Photo: Taylor Hall was the first of three consecutive first overall picks made by the Edmonton Oilers from 2010 to 2012 (courtesy of Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)
For the first time in four years, the Edmonton Oilers will not be taking the first overall pick in the NHL Draft. Although they failed to make the playoffs for the seventh straight year, the Oilers managed to climb a bit farther up the ladder and landed at 24th in the league after the regular season. Soon after came the dismissal of General Manager Steve Tambellini, only to be replaced by former head coach Craig MacTavish, who is anticipated to make some big changes for the club.
Photo: The first overall pick in 2012, Nail Yakupov finished his first NHL season with the most goals (17) and tied for the most points (31) among rookies (courtesy of Dustin Bradford/Icon SMI)
This is the second edition of the Edmonton Oilers yearly prospect awards. After missing the playoffs for the seventh year in a row, the Oilers are looking to make some big changes in their roster and have a strong reliance on a deep prospect pool. The 2012-13 season saw great improvements for some, while others fell short of expectations. The Oilers have some strong defensive prospects in the pipeline with a mix of skilled but not yet fully-developed talent on their front end.
Photo: Although limited by injury in 2012-13, Oscar Klefbom has ample experience playing professionally and on the international stage for Sweden (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Edmonton Oilers had four prospects playing in Europe for the 2012-13 season, the most notable being defensive prospect Oscar Klefbom who, despite being injured for the majority of the 2012-13 season, is one of the Oilers’ most anticipated defensive prospects. The Oilers also have defenseman Erik Gustafsson and a pair of goaltending prospects with Samu Perhonen and Frans Tuohimaa who are both showing signs of potential, although neither are quite blue chip prospects as of yet.
Photo: Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau finished the 2012-13 season tied for the lead among NHL rookies with 31 points (courtesy of Rich Kane/Icon SMI)
Hockey's Future presents the top grouping of the Spring NHL Team Rankings, the staff's ranking of each NHL team's system based on the strength of the entire prospect pool. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The ranking is done twice a year, with this edition being an update to the Fall ranking.
Photo: Nail Yakupov, shown here celebrating a late game-tying goal against Los Angeles in January, takes over the top spot in the Oilers mid-season Top 20 ranking (courtesy of Chris Austin/Icon SMI)
The Edmonton Oilers Spring Top 20 saw very little movement in the top 10 ranks while the bottom 10 prospects were shuffled more drastically. The top 10 features a number of highly skilled prospects who are either currently filling regular spots on the Oilers' roster such as Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz or are looking slated to do so in the future.