2021 TSP: Edmonton Oilers Prospects

Evan Bouchard, 2021 Top Edmonton Oilers Prospects
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Welcome to the 2021 Top Shelf Prospects series. As we go through the Summer of 2021 LWOH will be featuring a team-by-team look at the top prospects in the NHL. You can find all the articles here.  Since we had an extensive NHL Draft preview, we will not be reviewing the players who were drafted in the 2021 draft, as there have been no games since then, and our reports on them will not have changed. Today, we look at the 2021 Edmonton Oilers Prospects.

What we will be doing is linking you to those articles, as well as taking a look at prospects that were acquired before this year’s draft; their progress, and their chances of making the 2021-22 roster of the NHL team in question. We will also bring you one sleeper pick – a player who was either drafted in the 4th-round or later, or was an undrafted free agent signing who we pick as our dark horse to make the NHL. For those wondering, the cut-off for what is or isn’t a prospect is typically about 50 NHL games played (including playoff games) or is 25 years old. These are not hard or fast rules though, and we may make some exceptions depending on the circumstances.

NHL free agent frenzy

2021 Edmonton Oilers Prospects

Oilers Season and Off-Season

Led by Connor McDavid’s historic 100-point season, the Oilers finished second in the North Division. Things didn’t go as planned in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs though. The Oilers were swept by the Winnipeg Jets, starting their off-season before they planned.

With that in mind, the Oilers weren’t afraid to make big moves this summer. Seattle took one of the Oilers best defensemen in the expansion draft, signing free-agent to be Adam Larsson. The Oilers looked to replace him by trading for Duncan Keith. The Oilers also signed free agent winger Zach Hyman to a big contract. The team also improved their depth with a few other additions including defencemen Cody Ceci and Slater Koekkoek, as well as forwards Warren Foegele, Brendan Perlini, and Derek Ryan. While it remains to be seen if the moves will work, general manager Ken Holland cannot be accused of taking the summer off.

2021 NHL Draft Picks (C-): Xavier Bourgault, Luca Munzenberger, Jake Chiasson, Matvey Petrov, Shane Lachance, Maximus Wanner
Graduations: William Lagesson (age)

 

Top 2021 Edmonton Oilers Prospect: Evan Bouchard

Defence — shoots Right
Born October 20th, 1999 — Oakville, Ontario
Height 6’3″ — Weight 194 lbs [191 cm / 88 kg]
Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1st Round, #10 Overall in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Bouchard started the season with Sodertalje in the Allsvenskan. He put up six goals and 17 points in 23 games before making his way back to North America. While he spent most of the season on the Taxi Squad, Bouchard managed to get in 14 games with the Oilers, scoring two goals and five points.

Skating

Bouchard has decent speed when he gets going, but needs to work on his first step and acceleration. He has to work on his agility and footwork. It is pretty good going forward, and he can walk the line to open up passing and shooting lanes in the offensive zone. However, it can be an issue when defending in his own end. He has some issues with quicker forwards. Bouchard has good balance helped by his excellent core strength. He is strong on the puck and wins battles on the boards.

Offensive Game

Bouchard has an absolute bomb of a slap shot. His slap shot and one-timer are high-end NHL calibre. He also has an outstanding wrist and snapshot. Bouchard has a real knack for getting his shot on the net, despite heavy traffic. He is poised with the puck on his stick and makes subtle moves to open up passing and shooting games. Quick stickhandling moves change angles and open things up for him. Bouchard also understands to keep the puck low, allowing teammates to get deflections, tip-ins, and rebounds.

He has also really improved his passing over the last two years. Bouchard is far more accurate and consistent than he was early in his OHL career. He can quarterback the power play from the point, and can also lead the rush. He has very good vision and anticipates the developing play. Bouchard finds open teammates and makes smart plays with the puck, especially in transition.

Defensive Game

Bouchard is willing to play a physical game on the defensive end of the ice. He uses his size and his reach to keep attackers to the outside and away from the dangerous areas of the ice. Bouchard needs to work on his defensive instincts and positioning though. He can have a tendency to chase the puck and get himself out of position. Bouchard also needs to continue to work on his footwork. He can sometimes get beat by quick and agile forwards in one-on-one situations.

