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FEATURE: State of the prospect pool

Oilers Senior Director of Player Development Rick Carriere provides an update on the state of the Oilers prospect pool

by Paul Gazzola /

After a season of development and growth for Oilers prospects, sat down with Oilers Senior Director of Player Development Rick Carriere to get an update on the state of the prospect pool. 

Stay tuned for Part 2, which will come out on June 14.


F Jesse Puljujarvi

2016-17 Bakersfield Condors: 39 GP, 12-16-28

2016-17 Edmonton Oilers: 28 GP, 1-7-8 

"Still working to round out his overall game is the big thing with Jesse. He's really good when he's got the puck on his stick. He shoots the puck really well and has a great release. He's working on the other parts of his game - more his game away from the puck. Maybe improve his puck management skills a little more, making plays and things like that will make his game more complete, I'm sure, this year when he gets back to camp because of the time he did spend in Bakersfield."

Video: CGY@EDM: Puljujarvi scores first career goal


D Griffin Reinhart

2016-17 Bakersfield Condors: 54 GP, 7-14-21

2016-17 Edmonton Oilers: 1 GP, 0-1-1 (Playoffs)

"Griff had a good year this year. Last year was kind of an emotional roller-coaster for him - he was up and down. He didn't really know where he was going to be or what his role was. This year he spent a great deal of time in the American League in Bakersfield and he accepted that. He was going to work on his game and he really improved. He became very consistent in generating more pace to his game, getting back for pucks, making plays. It was kind of like the old Griff that we saw here with the Oil Kings. He was a physical presence in the corners, tougher in front of the net and he was doing it on a consistent basis. He was also a lot more assertive with the puck. He'd make the simple play, the one that was in front of him but he got up the ice with the puck and made plays at the offensive blueline. I thought (Game 6) was a testament to Griff's character. He prepared himself and he was ready for the opportunity."

Video: CONDORS | Reinhart's Overtime Winner


F Greg Chase

2016-17 Bakersfield Condors: 48 GP, 3-11-14 

"Had Chaser come through the program in Bakersfield and I think Greg's got some good skill. He can skate, he shoots the puck really well, he's a bit of an agitator but I think he's started to improve in his focus. Sometimes he can let that take him off his game, rather than get other people off their game. But I think he's matured quite a bit in that area. Same thing though, a lot of work away from the puck and defensively being a little bit better in his positioning and get more involved."


F Patrick Russell

2016-17 Bakersfield Condors: 68 GP, 8-9-17

"Patty's first year in Bakersfield got off to a slow start. He got acclimated a little bit throughout the first half of the season and then really took off in the second half. He's big and heavy on the wall, strong on the corners, goes to the front of the net and all the tough areas. He's coming along really well."


D Dillon Simpson

2016-17 Bakersfield Condors: 53 GP, 3-8-11

2016-17 Edmonton Oilers: 3 GP, 0-0-0

"The strength of Dillon's game is his ability to manage the game so well. Whether he has the puck, he's defending or he's supporting. He always has a good sense of timing in his game. He was a very important player in Bakersfield this year as a veteran defenceman. Not that long of a veteran but at that level, it's always nice to have a bit of experience and I thought Dillon had a good year that way."


G Dylan Wells

2016-17 Peterborough Petes: 52 GP, 33-15-2-2, 3.07 GAA, .916 SAV%

"Looks like he had a great year, great season, and that's what you're looking for. Last summer they (Peterborough Petes) had a 20-year-old goalie ahead of him in Peterborough. They said they were going to move the 20-year-old and make room for Dylan to be the No. 1 guy and they did that. I thought Dylan responded really well to that. He took the bulk of the workload and did well. Had a good finish to the year and had a strong playoff. We're really excited about Dylan and think he will show really well here in Rookie Camp next year."


D Caleb Jones

2016-17 Portland Winterhawks: 63 GP, 9-53-62

"Caleb had a pretty good year. His team got off to a slow start and Caleb played a big part in turning things around. He's a very promising prospect I would say in that the thing he had to work on was to read the situations better for when to take off with the puck and when to move it in those in-game situations. Defensively: defending the rush, have better gaps and smart pinches. It looked like he really improved this year. He's such a gifted athlete that he can skate well, handle the puck well, can shoot pretty well and he's very, very athletic. He's an exciting kid to watch."

Video: MIC'D UP | Caleb Jones in Penticton


D William Lagesson

2016-17 UMass-Amherst: 36 GP, 2-6-8

"William's game has improved. He's such a hard defender. He's really good with his stick and good defensively. Keeps the game simple. The big thing with him is to keep working on his skating and mobility. This year was a bit of a challenge motivation-wise but I think he's excited to go back (to Europe). We look forward to having him here at Development Camp."


D Markus Niemelainen

2016-17 Saginaw Spirit: 59 GP, 3-6-9

"I'd say there are many similarities between him and some of the other defencemen: big, rangy guy, very mobile, moves the puck well. The problem was his team was struggling a little bit. He wasn't in a great situation but he earned his ice time eventually and gained the coach's confidence and got to be more of a regular player."

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