We are not far from the 2020 draft and based on rumors we really don’t know how much of a player the Oilers will be this year at the annual selection. I have been contemplating compiling a new list, but have decided against it. Instead, I’m going to post the list again, by tens, and explain my thinking today versus the day I made the list. Changing it seems wrong, the whole idea is to complete a list before the others arrive. I do have some thoughts. They are below.
I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here is our recent work.
- New Lowetide: Ken Holland and Dave Tippett’s past players: Can any help the Oilers?
- Lowetide: Roster projections for Oilers, including trade and free agent targets
- Jonathan Willis: Why the Oilers should buy out James Neal
- Lowetide: Oilers approach 2020 draft with increased depth in important positions
- Lowetide: For Oilers prospect Tyler Benson, the past can be inspiration
- Lowetide: Stock Watch: Hot starts and safe landings for Oilers prospects
- Jonathan Willis: There are no good shortcuts for the Oilers with Jesse Puljujarvi
- Lowetide: Potential trades and partners for the Oilers’ offseason
- Lowetide: The Oilers could find a world-class agitator in the draft
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Should the Oilers select goalie Yaroslav Askarov 14th at the NHL Draft?
- Lowetide: A bold draft strategy for the Oilers in 2020
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers third-line centre search should include other teams’ cap casualties
- Lowetide: Dealing a defenceman? Taking stock of Oilers’ blueline assets
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Oilers prospect Raphael Lavoie has opted for Europe. Will others follow suit?
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Oilers GM Ken Holland on improving internally, the flat cap and goaltending
- Jonathan Willis: Can the Oilers find value picks among the 2020 NHL Draft’s impressive Russians?
- Lowetide: 10 free agent targets for the Oilers this offseason
- Lowetide: What if the Oilers went scorched earth in front of 2020 free agency?
- Lowetide: Oilers Top 20 Prospects, Summer 2020
- Jonathan Willis: Unqualified RFAs could be top offseason targets for the Oilers
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Who stays? Who goes? The most likely players to stay with and leave the Oilers
LOWETIDE TOP 125 FOR 2020
1 L Alexis Lafreniere, QMJHL. NHL ready, fleet scorer who plays with an edge.
2 LC Quinton Byfield, OHL. August 2002, 6.04, 215. Big, powerful winger, excellent speed.
3 LC Tim Stutzle, DEL. Dynamic player, highlight reel offense. Tremendous skater.
4 LC Marco Rossi, OHL. Good speed, exciting, range of skills. Exceptional talent.
5 RHD Jamie Drysdale, OHL. Great speed, passing and instincts, instant offense.
6 LC Cole Perfetti, OHL. Outstanding talent, not as fast as top forwards, has tremendous skill.
7 RW Alexander Holtz, SHL. First-shot scorer with a range of skills, he’s an electric player.
8 LW Lucas Raymond, SHL. Smart player who has ridiculous skill. March 2002. Fine skater.
9 RW Jack Quinn OHL. Impressive offensive winger was a late breaker. Pure goal scorer.
10 RW Dawson Mercer, QMJHL. Impressive player who is both scorer and playmaker.
The top eight is set. Jack Quinn is an older prospect at 9, played on a strong team and it may be too high a ranking. He stays. I spoke to some hockey people who aren’t as high on Mercer as my ranking suggests, but based on math and two-way ability he should be a fine NHL player.
11 RC Mavrik Bourque, QMJHL. Creative, great passer, great shot. Plays in tough areas.
12 LC Connor Zary, WHL. Quick, smart two-way center effective across 200 feet.
13 LD Jake Sanderson, USHL. Smart, fast two-way defenseman has complete skill set.
14 LC Anton Lundell, Liiga. Complete skill set, average speed but improving.
15 RC Seth Jarvis, WHL. Jarvis is a fantastic player, undersized and skilled. Big second half.
16 RW Noel Gunler, SHL. Has a great release and an impressive resume. Attractive option.
17 G Yaroslav Askarov, VHL. Unusual style. June 2002, has a .923 VHL save percentage.
18 RC Jacob Perreault, OHL. Skates well, great shot, great numbers, excellent passer.
19 LC Jan Mysak, OHL. Skilled and is effective in all areas. Major move in second half.
20 LD Kaiden Guhle, WHL. Big defenseman has good foot speed and full skill set.
This is the Oilers wheelhouse, although my suspicion is they take Kaiden Guhle or Dylan Holloway. Gunler is slotted lower on many lists, but he’s a first-shot scorer who played in a high league.
