Edmonton OilersProspects

Edmonton Oilers Prospect Roundup: Defencemen take a step forward

Welcome to the second edition of the Edmonton Oilers’ Prospect Roundup. Each week, we breakdown everything that you need to know about the best and brightest stars in the team’s system.

This week, the defence prospects earn the spotlight. Xavier Bourgault scored again for the Bakersfield Condors, but the team fell to 2–3–1 to start the year. Let’s dive right into it!


Welcome to the TOR Edmonton Oilers prospect update. Each week, we’ll take a dive into how the Oilers’ prospects have done in their respective leagues. We have defined a prospect as a skater who has played fewer than 65 NHL games, and is younger than 25 years of age. All data is from EliteProspects. We also use an NHLe calculator built by Christian Roatis (@Croatis) which is used to estimate a player’s equivalent point total in the NHL based on how they are performing in their respective league. The calculator uses the difficulty of the given league combined with the ease at which a player puts up points to determine the NHLe.


The theme for this week’s post is the promising play of several blueliners, and really the performance from the position as a whole. Even before Holland, perhaps, and especially under this current regime, it is clear that the Oilers have a preference for size on the back end.

Despite the archetype, it is great to see many players in the Oilers’ system take steps in all areas of their game, as a number of prospects are authoring strong seasons already. Maximus Wanner really took off last season, and during the early fall we’re seeing that others such as Luca Munzenberger, Michael Kesselring, and Nikita Yevseyev delivering above expectations.

The Oilers depth of forward prospects was more notable headed into the season, yet the defence has caught up quickly. Naturally the group all slides in behind Philip Broberg, but the Oilers look to have a fairly stable stream of defenders who might be working their way into the conversation over the next three seasons.

This and that

AHL

There was but a single AHL game this week, the Bakersfield Condors falling to the Ontario Reign and to 2–3–1 on the season.

Xavier Bourgault continued his goal scoring ways, scoring his third of the young season. This is a promising start for the young volume shooter, as he is keeping pace with older, more established AHL players like James Hamblin and Seth Griffith in his rookie season.

Not only is Bourgault a strong shooter, but he does possess a degree of defensive awareness. We see him putting both to good use on the penalty kill here.

Michael Kesselring continued his less likely scoring ways, the defenceman netting his fourth of the season, leading the team. An offensive dynamo he is not, yet turning 23 this season, it does beg the question that there might be more upside to Kesselring’s game than most have given him credit for.

Like many defencemen in the Oilers’ system he is a big body who has some skating ability. With continued strong play he might see himself earn a call up over the next season or two. His being a right shot certainly helps in this regard, as Philip Broberg and Markus Niemelainen are on the left side.

Philip Broberg played his first game of the season, a welcome sight returning from injury. With the Condors as bad as they have been in the past few seasons, it’s unlikely Broberg’s counting stats will look as good as in past years. This, however, does not mean there is a lack of development.

Goalies

Things have been tough for the trio of Calvin Pickard, Olivier Rodrigue, and Ryan Fanti. The only games played this week between the three were losses by Pickard in the AHL and Fanti in the ECHL. Though none of the three can boast strong numbers, it is mitigating that the younger Rodrigue and Fanti are keeping pace with older and more experienced teammates behind their teams.

Their stats speak more towards their team’s lacklustre play than they do of any of the goalies in particular. As the year progresses, we’ll be looking for either Rodrigue or Fanti to assert themselves as the top option on their teams, rather than a specific save percentage or goals against average.

Meanwhile, further down the depth chart Samuel Jonsson has continued his strong play for the Rogle J20 team, improving his save percentage to .899 on the season with a shutout in his one game this week. A season long mark above .900 would be quite impressive for the soon to be 19 year old.

OHL

Matvei Petrov added another four points to his total this week, bringing him to 14 in 11 games played. His 1.27 points per game is less than the 1.43 he posted in the league last season, as much might have been expected given how the North Bay Battalion’s roster has turned over.

In these clips we see a lot of strong passing on the power play, along with some good chemistry with teammate and Seattle Kraken draft pick Ty Nelson. Certainly we should expect to see skilled play like these from Petrov, who leads the Battalion in scoring. Although much of his work has come on the power play, it is good to see Petrov embrace a playmaking role. Known more for his shot Petrov’s continued growth as a playmaker bodes well for his eventual AHL rookie season next year.

WHL

Off to strong starts to their seasons it was a lighter week for both Jake Chiasson and Reid Schaefer. Chiasson went pointless while Schaefer added one assist.

It was a light week for Maximus Wanner as well, held to a single assist in his two games. His progress should not be measured too strictly by point totals, certainly not as much as Chiasson or Schaefer.

