Oilers Prospect Update: Luca Munzenberger

The Edmonton Oilers went way off the board in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft in selecting blueliner Luca Munzenberger from Dusseldorf, Germany, with the 90th overall selection. At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, he was a projected fifth-round pick, but the team decided to take a huge risk and bring him in. During his draft year, he played in the Deutsche Nachwuchsliga (DNL) in Germany, where he was the captain of Kolner Jungahie U20; his season was shortened to only six games due to COVID. In those games, he scored a goal and added two assists, and even earned the opportunity to represent Germany at the U20 World Junior Championship.

Munzenberger’s Recent Play

The unexpected selection had many fans puzzled but excited to see where the hype was coming from. Munzenberger is in his second season with the University of Vermont in the NCAA, where he has played 22 games, scoring no goals but having five assists. His rights remain with the Oilers, but he is still unsigned as the season comes to a close.

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The five points he has this season are an increase of the three he finished with during his freshman year with Vermont. He has built a reputation as a stay-at-home defender with solid skating ability, which is exactly what the Oilers will be looking for as they build their future on defense. He has been noted as a responsible pass-first blueliner who has a solid shot but doesn’t use it very often.

Defensively responsible bottom pairing defender with size and solid mobility. Makes simple plays to alleviate pressure and makes a good first pass out of the defensive zone. Does not make much of an impact offensively but has a good point shot.

– DobberProspects (Luca Munzenberger Scouting Report) – 2021

His strong defensive play has carried over into the NCAA, but so has his lack of offensive ability. While he doesn’t have a knack for putting the puck in the net, he has been able to strengthen his skating ability, as well as improve his hockey IQ in his own end. He makes quick and smart plays with the puck on the breakout, isn’t afraid to get physical to win a puck battle, and has adapted to the speed of the game at the NCAA level.

Munzenberger’s Future in Edmonton

While he is still a few seasons away from having a chance at cracking the Oilers’ roster, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a spot for him in Edmonton. The scouting staff seemed to be really high on him when they picked him up, and they appear willing to be patient with his development. I would guess he signs a contract before the beginning of the 2024-25 season and gets a few games with the Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League (AHL).

Luca Munzenberger Edmonton Oilers
Luca Munzenberger, Edmonton Oilers 2021 Draft Pick (German Ice Hockey Federation)

Munzenberger compares his own play to current Oilers blueliner Darnell Nurse, which is a huge showing of confidence considering the amount of money Nurse makes annually. He has a long way to go before he can truly draw comparisons to the Oilers’ No. 1 defenseman, but his style of play leads me to believe he has the ability to make an impact with the team one day down the road.

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I think Munzenberger can eventually crack the Oilers’ roster. He needs to be able to transfer his game to a professional level, so getting a taste of that with the Condors for a couple of seasons will be monumental for his development. I can see him eventually being in a top-four role on the team paired up with a two-way defenseman that can complement his style of play. I’d say he gets his shot in the 2025-26 season at the earliest.