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Oilers' farm system loading up with younger talent on the wings; who amongst them will break via?

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2023 Edmonton Oilers prospects
#3 Matvei Petrov

Beforehand: #9 in 2022

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Tyler Wright might have moved on as Edmonton Oilers director of beginner scouting, however the jury stays very a lot out on the vast majority of the gamers he chosen in his 4 years on the job. Amongst them, children who’ve risen from the depths of the NHL Draft to the higher reaches of the group’s prospects listing like d-man Maximus Wanner. The #212 decide from 2021 was featured final time as our #4 prospect in the summertime of 2023 after a speedy rise in his remaining two years of junior hockey. The identical holds true for the subsequent younger man on our listing, winger Matvei Petrov, chosen only one spherical earlier in that very same 2021 Draft at #180 general. From that lowly beginning place within the group, after a pair of splendid junior seasons Petrov now stands as its #3 prospect, at the least in our estimation right here on the Cult of Hockey.

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Although they’re very totally different gamers, the 2 share one different private element: a typical birthday (!) of 2003 Mar 12. Which means each turned 20 a couple of months in the past and needs to be primed and prepared for the subsequent stage. They are going to enter the skilled ranks this month and can probably start their careers with Edmonton’s AHL affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors.

That transition is not going to be a simple one for both participant, and early expectations shouldn’t be set too excessive. Each are initiatives, however with appreciable upside in every case.

An odd mixture of circumstances delivered Petrov to the Oilers within the first place. The native squad entered the 2021 Draft with simply 5 picks, with three of these within the final two rounds. By some means Petrov — who one 12 months beforehand had been the #1 alternative within the CHL Import Draft by North Bay Battalion — had slipped all the way in which to the sixth spherical! This after the 2020-21 OHL season was cancelled solely and he spent the season approach beneath the radar within the equal Russian league, the MHL. Then got here the unusual scenario the place Ken Holland supplied that #180 decide to Toronto to facilitate Zach Hyman signing at a reasonably decrease cap hit unfold out over an eighth 12 months in a sign-and-trade, solely to be refused by then-Leafs GM Kyle Dubas for causes that stay unclear. Undeterred, Holland stored the decide, cashed it on Petrov, then signed Hyman to a seven-year deal.

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The orange line on this replica of his participant web page at Elite Prospects underscores the place he stood that draft day. Since then, his life has modified slightly lots.

Petrov elite

The younger Russian took the OHL by storm that fall of 2021. He scored a hat trick in his first recreation, finally posting wonderful numbers of 63 GP, 40-50, +32, rating prime 15 within the OHL in all 4 classes.

These numbers largely held agency in ’22-23 at 65 GP, 27-66-93, +31. A drop within the targets complete, a commensurate rise in assists the place he ranked third within the league.

Whereas the dearth of a significant rise in his general totals would possibly elevate an eyebrow, it’s price noting the participant misplaced his major linemates from his inaugural season; each have been over-agers in 2021-22 and have been ineligible to return. All three have been at the least 25 factors forward of any teammate on a prime heavy staff that had 4 30-goal males however solely three others in double digits.

Of their absence Petrov led the staff in scoring by a comfortable 10 factors, even because the targets have been a lot better distributed with seven gamers between 23 and 34 targets and eleven in double digits. A lot of that distribution got here off Petrov’s stick, judging by these gaudy assists numbers. Regardless of the high-end departures the staff remained a powerhouse, comfortably profitable its division and going deep within the playoffs.

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That’s when Petrov did enhance, and markedly. As a rookie he’d posted simply 2-8-10 with a dismal -16 in 13 playoff video games; a 12 months later he’d raised the bar to twenty GP, 4-18-22, +1.

Alongside the way in which he modified his recreation a bit, and it reveals in his stats. The Oilers reportedly requested the pure shooter to focus extra on his playmaking expertise, and he responded with 84 assists in 85 video games. An apple a recreation will preserve the physician away, what?

After all the perfect hen canine, comparable to Corey Pronman of The Athletic, had this vary of offensive expertise tagged earlier than his draft day.

  • He’s a participant who stands out with the puck on his stick. He makes talent performs incessantly via defenders and reveals a number of creativity as a playmaker from the perimeter and in small areas. Petrov additionally has an enormous shot that may rating from vary. He has a technically clean skating stride, but it surely lacks quickness to separate from opponents. Petrov can play an excessive amount of on the perimeter, although, and whereas he can rating from there you’d wish to see him generate extra within the high-percentage areas.

In the meantime, Elite Prospects will get down into the weeds regardless of the brevity of this remark:

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  • He has the mechanics of a wrist shot down: distance between toes, downward strain with ahead drive via the shot, prime hand out, and retaining his chest up. Petrov can transfer the puck below stick, saucer it above stick, and deceive with lookoffs.”

Poetry. That final remark specifically mirrors my very own takeaway in a first-hand commentary at Dev Camp two months in the past, the place he was the primary headliner in my report of the Billy Moores Cup. Suffice to say I “noticed him good”.