Outlook

Bouchard should make the Oilers this year. He is ready to take on a big offensive role. While there are some defensive issues that need to be worked on, that is true of many young defencemen. He can improve those areas of his game and become a franchise defender in the next few years.

 

#2 Prospect: Philip Broberg

Defence — shoots Left
Born June 25th, 2001 — Orebro, Sweden
Height 6’3″ — Weight 203 lbs [191 cm / 92 kg]
Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1st Round, #8 Overall, at the 2019 NHL Draft.

Broberg played 44 games for Skelleftea in the SHL putting up three goals and 13 points. He also appeared in 12 playoff games.

Skating

Broberg is an outstanding skater and this defines his game. He has excellent speed, moving effectively in both directions. His first step quickness and acceleration are also top-notch as he reaches that top-end speed in just a few strides. His agility and pivots are also very good but could still use some work to reach the same level as his speed and acceleration. The strong-skating allows Broberg to play an effective two-way game. Broberg’s long stride generates a lot of power and he is able to fight through checks. His excellent balance and solid base allow him to win battles against his opponents, especially when he has been playing against those his age. There is room to get stronger and more powerful when facing men.

Offensive Game

Broberg handles the puck well. Combined with his skating, he can take the puck out of danger and move it up the ice. He also has the ability to carry the puck through the neutral zone and create offence on the rush. Broberg also has good vision and passing skills. He starts the transition game by head-manning the puck and can play the point on the power play. Broberg moves well laterally and uses his ability to walk the line and change angles to create passing lanes. He is a creative player who can thread the needle with a tape-to-tape pass to set up a teammate.

Broberg’s slap shot is hard but could use some improvement on accuracy and on his ability to get it through shooting lanes. Broberg also has a good wrist shot and snapshot as well as a quick release which he takes advantage of by sliding down from the blue line to get closer to the net. However, he can again work on his accuracy with these shots.

Defensive Game

Broberg uses his skating to play an effective defensive game. However, he combines that skating with high hockey IQ and it makes him even better. He reads and anticipates the play extremely well, cutting off passes before they happen and transitioning to offence. While not a huge hitter, he uses his size to battle along the boards and helps clear the front of the net. He is not afraid to block shots or take a hit to make a play and clear the zone. An active stick helps Broberg to poke check opponents and get the puck off of them.

Outlook

Broberg arrives at Oilers training camp looking to force his way onto the roster. He’s still young and the Oilers took their time with Bouchard, another top ten pick on the blueline, so it’s no guarantee that he makes the team.  In fact, it is likely that he needs a little more seasoning. The Oilers will need to decide if they want Broberg in the AHL or the SHL.  I would bet on the AHL, so he can be called up if injuries hit and get some NHL experience. Look for him to take a full-time role later in the season, or in 2022-23.

 

#3 Prospect: Dylan Holloway

Centre/Left Wing — shoots Left
Born September 23rd, 2001 — Bragg Creek, Alberta
Height 6’1″ — Weight 203 lbs [185 cm / 92 kg]
Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1st Round, #14 Overall, at the 2020 NHL Draft.

Holloway was dominant in his second season with the University of Wisconsin. He put up 11 goals and 35 points in 23 games and helped the Badgers to the Big 10 Regular Season Title. He also put up two points in six games with Canada at the World Juniors, picking up a silver medal.

Skating

Holloway is another excellent skater. He has a tremendous first step and really strong acceleration. This all leads to very good top-end speed. Holloway is even better with his edgework and agility. His ability to change directions quickly with his quick cuts along with his ability to change speeds makes him very dangerous in one-on-one situations. He can be deadly on the rush. Holloway also has a very strong stride and good power in his lower body. He can fight through checks and still get to the front of the net. Holloway is good along the boards and can play in the dirty areas of the ice.

Offensive Game

Holloway’s stickhandling ability is also top-notch allowing him to make plays at top speed. This makes him extremely dangerous off the rush. Holloway’s speed forces defenders to back off. He can get by them on the outside and cut to the net. This opens up passing and shooting lanes. He can fire a quick wrist shot on goal using the defender as a screen. His shot is heavy and accurate. He also has a strong snapshot. Holloway gets to the front of the net. He can finish with the quick hands to bury rebounds or deflect in a teammates’ shot.

