Ken Holland has done an excellent job drafting since he took over as the Edmonton Oilers’ general manager. He has not only hit on the first-round picks, but he has also added some great talent later in the draft. Holland has also done a great job holding onto the prospects he’s acquired and developed, so the future in Edmonton looks bright.
Heading into the 2022-23 season, there has and will continue to be speculation and rumours surrounding the Oilers as to which big name they are going to bring in by or at the trade deadline. Even if they do land a big fish to help them with what should be a season the team is a top competitor for the Stanley Cup, these four prospects should be safe in Edmonton.
Philip Broberg looks to follow the same path as Evan Bouchard. Drafted one year after, Broberg got more international experience and almost the exact same amount of games in the NHL, before becoming a full-time NHLer. Holland has stated that the young Swedish defenceman will have to play his way off the team, so a spot on defence is already his.
Broberg got a taste for the NHL last season when the Oilers’ defence started to get banged up. He was forced into a big role and one that may have been too much to handle. Luckily head coach Jay Woodcroft regularly ran seven defencemen to take the load off all of the young players who were called up. Duncan Keith’s retirement opened up the roster spot for Broberg to jump in and play third pairing minutes as a rookie this season.
Widely regarded as the Oilers’ top prospect, there isn’t any player the Oilers could trade for that they would have to or be willing to give up Broberg for. He is part of the future on defence and the team isn’t as deep on the back end to be giving up talent like that.
Dylan Holloway will play games for the Oilers this season, whether it be at the beginning of the season or at some point throughout the season. Last season’s development was stunted due to an injury suffered before the season. Once he returned, it took him a bit of time to adjust to pro hockey. He ended the American Hockey League (AHL) season on a high note and was able to get into the final game of the Oilers’ season in the Western Conference Final.
That was just a taste. Holland said that if Holloway isn’t a top-12 forward for the Oilers in training camp, he will play in the AHL. This is to avoid the top prospect wasting key development time being a healthy scratch in the NHL rather than playing top-line minutes in the AHL. As the highest drafted forward by the Oilers since 2016 and on the right track, the team isn’t moving Holloway, especially not with his two-way ability.
If any of the Oilers’ prospects is one to talk about after last season, it’s Xavier Bourgault. He was one of the top scorers in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), scoring 36 goals and 75 points in 43 games. He stayed hot into the playoffs, where he scored 12 goals and 22 points in 16 games and took his team to the Memorial Cup. He had an excellent performance there as well.
Bourgault will turn pro this season, and some think that he has a shot at cracking the Oilers lineup out of training camp. As a centre in junior, he would likely start out on the wing this season. The Oilers have a good group of right-wingers on the team already, and it would do the Oilers and Bourgault no good to have him start in a fourth-line role with the offensive potential he possesses. By the way, Holland likes to develop young talent in the minors for a few years, and the AHL is the likely place the young forward will be playing. He will be a key part of the forward group that the Oilers will not trade at this point.
As the player of this group with the least hype and expectation heading into the 2022-23 season, Carter Savoie should be able to adjust to the AHL easier than many who are coming from junior. He is coming off of two impressive seasons at the University of Denver. In his second and final year playing Division 1 hockey, he scored 23 goals and 45 points in 39 games before getting into two AHL games at the end of the season.
Savoie is a goal-scorer and should spend a couple of seasons in the AHL developing before getting his shot in the NHL for the Oilers. His offensive upside is one to be excited about, as he has been described as having good speed and a wicked shot. The Oilers are a fast team, and having a winger who can skate and score isn’t something that comes around very often. He may be the best pure goal-scorer the team has in their system, so best not to throw that away too early
When it comes to the Oilers’ top prospects for this coming season, Savoie ranks higher than other prospects like Tyler Tullio, Matvei Petrov, and Raphael Lavoie. So if a team wants a player close to that caliber, Holland will be quick to redirect their attention.
The Oilers have a strong farm system and some very good prospects. All of these players are to be key pieces in Edmonton’s future and should all take big steps this season.
Rob Couch is a THW freelance writer covering mainly the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. He covers everything you need to know about fantasy hockey. He will also keep you up to date with NHL Stats News and trade talks.
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