In The System: Oilers Top 10 Prospects, Part 2

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 24: Stuart Skinner, left, and Dmitri Samorukov pose for a portrait after being selected by the Edmonton Oilers during the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center on June 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Next in my list for Oilers prospects in the system, I’ll be ranking numbers 6 to 4. From my list, 2 of the 3 prospects are attending NHL training camp starting Wednesday, September 22nd.

The first preseason game is this Sunday against the Flames and it may not seem like a big deal to most, but to bigger prospects it’s an opportunity to try and steal a roster spot.

#6 Stuart Skinner (G)

The hometown kid was drafted 78th overall in the 3rd round in 2017. As usual for goalies, it’s takes a little longer to develop, but I believe Skinner’s on the right track.

In 2020-21 he suited up for his first and only NHL game of his career. He beat the Ottawa Senators 8-5 in a high scoring affair back on January 31st, 2021. He looked very shaky in the first period but seemed to calm down after that.

Skinner has been the starter for Bakersfield for the past few seasons, and where he’ll start this season too. I don’t see him being a full time NHLer till at least next season, where he’ll likely be a backup.

The Oilers haven’t had much luck in the goalie department for quite some time now. I think Skinner is a player fans should keep an eye on and be excited for. He’s a homegrown prospect from Edmonton and may be a very important part of this team in the coming years.

NHL Projection: 1B/ Backup Goalie

#5 Ilya Konovalov (G)

At #5 I have another goaltender: Ilya Konovalo. He is from Yaroslavl, Russia and was drafted 85th overall in the 3rd round in 2019.

At only 5’11” he’s not the typical goalie you see nowadays but he makes up for it with good reflexes and angles. His biggest strength is said to be that he has very few, if any, bad habits. That’s what keeps him consistent which is beneficial for goaltenders in todays NHL.

He’s spent the last 4 years playing in the KHL with his hometown Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. In 111 games he has a very impressive 2.14 GAA and .922 SV%, to go a long with 14 shutouts. Those are numbers (in the second best league in the world next to the NHL) that rival Russian goalies before him such as Sergei Bobrovsky and Ilya Samsonov.

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Drafted as an over-ager probably because of his size, but in my eyes Konovalov is the best goaltending prospect the Oilers have had in a long time. I predict him to be the teams starter by 2023.

NHL Projection: Starting Goalie

#4 Dmitri Samorukov (D)

Samorukov was another prospect drafted in the 3rd round, with the 84th overall pick in 2017. The 22 year old defenceman from Russia is quickly becoming one of the Oilers top prospects. He played his junior in the OHL with the Guelph Storm and one season in the AHL with Bakersfield, so he’s accustomed to the North American game.

Dmitri was very offensive in his junior years with Guelph where he had 99 points in 188 games but since moving to the AHL, he’s become a good shutdown man. He’s noticed what he has to do with his game to keep moving up in the organization and that has been huge for his development.

Samorukov is a big man who can skate and he looked great at rookie camp. Unfortunately after throwing a hit in a game against the Flames prospects, he took the worst of it and broke his jaw. Oilers fans should breathe a sigh of relief because it wasn’t his previously hurt shoulder that was injured on the play.

The worst part of him being sidelined for 6 weeks is that I think he had a shot to fight for a roster spot on the Oilers this preseason. After losing Adam Larsson the team doesn’t have that shutdown d-man that Samorukov could have been.

Oilers defensive depth was once said to be a weak spot in the organization. Now I would say its a strength in the system with prospects like Samorukov, Bouchard, Lagesson, Berglund and Broberg (who will be mentioned later).

NHL Projection: Top 4, Shutdown Defenseman

Next up in Part 3: Prospects 3-1.

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