Holloway can also play the role of a playmaker. He has the passing skills to get the puck through tight lanes. He also has the vision and anticipation to find that passing lane to an open teammate to set up a scoring chance. Holloway uses his size and balance to protect the puck down low in the cycle game and create time and space for teammates. His speed allows him to get in quickly on the forecheck and pressure opposing defenders into mistakes. He is a hard hitter who will bury a defender into the boards if he gets the opportunity and this pressure helps to create offensive opportunities on those opponent’s mistakes.

Defensive Game

A smart two-way player, Holloway positions himself well and creates turnovers with his active stick and hard work in all three zones. He can be used on the penalty kill as well as to play against high-scoring forwards on the opponent’s team. Holloway is willing to bring his physical game in all three zones, throwing hits in the neutral zone and in his own end of the ice. He smartly applies backpressure in supporting the defence against the rush. Holloway is also willing to work down low, helping defenders in containing the cycle game. He is also not afraid to put his body on the line to block shots.

Projection and Comparison

Holloway is extremely fundamentally sound. He is a coach’s dream with his effort level and his willingness to do all the little things necessary to win games. He signed his ELC with the Oilers after Wisconsin was eliminated in the NCAA Tourney. It was hoped that Holloway would compete for a roster spot in training camp but he recently underwent wrist surgery and will be out for three months. When he is ready to return, he will likely head to the AHL to get back into game shape. Holloway could be a late season callup and compete for a spot in the Oilers lineup next fall.

 

#4 Prospect: Xavier Bourgault

The Oilers drafted Bourgault with the 22nd overall pick in this year’s NHL draft. Prior to the draft, we did an in-depth scouting report on Bourgault. As no games have been played since that report; we will not repeat it. You can check out the report here.

 

#5 Prospect: Dmitri Samorukov

Defence — shoots Left
Born June 16th, 1999 — Volgograd, Russia
Height 6’2″ — Weight 180 lbs [188 cm / 82 kg]
Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 3rd round, #84 overall, at the 2017 NHL Draft

With the North American season delayed Samorukov played for CSKA Moscow in the KHL. He scored two goals and six points for eight points in 48 games. He also played for the Russian team on the European Hockey Tour, putting up one assist in two games.

Skating

Samorukov has improved his skating since being drafted and this has taken his game to the next level. While he will never be called a great skater, these improvements help him to be above average. His speed is decent and the acceleration is above average in both directions. His pivots and edgework really improved. He does well in transitioning from offence to defence and vice versa. He also improved his lateral agility, helping him to walk the line in the offensive end and open up shooting and passing lanes. Samorukov also uses this to keep attackers in front of him. One area where he excels is in his lower body strength. He is strong on the puck and has very good balance. This is useful in winning battles in corners and clearing the crease.

Offensive Game

Samorukov was a big scorer in the OHL but has not put up big numbers in the AHL or KHL. In fairness, he did not play big minutes with CSKA. Samorukov needs to show that these skills can translate to the pro level. He has a rocket of a slap shot. However, he must work on being more accurate, as he has some issues with getting it on the net. His vision and passing skills are also good. Improvements in his lateral agility give him the ability to open up passing and shooting lanes in the offensive zone, and in skating the puck out of his own end. He makes crisp passes coming out of his zone and gets the transition game started quickly and effectively.

In junior, Samorukov loved to join the rush as a trailer and unleashed a good wrist shot when doing so. He also sneaks in from the point letting go that wrist shot from the top of the circles. He likes to pinch in from the line to try and keep the play alive. If Samorukov sees an opportunity, he is willing to cut to the front of the net looking for a pass from a teammate. He really improved in moving the puck through the neutral zone, taking the opportunity to carry the puck and create effective offensive zone entries. However, he has been a lot more conservative at the pro level than he was in junior.

Defensive Game

Samorukov’s defensive game continues to improve. He is better at picking his spots and avoiding being caught trying to generate offence. His positioning in his own zone also improved as he continued his adjustment to the size of North American ice. He seems to have his angles and gap control down now. Samorukov loves to play physically and will look for the big hit in open ice. He battles hard in front of the net and in the corners. Samorukov can struggle with quick, shifty forwards though. Overall his defensive game is good for the junior level, but he can still improve.

