Top 10 prospects
When your team finishes in last place in the NHL, and your AHL team finishes in last place for two years in a row, there is room for improvement in all aspects of the organization.
The Oilers are in need of high-level scoring forwards, having tied for 26th in goals scored during the 2009–10 season. Dustin Penner led the team with 32 goals, but could have scored a few more if Ales Hemsky was not lost for 60 games with a shoulder injury. With highly-touted goal scoring prospects Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson already in the system, another scoring threat would improve the Oilers overall future offense. Size and strength down the middle, particularly on the top two lines, has been a concern for a number of seasons.
Another area of concern is the organization’s lack of high-end goalie prospects. With both Jeff Deslauriers and Devan Dubnyk graduating to the NHL, the only prospect with a legitimate chance of contributing to the Oilers future is QMJHLer Olivier Roy.
The Oilers will also need to strengthen their blue line prospects. While there are a handful of defensemen in the system who are projected to be serviceable NHLers, the Oilers lack a stud prospect to build around. Injuries on the blue line in 2009–10 forced them to call up a number of blue-liners, and nobody really displayed the potential to be a legitimate top-pairing defenseman.
The Oilers have some great forward prospects, and are particularly strong with tough utility players. Forwards Eberle and MPS have scoring abilities and have performed very well in international tournaments. Forwards Anton Lander, Toni Rajala, Teemu Hartikainen and Chris Vande Velde bring a combination of size, strength, grit and leadership needed on effective third and fourth lines. Defensemen Theo Peckham and Alex Plante play with an edge of nastiness, providing the Oilers with grit and toughness on the back end.
The Oilers lack a high-end center with size who can win face-offs and play a solid two-way game. They also lack a blue-chip defenseman prospect, goalie prospects, and could also use another goal scoring winger.
Since the five NHL drafts post lockout, the Oilers have only taken one player from Russia. With a lack of a player transfer agreement, that trend will probably continue. The majority of Oiler drafted forwards hail from the CHL, Sweden and Finland. The Oilers also have a history of drafting defensemen from the NCAA and US high schools.
Hockey’s Future staff mock draft result at No. 1: Taylor Hall, F