TheOilKnight.ca – Page 2
 

By the OilKnight 01/05/20

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Welcome to the 2020 edition of the Condor Report!

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I made a New year’s resolution this year to cover the Bakersfield Condors as much as I can in addition to the all draft eligible prospect stuff I do for a couple of reasons:

For one, there are no Edmonton Oilers prospects in the OHL currently and I miss them. Secondly, you the fans demand more content and I’m all about supply and demand.

So, what I’ll be doing now that I officially have the AHL TV pass is provide you as much content as I can regarding our Edmonton Oilers prospects. In particular, I will be focusing on 5 players specifically: Evan Bouchard, Tyler Benson, Ryan McLeod, Dmitri Samorukov & Kirill Maksimov. The best part too tracking all these guys is they all kind of offer something different in terms of skill-sets. For the 2nd night in a row, Samorukov did not play after taking a puck in the face 2 games ago. 

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Bakersfield vs. San Diego 01/04/20 – Condors win 2-1 in SO

Lines:

Benson-Marody-Currie

Esposito-Cave-Maksimov

Gambardella-Malone-Miles Koules

Stukel-McLeod-Hebig

 

PP#1

Benson-Marody-Currie-Cave-Day

PP#2

Malone-Cave-McLeod-Bouchard-Persson/Manning

 

PK units:

Esposito-Cave-Kulevich-Day

McLeod-Maksimov-Bouchard-Lowe

 

Game recap: The Condors didn’t necessarily deserve to win this game but G Stuart Skinner was terrific again and kept them in it until Luke Esposito tied it in the 3rd. Skinner, finished with 39 saves and many were of the difficult variety especially in the 2nd period where he & the Condors killed off 4 consecutive penalties in 7 minutes, including a 5 on 3 man advantage. Meanwhile, the Maksimov-Cave-Esposito line was the best line for Bakersfield. They created several chances, scored the tying goal in the 3rd, and Maksimov secured the 2 points with the shootout winner. 

My analysis: Pretty lackadaisical effort & sloppy execution but their goalie bailed them out. PP was absolutely awful again and badly needs an infusion of new personnel. Not having Maksimov on the PP is an absolute disgrace at this point, and the coaching staff continues to start Logan Day ahead of Evan Bouchard which is a mistake. But remember, coach Jay Woodcroft was the PP coach in Edmonton in 2017-18 when they finished LAST in the NHL on the PP despite having McDavid, Draisaitl, Hopkins & Klefbom. That quartet is currently the #1 PP unit in the league as of today. 

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The Big 5

 

If you missed my article from earlier today, I am focusing on 5 major prospects. Tyler Benson and the 4 OHL prospects from last year. You can find scouting reports on those 4 here:

Bouchard scouting report

McLeod scouting report

Maksimov scouting report

Samorukov scouting report

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Individual Performances

Evan Bouchard

Bouch was a little more quiet tonight but was still solid in all facets. Showed a bit more aggression tonight including one sequence near the boards where I though he was actually going to drop the gloves. Excellent at zone entries again by my eye. Pushed the pace late 2nd period and into 3rd as Bakersfield tried to tie it. Had a chance to end it late but drew a penalty. 4 shots on goal. Was on ice for first goal as attacker got behind he and Benson for a breakaway after Bakersfield nearly scored on a rebound seconds before. Overall, played with poise, made mostly good decisions, looked confident – again. 

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Tyler Benson

Benson was just ok tonight. Looked a bit tired at times. Only had one shot in the game until with 15 seconds left he took a big shot that was saved by Anthony Stolarz. His line with Marody and Currie was a bit off tonight. Forced too much and created too many turnovers. I’d have to go over the tape again but not a whole lot else to report. 

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Ryan McLeod

Skated well but he always does that. Questionable shot selection as he continues to tease with speed but doesn’t use it effectively enough to go hard to the net. In back to back nights, I’ve seen several examples of him going wide with speed and not getting a shot off, or he cuts into the middle of double coverage and attempts a screened shot from far out. Doesn’t appear to want it bad enough still. It was a re-occurring theme in OHL viewings and still an issue here. His line was benched for last 9 minutes or so of the game though he made a terrific defensive play as last man back in 3 on 3 OT. 

