The Oilers have been blessed with good drafting over the last 3 years. They have a top 10 prospect pool in the league. From scoring forwards to a surplus of gifted defensive prospects, the Oilers haven’t had a pool this deep in a long time. Today we will identify the top 10 prospects in the Oilers’ system.
1. Evan Bouchard
Evan Bouchard was selected 10th overall at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and is currently the Oilers’ highest-ranked prospect. At 6’3 and 194lbs, Bouchard boasts NHL size, but that’s not what places him high. His elite offensive production and skills are what he’s known for. His skating and defensive game can use some work, but his booming slapshot and playmaking abilities should help him acclimate well to the next level.
2. Philip Broberg
Philip Broberg, the silky smooth-skating defenseman from Sweden is very hard to read. Ranked number 2 on our list, Broberg has the makings of fellow Swedish countrymen. He has put up similar points to NHL stars Erik Karlsson, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and John Klingberg. Broberg has put up 8 points in 45 games while playing in the SHL. He has been in a bottom-pairing shutdown role, but if he decides to play in North America next year, if it’s with the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs or in the AHL with the Bakersfield Condors, he will be getting top 4 minutes. I would like to see Broberg rip it up in the OHL next year to get his confidence back after he expected to get more minutes this year.
3. Tyler Benson
The first forward on this list is Tyler Benson, the 32nd overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. Although his junior career was riddled with injuries for the final 3 seasons, that doesn’t seem to have affected him in his first 2 professional seasons. In 120 regular-season AHL games, he’s scored 24 goals and 81 assists for 105 points. The Oilers even rewarded him with a 7-game stint, where he recorded 1 assist. He has a great shot and amazing playmaking abilities. The only knock on him is his skating ability, but as long as he’s willing to put in the work, he can become an incredibly dangerous player.
4. Raphael Lavoie
The 38th overall pick in the 2019 draft, Raphael Lavoie is dominating the QMJHL right now. Currently, he has 82 points in 55 games this year. At the start of the season, he was with the Halifax Mooseheads but was traded to the powerhouse Chicoutimi Sagueneens. Lavoie is a very sneaky player who has a hard shot and shoots often He is also a very smart controlled player who can make decisions quickly. Lavoie has all the potential to become a scoring threat for the Oilers.
5. Ryan McLeod
Ryan McLeod was the 40th overall pick in the 2018 draft. In 56 AHL games this past season, he scored 5 goals and added 18 assists for 23 points. Although these numbers aren’t eye-popping, McLeod is much more known for his two-way ability and penalty-killing skills. Unlike Benson, McLeod’s skating ability is a big strength of his. Hopefully, next year McLeod can put it all together and have a breakout year offensively.
6. Ilya Konovalov
The dark horse on this list, Ilya Konovalov has the makings of a solid number one goaltender. The Oilers selected him in the 3rd round of the 2019 draft and, so far, the pick has looked good. He has been playing in the KHL with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl as their starter. He’s put up the solid numbers of a 2.45 GAA and a 9.12 SV in 40 games. Konovalov made the All-Star game this year and also won Rookie of the Year last year, no small feat. Konovalov has amazing positional play and has the ability to track the puck very well. The only knock on him is his size. Weighing 196lbs and standing 5’11, he is smaller than most goaltenders. However, his athleticism makes up for it.
7. Dimitri Samorukov
The Oilers selected Dmitri Samorukov with the 84th overall pick in the 2017 draft. In his first season, Samorukov seems to have struggled to adjust offensively. In 47 games with the Condors, he has 2 goals and 8 assists for 10 points. On the bright side, his defensive game has translated well to the next level. He also put up 45 points in 59 games last year and an outstanding 28 points in 24 games in the playoffs in the OHL. He could be a very valuable add on defence in the coming seasons, as most of the Oilers’ prospects on defence are more offensively-inclined.
8. Kirill Maksimov
Kirill Maksimov loves to score a lot. The young Russian was considered a long-shot to make the NHL when he was drafted in 2017. At the time, he was considered a defensive liability and a horrible skater. However, he’s worked on those things and has improved mightily. Last year, in the OHL, Makismov scored 40 goals in 63 games! His shot is considered to be the best out of the Oilers prospects. He’s gradually worked his way up the Oilers prospect list with his work ethic and lethal shot. The goal is for Maksimov to be a top 9 forward for the Oilers, but before he does that, he must work on his decision-making. Maksimov also has a bad rep of being undisciplined and must work on not allowing opponents to get under his skin so easily.
9. Cooper Marody
Cooper Marody was drafted 158th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2015 NHL Draft, his rights were later traded to the Oilers for a 3rd round pick in 2019. In his final season at the University of Michigan, he scored 51 points in only 40 games. He then broke onto the scene in his rookie AHL season, scoring 64 points in 58 games. Unfortunately, injuries this season didn’t help Marody, as he only scored 17 points in 30 games. He’s clearly offensively-skilled but didn’t receive a call-up this season due to depth chart positioning, poor luck and injuries. He’ll be 24 mid-way through next season. He has time, but it’s slowly running out for him to make an impact on the Oilers roster. Hopefully, he can put it together and make the NHL full-time next season.
10. Tomas Mazura
The Oilers may have a gem in the making. When Tomas Mazura was drafted in the 6th round in 2019, nobody talked about him. He was just one of those picks where everyone thought the Oilers were taking a shot in the dark. However, the Oilers knew he had potential. The 6″4 Czech put up an outstanding 73 points in 35 games this year while playing in the USHS-Prep. He has very good stickhandling for a guy his size and has fantastic vision. He’s put up numbers similar to Charlie Coyle, Jonathan Toews and Chris Kreider. Next year, he is committed to playing at Providence College where he’ll look to play his way up the depth chart. Mazura may have to take the long way to the NHL but has looked good so far.
In conclusion, the Oilers have a pretty good prospect pool, with a good mix of every position. Look for most of these prospects to go to Bakersfield before they reach the NHL, as Ken Holland is known for slow-cooking his prospects.
Written by Luke Thomas and Gordon Munro
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