Year after year for the past decade, the Edmonton Oilers have added top talents via the draft. Rather than building an enviable prospect pool, the team has only succeeded in constructing unbalanced rosters that finish near the bottom of the league standings. Still, the 2015 Draft gifted the Oilers one of the world’s best players, and several other young men who have learned the NHL game the hard way are coming into the primes of their careers. Will the supporting cast be enough to change the script in 2016-17? Only time will tell, but the Hockey’s Future prospect awards for 2015-16 serve to highlight some of the more encouraging signs from a mostly disappointing campaign.
When a team consistently finishes in the bottom quarter of the NHL standings, it translates to a high number of elite quality draft selections in a short window of time. Those players tend to appear ready for NHL duty, even if the prudent course might be for them to play out their junior eligibility. Of course, in the case of a player like Connor McDavid, the decision to get him on the NHL roster is less controversial. Couple the pro-ready players with a number of trades that dealt away a good chunk of Edmonton’s draft selections in 2015 and the team is left with a mere three prospects currently playing at the junior level.
Two prospects taken in the middle rounds of the 2013 NHL Draft have a lot on the line when they matchup against each other this weekend in the SHL. Likewise, two 2016 draft-eligibles go one-on-one in the OHL, while one WHL defenseman tries to acclimate to a new environment after a recent trade. The QMJHL offers an interesting matchup when a pair of twins with NHL bloodlines takes on a giant defenseman. Finally, two steady freshmen forwards have been role players for their respective teams and are hoping to earn additional icetime in this week’s Prospect Faceoff. Read more»
In this week’s Prospect Faceoff, the reigning Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week will try and slow down one of the QMJHL’s most proficient scorers. Two Toronto Maple Leafs prospects will go head-to-head in a Thanksgiving Day matinee, while two ‘A’ rated 2016 NHL Draft-eligible skaters clash in the WHL. In the USHL, a pair of Clark Cup champions go one-on-one, while two of the NCAA’s finest freshmen collide. Read more»
After years of disappointing finishes for the Edmonton Oilers, fans can find solace in the fact that the team has amassed a solid pool of prospects throughout their rebuilding years, most specifically over the last season as Peter Chiarelli took the reins as President of Hockey Operations and General Manager. Notably, Edmonton’s depth lies on defense, with the likes of Griffin Reinhart and Darnell Nurse (recent prospect graduate Oscar Klefbom continues to find success at the NHL level as well). Read more»