31 in 31: Top Ten Prospects Vol. 12 – Edmonton Oilers

Welcome back to my 31 in 31 top ten prospect series.

Yesterday, we took a look at the Detroit Red Wings’ pipelines and did a little analysis on the rookies who will be representing them in the future, highlighted by Filip Zadina, Joe Veleno, and Filip Hronek. Today, we’re going to look at an Edmonton Oilers prospect system that’s seen many top ten picks in its day. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

1. Evan Bouchard (D, 1st Round, 10th Overall in 2018)

There are lots of factors as to why Bouchard is the Oilers’ top prospect in my opinion. Aside from the fact that he’s a 6’2 right handed defenseman who put up 87 points in 67 games in his draft year, he also fits the needs of the Edmonton Oilers more than any other prospect. He appeared in seven games for the Oilers this season where he notched his first NHL goal, but has since been sent back to the OHL for what will more than likely be his final season there where he currently has 18 points in his first 13 games.

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2. Kailer Yamamoto (RW, 1st Round, 22nd Overall in 2017)

Yamamoto is a model example of the “skill over-size” draft method. The 5’8 forward weighs in at only 154 pounds yet has been able to put up tons of points at every level he’s played at thus far (except the NHL). Despite having only put up five points in 21 NHL games, the Spokane native has lots of time to develop his game seeing that he’s only 20. He currently has four points in seven AHL games this year.

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3. Ethan Bear (D, 5th Round, 124th Overall in 2015)

Bear was drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Draft and he projects to be a top-four defenseman. That’s how deep that draft was. Bear got a small taste of NHL action last season with four points in 18 games, but has spent all of this season so far with the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL, totaling six points in 16 games.

4. Tyler Benson (LW, 2nd Round, 32nd Overall in 2016)

The Edmonton native experienced the joy of being drafted by his hometown team, and now it looks like he’s going to have a real chance to make the team within the next year or two. The former Vancouver Giant currently has 16 points through 21 games in his first full AHL season.

5. Cooper Marody (C, 6th Round, 158th Overall in 2015)

Marody wrapped up his third and final season with the University of Michigan last year where he put up 51 points in 40 games. The Brighton, Michigan native is currently in his first pro season where he’s lighting up the AHL with 14 points in 11 games thus far. With six NHL games under his belt, Marody could be on track to find more action in the NHL sooner rather than later.

6. Ryan McLeod (C, 2nd Round, 40th Overall in 2018)

Ever since McLeod’s junior career, he’s consistently been known as one thing. A safe pick. No matter what, you know exactly what you’re getting with him. He won’t blow you away with offense, but he also has a solid defensive game and a good amount of hustle. He currently has 31 points in 26 games and will more than likely end up being a middle six centre for the Oilers.

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7. Caleb Jones (D, 4th Round, 117th Overall in 2015)

You typically don’t find too many NHL players hailing from Texas, but that’s not the case for Caleb Jones and his brother Seth (you may have heard of him, some guy that plays for the Columbus Blue Jackets I think. I don’t know). Anyways, the 6’1 d-man is in his second full pro season and currently has 12 points in 21 games. While it’s unlikely that he finds the success that his brother did, he could very well pan out to be a solid NHLer nonetheless.

8. Kirill Maksimov (RW, 5th Round, 146th Overall in 2017)

A Russian forward who’s been playing hockey in Canada ever since his bantam days, Maksimov is no stranger to North American hockey, and it’s been showing on the ice. He’s consistently put up tons of points in the OHL and this season has 37 points in 26 games for the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL.

9. Cameron Hebig (C, Undrafted, Signed in 2017)

The Oilers signed Hebig in the middle of his final season with the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL, where he ended up finishing with 90 points in 66 games. He’s currently in his first season with the Bakersfield Condors, putting up 15 points in 21 games so far.

10. Ostap Safin (RW, 4th Round, 115th Overall in 2017)

Safin has solidified his name in the Oilers farm system more and more each year. The Praha, Czech native is an absolute monster on skates at 6’5 and 192 lbs and he’s been consistently putting up points in the QMJHL. Playing for the Halifax Mooseheads this season, he currently has nine points in 10 games and will more than likely represent the Czech Republic at the World Juniors.

Thanks for reading! Tune in tomorrow where we’ll take a look at the young guns the Florida Panthers have in their farm system.

stats from eliteprospects.com

featured image photo credit – Josh Tessler

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