21 LD Jérémie Poirier, QMJHL. Smart offensive defender, puck transporter.
22 RD Braden Schneider, WHL. Fine skater, physical, smart two-way defenseman.
23 LW Lukas Reichel, DEL. Mid-season riser. He has skill, speed and plays with abandon.
24 LW Rodion Amirov, KHL. Great tools. A fast train in a draft season with slow boats.
25 LW Dylan Holloway, Big 10. Big power forward. Strong skater, nice range of skills.
26 LC Ridly Greig, WHL. Smart offensive with good instincts, August 2002. Agitator.
27 RC Tyson Foerster, OHL. Great offensive weapon, quick release and accurate.
28 LC Hendrix Lapierre, QMJHL. Skill center projects as a playmaker. Injury a worry.
29 RHD Justin Barron, QMJHL. Mobile blue can defend. Lacks top-end offensive ability.
30 LW John-Jason Peterka, DEL. A speedy winger with skill, survived in a men’s league.
I think there’s a chance Edmonton chooses a name from this group at No. 14 overall. Dylan Holloway has been connected to the Oilers by Corey Pronman, and Reichel, Greig and a now healthy Lapierre may receive consideration. I’m confident in saying this: If Edmonton picks No. 14, it’ll be one of the first 30 names on my list. There’s a gap here, right at No. 30.
31 LW Martin Chromiak, OHL. One of the most skilled players in the draft.
32 LW Brendan Brisson, USHL. Undersized speedster spiked late. Big riser.
33 LD William Wallinder, Superelite. Big (6.04, 195) 2-way defenseman with good speed.
34 LW Jake Neighbours WHL He’s skilled, gritty and plays a strong two-way game.
35 RW Zion Nybeck, SuperElite. Undersized playmaker, great passer. Impressive speed.
36 RC Jean-Luc Foudy, OHL. Speedy center plus skill, mediocre season.
37 LD Emil Andrae, SuperElite. Fast defenseman with offensive potential. Plus passer.
38 LC Ty Smilanic, USHL. Lean center, plus skater and pure scorer. Had mono.
39 LC Vasili Ponomaryov, QMJHL. Great hands and good speed, he’s a little under the radar
40 RW Ozzy Wiesblatt, WHL. Undersized winger is aggressive, fast and skilled.
The one player I would move up more than five spots on this list is Ponomaryov. He might be one of the best value picks in the draft when all is said and done. I like Neighbours, too, he is a fine prospect.
41 RW Sam Colangelo, USHL. Big power winger with skill, scored 28 goals in 44 games.
42 RW Luke Evangelista, OHL. Skill winger, great passer, plays in all disciplines.
43 RD Helge Grans, SHL. Solid two-way defenseman with good size and speed.
44 RW Connor McClennon, WHL. Numbers are solid to excellent. Undersized, range of skills.
45 RC Jack Finley, WHL. An August 2002 and a big pivot, he plays a fairly complete game.
46 RW Kasper Simontaival, Liiga. Unusual skating style but he’s quick and has high-end skill.
47 RC Justin Sourdif, WHL. Two-way winger gained notice at the Hlinka, solid season.
48 LW Veeti Miettinen, Jr Liiga. Undersized winger, fills the net with pucks.
49 RW Pavel Novak, WHL. Speedster with skill, he’s a scorer.
50 LW Sean Farrell, USHL. A good skater with plus skills, spiked offensively.
Some nice names here, Edmonton doesn’t have a second round selection. All of these players have promise but the offensive outer marker is lower. If I had a pick in this range, it would go to Novak. If I re-ranked, he would be higher. Jack Finley is also fascinating.
