Late in the 2007 draft, the Oilers rolled the dice on a big Swede named William Quist (he's the lanky fellow in the video above). Quist had a ton of physical properties that made him attractive to the organization: he's big (variously listed between 6'3" and 6'5"), he can skate, and he's supposedly got good hands. Things haven't gone well since.
In March of 2008, on the heels of a disappointing season, Guy Flaming gave this update on Quist's career, an update that he received from Kevin Prendergast:
"He got into a fight with his coach and left the team (Linköping). He then went back to his original junior team."
"[Sweden] had a national U19 camp that he was at and he really disappointed me from the guy I saw at our training camp; basically no effort to his game so I told him ‘If you think this is how you’re going to get to the NHL, you don’t have a chance and from the standpoint of your development you’ve gone backwards! If you have any thoughts of wanting to become a pro you’d better give some serious thoughts to coming to Canada to play next year'."
"He’s going to call me at the end of the year."
It wasn't encouraging, particularly given that Prendergast is as optimistic as they come. On July 7th, Hockey's Future put out more great news:
The Oilers made it very clear that they wanted him to come to Canada and play in the CHL for the coming year but instead Quist has signed a contract with Nybro, a men’s league below the SEL. The Oilers are concerned that he’ll barely play if/when he isn’t a healthy scratch. He hasn’t accomplished much and has not taken advice from the organization so he’s definitely painted himself into a corner.
Quist played a season in Nybro this past year that worked out exactly the way the Oilers predicted. In 43 games in the Allsvenskan, Quist put up a total of six points in a very limited role. He didn't play much at all, and when he did play it wasn't even in the SEL. From this distance, it seemed like he was pretty much a write-off, and a guy the Oilers wouldn't bother trying to develop.
Until, this summer, he showed up at the Oilers' development camp. Perhaps Quist was coming over to the organization's point of view after what was almost a wasted year? From his latest interview, that seems unlikely:
Our team was struggling very bad last season, we had a tough season, and for me it’s been like a roller coaster. I had a few games that were pretty bad and a few games that were very good, so I have to work on my stability as a hockey player. I trained very hard this summer and I think I’m going in the right way to come here and play. I haven’t decided where I’m going to play next year – I hope it’s going to be here, but if I’m not going to play here I’m going to go back to Sweden and play there.
It all depends on what Quist means by "here" of course, but the logical inference would be Edmonton. The Oilers would undoubtedly clear a spot for Quist in the development system somewhere, and from the tone of the interview it seems like Quist will either play for the Oilers or go back to Europe - and he's got a snowball's chance in hell at a roster spot.
In other words, now that I've dragged you all the way through this article, it seems like we're looking at the status quo.