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Kirill Maksimov

Maksimov was very good once again tonight and as mentioned, I thought his line was the most productive. He did take one of his patented bad penalties – a retaliatory slash which was the 4th of 4 consecutive penalties. But other than that, I thought he was engaged, aggressive as usual on the forecheck, and forcing turnovers. Had a great chance in close early that Stolarz just got a piece of. Didn’t see the ice in OT but got a chance to win the game in the shootout and did exactly that. Still blows my mind how he is not on the PP. The pressure is on to make changes. He’s too good not to keep off any longer. 

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Conclusion

As mentioned Dmitri Samorukov was injured and did not play this game. Overall, the Condors got lucky thanks to some great goaltending. But the big take away is once again, their PP is AWFUL and needs some major adjustments. They went 0 for 10 in these 2 games yet somehow managed to win both. That needs to change fast! Also of note, Shane Starrett who has been out for most of the season, was the backup tonight. That’s great news for this team.

Next game is on Wednesday vs. Stockton.

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To comment, please do so via Twitter @TheOilKnight



By the OilKnight 01/03/20

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Welcome to the 2020 edition of the Condor Report!

`

I made a New year’s resolution this year to cover the Bakersfield Condors as much as I can in addition to the all draft eligible prospect stuff I do for a couple of reasons:

For one, there are no Edmonton Oilers prospects in the OHL currently and I miss them. Secondly, you the fans demand more content and I’m all about supply and demand.

So, what I’ll be doing now that I officially have the AHL TV pass is provide you as much content as I can regarding our Edmonton Oilers prospects. In particular, I will be focusing on 5 players specifically: Evan Bouchard, Tyler Benson, Ryan McLeod, Dmitri Samorukov & Kirill Maksimov. The best part too tracking all these guys is they all kind of offer something different in terms of skill-sets. This game though, Samorukov did not play after taking a puck in the face last game apparently. 

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Bakersfield vs. San Diego 01/03/20 – Condors win 3-2

Lines:

Benson-Marody-Currie

Gambardella-Malone-Miles Koules

Esposito-Cave-Maksimov

Stukel-McLeod-Hebig

PP#1

Benson-Marody-Currie-Gambardella-Day

PP#2

Malone-Cave-McLeod-Bouchard-Persson/Manning

PK units:

Esposito-Cave-Kulevich-Day

McLeod-Maksimov-Bouchard-Lowe

Game recap: The Condors came out flying scoring 2 goals in just over 2 minutes. The Gulls fought back to tie it 2-2 after controlling the majority of the 2nd period. But, the Condors got a goal in the 3rd and hung on as Stuart Skinner was excellent in this one. 

My analysis: I gotta be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with the line combinations (big surprise I know). My BIGGEST issue though is on the Powerplay where it is pretty much a gongshow right now. See, this team is a lot like their parent club in Edmonton. They’re not a great 5 on 5 team. If, they are going to win games they need to be good on special teams. Call-ups have killed their depth especially on D (Jones, Bear, Lagesson & Yamamato up front). But, it appears they still have the pieces to be good on both units but are not utilizing them properly to take advantage of their abilities. 

By now you’re probably saying “what does this guy know, he watched one game“. Now, I may not have seen a lot of Condor games this season but I watched all these OHL kids for 4 years before they even got there. I’ve written numerous articles on their strengths & weaknesses over those 4 years for different outlets, and have been around the game my whole life.

In case anyone is not familiar with what Kirill Maksimov is good at (and that includes Jay Woodcroft), take a look at this:

Why is that guy not on your Powerplay? Either the left half wall or playing the bumper position in the middle? My friend Rich on Twitter tells me “they pass way too much on the PP”. Well, that’s because they are all PASS FIRST players on the PP.

Benson – passing playmaker, 7 goals in 30 games. Marody – not a shooter, 5 goals in 26 games. Gambardella, Currie, Logan Day? 

If you want to score on the PP you need shooting threats to score on the PP it’s simple. Maksimov is a shooter and has a helluva shot. It is NHL caliber. Why are you not taking advantage of that? And why is Logan Day quarterbacking your powerplay when Evan Bouchard is EASILY the better option and has been doing it for years at a very successful rate? 

I hate to be the guy that always questions the coaching staff but come on – it’s common sense. What is he waiting for? The team is 18th in the league and has two LEGIT PP threats that he is choosing NOT to use on the Top unit – in favor of ineffective veterans. That’s my only real beef so far. Maksimov shoots like Ovechkin from the left circle and your PP is struggling….so put him on the PK? Put both Maksimov & Bouchard out there and let them shoot the lights out. It’s 30 games into the season now stop fooling around by creating some imaginary pecking order. Play the best options regardless of age……..period. But Woodcroft is a McLellan disciple and loves his vets….

