Year after year for the past decade, the Edmonton Oilers have added top talents via the draft. Rather than building an enviable prospect pool, the team has only succeeded in constructing unbalanced rosters that finish near the bottom of the league standings. Still, the 2015 Draft gifted the Oilers one of the world’s best players, and several other young men who have learned the NHL game the hard way are coming into the primes of their careers. Will the supporting cast be enough to change the script in 2016-17? Only time will tell, but the Hockey’s Future prospect awards for 2015-16 serve to highlight some of the more encouraging signs from a mostly disappointing campaign.
The Edmonton Oilers spring Top 20 list sees some major changes from the fall list, mostly due to the graduation of players like Brandon Davidson, Leon Draisaitl and Iiro Pakarinen. Darnell Nurse sits on the cusp of prospect status with regards to number of games played, but is the second name on the list for the time being. Despite his collarbone injury in November, Connor McDavid hasn’t missed a beat in his return and is a prospect in name only. He displays on a consistent basis that he is not only the top prospect in the Oilers system, but on his way to becoming the best player in the NHL.
Year after year in the Kevin Lowe era, the Edmonton Oilers have relied upon rookies to play at the top level of hockey. Players like Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Ladislav Smid, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, and Justin Schultz have been asked to come in and play veteran roles in minutes they weren’t yet ready to handle. The results have been predictably poor for this once-proud franchise. Read more»
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 Edmonton Oilers begin the club’s most highly-anticipated season in recent memory, Hockey’s Future has a few new names to introduce in this year’s preliminary Top 20. Without needing any preamble, the most notable is Connor McDavid, who has managed to drum up world-wide attention. His addition to the club helped sell out the annual preseason rookie tournament in Penticton, British Columbia featuring the Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames. Read more»