51 LW Daniel Torgersson, SuperElite. He has size and good speed.
52 LC Thomas Bordeleau, USHL. Owns a great shot and is highly skilled with the puck.
53 RC Tyler Tullio, OHL. Small playmaking pivot. Good passer, great shot.
54 RW Ryan Francis, QMJHL. Playmaking winger who plays a smart game.
55 RC Theodor Niederbach, SuperElite. Skill center is a late breaker this draft.
56 LW Carter Savoie AJHL. Small, fleet skill winger delivered 99 points in 54 games.
57 LD Ryan O’Rourke, OHL. Good size (6.02, 181) projects as a top-four defenseman.
58 LW Brett Berard, USHL. Small skill winger with good hands.
59 RW Daniil Gushchin, USHL. Small, speedy playmaking forward. Good numbers.
60 LW Oskar Magnusson, SuperElite. Smaller winger good speed and two-way acumen.
This is the group who play in good leagues, deliver solid offense but have size or speed issues that keep them from pushing into the first round or early second round. A couple of USHL players who are ranked lower here than elsewhere, I’m still not convinced we have the USHL players surrounded in terms of how much offense they’ll bring based on junior numbers. I’m betting the under on a player like Bordeleau by placing him here.
61 RC Jaromir Pytlik, OHL. He’s a fine skater and has two-way skills.
62 RD William Villeneuve, QMJHL. Tall, thin two-way blue spiked offensively.
63 LW Owen Pederson, WHL. Pederson scored 28 goals in 61 games.
64 LC Marat Khusnutdinov, MHL. Small (5.09, 165) two-way center with great wheels.
65 LW Will Cuylle, OHL. Has a great shot, plus size and skill. Smart winger.
66 LD Lukas Cormier, QMJHL. Undersized skill defender with good speed and skill.
67 RD Michael Benning, AJHL. Impressive skills (fine skater, excellent passer).
68 RW Brandon Coe, OHL. Power forward scored 25 goals in the OHL this season.
69 LC Roni Hirvonen, Liiga. Undersized two-way playmaker can play center or wing.
70 LW Luke Tuch, USHL. Alex Tuch’s brother, he plays a similar style with less offense.
As is the case with the USHL, I have tended to slow play the MHL totals. It’s a league that grows in quality annually and Khusnutdinov is a worthy pick, but likely to go higher in the actual draft than my ranking suggests.
71 RC Tristan Robins, WHL. Impressive numbers, he is very skilled.
72 LD Yan Kuznetsov NCAA. He’s 6.03, 201, 18 and regarded as a solid defender.
73 LC Antonio Stranges, OHL Terrific speed and skill, disappointing season.
74 RW Alexander Pashin, MHL. Small winger with impressive skill can score and pass.
75 RW Dylan Peterson, USHL. Big W with skill/speed, shy offensively this season.
76 RD Topi Niemela, Liiga. Niemela skates well, playing in Liiga. Some chaos.
77 LD Shakir Mukhamadullin, KHL. He’s 6.04, 178 and raw. Good speed, talent.
78 LW Roby Jarventie, Mestis. He’s an August 2002 and a nice size and speed combination.
79 LD Eemil Viro Sm-Liiga. Small, fast offensive defender, no dominant skill.
80 G Calle Clang, SHL. Good size, a .913 SP and stellar work at the Hlinka.
Robins is much higher on some lists, he’s a November 2001 and his numbers are impressive but not all-world. Towers over teammates in scoring, leaving me to wonder how much he played. I’m content placing him here. He is a legit prospect and the Oilers could use its third-round pick on him. I also like Jarventie but the league (Mestis) is a vague one from here. He may go higher.
81 LW Kyle Crnkovic, WHL. Small (5.07) doubled his point total season over season.
82 LC Elliot Ekmark, SuperElite. High skill, elusive, great speed, undersized.
83 RW Wiljami Myllylä, Jr Sm-Liiga. Speed demon, gaudy scoring numbers for days.
84 LC Theo Rochette, QMJHL. Undersized two-way center, intriguing offense.
85 RD Luke Prokop, WHL. A giant (6.04, 218) able to close gaps and suppress offense.
86 LD Tyler Kleven, USHL. A big shutdown defenseman (6.04, 201) with good speed.
87 G Sam Hlavaj, QMJHL. Boasts a .915 save percentage and stands 6.04, 218.
88 G Nico Daws, OHL. .924 save percentage represents a big performance spike.
89 LC Daniel Ljungman, SuperElite. Emerged at the Hlinka Gretzky. Great release.
90 G Joel Blomquist, Jr Liiga. Strong numbers (.929), good glove.
We’re reaching the end of the third round and there are fewer skill forwards, that means checkers, shutdown defender and goaltenders begin to roam the earth. I’m a fan of Daws, although a couple of overage forwards I’ve ranked below him would move up on a re-listing.
