1. Taylor Hall (#1 Overall 2010) – Taylor Hall has yet to play a game this year after recovering from shoulder surgery. If there’s any silver lining to this lockout for Oiler fans it’s that Hall has probably taken more time off to heal than he would have if the season started on time. He’s been medically cleared to start practicing in OKC and should sign with the Barons in the next week so he can start playing in the AHL.
2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (#1 Overall 2011) – After just 2 points in 4 games to start the season, Nugent-Hopkins notched a goal and an assist against Lake Erie and now sits at 2-3-5 in 5 games. Nugent-Hopkins has also been getting the puck to the net at the tune of 3.4 shots per game.
3. Nail Yakupov (#1 Overall 2012) – A slow start (#pointless in his first 3 games) combined wisome eligibility issues (#causing him to miss games and putting his KHL season in limbo) are in the past. Yakupov has 6-2-8 in his 7 games since and is doing very well in a very good league.
4. Jordan Eberle (#22 Overall 2008) – Another slow starter in OKC, Eberle had just 1 point in his first 4 games but chipped in points on all 4 OKC goals in the win against Lake Erie. Eberle is averaging 4 shots per game (#including 7 against San Antonio), so that’s a good sign.
5. Jeff Petry (#45 Overall 2005) – Disappointingly, Jeff Petry isn’t playing anywhere during the lockout. This is an important year for Petry in terms of development and I hope he’ll sign on somewhere if the NHL season is canceled.
6. Sam Gagner (#6 Overall 2007) – Playing for Klagenfurt in the Austrian league, Gagne has 1 point in 2 games (#Klagenfurt has played 14 games already). Other notables on his team include Tyler Myers ex-NHLer Jamie Lundmark and former Oiler prospect Tyler Spurgeon.
7. Justin Schultz (#43 Overall 2008) – If there were any concerns about Schultz’s offense translating to the pros, he’s doing his very best to stamp them out. Starting your pro career wia 6 game point streak (#4-4-8 and an impressive 21 shots) is excellent for a defenceman, even in the AHL.
8. Magnus Paajarvi (#9 Overall 2009) – Expectations were high for Paajarvi when it was announced that he was going to start the year wiEberle and Nugent-Hopkins on the top line in OKC. Like his linemates, Paajarvi got off to a slow start production wise and has gone just 1-2-3 in 5 games but has also got the puck on net a lot wi18 shots. A big season here would do wonders for the speedy winger.
9. Oscar Klefbom (#19 Overall 2011) – Injuries are again part of the Klefbom story, but his 3 assists are good enough to beat his point total from last year. He’s playing a bigger role this year for Farjestads and if he can get over his healissues could have a big year at boends.
10. Teemu Hartikainen (#163 Overall 2008) – The top scoring forward on the OKC Barons roster. Let that sink in. Points in 4 of the 5 Baron’s games (#2-4-6 overall), but only has 8 shots on the year. Still, an impressive start for the Finn.
11. Martin Marincin (#46 Overall 2010) – The young Slovak has found a regular spot on the OKC blue line to start the year and hasn’t looked at all out of place. He’s already showing a bit of offense with 2-1-3 in 5 games and leads the team with a +6 rating.
12. Anton Lander (#40 Overall 2009) – Pointless in 4 games for OKC and isn’t a shoe-in for a roster spot every night, which has to be disappointing for a player who played 56 NHL games last year.
13. Tyler Pitlick (#31 Overall 2010) – Pitlick hasn’t provided much offence (0-2-2 in 5 games), but he’s generating shots (13) in a 2nd/3rd line role. Without PP time it’s going to be tough to produce and PP time is at a premium with the forwards in front of him.
14. David Musil (#31 Overall 2011) – Off to a good start offensively (2-6-8 in 11 games played), Musil has started to show an offensive element that he’ll need to separate himself from the rest of the young defencemen in the system. We know he can play in his own end, and a bit more offense will make his job that much easier.
15. Dillon Simspon (#92 Overall 2011) – Just starting his Junior season with the University of North Dakota, Simpson has 1 assist in 2 games. He’s surrounded by some good young defencemen too, as former 1st round picks Derek Forbort and Jordan Schmaltz anchor an impressive blueline.
17. Colton Teubert (#13 Overall 2008) – The good news is Teubert has managed to get himself in the lineup every night in OKC. The bad news is that he’s still the same Colton Teubert that the Oilers traded for in the Dustin Penner deal. Meaning he’s been adequate defensively and contributed no offense. At the AHL level. In his 3rd year.
18. Olivier Roy (#133 Overall 2009) – 2 Starts and 2 different results for part 1 of the Oilers goaltending future. Stopped 37 of 39 shots in his first start of the year against Lake Erie and followed it up by giving up 4 goals on 26 shots a week later to the same team, though in fairness 2 were on the PP, one of which was a 5 on 3.
19. Tobias Rieder (#114 Overall 2011) – Another slow starter out of the gates that has come on strong, Rieder has put up 5-10-15 in 11 games for Kitchener in the OHL. 9 points over 4 games has put him back on track for another strong season.
20. Tyler Bunz (#121 Overall 2010) – The second half of the Oilers young goalie duo has had a great start to his pro career. Bunz is 1-1-1 with a .925 sv% and a 1.67 GAA and is doing about all anyone could ask of him for Stockton in the ECHL.
21. Theo Peckham (#75 Overall 2006) – It’s tough to figure out why a 24 year old who is on the bubble to make the roster of a 29th place team, hasn’t found somewhere to play during the lockout.
22. Curtis Hamilton (#48 Overall 2010) – Hamilton is part of the mix of young forwards fighting for the secondary ice time in OKC (with Pitlick and Ryan Martindale). With just 1 goal in 4 games and just 3 shots, he runs the risk of losing ice time.
23. Alex Plante (#15 Overall 2007) – Unlike Teubert, Plante hasn’t even been a regular in the lineup for OKC. He’s pointless in 3 games and needs a big year to show that he deserves a chance to make the Oilers next year.
24. Kyle Bigos (#99 Overall 2009) – Suffered a “lower body injury” on just his second shift of the season for Merrimack College (Hockey East), and hasn’t played since.
25. Jujhar Khaira (#63 Overall 2012) – Playing a 3rd line role on a Michigan Tech team loaded with forwards over the age of 20, Khaira is off to a decent start and has 2 assists in 4 games (One of which he was tossed less than 10 minutes in for a checking from behind penalty).