Nail Yakupov, the third jewel in the offensive jewel of the Edmonton Oilers youth movement, saw his NHL debut officially delayed Thursday. Ditto for at least 10 other promising prospects who have yet to play a meaningful NHL game, but have little, if anything, left to prove at any lower level.
A smattering of other rising players performed in at least one momentary stint in 2011-12 and thus set up a springboard for what ought to be their first full campaign in The Show. If that campaign is to be 2012-13, it will now be a less-than-full campaign for all, but the prospects in question will be in on it nonetheless.
For the purposes of this slideshow, a “prospect” shall be defined as a player who has already appeared in less than 15 regular-season or postseason NHL games. Translation: Chris Kreider and Gustav Nyquist are ineligible, although they should be a lock for their respective teams, just as each of the following 20 are.