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: 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.
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: 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: 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.