Outlook

Samorukov will head to Oilers camp looking to compete for a spot but may need a bit more time in the AHL this season. There are still a few little refinements that he can make before moving up to the NHL. Samorukov may have a higher upside than he’s shown the last two years and some time to work on his offence in the AHL may allow him to reach that two-way upside. Even if the offence doesn’t come, his defence should allow him to carve out an NHL career.  Look for him to push for a spot if injuries hit, and a possible full-time slot in 2022-23.

 

#6 Prospect: Raphael Lavoie

Right Wing/Centre — shoots Right
Born September 25th, 2000 — Chambly, Quebec
Height 6’4″ — Weight 198  lbs [193 cm / 90 kg]
Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2nd Round, #38 Overall, at the 2019 NHL Draft.

Lavoie started the season with Vasby in the Allsvenskan. He scored 23 goals and 22 assists for 45 points in 51 games with the team. He also played 19 games for Bakersfield in the AHL, scoring five goals and 10 points.

Skating

Lavoie is a strong skater for his size. He will never be confused for a speedster but is decent enough for a big forward. Lavoie has a good first step and acceleration, as well as the top-end speed to pull away from defenders and create breakaways and odd-man rushes. He also has very good agility and edgework, giving him the ability to beat defenders both with and without the puck.

Lavoie is tough to knock off the puck, with excellent balance. He has a wide skating stance, giving him a low centre of gravity. His stride is powerful and he can fight through checks and get to the net. His size also makes him tough to contain in front of the net as well as giving him a big advantage in battles along the boards. Lavoie will need to continue to add muscle to his frame in order to continue to play this style of game going forward.

Offensive Game

Lavoie has the size and skills to be a power winger. He is also a natural sniper. Lavoie has an excellent wrist shot and quick release. He also has a good snapshot and a hard slap shot. Lavoie is also good at getting to the front of the net where he has the soft hands and good hand-eye coordination to finish in close to the net with rebounds and tip-ins. He also has good stickhandling ability and protects the puck well. He handles the puck well, even while moving at full speed. This allows him to cycle the puck down low and control the pace of the game. If an opportunity presents itself he can take the puck to the front of the net.

He also has the vision and passing ability to play the role of playmaker. Lavoie’s ability to cycle the puck allows him to extend plays and wait for teammates to get open. He sees the ice well and can find the open man, even when he is in traffic. His quick hands can open up passing lanes and he sees the ice well enough to find a teammate.

Defensive Game

Lavoie has received criticism of his defensive game over the years but that has really improved this season. He plays his tenacious puck pursuit game in all three zones, backchecking and battling for pucks in his own end. Lavoie is not a huge hitter, but he is actively involved in the physical battles for the puck. He is also not afraid to block shots and uses his big frame to effectively cut down on passing and shooting lanes. Once he is able to gain control of the puck, he transitions quickly to offence.

Outlook

Lavoie has the potential to play all three forward positions and has spent time at each spot in the QMJHL. He projects as a winger at the NHL level. He has an intriguing combination of size, speed, power, and skill. Lavoie will likely head to Bakersfield to start the season as he needs a bit of AHL time before making the jump.

 

#7 Prospect: Ryan McLeod

Centre — shoots Left
Born September 21st, 1999 — Mississauga, Ontario
Height 6’2″ — Weight 207 lbs [188 cm / 94 kg]
Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2nd Round, 40th Overall, at the 2018 NHL Draft.

With the start of the North American Season delayed, McLeod started the season in Switzerland with Zug. He scored five goals and nine assists for 14 points in 17 games. He also put up 14 goals and 28 points in 28 games with Bakersfield. McLeod was called up to the NHL and picked up one assist in 10 games with the Oilers.

Skating

McLeod is an outstanding skater and this helps him to be a very good two-way player. He is one of the fastest prospects in the Oilers system. He has a long and powerful stride and gets up to top speed with excellent acceleration. McLeod has outstanding edgework and agility. He can change directions on a dime. This ability to make quick cuts can drive defenders nuts. His speed and ability to close space quickly also helps him defensively. McLeod has the power to fight through checks and still get to the front of the net. He has excellent balance, and wins battles along the boards and establishing his position in front of the net.

