The Edmonton Oilers currently own the No. 16 overall selection in the 2015 draft. They’ve had No. 16 only one time previously, choosing Nick Stadjuhar in 1993. This year’s draft boasts at least 20 very good talents and it’s not a stretch to suggest an outstanding 10-year player will be available to Edmonton. The question is: Do they trade it?
- Dean Lombardi, Kings GM: “Sometimes you can’t even get a price. Sometimes you zero in on a guy, and particularly on draft day, picks have more value. At the trade deadline, we throw them around like nickels. Then on draft day, it’s almost like we hold them like gold. The other thing that happens is, you have scouts out there the whole year, and this is kind of like their day, so maybe you’re hesitant not to give them a guy they’ve zeroed in on. Only from about four picks ahead of him were people even considering it. Then, right before the pick, they go, `Ah, we’re taking it.’ Then you just keep working back.”
I think holding them like gold, in this year’s scenario, is about right. If we assume that Lawson Crouse is taken in the top 10, it’s reasonable to assume the players underlined (and after) will be in play at No. 16 overall.
LOWETIDE TOP 30, 2015
- (1) C Connor McDavid, Erie Otters (OHL) More gears than an Italian race car.
- (2) C Jack Eichel, Boston U (NCAA) Big, strong, elite. Complete skill set.
- (3) R Mitch Marner, London Knights (OHL) Corey Pronman has him No. 3 on his final list.
- (4) D Noah Hanifin, Boston College (NCAA) Best D in a deep class. Across the board skills.
- (5) C Dylan Strome, Erie Otters (OHL) Poor performance in May shouldn’t impact draft number.
- (6) D Ivan Provorov, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) Quality offensive player, good defender.
- (7) C Mathew Barzal, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) Solidified ranking with quality U18’s. Fantastic skater.
- (8) R Mikko Rantanen, TPS Turku (SML) Has a wide range of skills, good size.
- (9) D Zach Werenski, Michigan (NCAA) Terrific offensive defender. Good size.
- (10) R Timo Meier, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) Tremendous talent, NHL-ready?
- (12) L Evgeni Svechnikov, Cape Breton (QMJHL) Big, strong and skilled. Magic hands.
- (11) R Nick Merkley, Kelowna Rockets (WHL) Impressive offensive player.
- (13) C Anthony Beauvillier, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL) Small, elite skills. Smart.
- (14) D Jeremy Roy, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL) Offensive D, has ability as a defender.
- (18) C Travis Konecny, Ottawa 67’s (OHL) Impressive player with range of skills. Modern Bobby Clarke.
- (16) C Jansen Harkins, Prince George Cougars (WHL) Two-way center, skilled.
- (15) D Mitchell Vande Sompel, Oshawa (OHL) Undersized two-way defender. Substantial skills.
- (17) C Kyle Connor, Youngstown (USHL) Smart two-way forward.
- (19) R Daniel Sprong, Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL) Quick, skilled first-shot scorer
- (20) D Oliver Kylington, Farjestad (SHL) Great wheels, solid defender.
- (21) L Jake Debrusk, Swift Current (WHL) Goal-scoring winger with speed.
- (28) L Lawson Crouse, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) Power forward with some offensive skills.
- (22) R Blake Speers, SSM Greyhounds (OHL) Two-way W, good speed. Terrific player.
- (23) C Pavel Zacha, Sarnia Sting (OHL). Big, physical center with average offense. Solid U18’s.
- (26) C Joel Eriksson Ek, Farjestad (SEL) Skill C with size, speed.
- (24) G Daniel Vladar, Kladno (Czech 2) 8GP, 1.97 .933
- (25) D Ryan Pilon, Brandon (WHL) Offensive defender with size and speed.
- (29) C Filip Chlapik, Charlotteteown Islanders (QMJHL) Two-way C, range of skills
- (32) D Jakub Zboril, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) Two-way D, solid offense.
- (27) C Andrew Mangiapane, Barrie (OHL) Brilliant offensive player.
It’s probably a good thing Chiarelli isn’t attached to the scouting staff but even with that I’m not sure the Oilers trade the pick. It’s like a top 10 overall selection in a normal year—New Jersey gave up No. 9 overall for Cory Schneider. I’m not sure what the value grade is on the pick but would suggest that the Oilers could be sure of getting value by grabbing Harkins or Roy or Konecny.
