How Deep Are the Oilers’ Prospect Cupboards?

*Please welcome back Brennen York, better known as the brains behind We’re just trying to get him sorted with regards to the site so today’s post might look a tad off visually (perfect for Oilers fans, am I right?) as it’s a bit of copy and paste but we’ll have everything looking spick and span before you know it! Please forgive us and enjoy Brennen’s detailed look into the Oilers’ prospect depth and some future targets at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft because you know, it’s never too early to start looking at draft prospects! Enjoy!*


Long gone are the days of incompetent management and scouting, as the Edmonton Oilers have seemingly shifted their draft philosophy in a substantial way. Over the past two years Oilers management has selected fifteen players through the entry draft, nine of which have a legitimate shot at seeing NHL action. The other six, including Matthew Cairns (84th), Filip Berglund (91st), Graham McPhee (149th), Vincent Desharnais (183rd), John Marino (154th), and Miroslav Svoboda (208th), are more “wait and see” type prospects given both their production to this point as well as their chosen development path.

Oilers U23 Depth Chart

Left Wing


Right Wing

Jujhar Khaira

Connor McDavid

Jesse Puljujarvi

Tyler Benson

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Nail Yakupov

Mitch Moroz

Leon Draisaitl

Anton Slepyshev

Graham McPhee

Drake Caggiula

Patrick Russell

Braden Christoffer

Bogdan Yakimov

Liam Coughlin

Kyle Platzer

Aapeli Rasanen

Greg Chase

Tyler Vesel

Left Defence

Right Defence

Darnell Nurse

Adam Larsson

Oskar Klefbom

Ethan Bear

Griffin Reinhart

Matt Benning

David Musil

Filip Berglund

Caleb Jones

John Marino

Ziyat Paigin

Markus Niemelainen

Dillon Simpson

Matt Cairns

William Lagesson

Ben Betker

Vincent Desharnais


Laurent Brossoit

Nick Ellis

Eetu Laurikainen

Dylan Wells

Miroslav Svoboda

Keven Bouchard*

Though the Oilers seem to have far more legitimate prospects than ever before, there are still a number of holes when you take a look at the depth chart. Both wing positions are fairly light when it comes to elite level talent, however, the pain of that is somewhat alleviated given the Oilers only have one winger over the age of thirty on the main roster. Goaltending is another position where the Oilers are good, but far from great, lacking a clear cut number one prospect. Luckily for management, there are a large number of players slated to go in this year’s draft who are more than capable of filling these spots.

Stuart Skinner, G – Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
Height: 6’3 / Weight: 209 lbs

There are very few goalies who come through the junior ranks labelled as future starters by the age of 16. Stuart Skinner is the latest goalie to earn that praise and is one of the first WHL netminders since Carey Price to potentially end up in the top fifteen. Though both Price and Skinner have had a similar junior upbringing relative to their nationwide popularity, they are far from similar when you look at their playing style. Skinner, a big, 6’3 backstop has relied heavily upon his large frame and doesn’t play an overly athletic game. One major problem Skinner faces as an NHL bound goalie is the shrinking of equipment as anyone who’s seen him play knows he plays with an extra inch or two on his pads as well as some extra bulk in the chest region. A major positive heading into his draft year is the strength of the Hurricanes roster as many WHL experts believe they will compete for a league championship meaning extended playoff time for Skinner.

Klim Kostin, RW – Dynamo Moskva (KHL)
Height: 6’3 / Weight: 196 lbs

The first overall import draft pick Klim Kostin is going to have a very interesting season. We know he has the speed and skill to be a force in the CHL, but after turning down the opportunity to play in Kootenay, and starting off with less than ten minutes per game in the KHL, Kostin may be a diamond in the rough come the time the Oilers are on the clock. At 6’3, Kostin already has NHL size, and given the lack of up and coming wingers with size and top six potential, he is likely someone the Oilers target come next June. Kostin is a hard player to label or define as he is more than just a pure sniper or playmaker, and tends to bring the best of both worlds onto the ice. If you’re looking for an NHL comparable, Vladimir Tarasenko is as close as you can get at this point in Kostin’s development.

