Welcome to the August edition of the DobberProspects 32-in-32 Series. This month, we are diving into the depth of each organization, looking at their recent graduates, risers, fallers and top-20 prospects.
Edmonton has shown improvement the past two seasons and have proven to be more than a two-player team. Two years ago they lost to the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Finals, and last season they lost to the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Semi Finals. While a second-round loss last year was disappointing, it is important and encouraging to note that in both seasons Edmonton fell to the eventual Stanley Cup champions. The Oilers have a high-end offence and are in win-now mode but are struggling to improve their bottom-six and defense due to being strapped for cap space.
Where Edmonton can hopefully find depth scoring is with the help of their prospects. While the Oilers do not possess a cupboard chock full of blue-chip prospects waiting to make an impact, there are some players knocking on the door that have solid NHL upside. With plenty of offensive talent, the Oil just need these players to develop into consistent complimentary pieces and could really use a dark horse to rise above the group in training camp. With the bottom-six lacking offensive upside and consistency, the door is wide open for a prospect or even two to force their way onto the roster and steal a spot from a veteran.
Will the young players bring a new flavour to the Oilers’ squad or will the depth veterans hold their ground and keep their spots?
AHL to NHL
Philip Broberg, LD
After 46 games with the big squad last season and 23 the season before, it is time for Broberg to lock down a spot with the Oilers. The smooth-skating defender looks capable in a third-pairing role but struggles with physicality and defensive consistency while also not bringing much to the table offensively. He needs to take a step forward this season.
Vincent Desharnais, RD
At 27-years-old, should Desharnais be in this article? Probably not but with only 35 games of NHL experience, he found his way in anyway. The big defender lacks upside and his skating is far below NHL average, but he brings a bite that the Oilers backend severely lacks. He is not an NHL talent but Edmonton seems to want to give him minutes.
Dylan Holloway LW/C
Edmonton’s top forward prospect played in 51 games last season and recorded nine points but did not really make much of an impact in the limited role and minutes that he played. After a taste of the NHL last season and a fairly underwhelming group of veterans vying for bottom-six roster spots, Holloway will be given every opportunity to seize a role on the big squad.
Raphael Lavoie, RW
The soon to be 23-year-old has been as streaky as can be during his two full seasons in the AHL. In both seasons, he has rattled off some strong hot streaks as well as some extreme cold snaps. Lavoie finished last season with 25 goals and 45 points in 61 games but it is his 21 points in the final 24 that has fans excited. There is a path to the NHL for him this season, but he needs to seize the opportunity or risk being passed on the depth chart by younger prospects.
NCAA to Pro
Carl Berglund, C
A big-bodied late-spring free agent signing, Berglund produced well in the NCAA but his 27 points in 36 games last season does not reflect offensive improvement since his first season for UMass-Lowell (23 points in 34 games). At this point, Berglund should be projected as AHL depth as opposed to being a candidate for NHL duty.
Europe to Pro
Edmonton does not have any European prospects turning pro in North America this season.
Raphael Lavoie, RW
See above. Lavoie is a goal-scoring forward with size that would fit into the Oilers’ roster nicely. Consistency has always been a concern with this player but he took significant steps forward last season and is on the cusp of an NHL job.
Tyler Tullio, C/RW
Tullio showed well in a secondary role in his first AHL season recording 26 points in 63 games. The numbers are not eye-popping by any means, but he displayed potential and upside. This season, Tullio will look to take on a more prominent role and if he keeps developing, his tenacious style would make him a solid fit for a bottom-six NHL role.
Matvey Petrov, RW/LW
There is a lot of hype surrounding Petrov as he enters his first pro season with the Condors. The talented Russian is a proven finisher with a deadly shot. There is fear that he will follow the path of Kirill Maksimov but at this point he should be seen as one of Edmonton’s top forward prospects.
Maxim Beryozkin, RW/LW
The big Russian forward stepped into his first KHL season last year and did not look back as he recorded an impressive 26 points in 52 games. The power forward is not projected to come to North America for awhile but if he keeps developing at the rate that he is, he could push for an NHL spot when he does get on North American soil.
Nikita Yevseyev, LD
Yevseyev played his entire KHL rookie season as an 18-year-old and did not look out of place. He will not blow you away with offensive flash but he is a well-rounded defender capable of contributing at both ends. His seven points in 48 games in the KHL were encouraging.
Olivier Rodrigue, G
Rodrigue was seemingly becoming an afterthought in the Oilers’ system, that is until last season. Last year, the 23-year-old netminder played in 29 games for the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL and recorded a solid 2.77 goals-against-average and 0.912 save-percentage. He has the potential to be in a 1A, 1B situation with AHL veteran netminder Calvin Pickard this season.
Carter Savoie, LW
To say Savoie’s 11 points in 44 games as an AHL rookie were disappointing would be an understatement. The goal-scoring forward made little impact when playing and also battled injury throughout the season. He needs to take a step forward this season and display the offensive ability that he has shown at every level.
James Hamblin, LW/C
After a strong camp and preseason, Hamblin found himself in 10 games for the Oilers. In those games he made little impact and then failed to take a jump forward offensively for the Condors. At 24-years-old, he needs to step up his game this season if he wants to get an NHL look again.
Prospect Depth Chart
A combination of NHL readiness and upside.
Ilya Konovalov Samuel Jonsson Nathaniel Day
Top 20 Fantasy Prospects
This section is intended to illustrate the Oilers’ prospects whose current trajectory projects them making the most positive fantasy impact when they reach the NHL. A player’s current ability and standing on the depth chart do play a factor, however, a player’s potential upside is the most important factor in determining this list.
HM: Luca Munzenberger
If you missed July’s 32-in-32 article, you can check it out here.
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