The final five players to make Copper & Blue's prospect rankings are listed after the jump. Derek Zona and I have done the writeups; Derek the odd-numbers, and I the even ones. Three of the five players are first-round draft picks, and a pair of late round picks have also managed to work their way into the top five. Four of the five are forwards, and the group has a nice combination of skills.
We hope you've enjoyed this series so far, and check back soon because we'll be doing a final post on our prospect rankings in the coming days.
1. Magnus Pääjärvi-Svensson
Strengths: Probably the fastest player in his draft class, and is able to combine great hands and stick work with the footspeed to be a world-class offensive talent. Already possesses NHL size and has played a season in the SEL at age 17. Excellent release on the wrister and has the desire to work around the net.
Weaknesses: He's not responsible defensively and is rumored to lack finish.
Seal Value: Two more years in the SEL and he bursts into the NHL with 30 goals like Hakan Loob.
2. Theo Peckham
Strengths: Peckham’s not only big, but he brings a nasty disposition and physical play everywhere he goes; he’s tough enough that he was wrongly labeled an "enforcer" in junior. Makes a good first pass, and plays an intelligent game. His offense has consistently improved year over year. Along with Ryan Potulny, Peckham was one of the few skaters in Springfield to increase his value this past season.
Weaknesses: Speed isn’t a glaring weakness, but will never be Peckham’s calling card. His offense is improving, but won’t wow anybody at the NHL level.
Seal Value: His grit, character, and intelligent defensive play mean that he could turn into a top-four shutdown defenseman like former Oilers captain Jason Smith.
3. Riley Nash
Strengths: Plays both ends of the ice, strong in the faceoff circle, big and lanky until recently when he packed on a bunch of muscle. Now he's just big. He's intelligent and an intelligent player. Excellent passer. Displayed near-telekinetic ability to keep the puck low in the offensive zone during the NCAA playoffs.
Weaknesses: Does not possess high-end skill or speed. The Oilers are continually disappointed with his development path and decisions to stay in college rather than move to Springfield. Lacks a great shot.
Seal Value: He goes straight from Cornell to the NHL and becomes the three zone player that Rod Brind'Amour was.
4. Jordan Eberle
Strengths: Goal-scoring is Eberle’s greatest strength. He has great hands, quickness in close, and for people looking for the "clutch scorer" his World Junior performance cemented his status as the Oilers’ best prospect. Like many of the Oilers’ recent picks, he’s a bright guy off the ice (Scholastic Player of the Year in 2007-08).
Weaknesses: Eberle is small. While he’s quick, he isn’t a fast skater. Despite doing some work on the PK, he is frequently reported as being irresponsible defensively. Scouts have noted that he’s a perimeter player and that he doesn’t put in a consistent effort. Eberle’s progression over the past season has not been great.
Seal Value: I’m tempted to say Mike Comrie, but since I have an aversion to pitchforks I’ll just suggest that Eberle could one day score 40 goals – just like Brad Boyes.
5. Teemu Hartikainen
Strengths: Strong like a bull, he dominates the crease and slot. Has a great wrister, one-shot scorer. Uses leverage well. Gritty and determined, he plays both ends of the ice equally as well and likes to hit. Highly effective on the power play in front. Playing with grown men at the age of 18 and had a historic year.
Weaknesses: His footspeed has been questioned. He's a linear player and isn't creative.
Seal Value: A great follow up year to his Wasama-winning campaign in the Liiga and he spends a half of a season in the AHL tuning up to become the Oilers own Tomas Holmstrom.