Author of the article:

David Staples  •  Edmonton Journal

Publishing date:

Dec 25, 2020  •   •  4 minute read

Evan Bouchard celebrates his game-tying goal.

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The best thing about each Edmonton Oilers prospect?

Here we go, digging into what is best about each of the organization’s Top 20 prospects, as ranked by The Cult of Hockey two weeks ago.

20. Phil Kemp. Big, tough, competitive and a real leader. The new “Mean” Matt Greene anyone? That’s the best thing I can say about Kemp and it’s a real possibility he can develop along those lines.

19. Matej Blumel. He’s the one player in the Top 20 I’ve never seen play, but Cult of Hockey contributor Sean Patrick Ryan, who has got a real eye for NHL talent, describes him as “a tenacious player who’s work ethic and finishing ability are his two best qualities.” So that’s two best things for Blumel, who in other years in an Oilers organization less packed with talent might be ranked in the Top 10 based on his strong start in the Czech league.

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18. Cooper Marody. Who can forget that agile, skilled and dangerous puck carrier who looked like the Patrick Kane of the AHL as he wheeled around the offensive zone two years ago? Injuries have set him back but Marody carries and passes the puck at an NHL level.

17. Filip Berglund. Like Marody he’s been banged up, but he’s big and skilled, with a strong point shot. Add all that up and the best thing about Berglund is he’s got real NHL potential.

16. Stuart Skinner. He’s got Ken Dryden-size in net. Plagued by inconsistently so far as a pro, some games he looks like Ken Dryden as well.

15. Ilya Konovalov. He’s just 22 and he’s got a .924 save percentage this year in the KHL, which speaks of solid performance as a young goalie, a promising combination of facts.

14. Tyler Tullio. It’s pretty good that his last name rhymes with “Coolio,” but even better is that Sean Patrick Ryan says his upside and his game reminds of feisty and skilled NHL attacker Brenda Gallagher: “Gallagher dropped to the 5th round years ago and Tullio had almost identical pts/game as him and similar styles (and size).”

13. Kirill Maksimov. Good size and great shot, but the best thing about this Oilers prospect is his hustle. He’s always digging for that puck or coming back hard on the back check.

12. Theodor Lennstrom. I’m not sure that there’s a more agile skater among the Oilers prospects than Lennstrom, but the best thing about him is his hockey sense. He knows how to read the play and thus force the action.

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11. Michael Kesselring. He’s super-sized, 6-4, 215-pounds, and he’s got some skill but the best thing about him is a trait he shares with Lennstrom, hockey sense. Smart player who reads the game well and gets to where he needs to be on the ice.

10. Olivier Rodrigue. Coming off his best year in major junior, he’s seized the starter’s job in his first pro season with Graz of the Austrian League. Step One complete.

9. William Lagesson. The best thing about “Wild” Bill, other than his nickname, is that he can do it all, both move the puck and defend, and he’s likely ready to do so at the NHL level.

8. Carter Savoie. He was heralded as having one of the best shots in the 2020 NHL draft class, and he’s been proving that is true in his first NCAA seasons, where he’s tied for lead in goals scored. But the best thing about Savoie is his hockey smarts. His eyes are always up, his hands are deft, and he invariably makes the right play fast as soon as he gets the puck.

7. Ryan McLeod. When it comes to straight ahead speed, there are only two players on this list who challenge McLeod for that title. He can flat out move.

6. Tyler Benson. He’s putting up points in Switzerland, just like he did in the AHL, and he’s doing it because he reads the game and passes the puck so well. That passing game is strong, maybe strong enough to earn him a job on the Oilers this year.

5. Raphael Lavoie. He often goes fearless and hard to the net with the puck like he’s channelling Glenn Anderson.

4. Dmitri Samorukov. He used to be inconsistent but he’s become the model of consistency for CSKA in Moscow this year, stopping the attack, winning the puck, moving the puck, and doing so repeatedly. That new dependability is a huge strength and will go a long way in terms of Samorukov’s NHL aspirations.

3. Dylan Holloway. Big man, skates as fast as McLeod, and charges into the play with a will to win the puck and make a difference. That’s what is best about him, his determination to win the puck.

2. Philip Broberg. The best thing about Broberg? Many a night, when his confidence is high and he’s powering around the ice with the puck and thwarting attackers with his reach, agility and size, he reminds me of Serge Savard.

1. Evan Bouchard. I’m tempted to say it’s his outstanding point shot, but the thing that’s going to make him a strong NHLer is his passing. It’s like he’s got laser guidance with those passes.

One more best thing?

The Cult of Hockey’s readers.

I’ve long said this blog is blessed with the wisest hockeys fans in the world.

By the Faithful and for the Faithful, from all of us at the Cult to Oilers fans in Alberta and around the world, we wish you a hopeful Christmas and a brave New Year!

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