2001 – Jussi Markkanen, 133rd & Jake Brenk 154th overall
11/30 players selected in Round 5, 2001 would play in the NHL, and Jussi Markkanen has the chance to have the best career of the lot. His primary contenders are Kyle Wellwood (another good late Toronto pick), Kevin Bieksa, and Mike Smith, who is unfortunately playing behind the Lightning defence corps.
The 26-year old Markkanen was drafted as goalie insurance after a good career in the Finnish league (where he’s playing this year). He had ups and downs, the biggest down being when he was unable to grab a starting job as the healthy half of the famous Conkkanen. Still, he bore the obvious indicators of success- older European, probably selected by Frank Musil, selected in the bottom half of the entry draft.
Jake Brenk, on the other hand, was last seen playing for the New Mexico Scorpions of the CHL, and his professional career highlight to date is 2 goals in 11 games for Greenville in the ECHL. 6’3 & 200lbs, he was taken out of a Minnesota high school and went the NCAA route. Hopefully he got a decent education; he’ll need it. Blame him on Davis/ McCarthy
2002 – Glenn Fisher, 148th overall
6/30 players selected in this round have played in the NHL, and the best of the lot is James Wisniewsky, a smallish, puck-moving defenseman playing in Chicago. Lasse Pirjeta, John Zeiler, and Kris Newbury have also played more than one game.
Fisher was taken out of the AJHL, and went the college route. After three poor years, in 2006-07 Fisher posted a .919SV% and was suddenly something of a prospect again. This season, however, at 25, Fisher posted a .903SV% in the ECHL, thereby indicating that he is probably going to be a lower-level pro until he retires.
2003 – Kalle Olsson, 147th & David Rohlfs 154th overall
8/30 players selected in this round played in the NHL. Lee Stempniak leads the group in GP, G, A, PTS, and PIM. He also looks like he has a career, despite a poor offensive performance this season. Also looking at a decent career is Lasse Kukkonen, taken as an overage Euro from Karpat in Finland.
Olsson was a project player (Prendergast said in August of ’03 they didn’t expect to see him for 3-5 years). The Oilers liked his speed, and aside from that I can find zilch. He was last seen playing for a Division 1 team in Sweden (Vasteras IK) and scoring at a decent clip.
David Rohlfs is from that category of player who has played both defence and forward (recent examples include Mathieu Dandeneault, Mark Streit, and Steve Staios). He’s played forward in the ECHL, most recently scoring 32 points in 65 games. He was a "Coke Machine" draft pick, and is having the results typical of that grou, which is to say- not good ones.
2004 – Bryan Young, 146th overall
7/30 players selected have played in the NHL so far, including our very own Bryan Young. Mikahil Grabovski stands out as a guy likely to have a long career, but there’s plenty of possibilities in a group not yet 23.
Young is a player that no less a commentator than Lowetide picked to have a long career- because he is exactly the kind of player the Oilers develop well. He’s an averaged sized, calm, stay-at-home defenseman. He played 15 games last season due to an awful run of injuries to an already low-level corps. From Hockey’s Future, September 2005:
In his draft year, the Oilers were attracted to the toughness and edge that Young played with on a regular basis. It’s still one of the aspects of Young’s game that the scouting staff likes the most. Names that have been used to compare Young’s playing style have included his own personal favorite player Adam Foote as well as current Oiler GM Kevin Lowe.
"That’s not a bad comparison," agreed Prendergast. "On the ice he’s a mean bastard yet when you talk to him off the ice he’s the nicest kid in the world and he’s very quiet, of course, the quiet ones are usually the worst right?"
"Over the course of last year in Peterborough we watched him very closely and he played against the top lines every night and he handled these guys really well," Prendergast continued. "He’s got to get bigger and stronger but you’re right, he doesn’t mind two-handing you or spearing you; he does what it takes to get the job done."
Obviously, these comparisons are a little over the top, but Young’s still a guy who could have a solid career.
2005 –Fredrik Pettersson, 157th overall
It’s fairly early to judge the 2005 draft class, especially the lower rounds. The most famous prospect from this group is Detroit’s Darren Helm, who appeared in 7 games with the team this year, and dressed in Game 5 last night. He also played for Canada at the World Juniors, and at the Memorial Cup.
It doesn’t seem too early to say that Fredrik Pettersson is unlikely to ever play an NHL game, however. After playing two seasons with the Calgary Hitmen, Pettersson returned to the Swedish Elite League, where he scored 13 points in 53 games. A knee injury early in his career may have been significant..
2006 – Bryan Pitton, 133rd & Cody Wild, 140th overall
If it was too early to judge the 2005 group, this applies doubly for the 2006 5th round. I believe none of these players have played in the NHL to date, if hockeydb can be relied on.
Bryan Pitton is ranked 19th on the Hockey’s Future Top Prospects List, and goes unranked by Lowetide. The Oilers’ site has him listed at 6’2, 168lbs, so the potential is there for him to cover a lot of net. He’s rebounded a little bit from an ugly 2006-07 season (3.57GAA, .879SV%) to go 23-15-4, 2.45GAA, .914SV% in a reduced role. The future isn’t terribly bright, but I suppose he could always surprise.
Cody Wild is in a better situation. He’s ranked 8th on Hockey’s Future and 14th by Lowetide and he just signed his first professional contract. He’s an averaged sized offence-first defenseman, drafted out of Providence College. He rebounded this year from a poor 2006-07 season statistically, although from what LT’s posted before, Providence is abysmal offensively, which undoubtedly hurt his numbers. Next season will be the real test for Wild.
2007 – Milan Kytnar, 127th overall
None of the players selected in this round have played an NHL game as of yet. The most interesting player, name-wise, is Joshua "Podge" Turnbull, selected 137th by LA, who now apparently just goes by Podge. On the origins of the nickname (courtesy of WCFCourier.com:
Since he was three years old, Waterloo Black Hawks forward Josh Turnbull has gone by the nickname of Podge. His nickname dates back to the day he was born, July 12, 1988. "When I was born, I had dark skin, dark hair and eyes," said Turnbull. "There was a popular cartoon (The Adventures of Jonny Quest) and my dad (Scott) and uncle decided to call me Hadji, which is a character in the cartoon. I guess it naturally progressed to Hadge and finally to Podge, and it has stuck ever since. Even teachers ... everybody calls me by it."
Anyways, name aside he seems like a decent prospect adapting to NCAA play.
Milan Kytnar is ranked 20th by Hockey’s Future out of Oilers prospects. He was a key player for Slovakia at the 2007 U-18 Tournament, which is probably where the Oilers tagged him as a prospect. This season he played for Kelowna, posting a pedestrian 22 points in 62 games. He’s a long-shot at best.