The Edmonton Oilers have a number of outstanding prospects that will develop into promising NHLers, and one player to watch is 2016 fifth-round pick Graham McPhee.
Son of Vegas Golden Knights General Manager George, McPhee is a young left winger who packs a lot of promise. In his pre-draft year with the U.S. U-18 National Team, the Bethesda, Maryland native put up 10 goals and 18 points. He also caught the eyes of scouts with his tremendous two-way ability and solid play at both ends of the rink.
Though McPhee has not put up outstanding goal-scoring totals yet, he is a defensive forward who plays a reliable game. Not only that, he takes great care of the puck and can help his team take control when he is on the ice. This not only makes him a huge asset in all three zones on even strength, but he has tremendous potential to shine on special teams.
Perhaps the biggest thing to consider looking at McPhee’s game is his defensive awareness. He takes care of the puck first and will do whatever it takes to control the play when he is on the ice. The 6-foot-1, 174-pound winger leans into his hits and throws his way around, and he always fights for the puck using his frame and ability.
Scouts have noted that he will lean into his opponents and can balance very well on his skates. Not only that, but his overall ability and positioning help him better protect the puck and win battles along the boards.
While his defensive ability is outstanding, he does not shine too much on offence, and that is where he will have to step up as he continues to develop.
NCAA and Development
The 19-year-old is entering his sophomore year at Boston College and is still transitioning to college hockey. In his first NCAA campaign, McPhee put up two goals and 10 points in 39 games and was a plus-1.
As he continues to play college hockey, McPhee will have to add more scoring prowess to his game. While he is great on the backcheck, he cannot rely on that to help him all the way to a career in the NHL, unless of course, he switches to defence. A solid two-way forward is any team’s dream, but what makes those types of forwards successful at the NHL level is their ability to not only control the puck but to put up point totals.
Overall, McPhee is developing into a solid player and is well on his way to a pro career. However, he will have to step up more offensively and take more shots, while also learning how to balance his defensive game with some more edge on the forecheck.