteven a poor performance (Chychrun imo) shouldn’t keep teams away from the player. All of these kids appear to be worth drafting.

  48. GCW_69 says:

    jonrmcleod: I know nothing about him, but it would be nice to have a McLeod on the Oilers.

    There can be only one!

  49. Professor Q says:

    I just realised now how similar Otters and Oilers are.

    ‘Twas fate all along…

  50. Quinlan says:

    Lowetide: I wonder how much weight teams put on these games. I suspect a player CAN improve his stock, Day probably did, buteven a poor performance (Chychrun imo) shouldn’t keep teams away from the player. All of these kids appear to be worth drafting.

    Well, everyone is at least keen on keeping up appearances – there were a lot of folks with notepads in the stands. Suspect teams have the players they like surrounded and mostly wanted to see how they responded to the stage.

    Re: improving stock – Laberge is a good example of that. Could find himself in the bottom of the top 30 if he builds on his current notoriety with a strong second half. Safe to say he made himself get noticed.

    The middle of the first round is looking strong as well this year, but it’s a pretty mixed bag in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, even the 4th and 5th. This could be a draft that produces some odd results in 5 years.

  51. Professor Q says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:
    Hi from Japan, where the Bank of Japan just now implemented negative interest rates. That’s a bit of a shocker. Pillow cases being stuffed as we speak, most likely, since people will have to PAY to keep their money at a bank now.

    Japan is a savings culture, so I can’t imagine the government achieves its aim and gets people to spend. Their attempts to weaken the yen further and fan inflation notwithstanding.

    They will talk about this in history and economics books one day for sure. The question is how does this end?

    Hopefully not an early-mid 20th Century Germanyesque ending…

  52. Professor Q says:

    RexLibris:
    JDï™,

    Somebody had their Wheaties this morning.

    Nice work. Glad to see someone else putting in yeoman’s work on the puns. It reduces the likelihood of LT banning me.

    I also quite often venture into the realm of wordplay. 😉

    Rhetorica Rex…came up with that a few years ago as part of an autobiography/biography title for myself…it seems fate would bring us to this moment, Rhetorica RexLibris.

    At least my girlfriend finds my humour amusing most of the time…

  53. JDï™ says:

    Professor Q: ‘Twas fate all along…

    T’ain’t nuthin.

    Nail’s home town KHL team is called the Petrochemists, in the republic of TaTARistan!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HC_Neftekhimik_Nizhnekamsk

  54. Professor Q says:

    JDï™: T’ain’t nuthin.

    Nail’s home town KHL team is called the Petrochemists, in the republic of TaTARistan!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HC_Neftekhimik_Nizhnekamsk

    That’s great! I never knew. Never learned Russian and the pint never came up. Thank you!

    Plus, he played in Sarnia!

  55. AsiaOil says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”:

    They will talk about this in history and economics books one day for sure. The question is how does this end?

    Badly I’m afraid – NIRP is the sound of an economy committing suicide with policymakers scared shitless of deflationary impacts on debt-ridden society. Crazy that Japanese business could have just swallowed it’s medicine in 1990 and it would not have been that bad. Would have avoided flushing a generation down the toilet and making things a 1000 times worse. Not a pretty picture for the land of the setting sun and we don’t appear to have learned a damn things as we are following in their footsteps.

  56. bendelson says:

    RexLibris:
    JDï™,

    Somebody had their Wheaties this morning.

    Nice work. Glad to see someone else putting in yeoman’s work on the puns. It reduces the likelihood of LT banning me.

    He has really stepped up his game since the McDavid injury.
    Expect a regression to the meat after the ASG (unless, of course, he has gone supernova)

  57. hunter1909 says:

    Professor Q: Hopefully not an early-mid 20th Century Germanyesque ending…

    Japan’s already done the “Germanyesque” thing. In the early-mid-20th century. Fascist Japan was allied with Germany. I understand it was a very long time ago, during some war called World War Two.

