Photo: Edmonton winger Jordan Eberle, selected 22nd overall in 2008, had a breakout 2011-12 season, leading the Oilers with 34 goals and 76 points (courtesy of Chris Austin/Icon SMI)
Having traded away their second and third round picks, it was pertinent that the Edmonton Oilers made their remaining 2008 draft selections count. This was Kevin Lowe's last NHL draft as the Oilers' General Manager and based on the 2008 draft class' overall success thus far, it appears that he chose a good quality group of prospects for his successor Steve Tambellini to work with.
Photo: Mark Arcobello, among Oklahoma City’s leaders on and off the ice this season, made his NHL debut with the Oilers on February 6th. (courtesy of Chris Austin/Icon SMI)
The 2012-13 season has been a roller coaster ride for the Edmonton Oilers’ minor league affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons. The lockout at the beginning of the season brought them a host of talent with the likes of Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, to name a few. However, once the lockout ended, the Oilers quickly found themselves in injury trouble and the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons were not only without the benefit of some added offense, but missing some of their key centermen as well. Despite this, the Barons have managed to soldier on and are currently vying for a playoff spot in the Western Conference of the AHL.
Photo: Teemu Hartikainen may not be the most glamorous prospect in the Oilers' system, but the hard-nosed winger is once again skating with the big club in Edmonton. (courtesy of Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)
As a team that has taken the number one draft selection in the league for the past three years, the Edmonton Oilers are in a unique position. Their last three number one picks have been an almost sure-bet to enter straight onto the Oilers roster at the beginning of the next season and were expected to make a big splash for a team that desperately needed some new blood, starting with Taylor Hall in 2010-11, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011-12, and Nail Yakupov in 2012-13. This leaves the potential for the remaining draft pool to be a bit sparse, but the Oilers have managed to maintain some depth in their pipeline.
Photo: Newly-signed Edmonton Oilers prospect Justin Schultz (#6) will begin his pro career after a strong NCAA career with the University of Wisconsin (courtesy of Elsa/Getty Images)
The expectations have been building for the Edmonton Oilers, and the time has come to deliver. After half a decade at or near the bottom of the NHL standings, the club now has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to young talent. This is true not only of graduated, full-time NHL players but also of the team’s prospects.
Photo: Edmonton Oil Kings' defenseman Martin Gernat upends the Shawinigan Cataractes' Vincent Arseneau at the 2012 Memorial Cup. Gernat is one of three Edmonton Oilers prospects playing for the Oil Kings (courtesy of Terry Wilson/CHL Images)
The Edmonton Oilers and their fans may be forgetting what the playoffs look like. But at the lower levels of the game, Oilers' prospects are getting a lot of quality post-season experience this year. While the parent club hasn't played a post-season game since losing Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals, when they make it back to the post-season they'll have players with plenty of non-NHL playoff experience to draw on.