Welcome to another 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, Klim Kostin’s strong performance earns the spotlight. 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.
As this week’s headline, Klim Kostin makes his Oilers debut. Though he has played games for the St. Louis Blues, it is notable that Kostin performed really well against the Florida Panthers. On a line with Ryan McLeod, Kostin brought size, speed, and tenacity, looking quite at home in the NHL.
When Kostin was acquired for Dmitri Samorukov about a month ago, there were some questions whether the Oilers should be trading a defenceman, an area that might require upgrading, for a forward.
We’ve seen GM Ken Holland target big, straightforward, power wingers before, and given Evander Kane’s injury Kostin’s presence is welcomed. As a former first round draft pick, Kostin does have some skill and pedigree to make an intriguing option up front. Perhaps top-six upside is out of the question, but middle-six viability should not be written off for Kostin.
Kostin’s path has had ups and downs, a reminder that development is not always a straight line. No matter how or when they get there, it is nice to see a prospect make the jump to the NHL.
So close to the cap ceiling, and well invested in the years to come, it is paramount that the Oilers find ways to graduate players from their prospect pipeline on a consistent basis. Though there are a lot of positive developments around the world in this regard, prospects with more points or flashier skills, it is important to remember that the actualization of their NHL potential is the ultimate goal.
This and That
The Bakersfield Condors went 2–0–0 this week, riding a strong defensive performance, allowing just one goal against combined across the two games. This feat is made more impressive considering the depth that was called to the Oilers lineup, as in the subtractions from the Condors lineup.
Olivier Rodrigue continued his strong season, seemingly having taken a big step forward in his development.
This is great puck movement on the power play from the Ontario Reign, a stacked AHL team. A good sign that Rodrigue has more success tracking the puck than the camera here.
Most promising of all is that Philip Broberg returned to action. At this point the focus should not be on how many points Broberg produces as much as his growing physical strength and decision making. This should be the last season that Broberg begins in the AHL, so getting him as many minutes as possible is critical. At the very least, it’s good to see that the Condors best defensive performances are coming with him in the lineup.
With such low scoring games, it is not too much of a surprise that AHL rookies Xavier Bourgault, Carter Savoie, and Tyler Tullio went without points. The trio have had fairly decent starts to their pro careers, and it’s not too much to think that one of the three will make the NHL at some point.
There were two strong offensive performances for the Condors, as Raphael Lavoie and Michael Kesselring continued their current production streaks.
Of the two, Kesselring’s performance is the more unexpected. With six goals already, Kesselring has already scored more this season since his days in the USHL in 2018–19. His assist totals have never been too gaudy, as his 0.1 assists per game rate is not below his usual. Scoring over half a goal per game is likely not something that Kesselring should be expected to maintain, but it is a good sign that he has a future beyond the AHL. In particular, these goals represent a willingness and ability to shoot, as well as his getting up on the rush.
This is a big shot from the big man, starting off a good play by Lavoie driving the slot and winning a battle.
Speaking of which, Lavoie is a talented prospect in a precarious position. With some inconsistent years on his resume, and with a glut of young forwards in the Oilers system, the pressure is on for Lavoie to lead the charge for the Condors when it comes to scoring. Scoring a goal and an assist in the Condors 2–0 win over the San Diego Gulls and AHL player of the week, goaltender Lukas Dostal, is exactly what fans are hoping to see from the skilled power winger. The fact that both points came in the third period of a tight game only underscores how much the Condors need his talents, or rather the opportunity that Lavoie currently holds.
Lavoie scores his second point of the game; great pass, great all around team play, but still a quick shot from Lavoie. It’s nice to see him score from a bit farther out than his usual.
Ryan Fanti continues to take control of the Fort Wayne Komets starting job, just as his save percentage continues to creep towards .900. A goalie’s save percentage does not necessarily scale from league to league very much, far less than even the inelegance of doing so with skaters, so the key for Fanti is to be a reliable and consistent option. He had great numbers in college, and he’s trending well to have a chance at proving his mettle in the AHL sooner rather than later. With Rodrigue and Calvin Pickard ahead of him, the priority of getting starts is well founded.
GM Ken Holland gets his fair share of criticism, but the manoeuvring of Zack Kassian and selection of Reid Schaefer continues to look like a huge win for the Oilers. Schaefer’s power winger archetype is clearly something the Oilers are valuing of late, and he is continuing to produce at a high level.
Here we see a huge OT goal, not only getting to the front of the net but also getting lost in coverage. This speaks to why Schaefer has more goals than assists; he is a finisher more than a playmaker, who carries the puck through the neutral zone more than a transition passer. With Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the team, it does make sense to target players of Schaefer’s ilk to compliment them. By this thinking, as long as we see Schaefer bring the puck to the net and light up the WHL he will be travelling a strong developmental path.
There is a chance that Schaefer could push for a U20 World Junior on team Canada, but with a plethora of older and deserving candidates, Oilers fans should not feel at all discouraged if Schaefer is left off the team.
Another bright spot in the WHL is Max Wanner, who has shown great promise as a stout and physical defender. The fact that he is continuing to grow his offence in the WHL is a good sign, though it will likely remain as a secondary aspect to his game.
Here we see a lot of good plays from Wanner. He has the skating and offensive awareness to do well attacking the blueline in transition, followed by a deft tape to tape pass for a primary assist. This was part of a two goal, two assist night that gave Wanner the game’s first star.
Wanner is a bit less heralded than Schaefer, but might look good on a World Junior roster for Canada as well. Wanner’s stock has consistently risen since his draft day, and with increasing production his being among this season’s best WHL defencemen is certainly within reason.