Offensive Game

McLeod also has very good vision and passing skills. He can create off the rush, using his speed and stickhandling ability to get past defenders. He can make quick cuts to beat them or take them wide off the rush. McLeod uses his ability to change the pace as a weapon, beating defenders by quickly accelerating or creating lanes by slowing down. This skating helps him to make plays as a quick move creates space to get a pass through. Working down low, he can also control the puck, slow down the play and set-up plays when his teammates get open.

McLeod is much more of a playmaker than a scorer. While he has improved this season and begun to take more shots, he is very much a pass-first player. McLeod has a decent wrist shot but it is not overpowering. However, it is very accurate and features a quick release. His ability to change the angle on his shot before letting it go helps him to beat goaltenders. His slap shot needs some work. McLeod has a decent snapshot as well.

Defensive Game

McLeod was a key man on the penalty kill in Bakersfield last season. His line was also matched up against the other team’s top line on a regular basis. McLeod’s skating helps him to get to loose pucks, to cut down an opponent’s space, or to anticipate passes and create turnovers. Once a turnover is created, he is able to quickly transition to offence. McLeod reads the play well. He cuts down passing lanes with an active stick and is not afraid to block shots. Overall this is very advanced for his age.

Outlook

McLeod will go to Training Camp trying to take a bottom-six role with the Oilers. While he was a point-per-game player in the AHL last season, the fact that his production came in a strange year must be taken into account. With the NHL having taxi squads, each AHL team lost four of their best veteran players, weakening the league overall. If McLeod gets a little more AHL time, that wouldn’t be a bad thing as the level of competition will be better than last season.

 

#8 Prospect: Tyler Benson

Left Wing — shoots Left
Born March 15th, 1998 — Edmonton, Alberta
Height 6’0″ — Weight 203 lbs [183 cm / 92 kg]
Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2nd round, #32 overall, at the 2016 NHL Draft

Benson also started the season in the Swiss League. He put up two goals and 19 points in 15 games for GC/Kusnacht. When he returned to North America, Benson dominated the AHL. He scored 10 goals and 36 points in 36 games. He also scored three goals and five points in six playoff games.

Skating

Benson is a strong skater and plays a very gritty and physical game. He has very good speed and quick acceleration. He has a great first step, which helps him to get to loose pucks, or to transition quickly when a teammate creates a turnover in his own zone, creating breakaways and odd-man rushes. Benson has a powerful stride that allows him to fight through checks and get to the front of the net.  His agility and edgework are also good, with the ability to manoeuvre through traffic.

Offensive Game

Benson does well in protecting the puck in the cycle game. His excellent lower body strength gives him good balance, and he has the frame to protect the puck in battles. He has the stickhandling ability to take the puck off the wall, and get around a defender to create a play, but is not one to make a huge number of fancy moves in transition. Benson obviously has the ability to be a playmaker. He has excellent vision and can pass the puck through tight areas. Combined with his hard work and puck possession game Benson drove offence for his line this season.

Benson can hurt the opposition in a variety of ways.  He has an accurate wrist shot with a very good release. Benson also has a very good one-timer. He is willing to stand in front of the net and take punishment to get tip-ins and rebounds. Benson could work on adding more power to his shots. He could also stand to shoot more, as he became very much a pass-first player in his first pro season, even though he had been a good goal scorer in junior.  This would add another dimension to his game.

Benson gets in quickly on the forecheck and forces defenders to make plays quickly or be plastered into the boards. When the puck does get turned over, he gets himself into good positions to let go his strong wrist shot or a blistering one-timer.

Defensive Game

Benson’s defensive game is also ahead of the curve. He helps on the backcheck, applying back pressure to support his teammates in defending against the rush. He is willing to work down low and help in containment against the cycle game and uses his grit and tenaciousness to fight for loose pucks. Benson plays a physical game and can throw big hits in all three zones. He is also not afraid to drop the gloves to protect himself or a teammate. He sometimes needs to keep his temper in check though, as he can take some bad penalties.

Outlook

The Oilers desperately need talent on the wings. A strong camp would earn Benson a spot in the Oilers top-nine. Nothing is guaranteed and he will have to fight for that spot but its there for the taking. However it is more likely that Benson starts the season on the fourth line and will need to work his way up the lineup.