  • The a hundred and eightieth general decide from 2021 pumped house quite a lot of targets in main Workforce Kurri to the BMC. Not less than 5 by my depend. Oh yeah, and one other snipe off the iron to resolve Recreation #5 in a 1-round shootout. I could have missed a pair, there have been over 40 scored over the course of the 7 “video games”. Petrov’s included a few depraved snipes from outdoors, a goalmouth go that bounced in off a defender, one other rocket that rang iron on its strategy to twine. My favorite might have been the break-in the place his shot to the 5-hole was thwarted, however the rebound popped as much as about crossbar peak and the charging Petrov schwacked it house. Purpose scorer’s purpose.
    He certain has a purpose scorer’s swagger. The suitable shot winger is clearly very snug taking part in the port aspect, and is adept at slicing into the center of the ice dangling the disc, head up, and firing at beneficial taking pictures angles off his forehand aspect. Sturdy skater and stickhandler, and a adequate passer to log 66 assists in 65 OHL video games final season. Made some good passes Tuesday morning as nicely. He’s a methods away simply but — particularly on the danger/reward stability, I think — and can want AHL time, however that begins this season. Oilers have a stay one right here.

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The enduring reminiscence of that day as I write that is of the boldness with the puck, the willingness to take it to the within as “wrong-shooting” wingers are obliged to do, to manage it inside his opponent’s area for that transient instantaneous required to shoot, go, or look off as EP astutely famous. There was that one time he handed off from good taking pictures place however the puck discovered the tape of his open mate earlier than I might even begin to shake my head.

HUGE caveat: this was 3v3 format, half ice, performed with and in opposition to different prospects, the place one good dangle led to an open look. Not precisely the NHL. Merely an optimistic surroundings by which to look at expertise and undertaking. One would hope and anticipate a prime prospect to shine in such a setting, and shine is strictly what Matvei Petrov did. Appeared like a prime prospect to me, actually I’ve him ranked at #2 in what’s admittedly a prospect pool close to low ebb.

Expectations for 2023-24: A 12 months in the past, ahead prospects Xavier Bourgault and Ty Tullio made the troublesome transition from main junior to the professionals, whereas Carter Savoie did likewise from the faculty ranks. Every took a while to seek out his approach and his place on the staff. None scored as many as 15 targets or 35 factors after filling the web of their prior leagues. Identical scenario faces Petrov within the upcoming season, with all three bolded names a 12 months forward of him. He’s finest served by working his tail off studying the defensive aspect of the sport; if he can maintain his personal there and earn his ice time, his offensive presents will take care of themselves. 15-20-35 represents marker.

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Epilog: The Oilers and the CHL Import Draft

Provided that this draft is a feeder of expertise to main junior hockey which is itself a feeder to the NHL, we’d anticipate true hotshots rising to the highest of each, which actually we are going to see to an extent. Price noting that this draft in some methods resembles the Canadian Soccer League’s non-Import Draft, by which groups attempt to juggle between drafting the perfect “Finest Participant Accessible” vs. the fact of “Finest Participant Accessible Who May Really Signal With Us”, with extra pragmatic groups selecting the latter route. No level in a CHL membership drafting a rising star who has already signed a KHL contract at 17. Large distinction is that the CFL has 9 collaborating golf equipment, the CHL a large 60 unfold throughout its three leagues.

For his or her half, since 2010 the Oilers have had extra connections with excessive picks on this draft than some other NHL squad. That was the 12 months that noticed Martin Marincin picked first, Nail Yakupov second, and Tobias Rieder fifth general within the CHLID. The Oilers would choose Marincin forty eighth general within the NHL Draft that very same 12 months, Rieder at #114 in 2011, and famously Yakupov at #1 general in 2012.

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Let’s preserve our pattern manageable by taking a look at simply the highest two picks from every CHL Import Draft between 2010 and 2020, with NHL GP our sole stat of reference. For enjoyable we embody at proper the participant from every year who presently leads his draft class in big-league appearances:

CHLID 2010-20

These European gamers are usually 16 or 17 when drafted into the CHL, most of the time 5 years away from their final purpose, so it follows that picks from 2018 and past are skinny on the bottom. Certainly, we haven’t bothered to point out the final 3 drafts which so far have produced only a single participant (Juraj Slavkovsky in 2021) who has performed as many as 5 NHL video games to this early level.

Of the 22 gamers drafted both #1 or #2 over the listed span, 20 have been subsequently drafted into the NHL. No fewer than 5 — absolutely one quarter — have been chosen by the Oilers. The opposite NHL groups common about 0.5 every.

That’s an unexpected-bordering-on-weird end result that may partly be written off to small pattern measurement and in bigger half to choice bias (why zoom in particularly on the High Two, Bruce? Why begin in 2010 and never 2011?)

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Nonetheless, 5 out of 20. One wonders if the Oilers themselves might in some unspecified time in the future have recognized the CHL Import Draft itself as one marker of gamers for his or her scouts to observe.

Unsure it’s an important thought if that’s the case. Whereas all eleven gamers who’ve since led their draft class in NHL expertise have been chosen within the CHLID’s first spherical, on common they have been chosen thirty first general, smack dab in the midst of that 60-pick first spherical. Sadly, the Oilers chosen zero of these guys, although Leon Draisaitl does lead his 2012 group in factors and could be very shut in GP.

One different commentary: the CHL Import Draft is regularly turning into a diminishing precedence. In 2010 all 60 CHL groups exercised their first-round decide; by 2015 a half dozen groups handed together with the #16 general; and in 2020 no fewer than 10 groups handed together with the #10 general. Which is definitely previous information to nearer observers of main junior than I, however pretty jumped off my display screen when doing this little examine.

Cult of Hockey prospect collection rankings

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