    With today’s history being taught to such exacting standards, it’s clear that nothing of this kind is ever likely to happen again.

  58. hunter1909 says:

    @Lowetide: Thanks for that pic of McDavid. I’d almost forgotten about him.

    He moves around the opposition goal area like a hungry wasp at a picnic.

  59. Death By Misadventure says:

    NYCOIL “Gentleman Backpacker”,

    NYCOil,

    What’s your take on the Cdn $? Going lower or higher? You’ve been right all along so wouldn’t mind your take. Cheers.

  60. Professor Q says:

    hunter1909: Japan’s already done the “Germanyesque” thing. In the early-mid-20th century. Fascist Japan was allied with Germany. I understand it was a very long time ago, during some war called World War Two.

    With today’s history being taught to such exacting standards, it’s clear that nothing of this kind is ever likely to happen again.

    I was referring to the state of high inflation, reparation payments, extreme poverty and desolation, etc. Post-WWI for Germany. Not WWII (although yes, those factors planted the seeds for Germany’s part, but Japan was already a silent power that had been growing since the 19th Century and of course began their Imperialist Expansion – and thus their WWII – much earlier than the West’s start of WWII – although that is neither here nor there when referring to what I was addressing, really).

    Although Japan doesn’t have the reparation payments, they do have extra environmental hazard factors (both anthropogenic and natural).

  61. hunter1909 says:

    Professor Q: I was referring to the state of high inflation, reparation payments, extreme poverty and desolation, etc. Post-WWI for Germany. Not WWII (although yes, those factors planted the seeds for Germany’s part, but Japan was already a silent power that had been growing since the 19th Century and of course began their Imperialist Expansion – and thus their WWII – much earlier than the West’s start of WWII – although that is neither here nor there when referring to what I was addressing, really).

    Although Japan doesn’t have the reparation payments, they do have extra environmental hazard factors (both anthropogenic and natural).

    I’ll bite.

    Post WW1 Germany had millions of youthful veterans, many who believed Germany hadn’t lost the war to start with, but was stabbed in the back by forces outside the military sphere. 2016 Japan has been fed pacifism for the past 70 frigging years.

    Post WW1 Germany had France, spitefully going about it’s business seeking “revenge”. Japan is protected by the USA, in it’s worldwide quest for geopolitical dominance.

  62. maxwell_mischief says:

    I referred the KHL website to try to get a gauge on the year Ziyat is having. On the season he is 39-7-15-22 +6, averaging 15:20 mins of ice time per game. Giving him a 2.21 p/60. With HC Sochi he is averaging 17:15 of ice time, and 2.35 p/60.
    top 3 leading d scorers:
    Cam Barker 2.36 p/60
    Mat Robinson 1.83 p/60
    Chris Lee 1.63 p/60
    and from my eye, nobody who’s played more than 30 games beats Ziyat’s total
    Visnovsky has only played 8 games and has some 10 points… LUBO
    Not to mention this is amongst a class of players much more experienced than him, many with NHL careers behind them
    I think shooting percentage floating around 10% is a little inflated but I imagine as he matures and plays more minutes his shot total will go up from the 1.8 sh/pg he has right now.
    Another year in the KHL, hopefully some continued growth, and the Oilers have a player :O

    i recognize that points don’t tell the whole story at all but reason enough for optimism

  63. Rondo says:

    Oilers list looks like this .

    MATTHEWS

    LAINE

    PULJUJARVI

    TKACHUK

    CHYCHRUN

    DUBOIS

    JUOLEVI

  64. Professor Q says:

    hunter1909: I’ll bite.

    Post WW1 Germany had millions of youthful veterans, many who believed Germany hadn’t lost the war to start with, but was stabbed in the back by forces outside the military sphere.2016 Japan has been fed pacifism for the past 70 frigging years.

    Post WW1 Germany had France, spitefully going about it’s business seeking “revenge”. Japan is protected by the USA, in it’s worldwide quest for geopolitical dominance.

    I really think you’re not on the same page as I am.

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