EDMONTON – Pipelines and Alberta are not best friends these days. Ironically, the Edmonton Oilers pipeline hasn't worked as well for ages, although the boys in the oil field can't market their product the way they want to.
Kailer Yamamoto, Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones … It is an actual working farm system in Edmonton these days, with legitimate prospects like Evan Bouchard and Ryan McLeod ready for their second year in pro hockey and probably sooner than later the big one Team will help
Let's look at the five "most interesting" perspectives where people like Bouchard are left out who have the size, the physical ability, and the shot to get there. It's only a matter of time.
This is about players with bigger question marks. Players who would meet Edmonton's needs but are not sure whether to get there.
Let's go: the five most interesting players in the Edmonton Oilers pipeline
RW, 6-4, 201 lbs., 21 years old
Design: Edmonton, 4., 2016
2019-20 Team: Karpat (Liiga)
GP: 56 | G: 24 | A: 29 | P: 53
Can Puljujarvi still be seen as an "interesting perspective"? Well, he will be 22 in May and has just led the Finnish Liiga top team with 24-29-53 in 56 games. With six feet four, excellent speed and an above average shot, you can bet that Oilers General Manager Ken Holland sees Puljujarvi as one of his best prospects – not just the bust that makes others in the game this number 4 overall design choose to be.
Puljujarvi brought his talents to Finland and showed his superior skills against inferior competition – and very average goalkeepers. But it wasn't Puljujarvis' wrist shot, skating, or scoring chance that he struggled with in the NHL. His problems were thinking about the game, the work ethic, a consistent game in the game and understanding how to work with teammates within a system.
Did he fix these problems in Finland? Kuka tietää? (Finnish for who knows?)
It's about getting Puljujarvi to try Edmonton again after he and agent Markus Lehto both publicly stated that they would prefer a trade. Puljujarvi should prove his talents at the World Championships in May, but with the cancellation of this tournament there is a good chance that Holland's request on the retail market will not be met, as uncertainty about what a good season really means for Oulun Karpat remains intact .
The best scenario is that the Oilers Puljujarvi sign a one-year contract with the promise of a trade if things don't go well, and he returns to Edmonton to make NHL money and show his game to the 30 other NHL GMs on a nightly basis. There are so many options on Edmonton's right wing, with two world-class centers in Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid – not to mention a new GM and trainer since Puljujarvi left Edmonton – it seems crazy for the Puljujarvi camp, the opportunity which Edmonton represents does not realize a reentry point into the NHL.
LHD, 6-3, 203 lbs., 18 years old
Design: Edmonton, 8., 2019
2019-20 Team: Skelleftea (SHL)
GP: 45 | G: 1 | A: 7 | P: 8
What kind of defender will Broberg, the eighth overall winner in 2019, turn out to be?
He has the tools, one might think, that simply cannot fail. Probably the smoothest skating defender in his draft class, he has a step that should buy him 1,000 National Hockey League games considering where the game is going. If you, as a defender, consistently "stand in front of" your opponent, you can defend forever regardless of your offensive contributions. Think of Jay Bouwmeester.
At six feet three, Broberg is big enough to compete defensively. He is also very clever (and well-spoken), typical of the young men who are driven out by the Swedish system. Size, intelligence and speed – we would literally quit our job if this kid doesn't have a long NHL career. But what kind of player will he be?
In his first year in the Swedish Hockey League last season – an 18-year-old playing against men – Broberg had a goal and seven assists in 45 games, with a steady plus-minus value of 13 on average: 59 ice age per game. If he plans to spend a second season in Skelleftea next season, Oilers GM Ken Holland will agree to produce D-Men mainly due to the history of Swedish hockey.
Will Broberg's game turn out to be a mirror of Niklas Hjalmarsson, the tough shot blocker who was the heart and soul of these big Blackhawks clubs? Or will he be more offensive and become an outstanding defender who, like Oliver Ekman-Larsson, earns 45 points per season? Will he be the Steady Eddie Minute Muncher that Bouwmeester did in 1,239 NHL games with many minutes but not many points?
At this point nobody really knows.
Sign up for the NHL newsletter
Get the best of our NHL coverage and exclusive offers straight to your inbox!
C / RW, 6-4, 198 lbs., 19 years old
Design: Edmonton, 38., 2019
2019-20 Teams: Halifax, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
GP: 55 | G: 38 | A: 44 | P: 82
The Oilers may have a supply of young defenders between their NHL and AHL rosters. What they don't have, however, are many prospects for strikers – especially wingers – who could become top 6 NHL players.
