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: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko got off to an impressive start in his NHL career, making him an easy choice as the NHL's top rookie for January (courtesy of Scott Kane/Icon SMI)
Due to the NHL lockout, January was an abbreviated month, with most teams playing just over half a dozen games. Nonetheless, the Hockey’s Future staff was polled to give their early thoughts on the front-runners for the league's Calder Trophy, which recognizes the NHL's top rookie.
Photo: Belleville’s Daniil Zharkov, a third-round selection by Edmonton in 2012, is tied for second on the Bulls with 14 goals this season. (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The Edmonton Oilers boast a number of highly skilled forwards on their front end that are generally touted as pure goal-scorers, and their young roster makes for a team with a high level of energy and emotion. However, they tend to lack depth at their center position and do not always have the size and strength that is needed when they come up against big physical teams. The Oilers scouting team has worked tirelessly to build up a strong group of character prospects to fill some of the gaps on the roster, many of whom are playing for junior clubs across Canada.
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: University of North Dakota forward and Florida Panthers prospect Corban Knight had the hot scoring hand in the NCAA during the month of December (courtesy of Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon SMI)
With the first half of the 2012-13 season drawing to a close and the second half getting underway, there were plenty of prospect stories making the rounds in college hockey in December. Hockey’s Future takes a look back at the final month of the 2012 calendar year. Unless otherwise noted, all stats are current as of Dec. 31.