Over the past month or so, we at the Cult of Hockey have been reviewing videos of various players and prospects of the Edmonton Oilers playing overseas in the current season, or in a few cases of older game tapes of North American-based hopefuls. One of our objectives is to come up with Version 2.0 of the 2020 version of our annual prospect rankings, this time to include freshly-drafted prospects as well as a more informed analysis of those already in the system.
The provisional version of said list (Ver 1.0) was laden with defencemen, who occupied 9 of the top 16 placements. So overladen was the organizational depth chart with d-men that the club drafted nothing but forwards in 2020. Still those 9 defencemen stand out as the org’s long suit. 8 of them are under contract, and 7 of them are currently plying their trade in Europe.
About a week ago my Cult of Hockey colleague David Staples delivered an upbeat review of the one unsigned D hopeful, Michael Kesselring of Northeastern University. In the same post he provided an updated list of how he rates that group of defenders, and subsequently challenged me to do likewise. First I had to watch two more of them in action, namely Markus Niemelainen and Kesselring. I’ve previously posted at least once on all seven of the others, all of whom but Phil Kemp are currently in Europe.