Coming in at number 11 on the list is 22-year old defenceman Jordan Oesterle.
Here's how the C&B staff ranked him.
After going undrafted, Oesterle attended Western Michigan University, playing under former NHL coach Andy Murray for three seasons. The Oilers signed him to a two-year entry level contract on March 31, 2014 and assigned him to Oklahoma City for the remainder of the season. Oesterle attended rookie camp in Edmonton in the fall of 2014 and left quite the impression on the coaching staff.
He was sent down to Oklahoma City for his first full professional season, making the transition from college appear seamless as he notched 25 points in 65 games, good enough for second among Barons defenceman. Below is a summary of his career stats up until now.
Oesterle was called up to the Oilers on February 22, 2015 when Jeff Petry was day-to-day and Anton Lander was just placed on IR. It was a bit of a surprise for some as Oesterle had beaten out a number of other, more established prospects to get the call, including David Musil, Brandon Davidson and Martin Gernat.
He was part of the Oilers death-march last season, suiting up for six games that didn't end well for the club. He spent the majority of his time playing with captain Andrew Ference, who had this to say about Oesterle after his first game:
"He was really, really good. He had great composure, fantastic skating ability, he was so calm. I remember my first game, I didn't want to touch the puck and he's handling and skating up the ice really well and making great plays. It was very impressive." Source
Below is a summary of how Oesterle fared possession wise. It's worth noting that he and Ference were often sheltered away from tougher competition by the coaching staff (Source: War on Ice, Hockey Analysis)
|Jordan Oesterle (Even-strength, 5v5)|
|2/21/2015||ANA||2-1 L||15.26||70.83 (+21.63)||+17/-7||80.00 (+22.86)|
|2/28/2015||STL||2-1 L||15.80||38.1 (-8.82)||+8/-13||42.86 (-4.20)|
|3/3/2015||LA||5-2 L||15.46||63.33 (+20.2)||+19/-11||55.56 (+5.56)|
|3/6/2015||@CHI||2-1 SOL||12.33||38.46 (-11.08)||+10/-16||71.43 (+14.76)|
|3/8/2015||@CAR||7-4 L||10.87||44.44 (+15.87)||+8/-10||25.00 (-8.33)|
|3/9/2015||@DET||5-2 L||10.78||33.33 (18.39)||+6/-12||50.00 (+11.54)|
Things started off well for Oesterle, as he got a decent amount of ice-time and performed fairly well for a rookie, even notching his first NHL point, an assist on a Teddy Purcell goal against LA. His ice-time eventually went down and his performance deteriorated, forcing the Oilers to send him back to Oklahoma City for more development and a chance to play in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
So why the high ranking?
Personally, I see Oesterle as having a much bigger impact on the team down the road than a lot of the other prospects in the system. He's an offensive defenceman that doesn't appear to be a liability in his own zone, but there's still more time needed to develop those skills. I think many of us were impressed by the fact that he made a smooth transition from college to the AHL as a 22-year old, and envision him taking that next step in 2015/2016. He'll have some considerable competition for ice time in Bakersfield as guys like David Musil, Martin Gernat and Dillon Simpson will be in a similar situation as him.