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FUTURE WATCH: Minors Momentum

There's been plenty of movement around the AHL, ECHL and CHL for Oilers prospects with schedules becoming congested in January

by Jamie Umbach /

EDMONTON, AB - Across the many leagues and teams where Oilers prospects are taking their reps, it's getting to the congested period of their 2018-19 seasons.

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FUTURE WATCH: Bouchard goes behind-the-back for nifty helper

Oilers 2018 10th-overall selection makes gorgeous pass for eventual game-winner; picks up three assists in 5-3 win for London

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Behind-the-back Bouch.

Oilers 2018 10th-overall selection Evan Bouchard displayed his craftiness on Saturday making a no-look, behind-the-back pass to Josh Nelson for what would stand as the game-winner in London's 5-3 victory over the Ottawa 67's. 

Bouchard registered three assists on the night in the win and was a plus-three. The defenceman, who scored one goal in seven National Hockey League games with the Oilers earlier in the season, has five goals, 16 assists and 21 points in 16 games with the Knights in '18-19.

Tweet from @OHLHockey: No-look pass sets up the winner 🕷@EdmontonOilers prospect @EvanBouchard02 exercises his spidey sense in @GoLondonKnights throwback sweaters finding @JoshNNelson to seal a statement victory in #SaturdayShowcase action on @Sportsnet.

Bouchard is 23rd amongst defencemen in Ontario Hockey League scoring but first in points per game by defenders, averaging 1.31 per night. The 19-year-old is seventh amongst blueliners in plus-minus with a plus-21 rating.

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WORLD JUNIORS: Kemp earns silver medal; Samorukov bronze at WJC

Oilers Defence prospects Phil Kemp of Team USA and Dmitri Samorukov of Russia both won medals at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - A pair of Oilers defence prospects have earned some new jeweley from the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Team USA defender - and semi-final saviour - Phil Kemp won a silver medal in his club's 3-2 loss to Team Finland in the tournament finale.

The Oilers 2017 seventh-round selection played 17:21 in the match, finishing it plus-one and concluded the tournament with one assist in six games. The rearguard will return to Yale University, where he has three points in 12 outings. 

Fellow 2017 Oilers draftee Dmitri Samorukov will also re-join his club team with a new piece, earning a bronze medal in Russia's 5-2 victory over Switzerland.

Tweet from @Samorukov_D: Here is My Family , making memory for long time , wanna say thanks to whole team , fans and Vancouver organizations to do it special🇷🙏🥉 #WorldJuniors2019

The Guelph Storm blueliner - who donned an 'A' as an alternate captain for Russia - was held pointless in 26:35 on the ice. Samorukov accrued one goal and four points in six games at this year's World Juniors. The 19-year-old has two goals and 17 points in 30 games with the Storm in 2018-19.

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FUTURE WATCH: McLeod traded to Saginaw

Oilers forward prospect Ryan McLeod has been traded from the Mississauga Steelheads to the Saginaw Spirit

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Oilers forward prospect Ryan McLeod has been traded from the Ontario Hockey League's Mississauga Steelheads to the Saginaw Spirit.

The 2018 second-round selection (40th overall) has appeared in 230 OHL games - all with the Steelheads - amassing 54 goals, 116 assists and 170 points. 

"As an organization, we are extremely excited to add a player like Ryan McLeod to our already strong group of forwards," said Saginaw Spirit General Manager Dave Drinkill.

Tweet from @SpiritHockey: TRADE: Saginaw Spirit GM @davedrinkill has announced the acquisition of @EdmontonOilers Prospect Ryan McLeod via trade with the @OHLSteelheads. #SoarWithUs #LetsGoOilers

"We feel he brings game-breaking ability to our team using his speed and skill to make plays for himself and others."

In the swap, Mississauga received defenceman Duncan Penman, a 2019 third-round pick, a 2020 second-round selection, a 2022 third-round pick, a 2024 third-round pick as well as a conditional draft pick.

"We are looking forward to seeing what he can do within our system," said Drinkill. "Elite players like Ryan McLeod do not become available very often so we are fortunate to be adding him today and can't wait to see him in a Spirit uniform."

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FUTURE WATCH: World Junior Update

Oilers prospects Samorukov, Bouchard and Kemp all avoid one another in the quarter-finals as expectation builds for each nation in the medal round of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship

by Jamie Umbach /

EDMONTON, AB - The stage is set for the medal round at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Vancouver and Victoria, with Oilers prospects Evan Bouchard, Dmitri Samorukov and Phil Kemp all playing their part for their nations leading into tonight's quarter-finals.

