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s18 - Prospects Overload? [WB3]

2021-05-04

Edmonton, Atla. - It might not be the most talented collection of prospects in the VHL owned by the Edmonton Oilers but there are surely some pro players in the making. 

Before we dive into a true look at the 11 prospects under Oilers' control playing in the VJHL, let’s take a brief look at the five recent graduates from the program that the Attack has benefitted from. A pair of the players are late 1st round picks in defenceman Roman Polak (20th overall in s15) and forward Nikolai Kulemin (23rd overall in s17). The other three players were taken in the season 15 draft in later rounds; Karri Ramo (3rd round - 65th overall), Liam Reddox (4th round - 79th overall), and Victor Oreskovich (4th round - 90th overall). 

The prospect pool certainly lost some depth with those graduates and some talent in Kulemin and Polak as only one prospect was added via the season 18 draft. Although that add was in the 1st round so at least some talent is being replenished as the Oilers drafted the late Alexei Cherepanov with the 23rd overall pick. The Russian forward is the lone Oilers' prospects logging time currently in the VJHL that’s a first-round pick.  

Nearly half of the prospect pool was selected in the second round of the season 16 and 17 drafts; Chris Stewart (2nd round – 32nd overall), Matt Beleskey (2nd round – 36th overall), Shawn Matthias (2nd round – 40th overall), Steve Downie (2nd round - 46th overall), and Alex Stalock (2nd round – 52nd overall). Although Stewart and Beleskey went higher in the draft it’s Matthias and Stalock that appear to have the most promise with the former at a 3.0 rating and he was given draft boosts by me and the league too. And Stalock might be the first goalie GM Zammit develops into a pro goalie as Ramo has a shot but he won’t be nearly as good as Stalock. 

The other pieces could certainly come in handy – they may have been taken in the 3rd and 4th rounds but even this past graduate class Reddox was from the 4th round and he’s been a stud in the AHL so far. Here’s the Oilers depth prospects; Brendan Mikkelson (3rd round – 72nd overall), Tomas Kana (3rd round – 78th overall), Bobby Sanguinetti (4th round – 79th overall), Theo Peckham (4th round – 81st overall), and Brett Sutter (4th round – 84th overall). 

Thank goodness the Oilers have two first-round and second-round picks for the season 19 draft, as Downie, Stalock, Mikkelson, and Sutter will all age out of the VJHL at year's end leaving the prospect pool at just seven pieces, six of which from the season 17 draft. 

WC - 449