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.
Unlike the previous article, which detailed the Edmonton Oilers’ mere three junior prospects, the NHL team has a staggering 22 names in its professional pipeline. A number of these pro players are on the verge of graduating as they continue to log NHL minutes, such as Iiro Pakarinen, Darnell Nurse and Brandon Davidson, and for the sake of keeping things concise, this month’s article will focus on those players who have spent the majority of the 2015-16 season at the AHL or ECHL level. 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.
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»