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Oilers January NHLE - Didn't We Used To Have Prospects?

Once full of promise, the Oilers' prospect pool has completely dried up.

The organization is full of low-scoring checkers.
The organization is full of low-scoring checkers.
Dustin Bradford

For the better part of five years now, the one glimmer of hope for an Oilers' fan was the prospect pipeline. Loaded with exciting young forwards, that pipeline was going to deliver a high-powered attack at the NHL level. Fast forward to February 2012 and the NHL roster lists 9 players under the age of 25. Two of those players were drafted before rebuild 3.0 began, one was a prized UFA, and five of the other six were first-round draft picks. Outside of Teemu Hartikainen, the pipeline has yet to deliver, and by the numbers, it looks as if though the pipeline might never deliver.

For a complete look at all of the Oilers' prospects and their NHL numbers, we can use Gabriel Desjardins' NHL Equivalency. Gabe's methodologies are described on his translations page:

One way to evaluate the difficulty of one league relative to another is to examine the relative performance of players who have played in both leagues. Players rarely play significant time in two leagues in the same year, but they often play in one league in one year and in another the next. As long as a player’s skill level is approximately constant over this two year period, the ratio of his performance in each league can be used to estimate the relative difficulty of the two leagues.

Below is the full list of skating prospects with their NHL Equivalency and full season projections.

Player - League League Drafted NHL PPG NHL82 G NHL82 A NHL82 P
Mark Arcobello AHL Und 0.40 12 21 33
Toni Rajala AHL 101 0.38 15 16 31
Jujhar Khaira NCAA 63 0.32 6 20 26
Philippe Cornet AHL 133 0.32 12 14 26
Tobias Rieder CHL 114 0.27 11 11 22
John McCarron NCAA 153 0.24 9 11 20
Kellen Jones NCAA 202 0.20 4 12 16
Ryan Martindale AHL 61 0.18 9 6 15
Daniil Zharkov CHL 91 0.16 8 5 13
Kristians Pelss AHL 181 0.16 2 11 13
Cameron Abney ECHL 82 0.15 4 8 12
Mitch Moroz CHL 32 0.15 4 8 12
Travis Ewanyk CHL 74 0.13 3 7 10
Anton Lander AHL 40 0.11 3 6 9
Antti Tyrvainen AHL Und 0.09 5 3 8
Tyler Pitlick* AHL 31 0.07 1 5 6
Curtis Hamilton AHL 48 0.05 2 2 4

*Currently Injured

  • There are two prospects demonstrating enough offense to be NHL players - Rajala and Khaira. The rest of this list is unlikely to make any impact unless someone really picks it up, a point made obvious by Philippe Cornet's spot here.
  • While Stu MacGregor and the scouting staff have received nothing but effusive praise from the fanbase, take a look at the grouping of players below Kellen Jones. There are 7 second and third-round draft picks in that list, and no two of them combine to best Toni Rajala. The Barons are close to becoming Stu MacGregor's wasteland. Something to note to those who beat the "pro scouts" drum when discussing Oilers' management shortcomings.
  • I'm very interested in Kellen Jones' problems this year. Jones has been a consistent point producer in the NCAA and all of a sudden his scoring has disappeared. Is it just bad luck or injuries?
  • Finally, not included on this list is Linus Omark because it's not worth including him. The odds of him being an NHL player for the Oilers are brutally long at this point. Omark is tearing up the Swiss league with 62 points in 43 games, good enough to lead the league in scoring. That translates to 11 goals and 31 assists - 42 points in an 82 game NHL season. Omark has now demonstrated himself to be a 40 point player in the SEL, KHL, AHL, NHL and Swiss-A.
Player - League League Drafted NHL PPG NHL82 G NHL82 A NHL82 P
Joey Laleggia NCAA 123 0.33 12 16 28
Kyle Bigos NCAA 99 0.24 7 12 19
Dillon Simpson NCAA 92 0.23 2 16 18
Martin Marincin AHL 46 0.18 4 11 15
Oscar Klefbom* SEL 19 0.15 0 12 12
Taylor Fedun AHL Und 0.13 2 9 11
David Musil CHL 31 0.13 3 7 10
Erik Gustafsson SEL 93 0.09 3 4 7
Brandon Davidson* AHL 162 0.07 0 6 6
Colten Teubert AHL 13 0.06 3 3 6
Martin Gernat* CHL 122 0.06 0 5 5
Alex Plante AHL 15 0.03 0 3 3

*Currently Injured

  • The obvious takeaway is that the blueline is pretty beat up. We continue to wish Brandon Davidson the best in his battle against cancer.
  • Joey Laleggia looks fantastic by these comps, and he's a small guy with a ton of skill. If you're looking for a comparison, check out Denny Urban of the Worcester Sharks. Urban was a dominant, but under-sized NCAA defenseman with all of the tools of an NHL player, but lacking size. Urban has become an ECHL All-Star and a power play specialist in the AHL.
  • Dillon Simpson has consistently produced an NHLe between 15 and 20 points and this year is no different. He's a junior at North Dakota and has stepped up, even though he's still very young:
    I feel like the coaches have a little bit more confidence in me and between me and my defensive partner Joe Gleeson have been play a lot and feeding off of each other and getting some of the tougher minutes plus a lot of powerplay time, which has been really nice.
  • Like the bottom of the forwards' list, the bottom of the defenseman list is littered with the wreckage of management misdeeds. Alex Plante has all but disappeared and Colten Teubert is trying to find his way on the bottom pair in the AHL.