The Edmonton Oilers have been fortunate, to say the
least. General Manager Steve Tambellini's Oilers have picked first in each of
the past three National Hockey League Entry Drafts. Tambellini is building the
Oilers for the future and his selects are a tremendous start.
Thanks to the extensive work by the Oilers scouting
staff, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nail Yakupov are all on the roster
and are most assuredly the players Ralph Krueger will look to for scoring.
However, there is one player who has the potential
to be a linemate of either three of those players.
That player is Daniil Zharkov, who was selected with
the 91 overall pick in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Zharkov spent last season with the Belleville Bulls
of the Ontario Hockey League and will suit up for the Bulls again this season.
When I said Zharkov could be a top-six player like
aforementioned Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov, I really am not exaggerating
Scouts have noted his great offensive abilities and
his strong skating as a huge reason for his tremendous upside.
In addition to that, Zharkov has great footwork and
can drive the net effectively. Also, he has the exceptional ability to generate
plays by reading the ice and making a smart pass.
As with every prospect, there are some concerns with
his overall game.
Zharkov could improve his play in all three areas of
the ice. However, he working on his hockey sense is paramount.
At times, he will try to do everything himself by
trying to make fancy plays instead of being smart with the puck.
So far this preseason, Zharkov has scored one goal
and added two assists in six preseason games.
It should be noted that Zharkov is a big project, but with work on his awareness and hockey sense, I believe he will be in the NHL soon.
I expect his offensive numbers to grow this season,
with the help of great teammates like Austen Brassard, Brendan Gaunce and
On Friday's edition of the Prospect Preview, we will take a look at New York Islanders prospect Griffin Reinhart.
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