Oilers European prospects 2009-10 review

By Jason Flammia

The Edmonton Oilers had six prospects, all forwards, playing in Europe during the 2009-10 season: three in Sweden, two in the KHL and one in Finland.

Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson, LW – Timra, (SEL)
6’1, 198 lbs
1st round, 10th overall, 2009

Paajarvi-Svensson is the Oilers top prospect playing in Europe and has been steadily improving his game. In his second season with Timra of the Swedish Elite League, Paajarvi-Svensson saw action in 49 games, scoring 12 goals and 17 assists for 29 points. He also lead Team Sweden at the Under-20 World Junior Championship in Saskatoon, scoring three goals and seven assists for 10 points in six games en route to a bronze-medal finish.

Paajarvi-Svensson is a top-notch skater with creative offensive skills who can set up his teammates with spectacular passing. He scores most of his goals by driving to the net or by releasing his hard, accurate wrist shot. His two-way game has improved considerably this year as well. Paajarvi-Svensson added almost 15 lbs to his 6’1 frame in a year, resulting in a player who wins more battles for loose pucks.

The Oilers would love to have Paajarvi-Svensson spend some time in the AHL to adjust to the North American game during the 2010-11 season. However, like most Swedes, Paajarvi-Svensson would prefer to spend more time in Sweden and make a direct shift into the NHL. Regardless, Paajarvi-Svensson has all the tools to be a dangerous offensive threat as a top-six NHL forward.

Anton Lander, C – Timra, (SEL)

6’0, 185 lbs
2nd round, 40th overall, 2009

Lander has been a teammate of Paajarvi-Svensson within the Timra organization for the past three seasons, and both have represented Sweden at World Junior tournaments. In his second season with Timra, Lander played 49 games while scoring seven goals and nine assists for 16 points. He also scored five goals and three assists for eight points in six games at the WJC.

Lander is a smart two-way player who the Oilers see developing into a solid NHL role player. He is exceptional in his own end, plays with great intensity and is a capable playmaker. Lander also has strong leadership abilities and, at the young age of 18, was named an alternate captain for Timra to start the 2009-10 season. He will turn 19 later this month.

Linus Omark, LW – Dynamo Moscow (KHL)

5’9, 185 lbs
4th round, 97th overall, 2007

After finishing third overall in points scored during the SEL’s 2008-09 season, it looked as though the Oilers had hit the jackpot with their fourth round pick in the 2007 draft. Omark’s world-class offensive abilities has made him a YouTube highlight reel, but it is yet to be determined how success he’ll be at the NHL level.

Omark spent last season playing for Dynamo Moscow of the KHL along side ex-Red Wing Juri Hudler. In 56 games, Omark scored 20 goals and 16 assists for 36 points in the low-scoring league, but took some major criticism for his play in the playoffs as Dynamo was upset in the first round. Omark was recently signed to an entry-level contract by the Oilers.

Teemu Hartikainen, C – KalPa (SM-Liiga)
6’1, 201 lbs
6th round, 163rd overall, 2008

Hartikainen is a strong, gritty player who brings intensity to every shift. He is most effective battling for pucks in the corner, or creating havoc in front of the net. In his second season playing in the Finnish elite league, Hartikainen recorded 15 goals and 18 assists for a career-high 33 points in 51 games. He also registered six points in six games while representing Finland at the WJC. Hartikainen is probably a year or two away from making a serious push for an NHL roster spot, as he needs more time to continue improving on his skating and agility.

William Quist, LW – Nybro IF (SWE-Div 1)
6’5, 203 lbs
6th round, 157th overall, 2007

Quist has the size, strength and skating ability to play at the NHL level, but his hockey sense hasn’t developed as hoped. The Oilers pushed hard to convince Quist to play the 2009-10 season in North America, where they felt he could adjust to the speed of the North American game by playing meaningful minutes against strong competition. Instead, Quist elected to play in Sweden for his hometown team, Nybro IF, in a league below the SEL. He scored 10 goals and 12 assists for 22 points in 33 games. Unless Quist is willing to move to the AHL for a season or two, he may never pan out to be an NHLer.

Alexander Bumagin, LW – Neftekhimik (KHL)
6’0, 181 lbs
6th round, 170th overall, 2006

Bumagin is an offensive forward with natural scoring abilities. In his second KHL season, Bumagin registered eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points in 51 games. While he doesn’t possess great size, he isn’t one to shy away from aggressive play. Bumagin’s biggest flaws are his defensive-zone decision-making, and his lack of intensity every shift.

While his overall skill and skating ability allowed scouts to believe he had some NHL potential during his draft year, Bumagin has not made enough strides to climb the Oilers prospect depth chart. At the age of 23, the chances of him breaking into the NHL are low, and he will likely remain in the KHL next year.