Edmonton OilersProspects

Projecting where Edmonton Oilers prospects will spend their next season

With the NHL offseason long since underway, and Edmonton Oilers rookie development camp in the rear view mirror, we are starting to get a clearer picture of how the Oilers will look at the NHL level and beyond. Naturally, there will be some surprises, good and bad, in the offseason ahead, perhaps into the very last moments of the 2023–24 preseason.

With that said let’s take a look at where we are expecting Oilers prospects to be playing this upcoming season.


Broberg, Holloway, Lavoie

Both Philip Broberg and Dylan Holloway played most of their games in the NHL last season, albeit in very limited roles. It hasn’t been as steep a developmental curve for either first-round draft pick as Oilers fans were hoping for, but both have continued to take steps forward each season. As such we should expect both Broberg and Holloway to earn bigger roles this upcoming season after another offseason of work. Quite frankly, the Oilers owe it to themselves to make a concerted effort in deploying each in a favourable lineup position.

Raphael Lavoie is under slightly different circumstances, but has earned a shot at pushing for an NHL spot out of training camp. It took some time, but Lavoie finally produced as a top forward in the AHL. Lavoie will hope to adjust to the NHL more quickly than he did the AHL, and is more likely to see a limited role this season if he is able to avoid AHL time.

Lavoie’s time in the minors was defined by a lack of consistency, with the mercurial scoring forward scoring in bunches and going cold for weeks. As an offensive player looking to crack the lineup, Lavoie’s usage in the NHL will be difficult to manage. Still, Lavoie presents an intriguing upside with more offence than other options lower in the Oilers lineup, making him a volatile projection. 


Markus Niemelainen is a big left shot defenceman known best for his physicality. Niemelainen can close gaps quickly with some decent skating as well. We shouldn’t expect too much from Niemelainen, but he is a worthwhile stopgap should the Oilers run into injury trouble. In all likelihood, Niemelainen will play in the AHL for most of 2023–24, but is definitely a candidate for a handful of NHL games in a pinch.

AHL risers

Bourgault, Tullio, Savoie

A trio of AHL sophomores—Xavier Bourgault, Tyler Tullio, and Carter Savoie—this group should be looking to improve their results from last season. While some have hopes for a big jump to the NHL, Bourgault in particular, all three have plenty left to prove at the AHL level.

Instead of hoping for an NHL promotion, the expectation for these three should be an increased role and effectiveness with the Bakersfield Condors. As forwards, we should hope to see a greater level of offensive production from all three players before considering them for an NHL spot. If any of the three are able to maintain roughly 0.6 points per game and contribute as a top-six forward for the Condors, talk of an NHL promotion will be warranted.

While their middling offensive production in their rookie years might have some fans worried, they still have a good chance at proving themselves in the season ahead. All three survived their rookie seasons as professionals, and the next step will be thriving throughout their sophomore seasons.

AHL rookies

Wanner, Petrov, Grubbe, Chiasson, de Jong, Berglund

The Oilers prospect pool is far from the league’s best, but an interesting quirk is the number of expected rookie AHLers making the transition to pro at the same time. With the Condors expecting to improve on their results from last season, it will be a good situation for this crop of skaters to build some chemistry together.

After a mysterious suspension that ended his WHL career, Max Wanner should be available to play this season. A big right shot defenceman with strong skating skills and a budding offensive game, Wanner had done nothing but impress before missing the back half of last season with the suspension. Given his attributes, Wanner is extremely likely to make his way into the NHL eventually, as far as prospect prognostication goes. The first step will be getting back into regular playing time, though Wanner could well become a top-four defenceman for the Condors by the end of the 2023–24 season. More than points, role and icetime will be the telltale signs of Wanner’s eventual NHL readiness.

The Condors will have a trio of scoring forwards, with Matvei Petrov, Jake Chiasson, and Ethan de Jong making their professional debuts. Petrov and Chiasson will be in their age 20 seasons as CHL graduates, while de Jong, an NCAA alumni, is a bit older in his age 24 season. While all three bring different styles to the game, they will have to prove to be effective point producers before garnering NHL consideration. de Jong is technically an AHL signing, but might be worth tracking.

Meanwhile, Jayden Grubbe, a 20-year-old CHL graduate, and Carl Berglund, a 23-year-old NCAA alumni, provide a more defensive disposition. Neither should be judged too harshly by their point totals, but will look to impact the game at the AHL level as rookies regardless.


