In The System: Oilers Top 10 Prospects, Final Part

VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 21: Philip Broberg poses for a photo onstage with the Edmonton Oilers draft team after being selected eighth overall by the Edmonton Oilers during the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 21, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Edmonton Oilers finally have prospects in the system that fans can be excited about. In the “decade of darkness” the only thing the team could win was the first overall pick at the NHL Entry Draft. Things are finally looking up.

Since drafting Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid the Oilers have been able to also draft depth players. Players and prospects that have made their AHL affiliate one of the best in the league. Along with draft picks that we can afford to trade and go all in. While we still have #97 and #29 at least.

In Part 1 I ranked numbers 10-7, and Part 2 I did numbers 6-4. Now I’ll be listing what I believe to be the Oilers top 3 prospects in the system.

#3 Raphael Lavoie (C/RW)

Listed at 6’4″ and 196 lbs., Lavoie is a big winger who can also put the puck in the net. Drafted 38th overall back in 2019 by the Oilers, he was labelled as a steal at that spot. He was ranked as high as 14th overall and nothing lower than 25th by popular scouting reports.

The Quebec native was drafted out of the QMJHL, where he spent 4 years playing 192 games for the Halifax Mooseheads. He would go on to finish his junior career playing just 25 games for the Chicoutimi Sagueneens. In those 217 games, Lavoie had 227 points for a point-per-game of 1.05.

The 21 year old spent the start of the 2020-21 season on a loan in Sweden playing for Vasby IK of the HockeyAllsvenskan league. In 51 games he put up 45 points before being sent to Bakersfield for 19 games, where he put 10 points.

What stands out?

The release. Lavoie’s biggest weapon is his heavy shot. Whenever he’s on the ice, he’s a threat. He’s known for being a goal scorer and it shows by how he can put the puck in from almost anywhere in the offensive zone.

His size. A little bit of Lavoie’s game reminds me of Leon Draisaitl. The way he uses his big frame to protect the puck when entering the zone, and also down in the corners.

What’s Next?

The biggest question surrounding Raphael Lavoie is if his skills can transfer to the NHL. He’s done well playing pro in both Sweden and the AHL, although both are small sample sizes.

Lavoie is a very exciting prospect in the system. He has all the tools to be a valuable NHL player and I don’t think Oilers fans will have to wait too much longer.

NHL Projection: Top 6, scoring winger

#2 Philip Broberg (D)

Philip Broberg might the most interesting Oilers prospect. Drafted 8th overall in 2019, the Swedish defenseman has a very high ceiling but at the same time, a low floor. Injuries have hurt his development but it’s still hard to tell if he will be that top pairing d-man he was drafted as, or a bust.

The 6’3″ Swede was drafted out of the HockeyAllsvenskan league in where he played for AIK. In his draft year he played 41 games and put up 9 points. Philip has represented Sweden multiple times internationally, most notably captaining them at the 2020 World Juniors.

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In 2019 he was loaned to Skelleftea AIK of the SHL where he would spend the next two seasons. He appeared in 89 games and put up 21 points. Fans should take his numbers in European leagues with a grain of salt, as they don’t quite translate to NHL. Especially when Broberg was playing a much more defensive role than usual.

What makes Broberg special?

Philip is an elite two-way defenseman, and excels at skating. That’s where he can beat his opponents, with how quick he can move and make plays from his own end. He’s also great at reading the play and knowing where the puck might end up or where it’s been.

His offensive game is what stands out the most to me and how well he controls play. A quarterback at the point in the offensive zone but also not a complete liability in his own end.

At the same time though, the only downside to his game is the consistency of his defensive play. He has struggled with decision making in the past but I feel that’s something that will get better as he matures. Like I stated before injuries have slowed his development down a little, but it’s also nice to see management take their time with prospects.

AHL to start the season..

Broberg was recently cut from the Oilers training camp roster and sent down to the AHL. This isn’t a poor choice at all by management even though he did have a strong pre-season. Giving him top 2 minutes down in Bakersfield and more of a chance to get accustomed to the North American game can only help his progress.

Edmonton has more of a veteran core of defense this season but don’t be surprised to see Broberg crack the lineup at some point. Like Evan Bouchard over the past couple seasons, Oilers fans are going to have to be patient. The waiting game can get hard but I believe it’s going to be well worth it.

NHL Projection: Top Pairing Defenseman

#1 Dylan Holloway (C/LW)

Finally, the Edmonton Oilers number one prospect: Dylan Holloway. Drafted 14th overall in 2020, from the University of Wisconsin, where he put up 17 points in 35 games his freshman year. In his second year he earned top-6 ice time and put up an impressive 35 points in 23 games, making him a Hobey Baker Award finalist.

Holloway also represented Canada at the 2020 World Juniors and was a valuable bottom six forward. He didn’t put up as much points as Oilers fans might’ve hoped for but I think he’s the type of player that changes games with his style of play.

Game Changer..

The Alberta native is somewhat of a pest. He applies pressure consistently on both the forecheck and backcheck. He’s excellent at stealing the puck, making well timed hits, and has a very disruptive stick.

Holloway focuses well and never flees the defensive zone early. Listed at 6’1” and 203 lbs, the power forward can disrupt play with his body and change games in ways fans don’t even notice.

The Future is Bright!

As I’ve stated in my previous articles, I believe the Oilers finally have a prospect pool to be excited about. Dylan Holloway is easily the best in the system.

Unfortunately he recently had to get a second wrist surgery because of the first one not healing correctly. The surgery was on September 15th and he’s expected to miss at least 3 months.

The bad news: he had to miss rookie camp, training camp and pre season action.

The good news: management and Dylan are making sure that his wrist is healed right and helps in the long run.

I feel like Holloway had a chance to crack the lineup this season with holes in the bottom six. It’s never a bad idea for prospects to spend time in the AHL to develop, especially when he was only drafted last year.

By next season I can see Holloway playing in the NHL, if not the end of this season. In the future he will be an excellent complement to players like McDavid and Draisaitl with the heavy style of game he plays. Dylan is the brightest star coming up through the ranks and I’m excited to see him suit up for the Edmonton Oilers.

NHL Projection: Top Line, Power Forward

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