Saturday, November 3, 2012

'Oilers 1st Team Prospects'

Sometimes taking time to look through a NHL franchise system can be a good indicator of exactly what areas look strong and what areas need improvement in. This past week, Bob Stauffer has Oil Country 'buzzing' with conversation of WHO the Oilers could be looking for as the 'WOW' factor possibilities. Bob has gone on to say that all you have to do is look at the areas that they need the most work in. This brings me to this blog.

What better way to figure out which position is the weakest and which positions have little depth. I am planning on posting my thoughts on 3 Teams of Prospect within the Oilers organization. Today we start with the best of what I believe is the best of the Oilers organization. As far as who is eligible and who isn't for the Prospects, I am going to make it simple. A player can not have played more then 60 games in the NHL and not be over 25 years of age.

Introducing your Oilers 1st Team Prospects!
Starting at Right Wing, at 5'11 and weighing 190 lbs. The 'Sniper from Russia'...
Nail Yakupov
Nail Yakupov has done nothing but answer his critics since he entered the CHL. He has set records and stirred controversy. Regardless of what has happened off the ice, Nail has performed on the ice. His Goals per game pace in the KHL is really making teams take notice and no doubt has become the talk of the NHL in many circles not just in Edmonton. In the words of Nail Yakupov "We score more goals, we win!"

On Left Wing, standing 6'1 and weighing in at 215lbs. The 'Beast from the East'...
Teemu Hartikainen
Teemu has been honing his craft in OKC with the Barons now for while. He has had a couple shorter stints with the Oilers but has shown this year to start off his season with some gusto. Teemu is known as a slow starter who comes on stronger as the season wears on. Good strong player who seems to compliment skill better then that checking line player. A good bet to be a good NHL player in the future.

At Center, Standing 6'0 and coming in at 194 lbs..."The Competitive Swede"
Anton Lander
Anton is a work in progress. Never known his his scoring touch but being a good two way centre can go a long ways in any organization. Lander stuck with the Oilers last season till the later point of the season and was then sent down to work more on his overall game in OKC. This year he has not flown out of the gate and will likely need to show some more progress if he wants to get a call up at centre should a centremen go down with a injury. I have ranked as the #1 Centre but only because of potential not performance. 

On Defence, standing at 6'2 and weighing 185lbs..."The Smooth and Silky"
Justin Schultz
Justin Schultz is a rarity in today's game. There are few and far players like him in today's NHL that can play offensively like he can. Already this season he has outperformed expectations and this adjustment to pro hockey in OKC seems to have come at a perfect time for him. Justin will take some time to work more on his defensive game but his gap control at the minor pro level is excellent. Could potentially become a star in the NHL.

On Defence, at 6'3 and 204 lbs..."The Bomb"
Oscar Klefbom
Oscar comes exactly as advertised. He is a big, and physical defencemen. Some expect his point totals to be better but that is not his fortay. Oscar is more of a Pronger style player except without the dirty play (that we know of). Is logging big minutes and being a major difference this year in Sweden. Has been injured but once back and playing at 100% health, Klefbom will be putting on his final preperations to get ready to start 2013/2014 training camp for the Oilers.

In Goal and standing at 6'1, weighing 198 lbs..."Bunzzy"
Tyler Bunz
Tyler is a competitive and self motivated player who can be found working on his game every moment he gets a chance. His strides of growth each year have been sensational and has him poised as being a good NHL goaltender in the future. The proof is always in the pudding and for Tyler he is working on continuing to show Oilers management exactly how good he is this year in Stockton with the Thunder of the ECHL.

Oilers 1st Team Prospects
Hartikainen/Lander/Yakupov
J.Schultz/Klefbom
Bunz

I believe this is a team the Oilers could be proud of for Prospects, however 1 position definitely looks weaker then the others when comparing talents. While I do like Lander, this list shows us we definitely have a weakness at the Centre Position in the future. My bet? This team will be dealing for a centre or waiting till the 2013 Draft and attempt to grab a Centremen with their 1st Pick in the 1st round. Centre's are plentiful in the higher rankings should the Oilers get another high pick. Nathan MacKinnon, Sean Monahan, Aleksander barkov, Curtis Lazar. Of these names, I would say their is a good chance we could see one of them putting on a Oilers Jersey at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

For Oiler prospect news and the 2013 or 2014 NHL draft watch, go to www.twitter.com/revingev 

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