Saturday, October 27, 2012

REVS Top 15 Draft Prospects "#4. Aleksander Barkov"

#4. Aleksander Barkov

Aleksander Barkov Jr. a 17 year old who is 6'2 and weighing 205 lbs. He plays for Tappara of the SM-liiga Finnish League. His father Alexander Barkov, was a former Russian hockey player. Barkov made his debut with Tappara, October 1, 2011 and became the youngest player in the league to score a point with a assist that night. Alek was chosen to play for Team Finland at the 2011/12 U20 World Juniors and in doing so, was the youngest Finnish player

Matias Strozyk writes...
"A very calm center who uses his vision well. Excellent offensive game and good size. Plays with confidence and never seems to be under pressure. Style resembles that of Pavel Datsyuk. A very solid overall package and one of the top prospects of the 2013 NHL Draft."

This is a player who very likely could jump up a spot or two or even fall as far as 6th depending on how the rest of his season turns out. With his size, FO% and all around game at such a young age, he could potentially become the best all around player in the 2013 Draft. Playing against men and still racking up good totals is what is really impressing scouts everywhere. A team like Edmonton may have their sights set on a player like Lazar but there is no way they pass up a potential center the size and talent of Barkov. 
 SeasonTeamLeagueGPGATPPIM+/-    Postseas.GPGATPPIM+/- 
 2009-10 Tappara U16 Jr. C SM-sarja Q868142|
 Tappara U16 Jr. C SM-sarja252025456| Playoffs957124
 Finland U16 (all) International-Jr20000|
 2010-11 Tappara U16 Jr. C SM-sarja Q10330|
 Tappara U16 Jr. C SM-sarja21340| Playoffs10717242
 Tappara U18 Jr. B SM-sarja Q86392|
 Tappara U18 Jr. B SM-sarja54596|
 Tappara U20 Jr. A SM-liiga25512176|
 Finland U16 (all) International-Jr13461010|
 Finland U17 (all) International-Jr34044|
 2011-12 Tappara U20 Jr. A SM-liiga523522|
 Tappara SM-liiga32791645|
 Finland U18 WJC-187123270|
 Finland U18 (all) International-Jr434722|
 Finland U20 WJC-20713400|
 Finland U20 (all) International-Jr121450|
 2012-13 Tappara SM-liiga16981704|

Barkov has never been a elite scorer that progresses year after year and only is coming into his own this season as a point per game player playing against men. Should Barkov fall in the rankings it would be because of the lack of a track record of continued scoring ability and his draft year could be a anomaly. On the other hand not being a official Russian like his father may be of great help in his draft stock. The russian factor is not going to be used like this past year.

For Oiler prospect news and the 2013 or 2014 NHL draft watch, go to

Thursday, October 25, 2012

"8 Questions in Oil Country"

While the NHL is still at a impasse and we await the fate of this season, hockey is still alive and well , just not the level of hockey and media hype that is known as the NHL. 

I continue getting lots of questions on twitter , facebook and emails and as promised in the past,  I said I would try my best to answer your questions as honest and factual as I can. Sometimes I am fortunate to get some inside information and have no problem being bold telling you so. However that is not often so one thing you will not find from me is, making up rumours or spreading stories that I am only guessing at and making it sound as legitimate NHL or Hockey Information. I will however tell you if it is only my opinion or rumour only. Many times, one can read behind the lines,that is, if you do some investigation and put 2+2 together.

Let's go ahead and cover some hockey related questions regarding our beloved Edmonton Oilers and other interests around hockey.

Will this Downtown Arena in Edmonton deal get down or are we in for further threats os relocation?

The Katz group and City Council both have shown to be terrible negotiators. The deal that was on the table was good for both sides. Does Katz group need further assistance? He can't expect to make further profits on the back of tax money, he needs to be reasonable. On the other hand, the city has lots to win by adding further development around the arena district. The added tax money over the years is only a win win for the City of Edmonton. It does have complications but what business venture is not risky. It takes money to make money. Sit back and do nothing and you will get exactly that....NOTHING! 

I believe this deal will get down but have no clue how or when. It's a mess, but both Katz and the City want to make money and not be left holding the bill. It will get down, question really is how and when.

Is there a possibility of playing a 82game NHL season?

I see no possibility at all. The NHL tried to use the impression they were bending but set another deadline only to have the NHLPA not even counter offer but give three offers all of which were based off their original offer. IT's sad for hockey. Personally, I think this season will be canceled and the players are going to really take a beating should that happen.

Whats your thoughts on the OKC Barons and their talent level?

OKC is crazy loaded with talent. Should they not win, it's not because of talent but because a lack of team chemistry. I have been impressed with Hartikainen and Paajarvi coming out of the gate. It is important for their future to perform well early and stay consistent. Marincin has been exactly what I thought he would be like. Some people still question the level he is playing at and feel he is making too many mistakes but Coaches Nelson and Thompson disagree. They speak highly of him at every level. They know he is still a work in progress and you can't expect to see him look like a seasoned veteran just yet. His pairing with Schultz is a story in itself to how the Oilers feel about his future.

