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The Top 25 Under 25: The Last of the Longshots

Our final installment on the near misses.

Dale MacMillan

Olivier Roy took the most votes in his heat, but his performance wasn't quite as dominant as Brandon Davidson's. Today, we finish up with the players on the outside looking in with one more group of eight. You'll be hearing much more about one of these players in the next few days. The rest will work hard over the next six or seven months, and depending on their progress, will perhaps make an appearance on our winter list.

Evan Campbell: The Oilers drafted Campbell out of the BCHL 128th overall in his third year of draft eligibility. You'd think that would mean he ripped the league apart. In actual fact, Campbell was tenth in BCHL scoring with 1.29 points per game, well behind teammate Mario Puskarich who led the league at 1.62. Campbell will attend the University of Massachusetts-Lowell this fall. Head coach, Norm Bazin, said that Campbell "helps us add quality depth down the middle", which makes it sound like he's going to start out at center with the River Hawks. Last Ranking: N/A

Erik Gustafsson: He was a mid-round pick from 2012, and had a very good season with Djurgården in the Allsvenskan in 2012-13 after playing in the Swedish Elite League (recently renamed the Swedish Hockey League) in 2011-12. The step down in competition led to him getting more ice time than he might have otherwise, and Gustafsson capitalized, scoring 20 points in 42 games and finishing second on the team in shots with 111. He'll move back to the Swedish Hockey League for 2013-14 after signing with Frölunda during the off-season. Last Ranking: #25.

Brad Hunt: The young defenseman turns 25 at the end of August, and so just barely qualifies for this edition of the Top 25 Under 25. The Oilers signed Hunt to a two-year deal this summer, his first contract with an NHL component. Hunt spent last season playing with the AHL's Chicago Wolves where he led the team's defensemen in scoring with 33 points in 65 games. Hunt is one of many left-handed defenders the Oilers have slated for Oklahoma City, which means he'll likely be in a fight for ice time at even strength, but his likely presence on the power play means that a spot in the everyday lineup is pretty secure. Last Ranking: N/A

Ryan Martindale: He appeared in 41 games for the Barons this season, a step up from 2011-12, but played in just two playoff games. He's likely pretty far down Oklahoma City's forward depth chart, and may end up starting the season in the ECHL. This is the last year of Martindale's entry-level contract, and it seems likely that the organization will cut him loose after 2013-14 comes to a close. Last Ranking: #27.

John McCarron: He only scored seven goals with Cornell last season, but he finished second on the team with 96 shots in 33 games. He'll be the team's captain in 2013-14, which speaks to the large role he's likely to play. McCarron will probably play both of his last two years of college, and if he takes a step forward offensively, his size and toughness will make him a player of interest for the Oilers. Last Ranking: #33.

Mitch Moroz: He didn't progress offensively in his post-draft season, which has to be considered disappointing. That said, he was playing for a pretty deep WHL team, and he'll likely get more offensive opportunities in 2013-14. The Oilers spent a second round pick knowing that offense wasn't going to be his calling card, so even a little bit of progress will probably translate into an entry-level contract. Last Ranking: #36.

Kyle Platzer: He was taken 96th overall despite scoring just 28 points in 86 games. Those offensive numbers usually come from a big man at that point in the draft, but Platzer had just 23 penalty minutes and stands just 5'11''. He played on the fourth line in London last season, and should have a larger role with the Knights in 2013-14. The Oilers obviously feel that Platzer has some offensive potential. Platzer finished fourth among U-18 skaters in points per game (1.10) in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League in 2011-12 (min. 40 GP), so that belief does have some results supporting it. Last Ranking: N/A

Antti Tyrvainen: It didn't take long for Tyrvainen to find a contract in Finland after Oklahoma City's season ended. He signed a one-year deal with Jokerit in June, which gave the Oilers an opportunity to give him a qualifying offer to retain his rights without worrying about him actually signing it. Tyrvainen dealt with several injuries over his two seasons in North America, but found a role with the Barons playing in 16 of the team's 17 playoff games, scoring six points. Last Ranking: #40.

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