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The Big 5

So, now I’ll give you my breakdown of the 5 main prospects I talked about. I always strive to give un-bias analysis and give you good and bad not sugar-coated. That will vary from game to game depending on their performances obviously. FYI, I wrote articles on the (4 now former) OHL prospects for the Edmonton Journal in the summer, and highlighted the things they needed to work on as they turned to minor pro. You can find those here:

Bouchard scouting report

McLeod scouting report

Maksimov scouting report

Samorukov scouting report

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Individual Performances

Evan Bouchard

Bouch was terrific all night. He moved the puck extremely well. Was good on retrievals. Showed off his tremendous poise with the puck. Made plenty of good decisions. Led several successful breakouts and defended well. I thought he was the best player on the ice last night. Looked in compete control all game. Helped preserve a one goal lead late with a blocked shot & penalty drawn to ice the clock. Wasn’t overly aggressive, did get beat once trying to stick check but recovered well. Overall, excellent game.

#2 Evan Bouchard

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Tyler Benson

I haven’t watched Benson consistently for a long time admittedly. I didn’t see him much in his draft year as he was hurt for more than half of it & my viewings of him have been sporadic at best since then. What I do know is he isn’t the fastest or toughest player but makes up for it with his hockey IQ, passing & good positioning. That’s pretty much what I saw last night.

Benson is a natural playmaker and exhibits excellent vision and passing ability. That was obvious last night. There were times though, I thought his lack of speed did allow defenders to close the gap quickly. Unable to beat defenders wide, he coughed up the puck a few times along the boards. Board play in general was rather poor. But overall, I thought he had a good game and at this point I’m still not sure how well his game will translate to the NHL. He’s still a wildcard for me. Has he earned a promotion? Absolutely. Will his production translate into a Top 6 role in Edmonton? Still not sure but it’s time to find out me thinks. 

#16 Tyler Benson

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Ryan McLeod

To the untrained eye, McLeod is often seen as  “had a good game” because he was “flying out there”. I know because I’ve seen and heard it for 4 years. The reality is, the biggest knock on his game is he has speed for miles but doesn’t go hard enough to the net & is viewed as a perimeter player. We saw a few examples of that again last night. Even the scramble at the side of the net he didn’t move his feet just reached from the outside to try and bank it in (though he then passed to Bouch for a goal). Puck died on his stick a few times along the boards when he was checked. Poor decision to skate into middle with two defenders there and shoot from far out when could have fought harder for a better scoring chance. “Settled” for low percentage shots. Still a great skater, defensively responsible but work still needs to be done to get greasier chances. Did show some jam in a couple board battles. Need to see more of that.

#29 Ryan McLeod

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Kirill Maksimov

The challenges for Maksimov as he turned pro were to constantly be moving his feet and not take dumb penalties. No PIMs last night and I thought he was moving his feet all game. Was aggressive on forecheck & on the backcheck creating several turnovers. Great in puck protection along the boards & keeping pucks alive. Didn’t get many Grade A chances but was around the puck a lot. It appears he is relegated to 2nd PK unit and little to no PP time which is extremely disappointing right now considering how well he is playing at both ends of ice & the natural PP weapon he is. Patience I guess but the skating was a positive for sure. Remember, he was basically out for 5 months from March-August with a knee injury. Seems to back to form now. 

#11 Kirill Maksimov

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Conclusion

As mentioned Dmitri Samorukov was injured and did not play this game. Overall, I thought Bouchard looks to take over as the Top Dman in Bakersfield. Benson appears ready for his NHL call-up. McLeod still has work to do to get greasier, and Maksimov seems to be doing everything right to get more opportunity in an offensive role. Again, it was just one game but now that I have the AHL TV pass, I will continue to provide you the fans updates on all our favourite prospects. Stay tuned!

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To comment, please do so via Twitter @TheOilKnight

By the OilKnight 01/01/20

Philip Broberg drafted 8th overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2019

With the Oilers drafting Philip Broberg & Evan Bouchard in back to back drafts with their 1st round pick, plus the emergence of prospects like Caleb Jones & Ethan Bear at the NHL level, it’s probably safe to say the Edmonton Oilers won’t be targeting a defenceman with their 1st round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft.

It is possible they could target a goalie like Yaroslav Askarov with this year’s selection, but for the purpose of this exercise I’m going to assume that won’t be the case. 

Before I give you a breakdown of the Top 15 Forwards available in this draft, let’s take a look at the pipeline in Edmonton with my personal assessment on each prospect. 

