Edmonton Oilers Top 10 Prospects Not Named Nugent-Hopkins

Oscar Klefbom tops the list of Oiler prospects (KP 761219/Flikr)

The Edmonton Oilers have an impressive stable of young talent at the NHL already, one of the most exciting collections of young players in the league, and a group soon to be added to at the draft table in June. What gets lost sometimes in all that hype is that they also boast some top end prospects still to come in their system.

A prospect list is always tough because inevitably there are those couple of players that walk the fine line of being a prospect or graduating from that list.  With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins playing a  full year in the NHL, save for some time on the injured list, he is obviously no longer a part of this group.  Players such as Anton Lander, Magnus Paajarvi and Linus Omark were also left off because while they are still not established regulars in the NHL, they have played enough games to put their rookie status well behind them and hence not on this list.

With that in mind here is the Oilers top ten prospects in the system.

1. Oscar Klefbom, D, 18

2011/12 Club: Farjestad (Elitserien)

Swedish defenceman has all the tools and is a rare talent.  A great skater and possesses excellent offensive instincts, he moves the puck well and has the ability to lead the rush.  He has the size and skill to potentially translate into a top four NHL defenceman.  He is very raw though and needs to improve his positioning and defensive zone play and may need some more seasoning.  With plenty of talented forwards in the lineup, the Oilers could use some similar up and coming talent on the back end.  With tremendous upside, the Oilers are hoping that man is Klefbom.

2. Martin Marincin, D, 20

2011/12 Club: Prince George Cougars/Regina Pats (WHL)

At 6’4″ and still growing, Marincin possesses a long reach and is an excellent skater for his size.  Another Oilers offensive defence prospect, he can quarterback the power play and makes a good first pass out of the zone.  Also needs to work on his defensive game and for his size is not overly physical.  He joined the Oklahoma City Barons for 6 games after his WHL season and projects to suit up for them to start next season.

3. Teemu Hartikainen, LW, 21

2011/12 Club: Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)

While Hartikainen spent most of the season with the club’s AHL affiliate, he did dress for 17 games with the big club, registering 5 points.  At 6’1″ and 209lbs, he plays a physical, aggressive style of game; a style that the Oilers sorely need on the team to complement their flashy top end offensive forwards. Someone to go hard and do the dirty work in front of the net. Dubbed by many as a “Tomas Holmstrom clone” Hartikainen still needs work on his skating and has yet to show the consistency the club is looking for, but the physical, in your face style he plays with is something the Oilers can really use.

4. David Musil, D, 19

2011/12 Club: Vancouver Giants (WHL)

The son of Frank Musil and nephew of Bobby Holik, David possesses strong hockey bloodlines and is as NHL ready as any junior prospect.  Projected as a shutdown defender, Musil plays a solid, consistent, physical style of game that doesn’t show many glaring weaknesses.  While he doesn’t have much of an offensive game to speak of he possesses good instincts and awareness on the ice that could translate to the scoresheet as his game evolves.

5. Colten Tuebert, D, 22

2011/12 Club: Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)

Never going to grab headlines for his offence, Tuebert is a big, strong stay at home defenceman.  Acquired in the Dustin Penner trade from the Kings, he played 24 games with the Oilers this season as a result of injuries and had just 1 assist and was a -5.  A tough, gritty competitor who plays with an edge, Teubert continues to work on his foot speed and quickness.  Slated to start next season in the AHL as he did this one, he will be relied on for big minutes with the Barons and will once again be among the first names called up when needed.

6. Tyler Pitlick, C, 20

2011/12 Club: Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)

While Pitlick’s first season of pro hockey did not get off to the start he and the Oilers had hoped for, he adjusted better during the second half of the regular season finishing strong and showed he belonged.  A trend he has carried into the Calder Cup playoffs with 4 points in his first 4 playoff games.  A player who can play up and down the lineup, Pitlick possesses a NHL calibre wrist shot and has great hands to go with it. He is a strong, powerful skater and does not shy away from the physical side of the game.  He is a forward who has all the tools and ability to succeed, but the key for Pitlick to take the next step is doing it consistently and having it translate onto the scoresheet, as the results haven’t quite matched the talent just yet.

7. Tyler Bunz, G, 20

2011/12 Club: Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)

Bunz had one of the best seasons of any junior goaltender going 39-17-5 with a 2.57 GAA and .921 save % for the Tigers, en route to winning Goaltender of the Year honours in the WHL.  Bunz is positionally and technically sound and plays with a great deal of confidence and mental toughness.  He has improved and become more consistent in each season he’s played, a trend the Oilers hope will continue.

8. Curtis Hamilton, LW, 20

2011/12 Club: Oklahoma City Barons (AHL)

Another prospect who had a difficult transition to the pro game, Hamilton’s first year in the AHL has not been what you would call memorable.  With just 11 points in 41 games this season, Hamilton struggled to find his game and found himself a healthy scratch on some nights.  Which is the same situation he finds himself in right now watching the first 4 Baron’s playoff games from the press box.  A star in the WHL with Saskatoon and Canada’s silver medal winning team at the 2011 WJC, Hamilton is a power forward who drives hard to the net and is willing to get his nose dirty.  While he just showed flashes this season, the Oilers are still high on him and hope for him to take the next step in his second pro season.

Hamilton starred for Canada at the 2011 WJC

9. Martin Gernat, D, 19

2011/12 Club:  Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

Perhaps the highest risk/reward player on this list, Gernat has far exceeded expectations in his first season with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings.  The 2011 5th round pick put up huge numbers with 55 points in 60 games and a +41.  He has continued that trend into the WHL playoffs with 7 points in 13 games so far.  Gernat is an offence first type of defenceman who is an excellent skater with good offensive instincts.  He remains a work in progress as his defensive game needs some work, but if he can continue to improve on his first North American season, he could be a diamond in the rough.

10. Olivier Roy, G, 20

2011/12 Club: Stockton Thunder (ECHL)

The physical tools have never been an issue for Roy, he’s incredibly quick and athletic and when he’s on, there’s not too many better.  The problem, however, has been consistency for the 2009 5th rounder.  He’s put up impressive numbers in his junior career, but unfortunately is also well known for the mental lapses and letdowns he has had.  Canadian fans remember him as much for his ineffective play at the 2011 World Junior Hockey Championships as his stellar junior seasons with Cape Breton and Acadie-Bathurst.  Roy has all the natural ability to be a star, the Oilers are just hoping he can develop the necessary consistency to go with it as a pro.

Honourable Mention: Tobias Reider, Taylor Fedun, Alex Plante

 

Follow Carl on twitter @maloney3383 for more articles.

 

Carl Maloney

Carl Maloney

Edmonton Oilers Correspondent
Carl covers the Edmonton Oilers for THW as well as providing additional prospect coverage. Follow him on twitter @carlTHW, connect on Facebook or contact at carl.maloney@hotmail.com for questions, comments or if you're interested in him writing for you.
Carl Maloney

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