Our annual Top 25 under 25 kicks off today. Before we get right into our staff’s Top 25 votes, here’s a short list of those who were within striking distance, but didn’t quite get over the hump. See how our staff voted on these players who were in the conversation, but fell just short of our Top 25.
#30: John Marino
A defenceman with a right-handed shot, Marino was a sixth round draft pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. He spent this past season with Harvard of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference, where tied for second in scoring among defenceman with 15 points (2-13-15) in 35 games. Marino was a member of the USHL’s 2015-16 Clark Cup winning Tri-City Storm team, a team that saw him score 30 points (5-25-30) in 56 games.
#29 - Kiril Maksimov
Selected in the fifth round by the Oilers in this year’s draft, the right winger Maksimov was acquired by Niagara (OHL) via Saginaw. Maksimov combined for 38 points (21-17-38) in 66 games between the two clubs. Should his career arc continue to progress, he’ll have a decent shot to make some hay on the right side at the NHL level. Maksimov’s bullet shot is what will help continue his ascent into future Top 25 lists.
#28: Patrick Russell
A Russell that doesn’t provoke outrage from half of the fanbase is our number 28 ranked prospect. Undrafted forward Patrick Russell is an elder statesman in our Top 25 list (he’s 24) who spent his rookie season with Bakersfield after doing very well for himself at St. Cloud State (NCHC). He’s going into a contract year, and it will be interesting to see whether or not he can turn more arrows upward after a seventeen point season (8-9-17) in Bakersfield.
#27: Keegan Lowe
Fair or not, Keegan Lowe will be remembered by Oiler fans as somewhat famously not wanting to be drafted by the Oilers back in 2011. The Hurricanes snapped him up in the third round of the 2011 draft, but the 24 year-old Lowe became an Oiler after signing a deal with the club this past summer. A left handed shot on defence, Lowe spent last season between Charlotte (AHL) and St. John’s, where he compiled a 6-12-18 stat line. He’s got a one year / 2 way deal with the Oilers this year, it would be quite the surprise to see him on the big club at any point.
#26: Shane Starrett
Goaltender Shane Starrett ranks 26th overall in our sitewide vote. Coming off two seasons that saw him post .924 and .925 at the Air Force Academy (AHA), the undrafted 23 year old played himself into a two year contract that will see him in Bakersfield next season. With Laurent Brossoit finding himself as the likely de facto backup in Edmonton next season, Starrett will have a good chance to make some hay with Nick Ellis in 2017-18. It’s all great news for Starrett, and it’s even better news for Oiler fans because Jonas Gustavsson has been fired into the sun.
Join us as we reveal our top 25 starting tomorrow!