Monday, October 13, 2008

BBO's Top 20 Oilers Prospects, #8 C Chris Vande Velde

After watching Vande Velde late in his Freshman season, I really took a liking to him. He wasn't really on my radar, but while keying in on then UND Fighting Sioux defenseman Taylor Chorney, I began to notice Vande Velde as a potential NHL prospect.

What's not to like? He's got a big 6'2" frame, is very strong on the puck, a solid passer, has a very good wrist shot, skates well for a big man, and he's solid on draws.

Quite frankly, if Vande Velde were NHL ready today, the Oilers could really use a player like him. However it is in Vande Velde's and the Oilers best interests for him to stay for at least his Junior season in North Dakota. If Vande Velde can improve on last season, the Oilers will likely try to get him inked to an NHL contract next summer.

Placing Vande Velde in a position to be one of the focal points offensively this season will allow him to learn how to face tougher opposition and still produce. Vande Velde played on the PP, the PK, and a lot of minutes at even strength last season. A solid all around player, Vande Velde could see himself shoot even higher up the Oilers prospect depth chart this year with a big season.


KlingonHockey said...

Nice report.

Don't really see the sense in rushing him to the AHL given our prospect depth. The higher calibre play would be good, but in college he'll get more icetime, a larger role, and greater leadership opportunities. Let the guy mature a bit before he starts getting ground and battered by the rigors of the pro game.

From my perspective, it doesn't seem like many of these college guys miss a beat whether they stay for four years or play two years in the AHL. How much greater are his chances of making the bigs at 22 after four years of college, vs. two years in the AHL?

Bryanbryoil said...

IMO there is benefit to playing in the AHL. It will allow them to know what the rigors of the pros will be like. He's already 21 years of age, so he's not an 18 or 19 year old. If he's a PPG player in the NCAA, we may as well sign him. Schremp and Brule should be gone by then (to the Oilers or elsewhere).

Nash is only 19, so he can wait another year or 2.

If I were the Oilers, I'd be looking at signing Vande Velde and Petry after this seson as long as they have solid seasons this year.