Saturday, August 6, 2011

Players on the BUBBLE?

I have compiled a list of players within our system that we can consider PROSPECTS. Today I want to begin to cover some players I would say are..BUBBLE Players. A player who is sitting on that bubble and their future will very well be determined this 2011-2012 year in regards to the Edmonton Oilers organization. I don't claim to be a expert, only a fanatical fan who observes very closely the movement and development of players. Feel free to suggest other players you think may be on the BUBBLE this year. Disagree and state your arguments and opinions.........love to hear them.

So without further delay let's begin to look closer at Edmonton Oiler Prospects. Are they PROSPECTS? or are they SUSPECTS?


Alex Plante 
6' 4"
230lbs
9 May 1989

SOME HISTORY: selected by the Edmonton Oilers 15th overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and made his National Hockey League (NHL) debut in 2009–10. He is the son of former professional defenceman Cam Plante, while his brother, Tyler, is a goaltender in the Florida Panthers organization.

Plante played junior hockey for the Calgary Hitmen of the (WHL). They selected him with their second round pick, 21st overall, in the 2004 WHL Bantam Draft. He attracted greater attention from NHL scouts in the 2007 playoffs, scoring 11 points in 13 games. As a result, the Edmonton Oilers selected him 15th overall  in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, a higher position than he was initially expected to go. Several injuries limited Plante to 36 games in 2007–08 and he failed to report to Calgary's training camp prior to the 2008–09 WHL season, claiming that the team had treated him poorly the previous year. While he initially demanded a trade out of Calgary, Plante ultimately recanted and returned to the Hitmen early in the season.He rebounded from his "nightmare season" in 2007–08 to rank among the leaders of the Hitmen defence with 45 points in the regular season and another 15 in the playoffs before Calgary was upset in the league championship series by the Kelowna Rockets.

STATS for his 2 pro years in the Oilers farm system:
2009-2010  Springfield       GP 49 G 2 A 7   PTS 9
2010-2011 Oklahoma City GP 73 G 2 A 15 PTS 17

Article written by Ryan Dittrick at edmontonoilers.com:
In Plante’s two seasons as a professional, the bulk of his ice-time has been spent on the farm, keenly
developing his craft as an intimidating force on the blueline. His upward development curve has been
noticed in Edmonton, as the 6’4" 225 pound rearguard has earned two separate call-ups to make his mark with an early impression. "They want me to play simple," Plante explained. "When I was up there earlier in the year, I was probably trying to do a little bit too much. I wanted to be there, I wanted to show them I wanted to be there. I got away from my game and from the things that make me successful. That was another learning experience. It was only my second call-up, so I'm trying to learn from everything." "When I'm at my best, my game shouldn't change in the minors or whether I'm playing up top in the NHL.  I think at the end of the day, I was able to show them that I've been improving. I need to make sure that  continues. I’m hungry for that spot." Rounding out his game has been an ongoing process; a natural development curve that many up-and-coming prospects face early on. Edmonton’s philosophical change as an organization has meant that players with size and toughness will be highlighted. Securing a future spot in the Oilers lineup may come sooner, rather than later.That decision, naturally, is now on Plante’s shoulders.


Edmonton Oilers Fight Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDAjmSTgwJgOKC
Barons Fight video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1321gWKRW7U


revingevs TAKE:
Some people may very well question my belief that he is a BUBBLE player. In fact many may say he is a DEVELOPING player. I don't think the question is, "will he play in the NHL?" I think he will. Just not with the Edmonton Oilers. There has been a lot of new players coming in and challenging for his spot and Plante is not head and shoulders above them, in fact , those newer players are ranking above him in terms of call up. There is only so many spots available with the big club and unfortunately for Plante his time may be counting down.  He is the very kind of prospect who could end up being a part of a package moving out with a Current roster player in some transaction this year, or if not, for sure next.

Plante is close but still lacks the foot speed that it takes to compete at a higher level. the Oilers want big tough d-men, but they want them mobile. Alex does have a chance at the Oilers roster, but it's slim and there is,  tough competition! It's time for him to start dominating at the AHL level if he wants to break that BUBBLE!

