The Oil Kings currently sit tied for first in the Central division with Lethbridge and Red Deer all at 42 points. Edmonton has 18 wins on the year, and has a goal differential of +14. Edmonton looks much deeper this year than years previous and under new coach Brad Lauer, Edmonton is playing with much more jump and urgency this year.
Edmonton has made a few moves since the start of the season, most recently adding 20 year old Andrew Fyten from the Swift Current Broncos on December 13th. The Oil Kings have also made a trade to bring in veteran defender Parker Gavlas from Regina and picked up former Brandon Wheat Kings Zach Russell off free agency. With the trade deadline looming, I’d expect Edmonton stand pat as they seem quite comfortable with their team to this point of the season.
Trey Fix-Wolansky has been the offensive leader all season for the Oil Kings, currently sitting third in CHL scoring, Fix-Wolansky comes into the break on a ten game scoring streak where he has totalled 18 points over those games. Throughout the first half of the season, Fix-Wolansky has formed chemistry with 16 year old Jake Neighbours. Neighbours who currently sits at 18 points in his rookie season, has translated smoothly to the WHL and has looked like a Curtis Lazar type of player who could have similar success.
Edmonton has 11 forwards in double digit figures in points, equal to the amount that they had at the end of last season. They also sit at 138 goals for on the season, last year they had a total of 204 goals. The Oil Kings offensive depth and emergence of Trey Fix-Wolansky has greatly contributed to the teams scoring improvements.
Over the second half, there are three players I will be watching carefully.
Vladimir Alistrov has had a slow start to a highly touted rookie season, he has flashed moments of brilliance and creativity that Edmonton hasn’t seen in a while. Forming a duo with Andrei Pavlenko on the Oil Kings third line. Alistrov is hoping to build off the 14 points he has produced in the first half of the season.
Liam Keeler is another player in his NHL Draft year who has had a slow start. Being utilized lately on the Oil Kings penalty killing units, Keeler offense game hasn’t translated yet to the WHL as it was shown in Bantam and Midget but is starting to be a stable utility player for Edmonton.
Jalen Luypen surprisingly made the team out of camp as a 16-year-old. The 8th round pick has surpassed my own expectations so far this year, Luypen reminds me much of Colton Kehler and has found himself on the team’s top power play unit at times. Excited to see what the second half of the season has instore for Luypen.
Call ups + Off the roster players:
Dylan Guenther – 7GP-3G-1A-4PTS
Tyler Horstmann – 3GP-1G-0A-1PTS
Kobe Verbicky – 2GP-0G-0A-0PTS
Brendan Semchuk – 2GP-0G-0A-0PTS
Ty Gerla – 7GP-0G-0A-0PTS
The Oil Kings defensive core had seen nine different faces inserted into its top six. Led by a consistent top four of Conner McDonald, Matthew Robertson, Ethan Cap, and Wyatt Mcleod who have all logged consistent big minutes. NHL Draft eligible Matthew Robertson has been the most valuable defender for the Oil Kings so far, providing versatility and fluid puck transitioning Robertson has developed into a dependable two-way defenseman for the Oil Kings and has provided stability in all situations.
Parker Gavlas was picked up from the Regina Pats at the end of October. Although he has zero points in 16 games, Gavlas has had some good showings with his new team. Settling in a defensive role and picking his spots to be involved in the offensive play. For Gavlas consistency with his decision making and positioning in all three zones will be key for him in the second half of the season if he wants to provide more to the Oil Kings defensive core.
Will Warm has been out with a lower body injury since the early weeks in the season, hes expected to be back in February. Jacson Alexander is also out with an injury but is expected to return soon.
As of right now Logan Dowhaniuk and Aiden Lawson have been duking it out for for the sixth spot on the defensive core. Dowhaniuk has been the go to in my opinion, he’s really started to settle into the WHL and is slowly looking better and better with every game. While neither are game breaking players for the Oil Kings right now, the Oil Kings are excited about both Dowhaniuk and Lawson in terms of the future of their defensive grouping.
Call ups + Off the roster players:
Keagan Slaney – 3GP-0G-0A-0PTS
|1||Dylan Myskiw||24GP 2.96GAA 0.902Sv%|
|2||Boston Bilous||10GP 3.56GAA 0.859Sv%|
|3||Todd Scott||5GP 4.47GAA 0.850Sv%|
The Edmonton Oil Kings started out the season rotating the tandem of Boston Bilous and Dylan Myskiw through the first 15-30 games of the year but have recently relied on the services of Dylan Myskiw as the starter. Myskiw, who currently sits 17th in the WHL in sv%, was acquired in the summer from Brandon and has been the consistent starter over the past 10 games. The Oil Kings have also been relying on Todd Scott for a few starts since returning from his injury to start the season.
NHL Draft Prospect Boston Bilous deserves more starts through the second half of the season. Bilous has been inconsistent with his starts but has shown progression since the end of last season and has been pushing Myskiw all season for the starter role since September.
Look for 16-year-old Sebastian Cossa to be the first call up for the Oil Kings if consistency or injury issue arise over the second half of the season.