 

#9 Prospect: Ilya Konovalov

Goaltender — shoots Left — catches Left
Born July 13th, 1998 — Yaroslavl, Russia
Height 5’11” — Weight 196 lbs [180 cm / 89 kg]
Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 3rd round, #85 overall, at the 2019 NHL Draft.

Konovalov went 9-7-2 in 19 games with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl last season. He put up a .923 save percentage as well as a 2.29 goals-against average.

Skating and Talent Analysis

Konovalov is small for a modern NHL goalie prospect, coming in at just 5-foot-11. He makes up for it with extremely good athleticism. Konovalov skates well and comes out to the top of the crease to challenge shooters and maximize his size. His skating is extremely good. Konovalov is able to get back to the goal line if an attacker tries to deke him. He also tracks the puck well and gets side-to-side quickly on cross-ice passes. Konovalov’s athleticism allows him to get back into the play and make highlight-reel saves even when out of position.

Konovalov is quick at getting in and out of his butterfly and takes away the bottom of the net effectively. He is also tough to beat through the five-hole. When he drops down, Konovalov’s lack of size becomes apparent when compared to other goalies whose shoulder pads are still well above the crossbar while in the butterfly position. He has a good glove and a decent blocker hand. Konovalov still needs to work on his rebound control though. This is an area that many young goalies have issues with.

Mental Makeup

Konovalov stays calm and cool in the net, even when facing heavy pressure which happens at times with Yaroslavl. He doesn’t let a heavy shot total or traffic in front of his net get him flustered. If he does let in a bad goal, Konovalov quickly recovers and doesn’t let things spiral out of control. He understands the game and when his teammates need a change and covers up, or when he can catch the other team tired or on a line change and keep the puck moving.

Outlook

Konovalov signed his ELC with the Oilers and is on his way to North America. Given the age of the Oilers goaltending duo, this is good news. However Konovalov definitely needs some AHL time and should start in Bakersfield. The question remains about his upside. Is Konovalov’s ceiling good enough to be an NHL starter or is he destined to be a backup or third stringer? Goalies development is voodoo and only time can answer this, but Konovalov has the raw skill needed to develop into a number one goalie.

 

#10 Prospect: Carter Savoie

Left Wing — shoots Left
Born January 23rd, 2002 — St. Albert, Alberta
Height 5’10”– Weight 192 lbs [178 cm/87 kg]
Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 4th Round, #100 Overall, at the 2020 NHL Draft

Savoie had an excellent freshman season with the University of Denver. He put up 13 goals and 20 points in 24 games. He was named to the NCHC All-Rookie Team.

Skating

While not a speedster, Savoie is still a good skater. His top-end speed is above average, but will not blow anyone away. However, it is the other aspects of his skating that set him apart. He can be very hard to contain in one-on-one situations. Savoie has very good acceleration. His ability to quickly change speeds can be a weapon on the rush. He can quickly speed up and take a defender wide, or he can slow up and create a passing or shooting lane.

Savoie is also able to make quick cuts and change directions with his excellent agility and edgework. This allows him to get away from defenders both with and without the puck. Savoie has a strong lower body, his stride is powerful and he is tough to knock off the puck. He is also good at battling for loose pucks in the corners and in front of the net.

Offensive Game

Savoie has an excellent arsenal of shots and a deceptively quick release. His wrist shot and snapshot are both hard and accurate. He also has a very good one-timer. Savoie can even be effective on the backhand. He can create his own shot off the rush or working off the boards in the cycle. Savoie is also smart and can find openings in the defence, being prepared to take a pass from a teammate and fire it on the net. He is not afraid to play in the dirty areas of the ice, using his strong lower body to establish a position in the slot.

Savoie can also play the role of a playmaker. With his excellent balance, he can control the puck down low. He makes quick passes to teammates and then finds open space. When a teammate is open in front of the net, he has the vision to find them and can make a smart pass through tight areas. Savoie is an all-around offensive threat. He is especially dangerous on the power play. Savoie reads the play well, anticipating the movements of opponents and teammates. He controls the play on the half-boards, quarterbacking the play and finding openings to create scoring chances. He is also willing to battle on the boards for loose pucks, despite his lack of size.

