The anticipation and excitement of the draft lottery made this Saturday unusual and memorable. Winning it? There are no words.
MOCK DRAFT 2015 (OILERS EDITION)
- No. 1 overall: C Connor McDavid, Erie Otters (OHL). Actual Hockey Jesus. Three scoring lines. Thank you baby Jesus!
- No. 16 overall: D Oliver Kylington, Farjestads (SHL). 6.00, 180. He’s a quality passer and has a good shot, but recent reports have him struggling (which is the only way he lasts this long). Wonderful skater and a quality passer, for me (now) this is the major need.
- No. 33 overall: D Ethan Bear, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL). 6.00, 200. A smart, mobile defender who has the defensive game down with coverage skills and anticipation. He also owns a great shot from the point, which may or may not be a factor moving forward. He may be a little high on my list but this is a nice player and a good bet. NHLE is 82GP, 5-9-14.
- No. 60 overall: L Vladimir Tkachev, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL). 5.10, 144. There’s a chance he goes before this number (I have him at No. 47) but he’s so small I can see other teams passing on him. As you know this young man has terrific skills and showed management what he could do to the point they offered him a contract. His NHLE (9-17-26) doesn’t wow, they should be able to grab him here.
- No. 79 overall: C Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Omaha (USHL). 6.01, 190. JFK is a fine young center who plays an aggressive game and has good speed. His USHL numbers (50GP, 15-38-53). He is a smart, creative center.
- No. 89 overall: G Adin Hill, Portland Winterhawks (WHL). 6.03, 185. Led the WHL in save percentage (.921) in a season where his backups were miles behind. I’m no goalie expert but the WHL is a fine league and this fellow has decent size and a growing resume. I don’t like the idea of using a top 60 pick on a goalie and this seems like a reasonable spot for the bet.
- No. 124 overall: C Alexander Dergachyov, St. Petersburg (Rus Jr). 6.04, 200. Huge center enjoyed a strong season in Russia’s junior league (45GP, 10-29-39) and the scouting report from Elite Prospects suggests legit skill. Alessandro Seren Russo has a nice writeup on him at the Hockey Writers.
- No. 131 overall: R Sebastian Aho, Kärpät—Assat (SM-Liiga). 5.11, 172. I must be missing something with this player (there’s also a Swedish defender of the same name). According to the records, he played in Finland’s top league and scored well (30GP, 4-9-13) for his age but it’s damn near impossible to find a reasonable scouting report on him. I’d take a flyer, or at least investigate further.
- No. 154 overall: C Matteo Gennaro, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL). 6.02, 187. A big center with good speed, Gennaro didn’t make the mid-term CS list but ranks No. 127 on the final list. Cody Nickolet marked him back in October and he is a good prospect from the Oilers back yard (he’s from St. Albert and Fernando Pisani is his cousin). His boxcars (72GP, 16-15-31) aren’t impact level but the scouting report suggests a range of skills.
- No. 184 overall: G Jordan Papirny, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL). I thought they might take him last season, and Papirny’s improved play this year may get him selected (but not until late).
There’s a lack of Euro’s on this list but the nature of the draft is that we don’t get a strong impression of the kids across the pond until after the U18’s (on currently). The next four weeks will be very important in that area. Beginning soon (in the next week or so) I’ll start passing along the ‘Oilers and the WHL‘ posts and we’ll have a long look at Bob Green at that point as well.
It was a fun day. The thing to remember is this: Edmonton is in a very good position to deliver a strong draft this year but it’s just the beginning. Draft is followed by develop and it takes time. We’ll get a very good indication this season, because there is potential to swing for the fences on almost every pick. The draft is that deep.
The Oilers center depth chart is strong enough now (in my opinion) for the team to focus on other needs. I wrote that last sentence before the lottery and decided to keep it.