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Johan Motin 
6' 2"
220lbs
10 Oct 1989

Talent Analysis pre-draft report by HF Boards:
Motin is a stay-at-home defenseman with very good size and strength. He has the potential to become a bruising defenseman if he develops his physical game. At this point, his is inconsistent when it comes to playing the body and should act with more resolution and confidence along the boards and in front of his goalie. Offensively, there is little to say about Motin. He does not have the fundamental skills to contribute in a big way in terms of points and hockey sense is limited to playing it safe in his own end. Motin’s puck skills are rather average and on the downside, mobility and speed could use some improvement.

As for his future? He should be considered a project and although playing against early against men, will likely need quite a few seasons of development before being possibly ready for the NHL.

History update:On June 21, 2008, Motin was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League (NHL),
selecting him in the fourth round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, 103rd overall. On May 19, 2009, the Oilers announced that they had signed Motin to a three-year entry-level contract.  He was assigned to the Oilers' then-AHL affiliates, the Springfield Falcons, for the 2009-10 AHL season. Motin was called up to the Oilers senior roster on an emergency basis on March 3, 2010, and he played in
 his first-ever NHL game. Motin was assigned to the Oilers' new AHL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons for their inaugural season.


Pro Stats: Springfield Falcons AHL       GP 55 G 1 A 5  PTS 6
                Stockton Thunder ECHL        GP 14 G 1 A 1  PTS 2
                 Oklahoma City Barons AHL  GP 34 G 1 A 3  PTS 4

Stockton Thunder hockey fight:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsvRt3qp1gQOKC

OKC Barons Goal:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmxxl7VoURU

revingevs TAKE:
Johan is a interesting character. His early rookie training camp looked pretty good to the eye. I personally was at that camp. His skating was smooth, he looked poised with the puck, patient and had some nice passes on the stick of his teammates. But something happened upon arriving in the AHL.

Not sure if it was the rough and rugged play, that can be tough in the AHL, but his development slowed and since, several other players have passed him on the depth charts. He is that BUBBLE player that could swing many directions. Possibly he becomes trade bait with a Oiler roster player, maybe he becomes a transitional player with our AHL club, maybe he just becomes a free agent and attempts to break through in another organization's club.

In order for Johan to make the Edmonton Oilers current roster now, it would take a Giant step forward in his development. Even then, that big development step may not get him on the Oilers roster, it could go a long way into getting noticed with another organization. Either way, this needs to be a step up year, or you very well could see him head back to Europe.


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Taylor Chorney 
6' 0"
193lbs
27 Apr 1987

HISTORY:
Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers with the 36th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.  He previously played at the University of North Dakota.  Was on Team USA at the 2006 World
Junior Championships. Chorney represented the USA again in the 2007 World Juniors, where he was
 team captain. He made his NHL debut on April 10, 2009 against the Calgary Flames. He recorded his
first NHL point in his first game of the 2009-10 season, by assisting one of Zack Stortini's two goals
 on October 12, 2009 on the road against the Nashville Predators. Taylor Chorney scored his first
National Hockey League goal against the Dallas Stars on February 15th, 2011 at Rexall Place.

His father, Marc, played 210 games in the NHL for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings

PRO Stats:2008-09 Springfield Falcons AHL GP 68 G 5 A 16 PTS 21 
2009-10 Springfield Falcons AHL GP 32 G 4 A 9  PTS 13
2010-11 OKC Barons            AHL GP 46 G 3 A 13 PTS 16
(needs to clear waivers)         NHL GP 56 G 1 A 6  PTS 7

Scott Reynolds over at The Copper and Blue wrote:Taylor Chorney is heading into his fourth professional season, which means he's entering that dangerous part of his career where he's no longer really considered a prospect. He'll need to clear waivers to make it to the AHL, but with six guys on one-way contracts plus Jeff Petry hanging around as the second-best right-handed defender on the team, the only way I see him making the Oilers out of camp is if the club decides to carry eight defenders.  Even if they do, he'll have a helluva time getting into the lineup unless he wants to play his off-side, which given his NHL results so far, could be absolutely disastrous. It seems more likely to me that (barring injury) Chorney gets sent to Oklahoma to start the year and  takes on the toughs at evens with a variety of partners. If he plays well, he might be able to earn a call-up for the fourth straight year, but again, he's getting older, so the Oilers might prefer to take a look at some of the younger prospects.

first NHL Goal:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myDAp9clpf0


revingevs TAKE:
As Scott Reynolds has said at Copper and Blue, Taylor really is not considered a prospect as he has to clear waivers to even be sent now to our AHL affiliate. However if your not on the Oilers current roster, your really a prospect, but not a developing one?

