The Edmonton Oilers’ prospects saw plenty of action this past week. With a lot of highlight performances, we had to give this week’s biggest honours to a familiar a name: Reid Schaefer. His recent inclusion to Canada’s U20 tryout roster earns him 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.
Main Story: Reid Schaefer
Reid Schaefer earns a spot at team Canada’s U20 World Junior selection camp.
Although there are some uber-prospects in Connor Bedard and Adam Fantilli in attendance as well, earning a try out for Canada’s U20 team is usually an honour reserved for only the top percentage of 19-year-olds (without a contentious personal history with the organisation itself). The fact that Schaefer has done so in his last year of eligibility due to a September birthday is extremely encouraging.
Schaefer, of course, is a big body and a power forward with a strong goal scoring touch. More impressively, much of his work in the goal column has come at even strength, pacing the WHL in even strength goals per 60.
This may be from last season, but it does show some of Schaefer’s puck control skills and effectiveness of the rush. More than just a big body, Schaefer has good speed and skating skills, as well as legitimate offensive talent.
Although most of Schaefer’s goal scoring work comes from the tough net from ice, here we see a sign of a high offensive quality with a long range backhand goal.
A scrimmage goal from earlier this year solidifying the point being made about Schaefer’s quality. In other words, don’t think that Schaefer is nothing but a big body out there, he is a legitimately good player, who has earned this opportunity with team Canada thoroughly.
From last year’s playoffs, Schaefer shows us his quality, especially off the rush, once more. A third line player on the Thunderbirds last season, Schaefer still had the confidence to attempt such a move, an attitude that should help him lower in the Canadian lineup if he were to make the team.
This is nothing much going on here, besides a great shot from Schaefer. Although much of his work comes from in tight, it is good to see that Schaefer has a bit of range in his arsenal.
Regardless of if he makes the team or not, the invitation to camp is a huge compliment and recognition of where Schaefer’s game is at.
There are two other skaters in the Oilers who would have had reasonable shots at cracking their respective national U20 teams, Matvey Petrov and Nikita Yevseyev, but Russia won’t be at the tournament. We’ll discuss more below.
This and that
The Bakersfield Condors had a rough week, going 0–4–0 since our last prospects report. The team was outshot and outplayed daily uniformly through this stretch, and both goalies took 0–2–0 records in their starts. Olivier Rodrigue has continued to separate himself as the starter, producing the best numbers of the group while starting 10 of 22 games.
The biggest performers of the week belongs to rookie forwards Xavier Bourgault and Tyler Tullio, as well as the surging Michael Kesselring, as the defenceman continued his scoring ways.
Xavier Bourgault scored three goals across the four games.
Bourgault shows two of his foremost traits here. First, a volume shooter, Bourgault has had success in translating his scoring touch to the professional ranks. On top of this, he does have some defensive awareness, using a good stick to create a turnover here.
Another heavy shot from Bourgault squeaks through the goalie, who can only get a piece.
Michael Kesselring added a goal and two assists, including 19 shots.
Kesselring continues his unexpected scoring season, now up to eight on the year. Kesselring has continued to find lanes from the blueline, but looks big and fast, able to lead the rush with his passing or skating.
Perhaps a bit obscure or unknown to most, Kesselring is having a season that might put him on the radar for more and more across Oil Country.
Meanwhile, Tyler Tullio scored three goals of his own, bringing his season total to four, and earning player of the week honours.
This clip starts with some nice work from Rodrigue in net, before Tullio is able to out race a defender for the breakaway. This is nice composure and some good hands from Tullio.
Tullio goes high here with the loose puck he finds in the slot. We should not be too concerned with the slow start for Tullio in his rookie season, in fact we should be quite encouraged to see him finding his game as the season rolls along.
Although this is merely an OHL breakaway goal, it is nice to see a lot of positive traits on display from Petrov here. Now listed at 6’2”, Petrov has some good speed and skill.
In his usual power play spot on the far flank, Petrov makes a nice play here, faking a shot before one-touching a tape to tape pass into the slot.
Petrov is a skilled forward who put up fantastic numbers in the OHL last season. It might be ambitious to think his numbers will be much improved over last year, but it is important for Petrov to continue rounding out his game.
Although Petrov might be skilled enough to warrant consideration for Russia’s U20 team, it is impossible for him to have the opportunity since Russia is uninvited. Russia—had they been allowed to play at the tournament—usually sticks to building a team of prospects who are playing in Russia, more than a team of its best prospects, something that will not help the OHL based Petrov.
This highlight shows exactly why the Max Wanner hype train is picking up steam. Drafted two seasons ago, Wanner was thought of as a big, physical, and defensive presence. Naturally, those attributes are still a part of Wanner’s game, but we are seeing his skills elsewhere grow by leaps and bounds with each passing month.
On display here are his skating prowess, attacking middle ice with mastery, his puck skills, manipulating space at high speed, as well as his growing confidence, to attempt this move at all.
