One of the most revered issues of the year for The Hockey News, Future Watch, is hitting newsstands now. So while Edmonton’s rosy future is no surprise for Oilers fans, why not take a sneak peak at some of the team’s still-weaning stars, according to our expert panel of NHL scouts and execs?
The first thing to note is that players already established as NHLers are not included in our top 10 team rankings, so Taylor Hall, Sam Gagner, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi are considered graduates. That leaves defenseman Jeff Petry – himself a bit of a bubble player thanks to his contributions to the big club this season – as the top Edmonton prospect in the issue.
Along with his great size (6-foot-3, 196 pounds), Petry boasts sound mobility for his frame, while making smart plays and great first passes out of the zone. With the Edmonton defense banged up a little right now, Petry is once again up with the squad and will get an opportunity to show his stuff from here on out.
Coming in second is center Tyler Pitlick of the Medicine Hat Tigers. The NCAA transfer is currently laid up with a broken ankle, but his upside is obvious. Speedy and skilled, he has piled up points in the Western League since coming over from Minnesota State-Mankato and he’s not afraid to go into the rough parts of the ice in order to make things happen.
Swedish pivot Anton Lander is the third-rated prospect on the Oilers’ depth chart and here’s a good opportunity to note that the whole trio cracked the top-65 overall. Lander has long been lauded for his leadership skills, even though he’s still a teenager. His faceoff acumen is also well established and for fans of the Oilers, it’s been quite obvious the big squad could use help in that department as soon as possible. Lander’s two-way game will serve him well amongst a group more known for offensive flair once Edmonton’s youth brigade has entirely assembled. There are seven more Oilers prospects to find in Future Watch – but you’ll have to pick up the issue to reveal them.
This article was originally published in Metro News. For more hockey commentary, check out Metro Sports.