With their second-round pick, 56th overall, the Edmonton Oilers selected right shot defenceman Beau Akey from the OHL’s Barrie Colts. Akey was selected in line with his draft ranking on most boards, a player with intriguing upside and identifiable traits.
Let’s take a look at who Akey is as a player, where his development path might take him, and how he fits into the Oilers overall prospect pool.
|Beau Akey||Regular Season||Playoffs|
The first thing that stands out with Akey is his skating prowess, most notably, his agility. There is a degree of explosiveness and power to his stride, and he is able to change velocity quickly. This can help Akey in a number of areas, evading forecheckers to advance the puck or find open lanes across the offensive blueline.
This skating ability can even be applied defensively, as Akey has shown some promise as a transition defender, managing his gaps well and keeping up with oncoming attackers. Akey has some size at 6’0’ and 174 lbs, but still needs to fill out and add strength before turning pro. In all, Akey shows some defensive promise in most part thanks to his skating and stick checking.
Akey is a capable offensive defenceman, of course starting with his skating. He does have some puck skills, particularly as an effective passer, able to stretch the ice with long stretch passes. His decision making continues to improve, and combined with Akey’s ability to buy himself time and space with his agility. He should be able to continue growing into an effective puck mover.
As well, Akey is able to jump up into the play, and displays his playmaking ability during in zone offence, able to make plays off the rush and find seams through the middle. More than a powerful shot, Akey has some accuracy and a quick release. He is able to get picks through traffic or pick corners through screens from the blueline.
Path to pro
In all, Akey’s offensive totals were hindered by the presence of teammate and fellow right shot Brandt Clarke. Clarke, a top 10 draft pick in 2021, was a clear cut above Akey, though this is hardly a slight on the Oilers’ pick. With Clarke graduating beyond Junior hockey next season, Akey should be in line for a big increase in production thanks to a bigger role.
With two more seasons of OHL eligibility, we should expect big things from Akey in the coming seasons. While an increase of production is still a part of what we will be looking for from Akey, it won’t tell the whole story. Until Akey makes the transition to the professional ranks, likely the AHL in 2025–26, we should be hoping to see his game round out defensively as well. Akey might never be a mean, punishing, physical in zone defender, but building out a reliable two-way game will help him rise up the ranks.
Perhaps, with a steep developmental curve, Akey might even play his way into consideration for Canada’s U20 World Junior team in 2025. Being considered would be a strong sign for Akey, though the competition to make the team outright is always stiff.
Fit on the roster
Akey joins an Oilers prospect pool that compliments his skill set well. Most of the Oilers defence prospects bring the size, physicality, and profile for effective in zone defending that Akey would appreciate in a partner. In fact, Akey is somewhat needed for the Oilers to round out the skill set of their defence prospects as a primary puck mover.
Though the Bakersfield Condors needs are far from the highest priority, we saw how much of an impact a similar style of player, Cam Dineen, had on the Condors level of play after being acquired near the 2022–23 trade deadline. While Akey does have the chance to become a better NHL player than Dineen, becoming as effective at the AHL level would be an accomplishment. This does, however, outline how important it will be for Akey to continue to develop his defensive game over the coming seasons.