Nico Hischier, RW – Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
Height: 6’1 / Weight: 176 lbs

In 2014 the Edmonton Oilers selected a player many Germans believe too be the “German Gretzky” in Leon Draisaitl, and so far he has yet to disappoint. Nico Hischier, a Swiss born prospect who haas moved to Halifax for the upcoming season, has e most promising sSwiss born ison within his ountryhand coming wingers with size and top six potential, he may be also garnered a ton of attention on a national level, and is largely considered the most promising prospect since Kevin Fiala was selected by Nashville back in 2014. Hischieer boasts an impressive two hundred foot game, which comes as a bit of a surprise given his pure playmaking ability and overall offensive zone capabilities. Hischier would be a stellar addition to the Oilers top six as he’s shown promise as an elite level playmaker and has been able to find chemistry with a number of centers over the past few years. Next to Leon, Hischier is likely a career sixty point guy.

Luke Martin, RD – University of Michigan (NCAA)
Height: 6’2 / 201 lbs

Of all the defenders ranked to go in the first round, Luke Martin may have the highest chance of rising into the top ten. As a draft eligible defenceman playing in the NCAA, Martin is going to be tested early and often, and based upon his performance last year, he should be able to hold his own. Martin is a strong two-way defenceman (like many blue liners in this draft), who excels in the defensive zone, and has shown an innate ability to break up plays behind the goal line. He plays an effective physical style and has proven to be able to skate the puck out of trouble when need be. Given his choice of development path, as well as the skills he currently possesses, I think it’s safe to say Luke Martin is capable of being a top-four NHL defenceman within the next five years.

Cale Makar, RD – Brooks Bandits
Height: 5’10 / Weight: 176 lbs

When it comes to finding your future top pairing, right handed, puck moving defenceman (yes, check all three boxes), the Oilers need look no further than Bandits defenceman Cale Makar. Though slightly undersized, Makar’s puck moving and skating ability set him apart as arguably the best player in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. In his rookie campaign, Makar broke out with fifty-five points in fifty-four games, forty-five of which came in the form of assists. Makar also laced em up for Team Canada West at the World Junior Challenge, where he only managed a single point, yet stood out ahead of defenceman such as Nashville’s first rounder Dante Fabbro. Makar is committed to the University of UMass (Amherst), and will head down following his sophomore season in Brooks. Something to note is that given the lack of exposure in the AJHL, Makar, as well as a few others including Ian Mitchell, may not be consensus top ranked prospects, however, I believe they are both legitimate NHL prospects who could very well slide into the first round.

Given that the Oilers should see a vast improvement in the points department, it’s likely a number of players above are off the board, however, the fact that they need help on the right side of the ice and in net remains. Long term, the Oilers are fairly secure down the middle with McDavid and Draisaitl both under twenty-one years old, and the left side defence isn’t necessarily an area for concern, though projecting where Darnell Nurse will be a few years down the road is a trying task. With the addition of Matt Benning, the right side of the blue line may begin to become less of a concern for management, however, it is still an area that needs to be addressed. One player Oilers fans should be overly optimistic about is Seattle Thunderbirds star, Ethan Bear. Bear was selected 124th by the Oilers in 2015 and brings a real element for Duncan Keith to the ice. The native of Regina, Saskatchewan will likely find himself on the Team Canada roster for the World Junior Championships after being left off the initial roster for the summer development camp.  

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Beer League Hero Written by:

I'm the Beer League Hero! I am from Camrose, Alberta but I make my home in Taipei City, Taiwan. I've been through the ups and downs and the highs and the Lowes, the Bonsignores and the McDavids, the Sathers and the Eakins but I'll never leave my Oilers, no matter what! They're with me until the end and then some. GO OILERS GO!