Since Tyler Benson tends to be a third-row left winger who can advance if necessary, a one-shot scorer like Lavoie gives the Oilers hope that they have a sniper who can find his way to the right . Wing of one of their leading centers. He is six feet four with a junior family tree that includes 30 goals in each of his last three seasons in the QMJHL. He'll be a professional at Bakersfield next season, which means he's at least a year away from Edmonton – probably two.
Lavoie is like so many others – goals are easy in junior. He scored like an absolute professional with even 100 goals in his last three seasons (185 games) in the QMJHL. But also Robbie Schremp (154 goals in 247 OHL games), Nail Yakupov (80 goals in 107 OHL games) and Marc-Antoine Pouliot (111 goals in 205 QMJHL games). And none of them really wavered.
If Lavoie is going to be a professional in the coming season, he has to find half a step like a young Leon Draisaitl so that he can have the judging room as a professional who had been a junior.
"Leg strength, nuclear strength, strength," said Scott Howson, director of player development at Oilers. "There is nothing wrong with his step. It is only strength and strength. His separation is not what it has to be when he is in the NHL."
Lavoie would be wise to imitate Ethan Bear, who avoided his usual summers at home and came to Edmonton to train last year. This new level of engagement made Bear a top 4 defender.
RW, 6-3, 194 lbs., 20 years old
Draft: Edmonton, 146., 2017
2019-20 Team: Bakersfield (AHL)
GP: 53 | G: 5 | A: 8 | P: 13
All the stuff we just said that Lavoie is the tonic that the Oilers need so much? The same goes for Maksimov, who brought a remarkable OHL goal last season, scoring 74 goals in Niagara in the last two seasons.
But then came the strict teacher who is the AHL. And it hit Maksimov with the proverbial ruler over the ankles.
The Muscovite's English is excellent – he came to Toronto at the age of 12 – but the transition from junior to professional is complex. Life without a stick family. Cook. Pay bills. Mandatory time in the gym. Find the place in a team if you are not the right contact in Powerplay – or if you are not in Powerplay at all. You are no longer the biggest guy and you play against 16 and 17 year olds. Re-learn shift length because 75 second shifts are no longer acceptable.
"Kirill is a long-bodied man and a competitive person," said Bakersfield head coach Jay Woodcroft. “He got better on the wall, better with his game management skills. He has left some points on the table and will improve in these areas. But he was in those positions to score during the year. Now is the time to find a way to convert against AHL goalkeepers who are bigger, stronger and faster. And you have less time to fend off your shot. "
That's why they have the AHL so that players like Maksimov (a five-rounder in ’17) can find out how to be a professional. He had 5-8-13 in 53 games. That leaves a lot of room for improvement.
Filip Berglund and Markus Niemelainen
Berglund: RD, 6-2, 209 lbs., 22 years old
Design: Edmonton, 91st, 2016
Team 2019-20 : Skelleftea (SHL)
GP: 52 | G: 5 | A: 15 | P: 20
Niemelainen: LD, 6-5, 196 lbs., 21 years old
Draft: Edmonton, 63., 2016
2019-20 Team: Assat (Liiga)
GP: 55 | G: 1 | A: 6 | P: 7
Two defenders: A two-meter RHD Swede who plays on the same Skelleftea team as Broberg, often as his defense partner. And a six-foot-five Finn playing in the same league that Puljujarvi dominated last season.
These are two survivors from the Oilers & # 39; Class of 2016 that currently only Tyler Benson delivered to the Oilers system, with Puljujarvi becoming AWOL. The Oilers, both third placed, would be thrilled if one of Niemelainen (63rd overall) and Berglund (91st) became NHL players.
Berglund recalls Joel Persson, who landed in Anaheim on the cut-off date, except that Berglund is three inches taller and 40 pounds heavier. He doesn't have much insult to his game, but reports say he's mobile and has the skills to be an NHL defender one day.
Niemelainen sounds like a Finnish William Lagesson. He is tall, runs well and works well with a left partner who can do most of the pucking. He needs to get in shape and figure out how to be a physical D-man on the smaller NHL sheet.
Both boys would do well in Bakersfield with Woodcroft and assistant coach Dave Manson, who outdid themselves with players like Ethan Bear and Caleb Jones. Both must also be signed by June 1st, and Holland hopes that each of them will be in Bakersfield next season.