The Journey: Drilling for Oil

Benjamin Gehrels


Welcome back to The Journey, where we follow hockey prospects and their paths to the NHL, providing fantasy predictions and analysis along the way.

This week, we'll be taking a closer look at what to expect from the Edmonton Oilers for the rest of this year and the coming few seasons. The addition of Evander Kane and the recent coaching change from Dave Tippett to Jay Woodcroft seems to have added a physical element, relaxed the players, and sparked some new life in a team that should be far more dynamic than they've shown since their strong start earlier this year.

There are a couple reasons why the Oilers are particularly interesting from a prospect standpoint: they have a ton of high-upside prospects, and their two megastars produce a Crosby-Malkin effect where in theory any of those prospects could absolutely explode if they end up clicking with either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. First, we'll do a brief survey of the timeline and potential upside of the Oilers' top prospects, including where they might fit into the lineup. Then we'll examine whether or not the megastar effect in Edmonton is actually real. Continuing the Pittsburgh analogy, as exciting as Chris Kunitz and Bryan Rust were, there was also a revolving door of busts like Jason Zucker that just never seemed to pan out.

NHL Prospects/Young Players

Evan Bouchard (26 points in 47 games)

Stud. Acquire him if you can; don't sell him if you have him. He's bumped Barrie off PP1 and looks primed for a star-level career.

Philip Broberg (1 point in 12 games)

Although Broberg is only 20, he spent his D+1 and D+2 years in the SHL, the top Swedish men's league, where he scored 21 points in 89 games. That didn't really move the needle and raised questions about his ultimate upside but that's an impressive amount of professional experience for such a young player. He's always been known for his elite speed, and earlier this year in the AHL he was finally able to translate that speed into meaningful production with 18 points in 26 games, which was extremely encouraging for Oilers fans. With Bouchard looking like a bonafide #1 defenceman and multi-cat mainstay Darnell Nurse signed long term, there seems to be a spot opening up for Broberg on the second pair and second power play once