Beryozkin, Yevseyev

With geopolitics shrouding Russian hockey in more obscurity than usual, it might be easy to forget two of the Oilers better prospects in Maxim Beryozkin and Nikita Yevseyev. Both were regular KHL contributors last season and could be impactful additions for the Oilers in the years ahead.

Beryozkin, a 23-year-old forward, has a great deal of attributes with which to work. A big body with good speed and fantastic agility, Beryozkin looks the part of an interesting option for an NHL middle-six wing spot. If Beryozkin is able to increase his production from last season, there is a chance that he could make the jump straight to the NHL in 2024–25.

Meanwhile, Yevseyev surprised in a big way, holding down a regular spot in the KHL as a teenager. Not only that, but Yevseyev and Ak Bars Kazan went all the way to the Gagarin Cup Final last season. Although not a behemoth, Yevseyev already looks to be built quite solidly, with enough strength and skating prowess to project as an all situations defender. Expecting a huge step forward in his sophomore KHL season might be a bit lofty, but if Yevseyev is able to replicate his last season once more as a regular KHL contributor on a strong team, it will bode quite well for his long term outlook.


Maxim Denezhkin should spend more time in the KHL soon if we are to continue hoping for NHL upside. It hasn’t been easy to keep track of his progress, and we will need a significant step forward to keep hopes alive. Likely to return to the VHL, Denezhkin has hit a wall as far as production is concerned, going from 0.65 points per game in his rookie VHL season, to 0.75 in his second season, to 0.57 this past season. Perhaps a longer look in the KHL would offer Denezhkin a chance to prove himself, but at 22 years old time is wearing shorter for Denezhkin to earn that chance.


Jonsson, Lindewall

Goalie Samuel Jonsson played extremely well in the playoffs this past season, his last in the Swedish junior league (J20 Nationell). He will look to take the step into the professional ranks in the Allsvenskan this season for BIK Karlskoga. We should hope to see Jonsson play well enough to earn regular starts.

Jeremiad Lindewall is a 2020 seventh-round pick who put up six points over 35 games during his rookie Allsvenskan season in 2022–23. Perhaps a year of growth will give Lindewall a better outcome this season, as we will need to see a big jump in 2023–24 if Lindewall is to stay on the radar for Oilers fans.


Copponi, Lachance, Munzenberger, Mattaa, Mazura

The Oilers should have a number of prospects playing in the NCAA next season, though it is possible that one of these players decides to turn pro before the season starts. With a populated AHL program, the Oilers might decide to send all these players back to college, as the NCAA does present stiffer competition than other Junior leagues, such as the CHL. 

Matt Copponi is a 2023 seventh-round pick, a double overager, who will look to lead Merrimack College to another strong season. Despite being a bit on the smaller side, Copponi plays with a daring and fearless spirit while attacking.

Shane Lachance is a big, goal scoring winger going into his freshman season despite being roughly the same age as Copponi. That being said, with a strong season and production with Boston University, Lachance could see his stock rise quickly.

Both Luca Munzenberger and Joel Mattaa play for the University of Vermont under Coach Todd Woodcroft, brother of Oilers Coach Jay. In a low scoring league and a lower scoring team, we should not be expecting eye popping production from either. From a distance, the more important thing to track is their usage, where both were in top roles for their team last season. It would have been exciting to see either take the jump to the AHL this season, but perhaps top minutes in the NCAA is the more prudent option.

Tomas Mazura is likely to spend the 2023–24 season back at St. Lawrence University, in what would be his second season with the team. After transferring from Providence College the year prior, and at 23 years of age come October, time is running out for Mazura to display any NHL upside.


Akey, Day

The Oilers second- and sixth-round picks in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, Beau Akey and Nathaniel Day will most likely be playing in the OHL the next two seasons.

Akey should have an expanded role on the Barrie Colts now that Brandt Clarke has graduated from the OHL, and should put up a lot of points. Over the next two seasons of his junior career, we should hope to see Akey develop into a dominant force with the puck. The thing to watch for is if Akey can match this ascension without the puck, as he might have the speed to be an equally dominant transition defender in the OHL.

Day will look to reprise and expand upon his role as starting goalie for the Flint Firebirds. If he’s able to stay in control of the crease for the next two seasons it would be a great sign, and naturally we should hope his technique and results both steadily improve along the way. With his tandem mate from last season, Will Cranley, ageing out of the OHL, the road ahead is clear for Day to seize the opportunity at hand.

Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire

Gregory Babinski

twitter: @axiomsofice

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