The Oil Kings saw themselves in an interesting situation to start the 2018-2019 season, with a 5-0 record after five games, things looked like they were really starting to turn around for a team who has struggled these past couple of season. Their line up depth was a key contributor to their team’s success in those first five games, with all four lines providing speed and skill, it was tough for teams to match up against. All while Edmonton was still making final decisions on players and were still holding four goalies on their roster (two were injured).
Some tremendous early performances by the goalie duo of Boston Bilous and Dylan Myskiw were huge in the team’s early success. With Myskiw starting on three of the team’s wins and Bilous starting on the other two, new coach Brad Lauer has been switching the duo in and out every game this season. With Sebastian Cossa and Todd Scott both sidelined with injuries, the Oil Kings currently still have four goalies on their roster.
An early trade was made in the season by the Edmonton Oil Kings. They sent 1999-born forward Brendan Semchuk to Kootenay for a conditional fourth round draft pick in 2020. Semchuk has three points in six games since joining the Ice. The move was to free up roster spots for younger players to enter in.
The Oil Kings also made a couple moves to bring in guys near the time of main camp. NHL Draft eligible d-man Jacson Alexander and 1999-born goalie Dylan Myskiw were brought in. Alexander is coming off of a WHL championship winning season with the Swift Current Broncos. While Myskiw has spent the previous seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings and Victoria Royals.
Since coming out of the game in Calgary, a 6-3 win on September 29th, the Oil Kings have yet to find a win in the month of October. They have gone 0-5 in games against Saskatoon, Kootenay, Spokane, Tri-City and Portland – the team has struggled to find that offensive flare that they had in September. Currently on their US road trip, Edmonton will be looking to change that against Everett on Friday.
Edmonton really struggled with streaky win/losses last season, having several games where they would win and then several games they would lose. This season it looks like it hasn’t changed as they started off 5-0 and have since lost five straight.
NHL Prospect Shining
Trey Fix-Wolansky, the Columbus Blue Jackets prospect, really helped pave the way early on in the season with ten points in those first five games of the WHL season. The team’s newest captain, Trey looks like he has taken a lot from his NHL camp experience. His presence on the ice is felt much more constantly and he looks quicker + faster than he did at the end of the 2017-2018 season. He has been playing on a line with David Kope and Vince Loschiavo. Wolansky has found good chemistry early on.
This season is excellent for the Oil Kings in terms of potential NHL Draft selections. With scouts lining up the seats on a consistent basis, it’s something new to this team that they haven’t had in years. Edmonton is headlined by several players who are expected to get selected come June.
Matthew Robertson is the team’s top NHL Draft prospects. Robertson, who is coming off of a gold medal winning Canada Ivan Hlinka team, is an all situations defenseman who the team depends on heavily. He’s a dependable three-zone presence who blends smarts with elite skating. Robertson is the team’s biggest attraction right now and was selected 8th overall in the 2016 WHL Draft. Matthew is expected to be a first round NHL Draft pick.
David Kope was the Oil Kings eighth round selection in the 2015 WHL draft and is still expected to be a high NHL Draft pick. Kope should be the cover boy for late bloomers as he has surpassed everyone’s expectations. He’s a lanky creative playmaker who has skill and poise with the puck. Kope recognizes time and space with the puck and exploits it. He’s currently playing on the team’s top line with Trey Fix-Wolansky and Vince Loschiavo.
Vladimir Alistrov was the team’s first import selection in the 2018 CHL import draft. Alistrov is a native of Belarus and come over to play with former team mate Andrei Pavlenko. Honing elite puck skills and offensive flare, Alistrov is fun to watch with the puck. He’s constantly looking to drive the attacks and creates a lot of offensive scoring chances. Some pin him as a first rounder, some as a third but either way he will be selected.
Jacson Alexander was brought in with a trade with Swift Current just before main camp this year. The former first round WHL draft pick is coming off an Ed Chynoweth Cup winning season with the Broncos. He’s a two-way defender who moves the puck well and plays with a physical presence. His consistency is lacking but he possesses some good tools in all three zones. When he’s on, he’s on and you notice his offensive game. When he’s not, it’s a long night for Alexander.
Liam Keeler has had a bit of a struggle early on this year, with no points in the team’s first nine games, Keeler will need to bounce back quickly to become involved in NHL draft talks. The team’s second first round pick in 2016, Keeler has been playing up and down the team’s line up as he has the speed and skill to be that versatile center. I’d expect him to be a late pick if he gets selected at all.
Boston Bilous is the team’s best NHL goalie prospect in this year’s draft. Bilous is one half of the team’s always rotating goalie duo with Dylan Myskiw. Bilous has looked a lot more confident and aggressive in his crease early on in the year which bodes well for the 2001-born net minder. Bilous will need to play strong and secure the starting position to get drafted in my opinion.