A few times recently, when I’ve posted my rankings, a few posters have said things like ‘that’s not close to how the first round will go’ or ‘Oilers value Crouse more’ and for sure, I get that. My list isn’t a prediction, it’s an attempt to assess value and properly slot prospects based on math, scouting reports, range of skills and age on draft day.
If you’d like to see an estimate of the Oilers top 15, I give you this:
- C Connor McDavid, Erie Otters (OHL)
- C Jack Eichel, Boston U (NCAA)
- C Dylan Strome, Erie Otters (OHL)
- D Noah Hanifin, Boston College (NCAA)
- L Lawson Crouse, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
- D Ivan Provorov, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
- R Mitch Marner, London Knights (OHL)
- C Pavel Zacha, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
- C Mathew Barzal, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
- R Timo Meier, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
- R Mikko Rantanen, TPS Turku (SML)
- R Nick Merkley, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
- D Jeremy Roy, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)
- C Jansen Harkins, Prince George Cougars (WHL)
- D Jakub Zboril, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
That would be my guess. Bigger, more physical and more traditional than my list. I would not be at all surprised to see pick No. 16 (if Edmonton makes the selection) be used for a QMJHL player. I think there’s a good chance we see Meier, Roy or Zboril at that number.
McLellan's future expected to be finalized this week. Still some teams sniffing around, but the Oilers expected to formally hire him….
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 17, 2015
This is a big damn deal. Todd McLellan, should he come here, would represent a new level of bona fide for this organization. It might take some time, Tom Renney was still adjusting when they fired him, but it’s also true the McDavid selection is going to fast track this organization (and no, I don’t expect the kid to lead them to the playoffs next spring).
Sometimes unpexpected players flourish under a new coach, and I sincerely hope McLellan (should he accept the job) find a way to unlock the talent in Justin Schultz, Ben Scrivens and Martin Marincin. The key for any coach is to maximize the talent available and I think the top two lines will be so strong things could be much different IF McLellan can fill out the roster with genuine NHL-ready talent. I’m wildly encouraged by this spring, ladies and men. No, that’s not strong enough: I’m stunned to my boots this spring, it’s like the stage is set for a ‘Frampton Comes Alive’ season in Edmonton.
(Note: Peter Frampton released four solo albums to little reaction in the early 1970’s. Each record was reviewed in Rolling Stone magazine, and I tried to find one, but they were never available in my corner of the world. “Comes Alive” was basically a greatest hits of his first four albums in a live setting, and that record went platinum times eight. I bought the LP (vinyl), 8-Track and all the .45’s).
We wait. But not for long.
BIGGER AND HEAVIER
After McLellan gets hired, Peter Chiarelli and the new coach can begin to cobble together staff and begin to talk about what this team looks like in the fall. Two things to remember: The process of improving the roster won’t occur overnight and there will be changes this summer, involving some of our favorites (likely).
- Peter Chiarelli: “I’ve seen the progression here in past years and talking to MacT, they’ve been trying to get bigger and heavier. That’s certainly an area where I’d like to improve.” Source
If we look through the organization for big players, the list is in fact growing from the day MacT took over as GM:
- Luke Gazdic 6.04, 233
- Rob Klinkhammer 6.03, 214
- Benoit Pouliot 6.03, 193
- Iiro Pakarinen 6.01, 215
If we take Taylor Hall as NHL average in size (6.01, 198) then the only skill player up front who is above average (height) is Benoit Pouliot. I’ve said many times on this blog that size is great, bring it on. The big man they acquire has to be able to play and flourish on skill lines and I don’t see anything in the rest of this group to suggest that’s the case. It’s also true that Nail Yakupov, while not a big man (5.11, 197—this is all via the Oilers site) can stop opposition players in their tracks with a hit that causes harm.
One expects we’ll see a big, skill winger on the way here this summer. Pray he has some of the Pisani in him. Minor league forwards with size include the following:
- Bogdan Yakimov 6.05, 232
- Ryan Hamilton 6.02, 219
- Mitchell Moroz 6.02, 214
- Jujhar Khaira 6.03, 214
- Curtis Hamilton 6.02, 212
- Leon Draisaitl 6.01, 210
There’s some nice things here, you can see MacT’s touch on this group and clearly size up the middle was a priority. Bogdan Yakimov was scoring at close to a point-per-game before his injury (12 points in last 13 games) and Leon should be able to help at some point in the coming season.
I’m guessing we see a big forward come via trade or free agency this summer and that player will be housed inside the top 9F come the fall. That could be Leon but the new GM and coach may decide to give the roster more experienced help.
We wait. But not for long.