The summer is coming to an end, which means it’s time for students to head back to school. And in the case of the Edmonton Oilers, that includes several of their prospects that will be playing college hockey in 2021-22.
From first period of class to third period of games on campus, some of these student-athletes could end up hitting the ice at Rogers Place. Here are five Oilers prospects to watch in the NCAA this season.
Over his first two years at Quinnipiac University, Skyler Brind’Amour has played every game for the Bobcats men’s hockey team, and the forward’s statistical output has been just as consistent: two goals, nine assists, 37 shots and a plus/minus of zero in 2020-21; the following season, he had four goals, nine assists, 39 shots and a plus/minus of zero in 2019-20.
While the sixth-round draft pick in 2017 doesn’t have eye-popping scoring totals, Brind’Amour could contribute at both ends of the ice, much like his father, current Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour, who was a two-time Selke Trophy winner during his NHL playing career. To that point, Skyler ranked second with 245 faceoff wins and fifth among centers with a .534 faceoff percentage in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) in 2020-21.
Filip Engaras will be looked upon to have a big senior season at the University of New Hampshire, realizing the potential that the Oilers visualized when they drafted the 6-foot-0 Swedish forward in the sixth round in 2020.
After putting up 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 25 games as a sophomore in 2019-20, Engaras’ numbers dipped in his junior season, when he totaled 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 22 games with the Wildcats men’s hockey team. The 22-year-old has fallen eight spots to No. 34 on the Cult of Hockey’s ranking of Oilers prospects. (from ‘”Draft and follow” the watchword for Edmonton Oilers’ depth prospects,’ Edmonton Journal, 08/09/2021)
Tomas Mazura, who the Oilers drafted in the sixth round in 2019, is at last set to play his freshman season at Providence College, nearly three years after committing to the Rhode Island school.
A native of Sezemice, Czech Republic, the 6-foot-4 forward began last season totaling three points in three games for HIFK of the Finnish U20 league, before joining the Des Moines Buccaneers. However, injury prevented him from suiting up for the United States Hockey League (USHL) team. He previously played in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers in 2019-20.
It’s been quite the summer for the 18-year-old blueliner from Duesseldorf, who was drafted 90th overall by the Oilers and moved across the pond to Burlington, Vermont, where he will attend the University of Vermont and suit up for its men’s hockey team. Luca Munzenberger’s coach on the Catamounts is Todd Woodcroft, brother of Jay Woodcroft, coach of the Bakersfield Condors, Edmonton’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate.
The 6-foot-2 Munzenberger was part of Team Germany at the 2021 World Junior Championship and should represent his country again at the 2022 World Juniors this coming winter. He played the previous three seasons with Kölner of the German Development League, serving as team captain in 2020-21.
Carter Savoie, who Edmonton drafted 100th overall in 2020, is heading into his sophomore season at the University of Denver after a standout freshman campaign in which he was a unanimous National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) All-Rookie Team selection.
In 24 games with the Pioneers men’s hockey team, Savoie totaled 13 goals and seven assists. At the conclusion of the regular season, he led all NCHC freshmen in goals, shots, power-play goals and game-winning goals. Savoie was named Rookie of the Month for December by both the NCHC and NCAA. He received the Barry Sharp Award recognizing Denver’s Freshman of the Year and was the Denver Athletics Male Freshman of the Year.
One man who won’t be hitting the books this fall is the 14th-overall pick in the 2020 Draft, forward Dylan Holloway. After a standout sophomore campaign at the University of Wisconsin, in which he was voted to the All-Big Ten First Team after notching 11 goals and 24 assists in 23 games to rank fifth in NCAA scoring, Holloway signed with the Oilers in April to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Holloway, who could crack the Oilers lineup in 2021-22, has quickly made his way down the path that Edmonton’s other collegiate prospects all aspire to one day travel. How they perform with their respective NCAA teams this season will provide good indication who we could expect to see — and how soon we could see them — in Oil Country.
Brian is an Edmonton-based sports writer and broadcaster. His experience includes working as a sports reporter for the Edmonton Sun, where he covered the Edmonton Oil Kings 2013-14 Memorial Cup championship season.