On defence, the organization is as deep as it’s ever been with promising prospects playing at all levels. Here’s a complete list including my own grades in terms of NHL impact eventually. ETA being when I expect them to be full-time. Ethan Bear (A-), Caleb Jones (B+) and Joel Persson (C) have all played several games on the Oilers already so they are excluded from this list. 

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Defensive Prospects

A  Evan Bouchard, RD (AHL) – Future top pair RHD and PP quarterback. There will be some growing pains defensively, but he has all the tools to be a high-impact offensive force in the NHL. Smart, poised, excellent puck mover & great offensive instincts. ETA: 2020-2021

B+ Philip Broberg, LD (SWE) – Should be a Top 4 defenceman eventually. Very similar skill-set to Darnell Nurse. Likely not a high-impact offensive force like some hope, but should still be a very effective player. Destined to be future 2nd pair LD. ETA: 2021-2022

B  William Lagesson, LD (AHL) – Skates well, defends well, moves the puck well, plays physical. Not a sexy player stylistically but very effective especially in his own zone. ETA: 2019-2020

B-  Filip Berglund, RD (SWE) – Having watched several Skelleftea games this season, quite often I came away more impressed with Berglund than Broberg. Now, Berglund is 4 years older & a SHL veteran, but he has nice skills that should translate well. He’s a good skater, strong defensively & makes good decisions. He also moves the puck well & has a big shot. 2nd pair possibility. ETA: 2021-2022

B-  Dmitri Samorukov, LD (AHL) – Dima is likely still a couple years away as he transforms into a reliable, stay-at-home, physical defenceman but should be worth the wait. Good puck mover & sneaky good offence but decision making will take time. Bottom 4 D-man. ETA: 2021-2022

C  Michael Kesselring, RD (ECAC) – Much like Samorukov, Kesselring is a big, mobile defenceman with some sneaky good offensive ability. Unlike Samorukov, he doesn’t possess that real nastiness or physical presence but he does move the puck well. Could he be a poor man’s Adam Larsson? Perhaps. Still long ways to go but trending up. ETA: 2023-2024

D+ Philip Kemp, RD (ECAC) – RHD that is a physical stay at home type. Doesn’t offer much in terms of offence but very good in his own zone. Basically, he’s another Matt Benning. Possible #6 but no guarantees he even sticks with this organization. ETA: 2021-2022

The one player missing from the rankings we did earlier in the summer is John Marino. Now, I’m not going to say I knew he was going to be a surefire bonafide NHL defenceman, but I did like him a lot & was higher on him than most as I thought he was a promising prospect. 

It’s a shame Edmonton couldn’t get him signed or get more for him but if he didn’t want to play there not a whole lot they could do to change his mind. 

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Up front, here is where the lack of depth in the organization shows. The forward lines in Edmonton can’t find a legit 2nd line winger to play with Draisaitl or Nugent-Hopkins. There is some talent in the pipeline but no one that projects to be a surefire 30+ goal scorer.  Yamamoto gets his first crack on New Year’s eve and Benson might not be far behind him. But for now, this group is decent but has a lot to prove. 

Forward Prospects

B+ Kailer Yamamoto, RW (AHL) – Potential impact player who needs to stay healthy if he’s going to live up to his 1st round draft status. Excellent skater, strong work ethic & good playmaking skills but rambunctious style + dimunitive frame = health concerns longterm. Edmonton needs him badly right now to produce offensively. ETA: NOW

B+ Tyler Benson, LW (AHL) – Excellent playmaker with good offensive instincts. Lack of speed & explosiveness are concerns though at NHL level but might be able to overcome that with smarts & good positioning. Is going to get his shot in Edmonton very soon. Has the hockey IQ & passing ability to be a top 6 forward if he can keep up. ETA: Next 2 months.