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WORLD JUNIORS: Bouchard, Samorukov victorious in Thursday's action

Oilers defence prospects Evan Bouchard and Dmitri Samorukov were both on the winning end of their matches in Day 2 of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Evan Bouchard and Team Canada eked out a 3-2 victory over Switzerland and Dmitri Samorukov's Team Russia blanked Denmark 4-0 on Thursday at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Canada improved to 2-0 in the circuit with the win. The club handed Denmark a 14-0 defeat on Boxing Day and own a goal-differential of 15, scoring 17 goals for and allowing two against. Bouchard was held pointless in the match but did register three assists in his first outing of the event.

Russia's 4-0 win over Denmark was their first game of the tournament. Samorukov was held off the scoresheet. Like fellow Oilers prospect Bouchard, Samorukov is also serving as an alternate captain of his club. The Russians will face the Czech Republic on Friday. 

Canada will be back in action on Saturday when they meet the Czechs.

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Bob Stauffer's Top 10 Oilers Prospects

Oilers radio analyst Bob Stauffer takes a look at the top 10 Oilers prospects as we head into the World Juniors

by Bob Stauffer / Special to

For the first time in a long time, there is a feeling that the Edmonton Oilers organization has started to build real depth in its farm system. This isn't just my opinion.

Multiple NHL pro scouts have told me that the Oilers have a couple things going for them down in Bakersfield in the AHL.

First off, the Oilers finally have some real prospects playing significant minutes "percolating" in the AHL.

Secondly, Head Coach Jay Woodcroft and his staff have installed real "spirit" with the Condors who head into the Christmas Break with a 15-10-1 record and in a playoff spot.

Edmonton's five best players: Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse are all Oilers first round picks and developed internally.

The two players that have gained the most traction under Ken Hitchcock, Jesse Puljujarvi and Jujhar Khaira, are also Oilers drafts.

See a theme here?

Successful sports organizations tend to grow organically.

The Oilers need to continue down this path and prioritize it moving forward.

Edmonton has built up depth specifically with right-shot D and have several players that will pushing to become full-time Oilers over the next few seasons.

Here is a look at my top 10 prospects:

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FUTURE WATCH: Jones makes NHL debut in front of family and friends

Mother, grandmother and former billet family watched on as Caleb Jones made his NHL debut against the Flyers last Friday

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Amy Jones couldn't stop herself from going full mom when Caleb called her at midnight last Wednesday with the news that he had been called up to the Oilers for the first time in his career.

"We were probably up for hours just figuring it all out," Amy, detailing the moment, said. 

"I was like, 'Don't forget your contacts. You can forget your toothbrush, you can forget anything but just not your contacts.' Then I called back and I was like, 'Pack lots of underwear because you don't know how long you're going to be going. Lots of boxers. Lots of boxers!'"

Mom, please…

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FUTURE WATCH: Rodrigue dominating in Drummondville

Despite missing the call to Canada's World Junior camp, the 18-year-old netminder leads the QMJHL in wins with a 16-4-1 record and has posted 10 wins in a row.

by Jamie Umbach /

EDMONTON, AB - After posting an undefeated month of November in between the pipes for the Drummondville Voltigeurs, it was difficult for Olivier Rodrigue not to be named the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's (QMJHL) Goaltender of the Month.

But when you're undefeated in 10 games, and playing behind the second-most potent offence in the 'Q', luckily there's plenty of upside for the Chicoutimi, Quebec netminder to fall back on.

"Those guys are scoring a lot of goals and allow me to play with confidence not having to worry about giving up one or two goals," Rodrigue said of the offence in front of him that includes 2018 first-rounder Joe Veleno and Anaheim Ducks junior-returnee Maxime Comtois.

"The game might already be over by then."

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FUTURE WATCH: Bouchard back in London

Oilers 2018 first rounder is back with the prestigious London Knights organization after a stint with the Oilers, looking to captain the squad to Memorial Cup success

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Defenceman Evan Bouchard flashed glimpses of his prospective future in Oilers silks earlier in the season, scoring his first career National Hockey League goal from the point and suiting up in seven games with the big club before returning to the Ontario Hockey League's London Knights.

Bouchard, donning the captaincy with the Knights, is taking the re-assignment in stride, focusing on the lessons he learned with the Oilers and applying them to what he intends to make a successful year in Ontario. London sits in first place of the Midwest Division and is currently riding a nine-game winning streak. Bouchard's laced up in only six games with the team this year, skating alongside Adam Boqvist or Alec Regula, notching victories in each outing.

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