If there’s one thing we can be sure of this spring and summer, it’s a build toward the Entry Draft. Since 2010 spring, the draft represents the climax of the season for Oiler fans, making them unique in the NHL. No other team can boast their ability to secure a head table at the annual youth movement. Since 2010, Edmonton has selected 1st, 1st, 1st and then 7th overall. This season? 3rd. How do the Oilers feel about it?
- MacT on picking third: “I’m not devastated by it, that’s for sure. It’s very debatable which players will be the best players over time. I didn’t want to drop back to No. 4. That was the important thing.”
Hmmm. Most of us have identified a top four or five, but the Oilers have a top three. Top 3? Is there any way we could know what they’re thinking?
Now, let’s be clear: The Oilers may have changed their minds at some point, and Sam Bennett may be taken 1st or second overall, leaving the Oilers with a choice of two of their top three. I would guess the Oilers list is Ekblad, Draisiatl, Reinhart based on this Matty tweet. From what we read, the players with the widest range of skills are Ekblad and Sam Bennett, so if the club is drafting Draisiatl it would be for size.
PROJECTED TOP 4 DRAFT ELIGIBILES VOLLMAN NHL EQUIVALENCIES (per 82gp)
- Sam Bennett (OHL) 16-23-39
- Sam Reinhart (WHL) 13-24-37
- Leon Draisaitl (WHL) 13-22-35
- Aaron Ekblad (OHL) 10-12-22
I think we can reasonably assume that the Oilers won’t let Ekblad get past them. If he falls to #3, one imagines Craig MacTavish racing up the steps to call out his name. This despite the revelation Saturday from Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds GM Kyle Dubas that the organization is proceeding as if Darnell Nurse will not return from Oilers training camp in the fall. Dubas told me they’re assuming Nurse will be in Edmonton for at least the 9 games allowed before burning a year of the entry level deal.
I’ll be replaying that interview this morning on the Lowdown. Dubas and the Greyhounds also use advanced stats, and we discuss it in the interview.
The right call on Nurse? Send him back to junior, and while you’re at it, send the guy selected third overall back, too. The Oilers would be wise to use their ‘rookie slots’ on Nail Yakupov, Anton Lander and Martin Marincin, with Oscar Klefbom an early callup option. There’s inexperience on this roster as it stands idling in the driveway, no need to add another teenager to the troubles.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
10 this morning, we’re off and running on a variety of subjects at TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Scott Burnside, ESPN. We’ll talk playoffs and coaching changes.
- Kyle Dubas, SSM Greyhounds. Paul Almeida and yours truly had a chance to discuss Nurse, advanced stats and this year’s draft.
- Jeff Hauser, Radio Hauser. NFL draft, including Johnny Football’s draft range and what dumb teams do.
- Iain MacLean, Head Coach of the Edmonton Huskies. Spring camp is wrapping up, we’ll talk about last season’s successes, the current roster and the season to come.
Will also try to get Corey Graham on the phone, but I think he’s flying in from Portland this morning. 10-1260 via text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. See you on the radio!