Edmonton Oilers Prospects Profiles: Ostap Safin

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 24: Ostap Safin, 115th overall pick of the Edmonton Oilers, poses for a portrait during the 2017 NHL Draft at United Center on June 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 24: Ostap Safin, 115th overall pick of the Edmonton Oilers, poses for a portrait during the 2017 NHL Draft at United Center on June 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Edmonton Oilers prospect Ostap Safin has what it takes to be a productive NHL player during the team’s Stanley Cup window.

Safin was projected to be a second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft by most of the NHL scouting agencies but fell to the fourth round. Edmonton took him with the 115th overall pick, and he may just be a steal for the team.

With Connor McDavid set to become the highest paid in the NHL the year after next, and Leon Draisaitl expected to sign a massive contract of his own this summer, the Oilers will need solid, young players on cheap contracts to stay competitive over the next decade. Safin can be this type of player on the Oilers’ roster.

The Praha, Czech Republic native first gained the attention of NHL scouts in 2015-16 when he finished with 28 goals and 47 points in 38 games with Sparta Praha U18 in the Czech under-18 league. Last season, the 6-foot-4, 198-pound forward made the jump to the U-20 level with Sparta, recording six goals and 18 points in 24 games as the third-youngest regular skater on the team.

Scouting Report

Most scouting sites acknowledge Safin’s size. Sportsnet’s Brian Lawton believes that the Oilers got a real gem in the later round of the draft.

"“This pick I would imagine maybe they’re hoping to get the type of results they got from Anton Slepyshev, who was picked 88th. In Safin’s case, he’s a big man. Think Patrick Maroon…He’s surprisingly more mobile than you would think for a guy his size…He’s another one of those projects. Give him time. Let him develop. But there’s a lot to like about him. I think this is a real value pick for the Edmonton Oilers.” – Brian Lawton, NHL Network"

Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers /

Edmonton Oilers

Draftsite’s Bill Placzek gave more detail on his skill-set, and how that factors into his development and game. He details his “good hands” and “powerful, heavy wrist shot” that will help him add offensive edge. Safin also shines in many different areas on the ice and can shoot the puck from many different angles, and is an outstanding, unique puck handler.

International Play

Safin has represented the Czech Republic three major tournaments in his hockey career, including the 2016 World U-17 Hockey Challenge, the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and the 2017 IIHF World U18 Championship.

He also helped the Czech Republic win its first gold medal at the Hlinka Tournament last August, tying for the team-lead in goals (3) through four games.

The 18-year-old has five goals and nine points in 14 career international games. Safin stands a good chance to make Team Czech Republic at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo this winter.

Upcoming Season

Less than a week after the Oilers took him in the NHL Draft, Safin was selected by the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL 53rd overall in the 2017 CHL Import Draft. The Sea Dogs are the defending league champions, but there should be significant turnover next season with several of their top players graduating to the pro ranks.

Safin would likely see a lot of playing time with the Sea Dogs if he were to choose to go the Canadian junior hockey route. However, it appears more likely that he stays home and plays pro hockey with HC Sparta Praha in the Czech Extraliga in 2017-18.

NHL Arrival

It appears to be a longer road to the NHL for the 18-year-old, and it will take more development before he sees a full-time NHL gig.

He will likely spend the next two years playing at the highest level of pro hockey in the Czech Republic, followed by a season or two with the Bakersfield Condors in the AHL. Hopefully, by the time Safin joins the Oilers, they will be a championship ready team and constant contenders.

Next: Nick Ellis Ready for Bigger Role

As we have seen in recent years, Cup-winning teams are never able to hold onto the same players year after year. In the Oilers case, it seems there is a time bomb ticking, and that they cannot afford to keep the same pieces to the puzzle. This is where he will get his opportunity to make the jump to the NHL level as a big, bottom six winger with some offensive upside.