The Edmonton Oilers’ NCAA and European prospect pool is not a large one, made even smaller by Finnish goaltender Eetu Laurikainen joining the Bakersfield Condors in 2015-16 and Bogdan Yakimov making his return to North American hockey after a brief hiatus in Europe. The team also added former Minnesota Wild prospect Jere Sallinen out of the Finnish Liiga to its pro ranks. The remaining crop of players consists of mid- to late-round picks, many of whom are longshots for NHL success. Nevertheless, there are some intriguing standouts, such as in the case of Russian defender Ziyat Paygin who has pleasantly surprised many with his 2015-16 season numbers. Tyler Vesel continues to lead the way as the de facto leader of the NCAA prospect group. See the full breakdown below.
After years of disappointing finishes for the Edmonton Oilers, fans can find solace in the fact that the team has amassed a solid pool of prospects throughout their rebuilding years, most specifically over the last season as Peter Chiarelli took the reins as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager. Notably, Edmonton’s depth lies on defense, with the likes of Griffin Reinhart and Darnell Nurse (recent prospect graduate Oscar Klefbom continues to find success at the NHL level as well). Read more»
As the 2015-16 season commences, one cannot help but notice the top-heaviness of the Edmonton Oilers’ prospect talent at the professional level. The team’s new farm club in Bakersfield, California is stacked with noteworthy names like Darnell Nurse, Leon Draisaitl, Tyler Pitlick and more, and the number of legitimate prospects fighting for an opportunity to earn a look at the NHL level is much higher than it has been in recent memory. The fact that the Oilers are now deep enough at the top level to afford to let prospects like the ones mentioned earlier spend some time in the minors developing is a sign of systemic improvement, which bodes well for a club that is trying to establish itself as a legitimate playoff contender after years of poor performance.
The Edmonton Oilers currently have an interesting mix of collegiate and European prospects in their development pipeline, ranging from college superstars like defenseman Joey LaLeggia to a pair of fringe players across the pond that appear to be one foot out of the door in Antti Tyrvainen and Daniil Zharkov. Other prospects of note include John McCarron, who is wrapping up his four years at Cornell University, as well as Tyler Vesel, who made a splash in his freshman season with University of Nebraska-Omaha.
The final month of 2014 marked the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half of the NCAA hockey season. Due to the holiday break, there were fewer games played. Nevertheless, December saw some impressive performances from prospects around the NCAA. Hockey’s Future takes a look back at some of the more notable ones. Read more»