Saturday, December 16, 2006

December 2006 Top 11

Here goes:

(1) MA Pouliot – One of my two favorite prospects in the Oilers system (Pouliot, and Trukhno). Underrated offensively, a smart player and that can’t hurt with the adjustment to the NHL. Terrific goal scorer’s goal tonight.

(2) Slava Trukhno – having read Guy’s top 20, I think the Oilers just lucked into this guy. He’s nothing like the typical Oilers pick, he screams “Sens draftee” to me. I think they still don’t know what they have in him. This is a guy that some had ranked in the late 1st/early 2nd of the 2005 draft, personally I think he had a better season last year than Cogliano and that’s why he gets the bump. On the other hand, Cogliano’s WJHC camp gets me a smidge excited, along with his recent play.Trukhno was 20th in the Q in scoring last season, 96 points in his team's 221 goals. No one on the team who played serious minutes was really close in +/-, to Trukhno’s -1. F Danny Stewart was at -10, and the other players in the top 5 in scoring were -20 or worse. He had a torrid start to this season, and has recently slumped. Were there no slump I’d have him at #1.

(3) Rob Schremp – All kinds of tools, they don’t seem to be translating as seamlessly as some may have hoped. Still though, 18 points thru 24 games isn’t awful production given that not many are saying he’s had an easy adjustment. I could make a case to have him first, and I could probably make a case to have him 6th or 7th if I were in a bad mood. Still has enormous potential.

(4) Andrew Cogliano – has recently caught fire, I think he can move to the top of this list if his offence improves over the rest of this season, and hopefully we’ll see a strong WJHC from Cogliano as well. Hopefully he will turn pro this summer, but that remains to be seen. If he’s truly not seeing the kind of icetime one would expect in college, maybe spending a year in Michigan next season where he’d be given more responsibility wouldn’t be a bad idea. On the other hand if he looks to be pretty much ready to play at a more competitive level, there’s no sense holding him back to play in college. EDM can control Cogliano’s rights for a maximum of seven seasons starting 07/08, and they don’t receive an extension by leaving him in college for another season. If he goes back to college next year, then EDM will only control his rights for six seasons starting 08/9. He can be #1 on this list in a month, and I hope he is, because the more good F prospects that turn into great F prospects, the merrier.

(5) JF Jacques – If he’s not NHL ready, he’s pretty close. The big question with him is offensive upside, but he answered some questions well last year in that regard with his AHL performance. However, there hasn’t been much shown at the NHL level, and even though he’s young you’d still like to see a bit more offensive awareness.

(6) Tom Gilbert – He has adapted very well to the AHL level from the sounds of things, I’m more excited about him as a prospect at this stage than I was with Greene last season. With Smid and Greene ahead of Gilbert on the depth chart Gilbert may end up getting stunted within the Oilers organization, if that is going to be the case maybe we’ll see him moved sooner rather than later?

(7) Devan Dubnyk – Not much to say about him, obviously we’ll need to see how he translates to the AHL, except he may not get a chance to play there this season. Give how much they had to pay in signing bonus to get this guy signed, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pay an AHL team some money to guarantee starts? Can they do that?

(8) Alexei Mikhnov – I would have put him higher before camp, but a couple factors hurt his prospect value. He’s only 4 years from UFA, and I don’t know if he can play away from the puck well enough at this NHL level. Time’s ticking on Mikhnov.

(9) Taylor Chorney – At the time of the draft I was none too pleased with Chorney’s selection, mainly because I haven’t heard much about him. The more I hear, the more I like with the exception of the report that he’s a little bit soft. Can’t wait to hear how his WJHC goes.

(10) Kyle Brodziak – the results are starting to speak for themselves, Brodziak sounds like he’s having quite the season with Wilkes Barre. Not a tremendous year for Iowa last year. Since November 15th Brodziak has posted 11 pts in 12 games to go along with a +4 rating.

(11) Mathieu Roy – simply having too good a season to have him lower IMO, and he may still be too low. *edit* Everything previous I typed prior to his callup, which again leads me to believe I may have him too low. Same problem as Gilbert (and to a lesser extent Chorney) in that he’s blocked by Smid and Greene. The Oilers might have one or two of those guys bust largely because they are blocked within the organization, only to blossom elsewhere, so perhaps moving one of them (or Greene or Smid, who knows?) might be an option in the right deal?

After this point I think the prospect pool starts to become a bit more murky. Yes there is still a reasonable amount of talent, but to me the top 11 stand out as a bit more “proven”, I suppose with the exceptions of Trukhno and Cogliano but I’ve liked enough of what I’ve heard and seen about the two of them to include them with this group.