This clip shows Wanner’s skating and awareness once again, jumping up into the rush and driving the far post. We’ve seen some blasts from the point work well for Wanner, but these instances where his legs and brain do the work might be even more promising for his long term offensive upside.
Our trip around the OHL always includes Matvey Petrov, who had a quieter week coming off of his OHL Player of the Week honours.
This no look, bad angle, backhand is a sneaky move that shows off Petrov’s offensive awareness. He reads the puck’s path along the wall better than the other players on the ice while maintaining his orientation to the net, as well as the goalie’s not being set.
Maxim Beryozkin continues to produce in the KHL. It can be difficult to decipher when KHL players will make the move to North America, but the fact that Beryozkin continues to grow his game is good nonetheless.
This shows us a lot of Beryozkin’s most praised skills. With size, power, and agility he is adept at manoeuvring tight spaces along the boards and into the slot. It also shows his strong playmaking abilities, not only with a solid pass, but in his willingness to consistently attack laterally through the offensive zone. It’s easy to imagine such dangerous passes headed to Leon Draisaitl or Evan Bouchard in the future.
Meanwhile, an even younger Oilers prospect continues to thrive in the KHL. Nikita Yevseyev’s meteoric rise to Russia’s top league is a huge development that Oilers fans should be taking note of.
Without many assists on the season, this is an apple of a fantastic variety from Yevseyev: walking the blueline, dancing around two defenders before finding his defence partner (intentionally unmentioned). This level of play in the KHL this early into his career is a great surprise for Oilers fans.
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).
- Matvey Petrov 35.8 (1)
- Reid Schaefer 31.5 (2)
- Maxim Beryozkin 27.0 (3)
- James Hamblin 23.9 (5)
- Michael Kesselring 25.5 (N/A)
Overall regular season totals for Oilers’ prospects
|Maxim Beryozkin (LW/RW)||totals||26||6||7||13||0.5||10||5||totals|
|Xavier Bourgault (C)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||11||3||3||6||0.55||4||3||AHL||21.9|
|Skyler Brind’Amour (C)||Quinnipiac Univ.||NCAA||10||2||5||7||0.7||0||4||ECAC||16.1|
|Jake Chiasson (C/RW)||Brandon Wheat Kings||WHL||18||6||7||13||0.72||4||-8||WHL||17.8|
|Maxim Denezhkin (C)||totals||15||3||2||5||0.33||39||-2||totals|
|Seth Griffith (C/RW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||11||1||9||10||0.91||8||0||AHL||36.3|
|James Hamblin (LW/C)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||11||3||5||8||0.73||2||1||AHL||29.1|
|Mattias Janmark (C/W)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||4||2||2||4||1||2||3||AHL||39.9|
|Klim Kostin (LW/RW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||9||2||2||4||0.44||15||-4||AHL||17.5|
|Shane Lachance (LW)||Youngstown Phantoms||USHL||12||8||4||12||1||6||0||USHL||22.1|
|Raphaël Lavoie (C/RW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||5||2||1||3||0.6||4||1||AHL||23.9|
|Jeremias Lindewall (RW/LW)||Östersunds IK||HockeyAllsvenskan||15||1||2||3||0.2||6||-10||HockeyAllsvenskan||#N/A|
|Brad Malone (C/LW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||9||1||2||3||0.33||14||3||AHL||13.2|
|Tomas Mazura (C)||St. Lawrence Univ.||NCAA||9||1||2||3||0.33||2||1||ECAC||7.6|
|Greg McKegg (C/W)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||11||0||3||3||0.27||8||7||AHL||10.8|
|Joel Määttä (C)||Univ. of Vermont||NCAA||11||2||1||3||0.27||14||1||Hockey East||8.7|
|Matvei Petrov (RW/LW)||North Bay Battalion||OHL||17||9||14||23||1.35||10||11||OHL||35.8|
|Noah Philp (C)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||11||2||1||3||0.27||0||7||AHL||10.8|
|Carter Savoie (LW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||6||2||0||2||0.33||4||3||AHL||13.2|
|Reid Schaefer (LW)||Seattle Thunderbirds||WHL||15||14||5||19||1.27||30||8||WHL||31.5|
|Tyler Tullio (C/RW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||10||1||2||3||0.3||2||2||AHL||12.0|
|Philip Broberg (D)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||AHL||0.0|
|Vincent Desharnais (D)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||5||0||1||1||0.2||17||2||AHL||8.0|
|Philip Kemp (D)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||11||3||3||6||0.55||10||4||AHL||21.9|
|Michael Kesselring (D)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||11||6||1||7||0.64||11||2||AHL||25.5|
|Slater Koekkoek (D)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||AHL|
|Luca Münzenberger (D)||Univ. of Vermont||NCAA||7||0||4||4||0.57||4||-1||Hockey East||18.4|
|Markus Niemeläinen (D)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||2||0||1||1||0.5||0||1||AHL||19.9|
|Maximus Wanner (D)||Moose Jaw Warriors||WHL||11||4||6||10||0.91||18||5||WHL||22.5|
|Nikita Yevseyev (D)||totals||25||4||1||5||0.2||9||7||totals|
|Samuel Jonsson||Rögle BK J20||J20 Nationell||14||2.16||0.908|
|Olivier Rodrigue||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||4||2.02||0.927|
|Calvin Pickard||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||7||2.88||0.904|
|Ryan Fanti||Fort Wayne Komets||ECHL||6||3.57||0.878|
Which prospects are you most excited about? Let us know below in the comments or on social media.
Photo from @Condors on Twitter