91 LC Cameron Berg, USHL. Good speed and skill.
92 G Dylan Garand, WHL. Eye popping SP (.921) for June 2002, but he’s only 6.0.
93 RC Zayde Wisdom, OHL. Pure scorer, strong season, wheels are the concern.
94 LW Emil Heineman, SHL. Older prospect, good size and speed.
95 LD Daemon Hunt, WHL. Will earn his money as a shutdown defenseman.
96 LW Pavel Gogolev, OHL. Now 20, he is fast and has a great shot.
97 LC Juuso Mäenpää, Jr Liiga. Very small but highly skilled playmaker.
98 LW Maxim Groshev, KHL. Skilled and determined with the puck on his stick.
99 RD Kasper Puutio, WHL. Good Hlinka and then a strong late push after being dealt.
100 LW Cross Hanas, WHL. Speedy winger scored 22 goals in Portland.
There are several players listed from here on who won’t be drafted but these are talented players. I especially like Gogolev and Hanas.
101 LC Evan Vierling OHL. Playmaking center spiked late. Excellent passer.
102 LW Yevgeni Oksentyuk, OHL. Impressive season for Feb. 2001, under the radar skill W.
103 RD Alex Cotton, WHL. Big defenseman with a great shot, overager.
104 LD Anton Johannesson, SuperElite. Small puck mover is a wizard, could be a steal.
105 RD Billy Constantinou, OHL. Chaos blue made my list last year, worth a late flier.
106 G Brett Brochu, OHL. Under the radar goalie who delivered a .919 SP as a rookie.
107 RC Josh Pillar, WHL. Fast player, spiked offensively, could be underrated here.
108 LW Blake Biondi, USHS. High skill, great speed.
109 RC Colby Ambrosio, USHL. Speedster, very skilled, I love his resume. He’s a bullet.
110 LW James Hardie, OHL. Volume shooter, 34 goals, one dimensional.
111 RD Thimo Nickl, QMJHL. Strong skater, two-way blue, December 2001.
112 RD Eamon Powell, USHL. Impressive skater can move the puck effectively
113 LD Donovan Sebrango, OHL. Two-way defender, excellent skater.
114 LD Dave Ma, USHL. Tremendous skater and very creative.
115 LW Rory Kerins, OHL. 30 goals for an April 2002 is worth drafting.
116 LD Mitch Miller, USHL. Fine skater, has two-way skills.
117 RW Oliver Suni, OHL. Strong winger with range of skills.
118 G Devon Levi, CCHL. Impressive .941 SP.
119 LC Michal Gut, WHL. Skill center, average speed, August 2002.
120 LW Eric Juhlin, SuperElite. Good shot, solid (13 goals in 36 games) at even strength.
121 RD Ian Moore, USHS. Massachusetts offensive defenseman.
122 LW Maxim Beryozkin, MHL. Size, speed, skill, shot. Average speed is the worry.
123 LHD Alexander Nikishin, KHL. Good skater, plus shot, he’s a throwback who hits to hurt.
124 G Drew Commesso, USHL. Good size, thrived wherever he played in 2019-20.
125 RD Ethan Edwards, Spruce Grove, AJHL. Impressive speed and skill puck mover.
Some good names here, some of them will go much higher than my ranking and some won’t be drafted at all. The Oilers often pick several names from my list. Last year, Broberg (who I ranked No. 16 and was chosen No. 8), Lavoie (who I ranked No. 26) went No. 38 to Edmonton. I’d expect one or two Oilers to be on this list.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A big day on the Lowdown, we talk trades and the draft as it pertains to the Oilers. Frank Seravalli from TSN will stop by and talk about the playoffs and the trade board, plus these Arizona rumours. Geoff Ullrich from Draft Kings will talk NFL Week 2. May talk some U.S. Open, too. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter.
We’ll also have the $20,000 Mystery Moment at 10:15, your chance to win cash with that sports knowledge of yours. We’re at $600! Text in at 10-1260 with the secret word (I’ll give it to you at about 10:12 on TSN1260), then we’ll call you, play a clip from a famous sports moment and ask you for a detailed answer.