KHL

Maxim Beryozkin scored two goals across his three KHL games this week. It is promising to see him chip in semi consistently in his rookie KHL season, and maintaining a 0.25-0.5 point per game pace through the season would be a strong season all things considered.

We can see that his shot is a force to be reckoned with. His size and speed can make him an intimidating presence on the rush, so it is fantastic to see him in the high traffic area in front of the net as well.

Meanwhile, Nikita Yevseyev scored two goals across his three KHL games, both in the same game, a scorching week from the defenceman. He’s been playing significant minutes as an 18 year old, a meteoric rise for a player drafted in the sixth round this past summer.

On these goals, he is picking his spots to jump in on the attack, as well his teammates trusting him in scrambling situations. Of course it would be nice to see some assists on the scoresheet, but the fact that he’s contributing significant minutes at the KHL level outweighs anything else at this point.

NCAA

Luca Munzenberger went pointless in his two outings this week, falling below the point per game pace he established through four games this season. Having already surpassed his point total of three from last season, it is a great sign that Munzenberger is able to assert himself at the NCAA level as the two-way force he flashed during the cancelled U20 World Juniors. Hovering between half a point per game or higher would be a strong season for the defenceman.

Meanwhile, his teammate at University of Vermont Joel Maatta added a point this week, bringing him to three on the season. Maatta is an older prospect despite being drafted this summer, and has a long road ahead of him before any NHL considerations. It is promising however, Munzenberger sits second on the team for points, with Maatta tied for third.

NHLe Leaderboard

NHLe is a metric used to estimate a player’s offensive output at the NHL level from their point totals in their respective league. Here are the Oilers’ current top five (bracketed numbers denote movement from the previous week).

  1. James Hamblin 39.9 (1)
  2. Reid Schaefer 35.7 (2)
  3. Matvei Petrov 33.6 (4)
  4. Xavier Bourgault 33.1 (N/A)
  5. Michael Kesselring 33.1 (N/A)

Overall regular season totals for Oilers’ prospects

Forwards

PlayerPositionGPGAPP/GPPIMNHLeTeamLeague
Maxim BeryozkinLW/RW93360.66620.9Molot PermVHL
113140.36423.7Lokomotiv YaroslavlKHL
Xavier BourgaultC63240.83033.1Bakersfield CondorsAHL
Skyler Brind’AmourC62130.50011.5Quinnipiac UniversityNCAA
Jake ChiassonC/RW1356110.85421.0Brandon Wheat KingsWHL
Maxim DenezhkinC2000000Avtomobilist YekaterinburgKHL
C133250.393912.2Gornyak-UGMKVHL
James HamblinC/LW63361.00039.9Bakersfield CondorsAHL
Klim KostinLW/RW61230.51319.4Bakersfield CondorsAHL
Shane LachanceLW83360.75416.6Youngstown PhantomUSHL
Raphael LavoieC/RW0000000Bakersfield CondorsAHL
Jeremias LindewallRW/LW131230.234N/AOsrersunds IKHockeyEttan
Tomas MazuraC50110.2025.4St. Lawrence UniversityNCAA
Joel MaattaC72130.431012.9University of VermontNCAA
Matvei PetrovRW/LW11410141.27233.6North Bay BattalionOHL
Noah PhilpC60110.1706.8Bakersfield CondorsAHL
Aapeli RasanenC1458130.93834.5KalPaLiiga
Carter SavoieLW1000000Bakersfield CondorsAHL
Reid SchaeferLW9103131.441635.7Seattle ThunderbirdsWHL
Tyler TullioC/RW61120.33213.2Bakersfield CondorsAHL

Defencemen

PlayerGPGAPP/GPPIMNHLeTeamLeague
Philip Broberg1000000Bakersfield CondorsAHL
Philip Kemp61010.1726.8Bakersfield CondorsAHL
Michael Kesselring64150.83233.1Bakersfield CondorsAHL
Luca Munzenberger60440.67421.6University of VermontNCAA
Markus Niemelainen20110.5019.9Bakersfield CondorsAHL
Maximus Wanner62240.51412.4Moose Jaw WarriorsWHL
Nikita Yevseyev1000000Bars KazanVHL
183030.17511.2Ak Bars KazanKHL

Goalies

PlayerGPGAASV%TeamLeague
Samuel Jonsson122.260.899Rogle BK J20J20 Nationell
Olivier Rodrigue23.040.882Bakersfield CondorsAHL
Ryan Fanti24.350.842Fort Wayne KometsECHL

Which prospects are you most excited about? Let us know below in the comments or on social media.

Gregory Babinski

twitter: @axiomsofice

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