2020 prospect pool one of deepest ever for Edmonton Oilers

2020 prospect pool one of deepest ever for Edmonton Oilers

Author of the article:

David Staples  •  Edmonton Journal

Publishing date:

Dec 15, 2020  •   •  4 minute read

Philip Broberg

Article content

Just where does the current Evan Bouchard/Philip Broberg prospect pool rank compared to previous top groups of the Edmonton Oilers?

Is it anywhere close to the early Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl or Taylor Hall groups?

How about the Shawn Horcoff group of 2000 or the Ryan Smyth group of 1994?

This 2020 group is loaded with potential, for sure.

Of course, it’s too much to expect any prospect to become a Hall-of-Fame player. It’s even too.much to expect most of them to become first line players. But it’s not to much to expect that out of a group of 10 or 15 solid-to-outstanding young players you’ll get at least a half a dozen solid NHLers, with at least three or four first or second unit players.

That’s what we’re looking at with this 2020 Edmonton group. It is full of candidates at forward for first or second line duty, including Dylan Holloway, Carter Savoie and Raphael Lavoie, along with d-man who can be expected to challenge for first or second pair duty, namely Evan Bouchard, Philip Broberg and Dmitri Samorukov.

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Behind them are all kinds of prospects with a good shot at cracking the Oilers roster one day, such as Ryan McLeod, Tyler Benson, Tyler Tullio, William Lagesson, Kirill Maksimov, Mike Kesselring, Theodor Lennstrom and goalies Olivier Rodrigue and Ilya Konovalov.

Here are the most recent Cult of Hockey rankings of the current group:

As for how this 2020 group ranks against other Edmonton prospect groups, it’s too early to tell with certainty given the lack of NHL games from these players. But given its depth of talent it’s got a good chance to move into the Top 10 of all-time, which is headed up by two prospect groups from Edmonton’s early NHL years, the 1979 group with four Hall of Famers (Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Kevin Lowe and Glenn Anderson) and the 1980 group with three Hall of Famers (Anderson, Jari Kurri and Paul Coffey).

One note of explanation, that players such as Anderson in 1979 and 1980 can be listed as prospects in multiple years so long as in the summer of that year they have not yet become full-time Oilers. So Ethan Bear was a prospect in 2015, when he was first drafted, but also in the summer.of 2019 when he was still an AHL player, not a full-time NHLer. We are not assessing draft classes here, but full prospect pulls heading into a given season comprised of draft picks from multiple years, free agent signings and prospects acquired in trades.

You might ask why I have players like Gretzky and Risto Siltanen listed as prospects in 1979 when they had already played one year in the WHA. The fact is that the NHL didn’t count the WHA as an equal, it didn’t count statistics compiled in that league as official, and both Gretzky and Siltanen were still young players. The NHL should have counted them as rookies so I’m doing my part to right that ancient wrong.

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I have the 2015 group led by Connor McDavid in third place, not only because of McDavid’s early exploits, but also because the group has solid players like Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones, John Marino and Darnell Nurse. I have it edging out the 1981 group with one Hall of Famer (Grant Fuhr), along with two excellent players Steve Smith and Andy Moog. Perhaps I’m premature in pushing that 2015 group forward, but I see enough in McDavid and those four d-men to do so.

I also have the 2019 Oilers prospects group already ranked on this list, sixth overall in fact, namely because it’s got four players who have already done well in the NHL, Kailer Yamamoto, Bear, Jones and Marino, and a bunch of players who should be solid contributors, including Broberg and Bouchard. It will be hard for the 2020 group to edge out this 2019 group one day, but perhaps Holloway, Savio and Tullio will make that happen.

#1 1979
Wayne Gretzky
Mark Messier
Kevin Lowe
Glenn Anderson
Charlie Huddy
Risto Siltanen
Dave Hunter

#2 1980
Paul Coffey
Jari Kurri
Glenn Anderson
Andy Moog
Charlie Huddy
Walt Poddubny

#3 2015
Connor McDavid
Ethan Bear
Caleb Jones
John Marino
William Lagesson
Darnell Nurse
Jujhar Khaira
Tyler Pitlick
Jordan Oesterle
Laurent Broissoit

#4 1981
Grant Fuhr
Steve Smith
Marc Habscheid
Andy Moog
Walt Poddubny

#5 2014
Leon Draisaitl
William Lagesson
Darnell Nurse
Erik Gustafsson
Jujhar Khaira
Oscar Klefbom
Tyler Pitlick
Jordan Oesterle
Laurent Broissoit

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#6 2019
Kailer Yamamoto
Ethan Bear
Caleb Jones
John Marino
Evan Bouchard
Philip Broberg
Raphael Lavoie
Dmitri Samorukov
Kirill Maksimov
Tyler Benson
William Lagesson
Ryan McLeod
Mike Kesselring

#7 1994
Ryan Smyth
Miroslav Satan
David Vyborny
Tyler Wright
Todd Marchant
Greg De Vries
Mats Lindgren
Georges Laraque

#8 2010
Taylor Hall
Tyler Pitlick
Martin Marincin
Magnus Paajarvi
Jordan Eberle
Jeff Petry

#9 1984
Esa Tikkanen
Jeff Beukeboom
Steve Smith
Todd Ewen

#10 2001
Ales Hemsky
Matthew Lombardi
Brad Winchester
Jason Chimera
Fernando Pisani
MA Bergeron

At the the Cult

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