Who do you think will be the Barons Points leader this year?
I say Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. I know Schultz is killing it right now but logic tells us it will have to slow down at some point. 

You originally thought Nail Yakupov would put up .50pts/game in the KHL, do you think any different?
Nail has adapted quite well to playing in the KHL. Much faster then I anticipated. I could see him actually increasing his pts/game to a .75/game mark. Anything more would be a incredible feat over a longer period of time. His goal scoring ability has been what has surprised me the most. Glad to be looking wrong on my early season estimates

What prospects for the June NHL Entry Draft in 2013 do you think the Oilers are high on early?
I know Stu likes what he has seen from Max Domi of London who has 19 points in 11 games or  Johnathan Drouin who has19 points in only 8 games for the Halifax Mooseheads. Heard from a few people on the inside that lots of the Oilers scouts are closely watching defencemen Pulock, who has 17 points in his 14 games in Brandon.

It is still early to gage much but the Oilers do not view this draft as deep as other media types have. Some believe this draft group is real deep but the Oilers look at the top 20 and feel anything past that is not much different from last year. As Stu said however, it's still early and there is plenty of time for players to rise.

What 2013 Prospect has surprised  the most?
As I mentioned in my last blog on '8 Questions in Oil Country" I felt Jonathan Drouin out of the Halifax Mooseheads was the player to watch to rise in the rankings. He has not let me down. He is making Grigorenko's numbers look silly for a 17 year old kid.
As mentioned above I know the 'Magnificant Bastard' already has had his eye on him along with several other scouts. He may even become a top 5 Ranked player by year end. 

Should we trade for Luongo?
Absolutely yes......IF we can aquire him at a reasonable price. i.e.: straight up for Shawn Horcoff contract etc..He is a elite goalie. He has attitude, but not every player has to be media friendly. All I care about is can he help our team win. Do I like Kessler? NO! But he can help our team win. I believe this team adding Luongo could contend with 2 years. I say yes and let it work itself out. They will not trade for him unless the numbers work in maintaining blance for their stars. (At least I would hope)

For Oiler prospect news and the 2013 or 2014 NHL draft watch, go to

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Welcome to "YAKS" World!

(Nail's home arena in Nizhnekamsk, Russia)

Nizhnekamsk, Russia is home to Nail Yakupov, 1st OV selection at the 
2012 NHL Entry Draft held in June. Oiler fans would love to see Nail practicing his 
trade here in Edmonton. For those of you who have not had a 
chance to read Nail's recent interview with Andrey Osadchenko. There is further answers from
Nail Yakupov on understanding what happened with his transfer papers being delayed by
 Hockey Canada. He also discusses his first experience playing against men in the KHL.

Currently Nail is performing well above and beyond expectations that most fans and scouts have expressed alike.
 SeasonTeamLeagueGPGATPPIM+/-    Postseas.GPGATPPIM+/- 
 2009-10 Reaktor Nizhnekamsk MHL1442626-3|
 Russia U19 WJAC-1942138|
 2010-11 Sarnia Sting OHL65495210171-2|
 Russia U18  WJC-18767136-6|
 2011-12 Sarnia Sting OHL423138693015| Playoffs62354-7 
 Russia U20 WJC-20709964|
 2012-13 Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk  KHL75270-1|
When Nail should be trying his trade in the NHL at Rexall Place, the Labour 
dispute has put a temporary hold on NHL Oilers fans excitement. One look at 
the ancient REXALL PLACE and you would wonder why any NHL player would 
want to play there.(Thats a different story for a different time)

(Nail's future home in Edmonton, Canada)

While the KHL is currently the top league currently playing in the world right now, it still is not the NHL. As fans of the NHL and the Edmonton Oilers we need to be careful to look at things with some simple understanding. Yakupov, may or may not score at Hall numbers , let alone Nugent-Hopkins numbers. To see his current scoring rate, we need to look at a few factors...

1) It is still not against NHL teams where most 5-6th defencemen can be better then the 3-4th defencemen on a KHL team (Just my opinion based on numbers and level of competition)
2) His scoring % is crazy high and it is still early.
3) He plays on a less superior team where he slots automatically into the top 6 and top PP time. More opportunity, more points possible. This may not happen on the Oilers NHL squad.
4) His confidence is high right now and it is possible he will slow down his rate of scoring.

Regardless of what we think of the KHL and/or Yakupov, Nail is still playing on a .500% team and scoring at a PPG rate of a top 15 player in the KHL, currently best league in the world. As a Oiler fan, I say sit back, relax and enjoy the great experience that Nail Yakupov is getting before joining his new Komrades here in Oil Country. How could this be a bad thing? I prefer to look at it as the Arena is Half full, not half empty.

I am one fan who cant' wait to see these young Oilers take to the ice at Rexall, this year or next!!

For Oiler prospect news and the 2013 or 2014 NHL draft watch, go to...

Two Guys & Hockey Talk NHL News (CLICK PIC FOR LINK)

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