Part four of the Copper & Blue prospect rankings looks at the bottom half of the top ten. We’ll consider a recent draft pick with a strong two-way game, a pair of flawed but promising defenseman and a pair of different forwards who have yet to spend any time in Edmonton’s farm system.
The #7 and #10 profiles were done by Derek, with the remainder being written by me.
6. Anton Lander
Strengths: Character is invariably listed as one of Lander’s strengths in scouting reports, as is defensive ability and willingness to play a two-way game. Never shies away from traffic and plays a physical, gritty game. Played against men in the SEL in his draft year and did okay. Can play centre or wing, and is a decent face-off option
Weaknesses: Lander’s skating could use some work and while he brings some offense to the table he’s very much a complimentary player in that department.
Seal Value: I really had trouble nailing down a player exactly like this, but the closest I can come up with is… Samuel Pahlsson with more offense.
7. Cody Wild
Strengths: Solid offensive instincts and excellent passing ability. Wild has outstanding hands. He played the tough minutes in Springfield for the first half of last year and was the only man besides Peckham that didn't drown.
Weaknesses: He's not sizeable and doesn't have a strong defensive game. Doesn't possess a good shot. His boxcars have never matched his offensive reputation. Had the unfortunate luck of leaving a good college program for the depths of Springfield last year.
Seal Value: Another year in the AHL under a solid coaching staff and a year of playing the 7th toughest minutes in the NHL allow him to develop a quietly effective two-way game like the vastly underrated...Paul Martin.
8. Linus Omark
Strengths: The best pure-skill prospect in the Oilers system right now. Omark’s a talented and unpredictable goal scorer who braves traffic and shoots from anywhere. As creative as they come.
Weaknesses: He’s small, doesn’t have the muscle to fight through checking, and at 22 he may not have the type of ceiling that most people would assume for a player of his caliber offensively. He’s also proven difficult to sign and may only join the team on a one-way contract.
Seal Value: After coming over to North America, Omark’s natural offensive ability takes over, and he eventually turns into a first-rate goal scorer similar to… Mike Cammalleri.
9. Alex Plante
Strengths: Plante is a big body (6’5", 220 lbs) who boasts good hockey sense and straight-line speed. He’s been an offensive producer in junior thanks to a hard, accurate shot and good puck-moving ability. He isn’t afraid of the rough stuff. Handled a difficult situation in Calgary well, which speaks to his character.
Weaknesses: Plante isn’t as physical as most fans expect a defenseman of his dimensions to be. His offensive production may very well not translate to the NHL, and his lateral agility has long been regarded as a weakness. Injury has been a problem in the past.
Seal Value: How much of Plante’s offense translates to the NHL is an open question right now; if things come along well he might put up numbers similar to those posted by… Brent Burns.
10. Chris Vande Velde
Strengths: He has size [6'2", 210 lbs], finishing ability, and high-level faceoff skills. He's strong in both ends of the ice and gets to the front of the net. He kills penalties and plays a physical game. He comes out of a highly-rated college program. Most underrated man in the Oilers organization.
Weaknesses: Does not play a highly-skilled game.
Seal Value: He spends a half of a year in the AHL next year and is slowly fed easy NHL minutes after his callup. He turns into a beauty two-way player that...Shawn Horcoff has become.