In this edition of the Edmonton Oilers Top 20, both Martin Marincin and Oscar Klefbom have graduated from the rankings, both surpassing the NHL game maximum to still be considered a prospect by Hockey’s Future’s standards. Darnell Nurse continues to hold down top spot as he dominates his junior competition with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL, and 2014 third-overall draft selection Leon Draisaitl follows closely behind him.
Changes are afoot within the Edmonton Oilers organization – most notably with the firing of head coach Dallas Eakins and the promotion of former Oklahoma City Barons head coach Todd Nelson to interim head coach of the Oilers. Also important to note in this year’s minor league update is the dissolution of the relationship between the Edmonton Oilers and the Oklahoma City Barons, effective at the end of the 2014-15 season. It has been reported that in 2015-16, the Oilers’ farm team will be relocating to Bakersfield, California, where the Oilers-owned ECHL team, the Bakersfield Condors, currently play.
Below is the inaugural edition of Hockey's Future's prospect awards. There is a particularly diverse group of recipients, a reflection on an Edmonton prospect pool that is amidst a full rebuild.
For freshmen first entering the collegiate game, the adjustment is often quite challenging. It is especially difficult for players coming from the high school ranks.
But there are those that make the adjustment rather easily, and one is Minnesota State-Mankato freshman Tyler Pitlick.
"I think Tyler has handled the transition extremely well," noted Minnesota State-Mankato head coach Troy Jutting. "His progress has been terrific. Most kids his age are playing in junior hockey somewhere or are still in high school playing hockey."
Pitlick, the nephew of former NHLer Lance Pitlick, came to Minnesota State-Mankato from Centennial High School where he served as team captain and led both the Cougars as well as the Northwest Suburban Conference in scoring with 64 points (31 goals, 33 assists) in 25 games last season. The Centerville, MN native was also named a finalist for the 2009 Mr. Hockey Award. Pitlick was a member of 2007 and 2008 U.S. Under-18 teams as well.
St. Cloud State and the University of Minnesota also recruited Pitlick. As the freshman center explained, the Mavericks style of play was one reason he chose to attend Minnesota State-Mankato.
"My uncle helped me to make the decision to go to Mankato," he said. "I decided to come to here because I like the coaching staff and I like the team’s style of play. I feel like I fit into it really well. I also already knew some of the guys on the team that I had played with on previous teams."
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