There’s no denying that the Edmonton Oilers boast one of the youngest, most exciting rosters in the NHL. Just by virtue of having 20-year-old superstar Connor McDavid and emerging superstar Leon Draisaitl in their lineup, the Oilers have to be considered as a perfect representation of the NHL’s new youth movement.
But, it’s not all Connor and Leon. The Oilers have several other young players poised to do big things in 2017-18. Which of the following three players do you see having the biggest impact next season? Who is most likely to have a breakout campaign?
The 19-year-old, 4th overall selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft split his rookie season between the Oilers and the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors, but could find a full-time role with the Oilers in training camp this year. He potted 12 goals and 28 points in just 39 games with the Condors and could crack the Oiler’s top-six on the right wing with Zack Kassian being the only real mainstay on the right side.
The 22-year-old defender has been quietly grooming his game with the Oilers the past two seasons and, with veteran Andrej Sekera on the shelf long-term, he could receive an increased role to start the 2017-18 campaign. The 6’4”, 213 lb blue liner has put up modest offensive stats so far in his NHL career, but look for him to double or even triple his career average if he can find some consistency in his game.
This kid can flat out fly. If he could ever figure out how to coordinate his hands with his feet, the sky is the limit in terms of point production. The 23-year-old forward is coming off a rookie season that saw him score seven goals and 18 points in just 60 games. If he can put it all together, it’s wouldn’t be a stretch to see him hit the 20 goal plateau in 2017-18.