FEATURES

A Closer Look at the Prospects

Friday, 22.06.2007 / 12:55 AM / Features
By Marc Ciampa  - edmontonoilers.com
A closer look at 10 players who have the potential to be picked in the Top 10 of this year's NHL Entry Draft:

KARL ALZNER (Calgary, WHL) - View Profile Video

Position: D
Shoots: L
Born: September 24, 1988 in Burnaby, BC
Height: 6’2” Weight: 206 lbs

International Scouting Service: 6
Central Scouting:
5 - North America
The Hockey News:
8

Oilers VP of Hockey Operations Kevin Prendergast:

“Seeing the kid in the playoffs, playing 35 to 40 minutes a night and to have the hockey sense he has, no questions about him. He's a guy who’s going to bring a lot to the table.

“He played a ton of minutes for Calgary, especially in the playoffs for them. He’s able to control the game.

“Whether you want to play at a fast level or a slow level, he has the uncanny ability to slow the game down and get it down to the level he wants or pick it up and bring it to where he wants to.”

“He’s not a big goal scorer or point-getter or very physical but he gets the job done at both ends of the ice.”

Oilers Scout Brad Davis:

"He's a guy who's going to play, and he's going to play for a long long time.

"Great players have the ability to turn the game to the speed they want to play and that's what Karl Alzner does at the level he's at right now."

Oilers Scout Bob Brown:

"He looks like he could step in today. He doesn't make many mistakes and if he does he's quick to correct it."

MIKAEL BACKLUND (Vasteras, SWE)
Position:
C
Shoots:
L
Born:
March 17, 1989 in Vasteras, Sweden
Height:
6’0” Weight: 191 lbs

International Scouting Service: 12
Central Scouting:
30 - North America
The Hockey News:
32 Oilers Scout Kent Nilsson:

"He was hurt for most of this year. He had a bad knee but came back after Christmas and played well."

"Good defensively, can shoot the puck. He has it all."

Oilers Scout Frank Musil:

"Backlund is a well-rounded player that wants to take charge. He makes other people better around him.

"That's what every team is looking for: a centre that has the ability to shoot the puck but also recognize when to shoot and when to pass."

KEATON ELLERBY (Kamloops, WHL) - View Profile Video

Position: D
Shoots:
L
Born:
November 5, 1988 in Okotoks, AB
Height:
6’4” Weight: 186 lbs

International Scouting Service: 9
Central Scouting:
4 - North America
The Hockey News:
11

Oilers VP of Hockey Operations Kevin Prendergast:

“Great skater, great mobility. Has a mean streak in his game.”

“Brings a lot to the table as far as what he can bring to a hockey team.”

“Defencemen who can play anywhere from 25 to 30 minutes are a very strong commodity in the hockey world. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes in this draft.”

Oilers Scout Bob Brown::

"Keaton's a bit of a mystery to me. I see him a lot more than other scouts. Some nights I see him and go wow and other nights don't see much.

"Tons of potential. Skates well, shoots the puck hard but his consistency has been a concern."

Oilers Scout Bob Brown:

"Keaton's a bit of a mystery to me. I see him a lot more than other scouts. Some nights I see him and go wow and other nights don't see much."

"Tons of potential. Skates well, shoots the puck hard but his consistency has been a concern."

ANGELO ESPOSITO (Quebec, QMJHL) - View Profile Video

Position: C
Shoots:
L
Born:
February 20, 1989 in Montreal, PQ
Height:
6’1” Weight: 180 lbs

International Scouting Service: 11
Central Scouting:
8 - North America
The Hockey News:
9

Oilers Scout Bill Dandy:

"Angelo is a Montreal kid so I've known him for a long time."

"He's a terrific hockey player, probably the best skater in the whole draft."

"Last year he played with Alexander Radulov, a pretty good hockey player. Angelo reaped the benefits of playing with him."

"He still had 70+ points this year as a 17 year old playing on not a very good hockey team."

SAM GAGNER (London, OHL) - View Profile Video
Position:
C
Shoots: R
Born: August 10, 1989 in Oakville, ON
Height: 5’10” Weight: 191 lbs

International Scouting Service: 7
Central Scouting:
6 - North America
The Hockey News:
6

Oilers VP of Hockey Operations Kevin Prendergast:

“Skilled, slick, got some grit to his game. Not very big at 5’10” 190 lbs but great pedigree from his dad.

“Learned how to play in that hockey system in London where offence comes first.

“Him and Kane were a great twosome. He sees the ice well, he makes things happen and he makes players around him better.”

PATRICK KANE (London, OHL) - View Profile Video
Position:
RW
Shoots: L
Born: November 19, 1988 in Buffalo, NY
Height: 5’9” Weight: 160 lbs

International Scouting Service: 1
Central Scouting:
2 - North America
The Hockey News:
1

Oilers VP of Hockey Operations Kevin Prendergast:

“Highly skilled. Certainly, at every level he’s played at and every competition he’s ever been in he’s one of the best players to play.

“Again this year in London, at 5’9” 160 lbs he wins the scoring championship. At the World Junior Championships he’s one of the best forwards there.

“He has a knack to play the game. In today’s game with small players, it’s no longer a major issue that small players can’t play. He has all the tools and is probably the closest player to being able to play next year.”

KYLE TURRIS (Burnaby, BCHL) - View Profile Video
Position:
C
Shoots: R
Born: August 14, 1989 in New Westminster, B.C.
Height: 6’0” Weight: 170 lbs

International Scouting Service: 4
Central Scouting:
1 - North America
The Hockey News:
3

Oilers VP of Hockey Operations Kevin Prendergast:

“He’s highly skilled. For a kid playing tier II hockey he certainly made a name for himself this year. He’s going to Wisconsin, a great hockey school. He does have to get a lot stronger in order to play at the next level.

“Of all the players in the top six or eight he’s the one that has to physically get a lot stronger to get better.”

JAMES vanRIEMSDYK (USA, U-18) - View Profile Video

Position: LW
Shoots: L
Born: May 4, 1989 in Middleton, NJ
Height: 6’3” Weight: 190 lbs

International Scouting Service: 5
Central Scouting:
3 - North America
The Hockey News:
2

Oilers VP of Hockey Operations Kevin Prendergast:

“Big strong kid. Had a great year with the under 18 team.

“Played exceptionally well in the games that he had to play well in at the World Junior Championships against Canada and Russia. Going into New Hampshire next year.

“Still has a lot of things to learn about playing the game but from a raw talent standpoint, he’s loaded.”

JAKUB VORACEK (Halifax, QMJHL)

Position: RW
Shoots: L
Born: July 15, 1989 in Slany, Czech Republic
Height: 6’1” Weight: 191 lbs

International Scouting Service: 1
Central Scouting:
7 - North America
The Hockey News:
4 Oilers VP of Hockey Operations Kevin Prendergast:

“Tremendous interview, tremendous kid. He came over (to North America) and learned how to speak English in three months without going to school.

“People in Halifax can’t say enough good things about him.

“It’s just something, you have to get him on the right track as far as training.

“When we interviewed him he admitted he wasn’t so sure what to expect because they don’t train like that in Europe.”
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