Photo: Denver University defenseman and Edmonton Oilers prospect Joey LaLeggia turned in a strong freshman season in 2011-12, which led to his being named the WCHA's top rookie (courtesy of Rich Clarkson)
At this point last year, Denver Pioneers' head coach George Gwozdecky and his staff were hesitant about playing defenseman Joey LaLeggia in all situations. The 5'9”, 180-pounder arrived in the Mile-High city with tremendous offensive skills, but due to his smaller frame Gwozdecky and his staff had to be careful not to put the smaller player in a vulnerable position on the ice.
Photo: Oilers 2012 second-round pick Mitchell Moroz is among the team's junior prospects to track in 2012-13 as he tries to help his club get back to the Memorial Cup. (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Over the course of the past three seasons one of the few bright spots within the Edmonton Oilers organization has undoubtedly been the teams prospect pipeline. Having won the NHL draft lottery and selected first overall in every season since 2010 the Oilers have had marvelous opportunity in terms of stacking up their assets for the future.
Photo: Edmonton Oilers prospect Justin Schultz has wasted little time in making his presence felt in the pro game as he leads the AHL in scoring (courtesy of David Maxwell/Getty Images)
Prior to the NHL lockout, there was an enormous amount of talk regarding the free agent status of a young player who hadn’t even played in an NHL game. A second-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks in 2008, Justin Schultz became the most sought after off-season free agent when he was left unsigned following a stellar collegiate career at the University of Wisconsin. And where would you expect a young phenom to land these days? With the Edmonton Oilers, of course. The 22-year-old signed a two-year deal with the club that already features an embarrassment of under-23 future superstars.
Photo: Edmonton Oilers prospect and Oklahoma City Barons' defenseman Justin Schultz is so far making the Oilers' move to sign Schultz look like a wise decision (courtesy of David Maxwell/Getty Images)
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Oklahoma City Barons defenseman Justin Schultz has been selected as the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Oct. 21, 2012.
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.