Just as we did after our summer installment of the Top 25 Under 25, we're searching through the "And everybody else..." group of prospects to find a dark horse, a longshot who will make an impact in the NHL. Remember, it's unlikely that anyone outside of the top 10 is going to become an impact player, let alone anyone else on the list. But we soldiered on anyway.
We surveyed the panel and asked them "Out of the group of players including Taylor Fedun, Taylor Chorney, Ryan Martindale, Ryan O`Marra, Milan Kytnar, Samu Perhonen, Philippe Cornet, Antti Tyrvainen, Chris VandeVelde, Frans Tuohimaa, Toni Rajala, Drew Czerwonka, Kristians Pelss, Travis Ewanyk, Johan Motin, Mark Arcobello, Kellen Jones, Alexander Bumagin, Cameron Abney, which player is most likely to play 200 games in the NHL?"
Ryan Batty: I think Taylor Fedun is the most logical pick. His play in training camp opened a lot of eyes and given the state of the Oilers blue line would likely already have a number of NHL games to his credit and probably would have made our Top 25 as well if not for the broken leg. It's a long road back from an injury like the one he suffered but his progress so far appears to be good which is an encouraging sign for him going into next season. The biggest hurdle he'll have to clear will be the pile of bottom pair defenders already on the Oilers roster but there will be other injuries at some point and that should give him the opportunity he needs to establish himself in the NHL.
Jonathan Willis: The list of prospects outside the top-25 this year isn't as deep as it has been in years past. With Taylor Fedun's career hanging in injury limbo, I'm going to go with Samu Perhonen. He has the physical talents, goaltender projection is witchcraft, and of the guys on the list he's probably the one most likely to get a shot.
Scott Reynolds: Ryan O`Marra. O'Marra has a 31-game head-start on most of his competition, so he's got that going for him. He's also having his best season in the AHL this year. Not only is his offense respectable (17 points in 40 games), but he's got the second highest +/- on the Barons at +15, partially because of his skills at even strength, and partially because of picking up a few extra pluses while penalty killing. He was recently traded to the Anaheim Ducks, which I see as a positive (they at least liked him enough to trade for him). The Ducks also have a very thin roster in their bottom six. With players like Devante Smith-Pelly, George Parros and Rod Pelley hanging around, O'Marra may actually deserve a spot on merit right now. I had O'Marra well down the prospect list because I think there's virtually no chance of him becoming an impact player, and only a small chance of him becoming a (200-game) player at all, but when we're talking about players ranked 26th or lower on our list, that's enough to put him at the top of the heap.
dawgbone: Taylor Chorney, even if it’s only because he’s got a 40+ game head start on everyone else in the list. There really isn’t someone in this group who has played well enough at a high enough level to suggest that there is something there.
Bruce McCurdy: Ryan O’Marra is one of those guys that’s going to keep getting chances. He’s big, he’s rugged, he’s got first-round pedigree, he just "looks like a hockey player". Slowly but surely, with incremental improvements year over year, he appears to be becoming a hockey player. Probably nothing more than a 4C, but every team needs one of those. After grabbing an increasingly bigger role in OKC, O’Marra was waiting for a break and may have just gotten it with his recent trade to pivot-poor Anaheim. Not sure that he still qualifies as an Oiler prospect under 25, but he may yet find his way into the bigs for something approaching "a career".
Derek Zona: With Kyle Bigos in the top 25 and Taylor Fedun's mobility a giant question mark, this wasn't a very easy selection. I don't see much in the next tier, so I'll go with Frans Tuohimaa. He's trending a bit better than Perhonen, and goaltending is alchemy, so let's say lead + mercury = NHL goaltender!
Ben Massey: None of them will because they are shit at hockey.