It's a interesting question. I have had the chance to see his development over the last couple years at Development Camps, rookie camps and Main training camps. Chorney is a interesting mix. For me he shows 'flashes' of what he can do and then disappears. Last year's Oilers skills competition he shocked many recording the fastest time on the current roster. I thought his development this past year went a long ways to him securing a spot on the big club. (Most likely why he got that contract he did).

With Petry right there beside him, he needs to really step it up, right out of training camp this year. His benefit? He will need to clear waivers in order to be sent down to OKC. Should he clear, he would be your first call-up in the case of a injury but in the mean-time  'would he clear waivers?'. I think there are teams out there willing to take a chance on him, so best bet is? The Oilers start the season with him in their line-up. He needs to come out the gate flying tho, cause he is a BUBBLE player right now who won't have much of a long lease should he falter early.


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Toni Rajala 
5' 10"
163lbs
29 Mar 1991

STATS:2009-10 Brandon Wheat Kings WHL Games 60 G 26 A 37 PTS 63
2010-11 Ilves Tampere SM-liiga  Games 44 G 9  A 13 PTS 22

History:Rajala began playing junior hockey with the Ilves Tampere system in 2005–06. By 2007–08, he had worked his way up to the Junior A level of the SM-Liiga, tallying 35 points in 33 games. Rajala turned pro with Ilves Tampere in 2008–09, tallying 5 points in 21 games during his professional rookie season in the SM-Liiga. On 16 July 2009 Rajala signed an two way contract NHL/AHL with Edmonton Oilers.

Rajala was selected in the first round of the 2009 CHL Import Draft (14th overall) by the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL). He joined the Wheat Kings for the 2009-10 WHL season.

Rajala debuted internationally for Finland at the 2008 IIHF World U18 Championships, recording
5 points in 6 games as Finland placed sixth. The next year, he was named to Finland's under-20
team for the 2009 World Junior Championships in Ottawa, Canada, and managed 3 points in 6 games;
Finland finished in seventh place. Later that year, in April 2009, Rajala competed for Finland at
the 2009 IIHF World U18 Championships in the United States. He led the tournament in scoring with 10 goals and 9 assists and broke the previous point record held by Alexander Ovechkin.

Rajala was selected as the best forward in the tournament, and was named to the tournament All-Star Team, helping Finland to a bronze medal.

HF Boards Talent Analysis:
Rajala has incredible offensive talent. His best asset might be his elusiveness.  He is however, very slight of build.  Rajala is a pure skill player who – mentally and physically – always seems to be a step ahead of the opposition. His size and strength are concerns – and the key issue will be whether he can compete on a nightly basis against some of the bigger and faster players in the NHL. He is almost unstoppable at the junior level – both in domestic play and in international competition – and has a strong inner drive to create offense. He is a marvel handling the puck, shoots accurately with a quick release, and is adept at passing and receiving the puck. Provides constant pressure on the power play due to his skill level, intensity and ability to recognize open teammates and scoring opportunities.

Highlights Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8Xu4f4on10

revingevs TAKE:
Surprised? I know, he is young, talented with lots of skill  and back in Europe serving his army time and still playing hockey. 'How could I have him as a BUBBLE player?' Well unfortunately for Tony he has a couple things going against him to make our current roster.

 1) He is a smaller sized talented player. We have been trying to move away from having so many of those type of players. which brings us to 2) We have some smaller talented players in our top 9.

Eberle and Omark and Gagner. (meaning under 6ft tall),  With all the talent stockpiling on the club Tony will have a hard time cracking this line-up and as far as I can gather, he will still not be with our AHL team this coming season. This means that he will need a season where he stands out as a elite talent in europe to even get noticed and not become another buried treasure.

Like I said in my opening article, 'the cupboards and fridge are quite stocked'. I think he could easily catch on somewhere else with the talent he has,  but at this point, he on the BUBBLE and this is his year to display what he can really do.

More BUBBLE players to be con't....

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