Now up to about a point per game on the season, Wanner’s star is continuing to rise. For those familiar with his progression, seeing his continued evolution in these respects is a bit unsurprising. It might be worth rating Wanner as among the Oilers top prospects, and it might well have been justifiable to include him in team Canada’s selection camp alongside Schaefer.
Wanner does well in following up his blocked shot attempt, whacking the puck to a teammate to tie the game late. Paired with a top pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, Denton Mateychuck, Wanner is often trusted in the biggest moments, offensively and defensively, for the Warriors.
After taking a suspension-worthy knee-on-knee hit, it is great news to see Yevseyev back in action, and moreover, back to his strong play this season. A 2022 sixth-round pick, it is absolutely impressive that Yevseyev finds himself in the KHL at all, let alone in a prominent role, producing from the back end.
We’ve seen Yevseyev sneak in down the left side for some of his goals, but here we see a more traditional look, firing a seeing eye wrister from the blueline.
Yevseyev won’t get the chance to play on Russia’s U20 team, due to the restrictions on Russia, so checking in on his play won’t be possible this time around.
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 32.8 (1)
- Reid Schaefer 30.7 (2)
- Tyler Benson 26.7 (3)
- James Hamblin 23.9 (4)
- Max Wanner 23.5 (N/A)
Overall regular season totals for Oilers’ prospects
|Tyler Benson (LW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||3||0||2||2||0.67||2||0||AHL||26.7|
|Maxim Beryozkin (LW/RW)||totals||34||6||10||16||0.47||14||7||totals|
|Xavier Bourgault (C)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||20||7||4||11||0.55||6||-1||ECAC||12.6|
|Skyler Brind’Amour (C)||Quinnipiac Univ.||NCAA||16||6||7||13||0.81||0||7|
|Jake Chiasson (C/RW)||Brandon Wheat Kings||WHL||26||7||13||20||0.77||8||-17||WHL||19.1|
|Maxim Denezhkin (C)||totals||18||3||4||7||0.39||41||-5||totals|
|Seth Griffith (C/RW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||20||4||14||18||0.9||14||-5||AHL||35.9|
|James Hamblin (LW/C)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||15||3||6||9||0.6||2||-1||AHL||23.9|
|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||19||12||5||17||0.9||10||-1||USHL||19.9|
|Raphaël Lavoie (C/RW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||13||2||1||3||0.23||6||-4||AHL||9.2|
|Jeremias Lindewall (RW/LW)||Östersunds IK||HockeyAllsvenskan||19||1||3||4||0.21||6||-10||HockeyAllsvenskan|
|Brad Malone (C/LW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||10||1||3||4||0.4||16||2||ECAC||9.2|
|Tomas Mazura (C)||St. Lawrence Univ.||NCAA||11||1||2||3||0.27||2||1|
|Greg McKegg (C/W)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||20||1||4||5||0.25||18||1||Hockey East||8.1|
|Joel Määttä (C)||Univ. of Vermont||NCAA||17||3||2||5||0.29||14||-2|
|Matvei Petrov (RW/LW)||North Bay Battalion||OHL||25||10||21||31||1.24||14||12||OHL||32.8|
|Noah Philp (C)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||19||3||1||4||0.21||4||3||AHL||8.4|
|Carter Savoie (LW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||14||2||2||4||0.29||8||-4||AHL||11.6|
|Reid Schaefer (LW)||Seattle Thunderbirds||WHL||21||15||11||26||1.24||36||10||WHL||30.7|
|Tyler Tullio (C/RW)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||18||4||3||7||0.39||4||2||AHL||15.5|
|Philip Broberg (D)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||7||2||2||4||0.57||0||-2||AHL||22.7|
|Vincent Desharnais (D)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||5||0||1||1||0.2||17||2||AHL||8.0|
|Philip Kemp (D)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||20||3||6||9||0.45||15||3||AHL||17.9|
|Michael Kesselring (D)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||20||8||3||11||0.55||26||3||AHL||21.9|
|Slater Koekkoek (D)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||AHL|
|Luca Münzenberger (D)||Univ. of Vermont||NCAA||13||0||4||4||0.31||14||-6||Hockey East||10.0|
|Markus Niemeläinen (D)||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||7||0||1||1||0.14||4||1||AHL||5.6|
|Maximus Wanner (D)||Moose Jaw Warriors||WHL||21||6||14||20||0.95||26||15||WHL||23.5|
|Nikita Yevseyev (D)||totals||31||5||1||6||0.19||11||8||totals|
|Ak Bars Kazan||KHL||30||5||1||6||0.2||9||6||KHL||13.2|
|Olivier Rodrigue||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||10||2.96||0.916|
|Samuel Jonsson||Rögle BK J20||J20 Nationell||16||2.21||0.909|
|Fort Wayne Komets||ECHL||6||3.57||0.878|
|Calvin Pickard||Bakersfield Condors||AHL||8||3.12||0.899|
Which prospects are you most excited about? Let us know below in the comments or on social media.
Thanks to @BruceMcCurdy for sending in corrections on WJC details.