Calder Candidate, Nail Yakupov
The shortened 2013 regular season was another disappointing one for Edmonton Oilers’ players, management and fans.
By failing to make the playoffs, the Oilers have now stretched their postseason drought to seven years dating back to 2006.
While many fans don't want to focus on the seasons that are far and away, the Oilers finally have some depth in their farm system and the future looks relatively bright at all positions.
The following five prospects, including one goaltender, two forwards and two defensemen, should give Oilers fans something to be excited about in the years to come.
These prospects are all under the age of 23 and have yet to play an entire season at the NHL level.
Oklahoma City Head Coach Todd Nelson
The best goaltending prospect in the Oilers’ organization is Olivier Roy.
A former World Junior goaltender for Team Canada, Roy has shown a lot of promise, and will rely on his superior athleticism to make the jump to the NHL level.
He is not yet ready to support Devan Dubnyk at this stage, and the Oilers will likely have to go outside the organization to find a veteran backup.
Hopes are that Roy will be able to play significant minutes for the Oilers' AHL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons next season.
The Oilers’ organization has a long history of great Finnish hockey players, starting with Jari Kurri in the 1980s.
While Toni Rajala is not likely to be the next Jari Kurri, he is a right winger who has scored consistently at all the levels of hockey in which he has competed.
He is relatively undersized and may not be the right fit for the Oilers at the forward position, given their current mix of small, skilled forwards, so he might become an important piece in future trades.
Rajala earned nearly a point-per-game this season, and the upside with this 22-year-old seems very promising.
Another Finnish prospect for the Oilers is Teemu Hartikainen.
Hartikainen’s advantages over Rajala are his size and physical play—something the Oilers do not have nearly enough of on their current NHL roster.
The left winger stands over six feet tall and is best described as a heavy player who offers a physical element that is lacking on the Oilers’ NHL roster.
He played over 20 games in the NHL this year, but has failed to crack the Oilers’ roster on a consistent basis.
Also 22-years old, it seems to be just a matter of time until he becomes a regular at the NHL level as a very good third-line player.
Oilers' prospect, Martin Marincin
The Oilers have a number of defensive prospects; however, most are at least two or three seasons away from playing at the NHL level.
Slovakian prospect, Martin Marincin, is one exception that brings a lot to the table.
At 6'5", Marincin offers some of the imposing size that the Oilers can use on defense. While he is not known for a lot of physical play, he is a superb skater and puck-mover.
Though Marincin may need another year in Oklahoma, the Oilers can look forward to him playing at the NHL level in the coming years if he continues to develop.
The Oilers have a legitimate blue-chip prospect in Sweden's Oscar Klefbom.
While Klefbom has to continue to rehabilitate his recently injured shoulder, it seems that the organization believes he will become a top-pairing defenseman after returning from his injury.
While it's unlikely that Klefbom will be a major offensive threat at the NHL level, he does boast an all-around game that has already served him well in the Swedish Elite League.
Klefbom may need to spend some time in Oklahoma City prior to making the move to the NHL, but he seems to be a can’t-miss prospect within the organization.