B+ Kirill Maksimov, W (AHL) – A knee injury in March set him back 5 months. Before that, he had 40 goals in 63 games & 74 goals the past two seasons in the OHL. A pure shooter with an NHL shot & release, Maksimov is a natural PP threat but can also play bottom 6 on the penalty kill. He likes to play physical & is a good 200 ft player. Maksimov started slow in the AHL but has picked it up lately. Will take some time, but once it clicks for him watch out. Top 6 winger potential eventually. ETA: 2021-2022

B Raphael Lavoie, RW (QMJHL) – Another prospect who can really shoot the puck. Lavoie has a big shot & release but struggles to get it off at times. Work ethic & consistency issues are slight cause for concern. Skates pretty well, good offensive instincts, very strong on stick. Very similar to Maksimov though not as polished in 200 foot game. ETA: 2021-2022

C+ Ryan McLeod, C (AHL) – Terrific skater & penalty killer but limited offense limits his ceiling. Never really had a breakout year offensively in OHL. Still considered a perimeter player who loses too many puck battles easily. Will have a role in NHL thanks to skating & 200 foot game but likely nothing more than a bottom 6 role player in NHL. ETA: 2021-2022

C  Matej Blumel, F (CZE) – Pretty good skater with nice hands in tight. Pretty heady player too who is a good 200 foot player. Has a chance to be a solid 3rd liner who can chip in a few goals, play with pace and help on the PK. A workhorse who has been solid for Czechs at World Juniors. ETA: 2022-2023

C- Aapeli Rasanen, C (NCAA) – Crafty center who reads the game well and plays a good 200 foot game. Haven’t seen much of him since his promising showings in previous WJC’s but indications are he’s breaking out offensively for Boston College as their 3rd leading scorer. ETA: 2022-2023

D+ Ostap Safin, W, (ECHL) – Tall, skilled Czech prospect who has battled injuries and inconsistency since coming over to North America in 2017. He’s only 20 yrs old so there’s still time and he has the skill to climb fast, but nothing more than a wildcard at this point. ETA: 2021-2022

D  Cooper Marody, F (AHL) – Not convinced he is an NHL’er at this point. Could carve out a bottom 6 role but not much upside here. Speed certainly is an issue and there’s little flash to his game. Battles hard though so still has a chance. ETA:  2020-2021

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The Rest….

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Likely career AHL’ers: Joseph Gambardella, Josh Currie, Ryan Malone, Cameron Hebig, Jacob Stukel

Longshot prospects: Tomas Mazura, Patrik Siikanen, Skyler Brind’Amour, Maxim Denezhkin, Graham McPhee

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Top 15 Forward Prospects

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So, let’s assume for a moment that Edmonton doesn’t select a defenceman with their 1st round pick. History tells us that in the last 13 NHL drafts, at least 2 defenceman have been taken in the Top 10 every single year. So if we count at least two there, plus another say six or seven in the next 15 picks that’s nine. Let’s also assume Yaroslav Askarov will be chosen by another team as well. So realistically, we could guess that in the first 25 picks (where Edmonton is likely headed), there’s about 10 players that we could rule out. That leaves 15 forwards. If the Oilers end up drafting 25th, they’ll likely get close to the 15th best forward. If they draft 10th, perhaps they snag the 7th or 8th best. And if they win the lottery…….. don’t even think about that right now. 

So here is my own list of the 15 best forward prospects in the NHL draft right and I tried to slot them where I think they will realistically be drafted this time not where I would pick them (so no reaches). Enjoy.

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Lottery Picks

LW Alexis Lafreniere – Dynamic winger who plays with great determination. Elite playmaker, terrific vision, high hockey IQ, quick hands. Likes to throw his weight around. Skating is good not great. Makes up for it with great positioning and feel for the game. Elite puck skills. 

C Quinton Byfield – Possesses tantalizing size/speed/skill. Excellent skater for his size, surprising agility. Slick hands & underrated passer. Solid 2 way game. Very good at faceoffs. Big body & good at puck protection but not physical at all. Still a bit raw but highest ceiling of any prospect. 

W Lucas Raymond – Highly skilled playmaker who can kind of do it all in the offensive zone similar to Lafreniere. Solid in all areas. A real threat on the PP too. If he was in the QMJHL too he might be pushing for 1st overall. Definitely has Superstar qualities. Lack of ice-time currently might be hurting his stock a bit. 

If the Oilers don’t make the playoffs and are fortunate enough to win a Top 3 selection in the lottery again, they will undoubtedly take Lafreniere at 1st overall. If they get the 2nd pick, Byfield seems likely but I could see them trade down a few slots too.

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Top 7

C  Marco Rossi – The best all-round center in this draft right now. So dangerous in transition. Defensively sound. Very strong in all 3 zones. So smart with puck rarely makes any major mistakes. Elite vision, hockey IQ & passing ability. Soft hands in tight, very strong on the puck. Underrated shot & release. Will likely win the OHL scoring title in his draft year if he stays healthy. Can do it all. Might be the most pro ready as of today. Late 2001 birthday. Could be #3C in Edmonton opening night next season.

