Oilers Top 20 Prospects (10-1)
Unfortunetly different Oilers news came up yesterday which prevented me from finishing my Top Prospects List. I find myself getting distracted easily...one might say it's my Achilles heel.
Based on some of your comments I have added both the players age and draft year. Without further adieu here are the Oilers top 10 prospects.
10. Bogdan Yakimov - C - Age 23 - Drafted #83 2013 NHL Draft
Previous Season: Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik - 56GP 8-3-11
Yes I am including Yakimov. While there do not appear to be any plans for the Russian player to return to North America, his rights are still held by the Edmonton Oilers. At 6'5 232lbs Yakimov is a big man who is difficult to shake off the puck. He is still a player of note within the Oilers organization and they have been working to bring him back.
9. Oliver Rodrigue - G - Age 18 - Drafted 62nd 2018 NHL Draft
Previous Season: Drummondville Voltigeurs - 53GP .903 SV%
I'll admit I cringed when Edmonton traded two picks to select the son of a player involved in the Oilers organization. However upon a closer examination it looks like Edmonton made a solid bet. Rodrigue was evaluated as the best available goaltender in the 2018 draft. His 53 games played ranked among the most of any goaltender in the QMJHL and his 2.54 GAA was among the best as well. In the 3 games Rodrigue played in the World Juniors he posted a ridiculously high .949 SV%.
8. Joseph Gambardella - F - Age 24 - Undrafted
Previous Season: Bakersfield Condors - 50GP 13-6-19
Gambardella isn't a flashy player, nor one who will wow you with his physical prowess. What puts Gambardella this high on the list is his consistency. I would not be surprised to see Gambardella make the team out of training camp as the 13th forward. A calm forward who always makes the safe play. Not every forward prospect who makes the team is going to score 20+ goals but Gambardella could still carve himself out a nice NHL career.
7. Copper Marody - C - Age 21 - Drafted #158 2015 NHL Draft
Previous Season: U of Michigan - 40GP 16-35-51
Bakersfield Condors - 3GP 1-2-3
When Edmonton announced they had traded the 3rd round pick from the Patrick Maroon deal for Copper Marody, fans scrambled to the internet to see who the heck this was. Marody was an effective player in college who spiked offensively this past season. After being traded to Edmonton he made a quick appearance in the AHL where he continued to find success. Another option for an extra forward this year but likely spends the full season in the AHL.
6. Ryan McLeod - C - Age 18 - Drafted #40 2018 NHL Draft
Previous Season: Mississauga Steelheads - 68GP 26-44-70
On paper the Edmonton Oilers had an excellent 2018 draft. McLeod was a player many expected to go in the later part of the first round but fell to Edmonton early in the second. Scouts describe him as an effortless skater who plays well in all areas of the ice. Despite the likes of McDavid, RNH, and Draisaitl, the Oilers severely lacked any prospect depth when it came to centres. McLeod changes that.
5. Caleb Jones - LD - Age 21 - Drafted #117 2015 NHL Draft
Previous Season: Bakersfield Condors 58GP 2-15-17
Caleb (Not Seth) Jones played his first full season of AHL hockey last year with the results being very positive. While he has not duplicated the same success he had offensively in the WHL he was looked at as a good workhorse who logged plenty of minutes for the Condors. This year he likely finds himself on the top pairing alongside Bear most likely. His ceiling is likely that of a second pairing defender which would be a huge win for a player drafted in the 4th round.
4. Tyler Benson - RW - Age 20 - Drafted #32 2016 NHL Draft
Previous Season: Vancouver Giants - 58GP 27-42-69
Bakersfield Condors 5GP 0-3-3
Tyler Benson... that player for me who will always be the guy who was taken before Alex DeBrincat (who scored nearly 30 goals in his first season with Chicago last year). Injuries has been the story of Benson's professional career. Last year he finally played a healthy season with strong results. Benson will get plenty of minutes with the Condors this season. The Oilers have done a good job at letting Benson recover and develop him slowly which is a trend we should hopefully see this year as well.
3. Ethan Bear - RD - Age 21 - Drafted #124 2015 NHL Draft
Previous Season: Bakersfield Condors 37GP 6-12-18
Edmonton Oilers - 18GP 1-3-4
Bear had himself quite the year. In his first year of professional hockey he struggled with an injury which kept him out a month in the AHL, came back and increased his production, then finished the year off playing in the NHL where he scored his first career goal. Bear improved with every game he played in the NHL. The quick analysis of his game is that while he got caved in with possession, he had a positive effect on shot differential. Likely we see Bear full time in the AHL unless another injury happens but it was a promising year for the young right shot.
2. Kailer Yamamoto - RW - Age 19 - Drafted #22 2017 NHL Draft
Previous Season: Spokane Chiefs - 40GP 21-43-64
Edmonton Oilers - 9GP 0-3-3
When Yamamoto was drafted no one expected to see him in NHL silks for at least a couple seasons. That changed with a very successful preseason debut as well as having very little real competition to play against. Yamamoto earned his spot to start the season in the NHL and the team then did the correct thing by sending him down after 9 games. Yamamoto returned to the Chiefs where his production started slow but quickly he returned to his scoring ways ending the season at a 1.6ppg pace. With the right wing depth still in question there is a chance Yamamoto is on the opening night roster once again. Whether he does or does not he is a dynamic forward and the Oilers best forward prospect.
1. Evan Bouchard - RD - Age 18 - Drafted #10 2018 NHL Draft
Previous Season: London Knights - 67GP 25-62-87
We've talked about Bouchard plenty here. His 87 points were the most by a defenseman since Ryan Ellis did the same...though Ellis had a Taylor Hall to play with while Bouchard outscored the next highest on his team by 30 points. Bouchard is the puck moving right shot defenseman the Oilers have coveted for years. The Sekera injury worries me that the team will rush him to the NHL but there is a chance Bouchard simply is NHL ready. A dynamic player and by far the best prospect in the Oilers system