Defensive Game

Savoie is dominant in puck possession in the AJHL and as such does not see a lot of time in the defensive end of the ice. When he does, he backchecks effectively, providing support to the defence and creating turnovers. However, he can sometimes fly the zone early when one of his teammates gets the puck, looking to create offence. This is something that must be cut back on as he faces better opposition who will be able to take advantage of this.

Outlook

Savoie is a solid prospect and may have top-six upside on the wing. Coming out of the AJHL, this past season at Denver was his first year with real high-level competition. Some additional time with the University of Denver will be to his benefit, and he’s headed back for a sophomore season. Don’t be surprised if he takes a third year as well. Savoie has high-end potential but is a bit of a project.

 

Sleeper Prospect: Tyler Tullio

Right Wing — shoots Right
Born April 5th, 2002 — Lakeshore, Ontario
Height 5’11” — Weight 166 lbs [181 cm/75 kg]
Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 5th Round, #126 Overall, at the 2020 NHL Draft.

With the OHL not getting started, Tullio went to Slovakia playing for HK 32 Liptovsky Mikulas in the country’s top men’s league. He scored four goals and nine assists for 13 points in 19 games.

Skating

Tullio is a very good skater. He has an explosive first step and excellent acceleration. Tullio also has excellent top-end speed. He is able to get behind the defence and create scoring chances on the rush. He is also able to use his ability to change speeds to fool defenders. Tullio also has outstanding edgework and agility. He accelerates out of turns and is able to change directions on a dime. Tullio could improve his lower body strength. While he is willing to battle along the boards, his lack of size and strength could be an issue at the next level. In adding muscle, he will be able to fight through checks and improve his balance.

Offensive Game

Tullio is a versatile offensive player. He combines his skating with good stickhandling ability. He can carry the puck through the neutral zone and generate effective zone entries. His ability to slow down the play or to speed it up helps him to control the play. He sees the ice well and can make a pass to a teammate through a tight lane to set up a scoring chance. With his quick hands and his strong lateral movement, he can make a quick deke to get some space to make a play. He gets in quickly on the forecheck and pressures defenders into making mistakes. Despite his lack of size, Tullio is willing to battle on the boards and in front of the net. He has a real knack for getting under the opponent’s skin.

Tullio keeps his feet moving and gets open without the puck. He finds the soft spaces in the defence and sets up to get his own shot off. His skating also allows him to carry the puck and find openings to create his own shot. Tullio has an accurate wrist shot with a lightning-quick release. His ability to change the angle of his shot before letting it go can fool goalies. He also has a very good snapshot. Tullio can also finish in tight to the goal. His quick hands can deke the goalie and he can elevate the puck quickly on his forehand or backhand.

Defensive Game

Tullio plays a 200-foot game. He brings effective backpressure, supporting the defence against the rush. He is also willing to work down low to help contain against the cycle. However, his work along the boards can use some improvement. He needs to add more weight to be effective in containing stronger opponents. Tullio has an active stick. He can strip the puck off of opponents or intercept passes. His ability to read the play helps him to anticipate the movements of opponents. He gets into good positions to prevent scoring chances.

Outlook

Tullio is a versatile forward. He is capable of playing all three forward positions. His lack of size and strength could be an issue and could lead to him becoming a winger going forward. However if he can add muscle, he has the skating ability and the smarts to stay in the middle. If he develops properly, he can be a middle-six forward, adding offence while playing a smart defensive game. He should be back in the OHL this year.

 

Other 2021 Edmonton Oilers Prospects:

The Oilers are not near as deep as they were in previous years. This is a good thing as the graduates have helped to build the current roster and recent draft picks have been much later in the first round. There is some additional depth though. Goalies are voodoo and the Oilers have Oliver Rodrigue, and Stuart Skinner. Defenders to watch include Filip Berglund, Michael Kesselring, Markus Niemelainen, and Philip Kemp. Upfront, the Oilers have Cooper Marody, Kirill Maksimov, Ostap Safin, Maxim Beryozkin, Thomas Mazura, and Maxim Beryozkin.

 

2021 Edmonton Oilers Prospects Main Photo:

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EDMONTON, AB – MAY 15: Evan Bouchard #75 of the Edmonton Oilers warms up against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Place on May 15, 2021 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)