F  Tim Stutzle – The German sensation is an dynamic offensive force capable of beating you with his quickness, his puck skills or both. Can stickhandle in a phone booth. Puck control is tantalizing. Also, he is a high energy player with a great work ethic. Does seem to force plays too much at times similar to a guy like Taylor Hall but hustles back hard on defensive end. He & Draisaitl together would be an absolute treat.

RW Alexander Holtz – Big time shooter and scorer. Might have the best shot in the draft. Nasty release. Underrated playmaker too. Great offensive instincts, defensive game needs some work. Not a speed burner but is a good skater. The exact type of player Edmonton badly needs. A natural goal scorer.

Based on the current standings, a lot would have to go wrong for the Oilers to finish Top 7 worst in the standings at the end of the year. But if they did, they would have a shot at one of these three likely with one still available at #7 assuming D Jamie Drysdale was selected Top 6. All 3 of these players would be excellent fits. 

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Picks 8-23

C Anton Lundell – He’s one player who might drop due to speed concerns and perceived lower ceiling. Lundell is a smart 2 way center with a big wrist shot. He has great offensive instincts and is sound defensively. Excellent vision and passing ability. He’s not the flashiest player just very smart & efficient. Teams will like him but probably not love him so could be tremendous value if he does in fact drop.

C Dylan Holloway – Haven’t seen a ton of this kid yet but from what I do know they is a lot of tools in his toolbox he just needs to put them altogether. Fast and creative even at high speeds. Similar to Stutzle in that he attacks you with speed & elite stickhandling ability. Aggressive forechecker, good on the cycle. Very good wrist shot & release. Some untapped potential here.

C  Connor Zary – late 2001 birthday who has been at or near the top of the scoring standings in the WHL all year long. Productive, hard-working forward with very good offensive instincts. A “better than the sum of his parts” type player who grows on you the more you watch him. Very quick, reliable, and determined.

RW Dawson Mercer – Big time shooter with a terrific release, Mercer is a sexy prospect to watch but also a reliable one. Works hard in all 3 zones and knows how to put the puck in the net. Also very good puck skills and creativity. Underrated passer. Very good skater. Another late 2001 birthday.

LW Cole Perfetti – PP specialist who possesses a terrific wrist shot that is hard & accurate. Very quick hands in tight. Deadly on shootouts. Capable of making some highlight tape to tape passes. Game away from puck needs work. Not physical at all loses a lot of puck battles. Speed is average. Can be invisible at times. Think Jordan Eberle in terms of a comparison. Highly skilled, but some flaws too means he likely drops in the ‘teens.

LW Rodion Amirov – Bit of a wildcard, but Amirov is a hard-working Russian who has stood at in International tournaments by my eye. Seems to be very smart and has great anticipation. Reads plays very well. Great work ethic. Can also really shot the puck and is a very good skater. Quick hands in tight. Skinny, will need to get stronger. Upside here.

C  Jan Mysak – Another potential sleeper here who has shown really well in International tournaments. He’s quick, smart & and very creative in offensive zone. Very good hands, great vision and passing ability. Another riser.

F  Vasili Ponomaryov – So strong on the puck. Great puck protection, goes hard to the net. High energy type player who doesn’t give up on plays. Exceptional work ethic in all 3 zones. Big shot and release, high hockey IQ. Makes plenty of good decisions. Can dangle. Knows how to score. 

RW Noel Gunler – Highly skilled winger with a booming shot but skating & work ethic concerns will inevitably drop him down the list. Could be a big time scorer at next level but consistency issues will cause hesitation from teams thinking of drafting him.

There’s a lot of talent left over if Edmonton just misses out on a playoff spot or bows out before the 2nd round. My two personal favourites out of this group are in the QMJHLDawson Mercer & Vasili PonomaryevBoth possess the speed/skill/smarts & determination that I love in prospects and both would add some much needed scoring help to the Oilers.

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Now if the Oilers get to the 2nd round or further in the playoffs, no one will really care about where we draft till June. In any case, here are some of the names that will likely be available at those 24-31 slots:

LW Carter Savoie, LW Antonio Stranges, LW Jake Neighbours, C Mavrik Bourque, C Hendrix Lapierre, RW Tyson Foerster, RW Zion Nybeck, F Kasper Simontaival and a few others I left out.

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So that’s it for now! I’ll try and add highlights to each of the Top 15 prospects soon so you can put a video to the name and refer back. Stay tuned!

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To comment, please do so via Twitter @TheOilKnight

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