Today marks the beginning of the Copper and Blue’s Top 25 under 25 segment. Join us each and every day where we will count down the top 25 prospects under age 25 in the Edmonton Oilers system. Special thanks go out to every one of the staff who helped make this possible, and to you, the reader. Thank you.
Let’s get started, shall we?
We kick off the Top 25 under 25 with today’s installment at number 25: Ostap Safin.
Let’s check to see how everyone in our panel voted.
Ostap Safin was drafted by the Oilers in the fourth round of the 2017 Entry draft at 115th overall. The young Czech winger towers at 6’5” and is speedy as heck. Safin’s 2019-20 saw him contribute 35 points (16-19-35) in his first pro season with the Wichita Thunder (ECHL), good for third on the club in scoring.
SAFIN AT #25
Ostap Safin has ranked as high as #20 (2018) on our countdown. Last year he slipped to #21, now he occupies #25 in 2020 at age 21. Is there a way up?
In short, yes. Safin’s 2020-21 is going to be a big year for him,
Safin was (and remains) a good, solid selection in the fourth round for the Oilers. After the second round I think there’s plenty of luck involved in making good picks, but tall and fast are two really good traits to have. Tall, fast scoring wingers are always in style, and the Oilers haven’t had much in the way of scoring wingers since sending Jordan Eberle to the Islanders a few years back. I don’t for a second think Safin is Jordan Eberle (he’s not), but when you combine his speed with his heavy shot, there’s better than a ghost of a chance it can happen. A good season in Bakersfield will help Safin make some inroads in years ahead.
So you’ve got a good pro season in Wichita, and you’ve got a chance to make some noise next season. Why isn’t Safin higher on this list?
Safin’s stock took a hit since his draft season due to injury, but he’s recovered a bit since then. During his 2018-19 junior year he was banged up for nearly the entire season with lower body and shoulder injuries. His 2019-20 showed promise when he finished third in scoring with the Thunder, which bodes well for Safin. What’s next? A good push in Bakersfield, hopefully.
MAKIN’ IT IN THE BAKE
A quick look at the Condors roster for next season shows that Safin has as good a chance as any to make some noise on the wings. Kiril Maksimov and Tyler Benson will be there, and so will Raphael Lavoie and Joseph Gambardella. And? Ostap Safin will be there too. Safin’s ability to play on either side of centre could help give him an opportunity for power play time.
Safin is counting on a good season in Bakersfield, which will push him towards that next contract. More importantly, it will push him up the rankings of the Top 25 in 2021.