It’s morning in Edmonton. The long days and the tragic nights will soon be a thing of the past and hope—real hope—returns to the land of the ice and snow. Tonight, in a Florida city 15,000 miles from the heart of the game, a gifted teenager—the player of the century—will be called upon by the Oilers to join the department of youth. This time, this player, will have cover from some young guns and a veteran coach, with a new defensive team and structure in place to stop the bleeding. It’s been a long cold lonely winter. Here comes the sun.
THE 120 BEST PLAYERS IN THE 2015 DRAFT
- C Connor McDavid, Erie Otters (OHL) All our trials, lord, soon be over.
- C Jack Eichel, Boston U (NCAA) Size, speed, skill, he’s a bull. Monster talent.
- R Mitch Marner, London Knights (OHL) Fantastic skater, sublime skill. Catch a fire.
- D Noah Hanifin, BC (NCAA) The entire package, signed, sealed and delivered. Stunning passer.
- C Dylan Strome, Erie Otters (OHL) Darryl Sittler without the edge. Exceptional hands.
- D Ivan Provorov, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) Russian Coffey. He can pick it on D, too.
- R Mikko Rantanen, TPS Turku (SML) Big W can beat you wide or smash his way to the net.
- C Mathew Barzal, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) ISS compares him to Claude Giroux. Lordy.
- D Zach Werenski, Michigan (NCAA) Big two-way D with complete range of skills. Quality.
- R Evgeni Svechnikov, Cape Breton (QMJHL) Voracek meets Tarasenko. Mercy.
- R Timo Meier, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL) Strong, thick, skilled. Gunner.
- D Jeremy Roy, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL) Big brain, skilled. Born Oiler. Great passer.
- C Travis Konecny, Ottawa 67’s (OHL) Modern Bobby Clarke. Great motor, surprising skill.
- R Nick Merkley, Kelowna Rockets (WHL) Dynamic offensive winger, playmaker like Hemsky.
- C Anthony Beauvillier, Shawinigan (QMJHL) Substantial offensive F, money in FO circle.
- C Pavel Zacha, Sarnia Sting (OHL). Complete PF: Size, speed, skill. He’d be top five with results.
- C Joel Eriksson Ek, Farjestad (SHL) Impressive C, complete player with significant offense.
- L Lawson Crouse, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) Big, strong, fast, offensively shy.
- C Kyle Connor, Youngstown (USHL) Explosive offensive player with skill, intelligence.
- L Jake Debrusk, Swift Current (WHL) Quality scoring prospect. Reminds me of Eberle.
- C Jansen Harkins, Prince George Cougars (WHL) Smooth, skilled, creative, aggressive.
- D Jakub Zboril, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) Two-way D, solid offense. Noticeable.
- D Thomas Chabot, Saint John (QMJHL) Size, speed, skill, good defenseman. Could go higher.
- R Daniel Sprong, Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL) Sniper, quick, skilled.
- D Oliver Kylington, Farjestad (SHL) Unsafe at any speed? Could be a major home run.
- R Zach Senyshyn, SSM Greyhounds (OHL) Fast train with skill and size. Could go higher.
- R Blake Speers, SSM Greyhounds (OHL) Exceptional speed, substantial skill.
- F Colin White, USNTDP (USHL) Fine skater, two-way player. Complete skills, a little shy offensively.
- D Travis Dermott, Erie Otters (OHL) Undersized, mobile defender. A gem.
- C Filip Chlapik, Charlotteteown (QMJHL) Two-way C, range of skills. 2C based on offense.
- R Brock Boeser, Waterloo Blachawks (USHL) Power winger, impressive scorer.
- D Ryan Pilon, Brandon (WHL) Offensive defender with size and speed.
- L Denis Gurianov, Lada (MHL). Smooth offensive player, good size. Quality U18.
- C-R Jeremy Bracco, USNTDP (USHL) Small forward with fast hands, great skill.
- D Noah Juulsen, Everett Silvertips (WHL) Good size, can play defense, some skill.
- C Andrew Mangiapane, Barrie (OHL) Brilliant offensive player.
- L Paul Bittner, Portland Winterhawks (WHL) Big winger with speed and scoring ability.
- D Ethan Bear, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) Mobile defender, very good shot.
- D Rasmus Andersson, Barrie (OHL) Boom or bust. Tremendous potential.
- C Mitchell Stephens, Saginaw Spirit (OHL). Speedy C had a massive U18’s.
- C Nicolas Roy, Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL) Rugged two-way C with size.
- D Vince Dunn, Niagara (OHL). Smart offensive defender.
- C Jack Roslovic, USNTDP (USHL) Playmaking C had a tremendous U18’s.
- D Jacob Larsson, Frolunda (SHL) Two-way defender, tall and rangy.
- D-F Mitchell Vande Sompel, Oshawa (OHL) Need to find him a position, skilled.
- R Nikita Korostelev, Sarnia Sting (OHL) Skill winger.
- L Dennis Yan, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL) Scoring W with some size.
- C Nathan Noel, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) Wide range of skills, undersized.
- L Dmytro Timashov, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) Explosive winger with crazy numbers.
- G Daniel Vladar, Kladno (Czech 2) 8GP, 1.97 .933
- G Ilya Samsonov, Magnitogorsk (MHL) 18GP, 2.66 .918
- L Ryan Gropp, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) PF prospect, can score goals.
- D Erik Cernak, Kosice (Slovak) Huge defenseman with a nice range of skills.
- D Nicolas Meloche, Baie-Comeau (QMJHL) Effective defender, good size.
- L Erik Foley, Cedar Rapids (USHL) Tough winger has offensive ability.
- C-R Roope Hintz, Ilves (SML) Intelligent two-way W, fine skater.
- F Filip Ahl, HV-71 (SHL) 6.04, 214, strong all the walls.
- D Matt Spencer, Peterborough Petes (OHL) Tough two-way defender.
- C Julius Nattinen, JYP (Fin 2). Big skill C gaining steam during spring tournaments.
- D Brandon Carlo, Tri-City (WHL) Big, strong, mean defender.
- C Alexander Dergachyov, St. Petersburg (Rus Jr). Giant skill C, attractive range of skills.
- D Gabriel Carlsson, Linkoping (Swe Jr). Rangy defender, highly rated by Central Scouting.
- L Graham Knott, Niagra Ice Dogs (OHL) Size, good scorer, range of skills.
- R Christian Fischer, USNTDP (USHL). Scoring winger with size, 7 points at U18’s.
- G Matej Tomek, Topeka Roadrunners (NAHL) 31GP, 1.71 .932
- R Jens Looke, Brynas (SHL) Playmaking winger with speed.
- L Vladimir Tkachev, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) Small W, extremely skilled.
- L Jordan Greenway, USNTDP (USHL) Power winger with skill.
- C Thomas Novak, Waterlook Blackhawks (USHL). Skilled two-way center.
- R Michael Spacek, Pardubice (Cze) Skilled, hard working.
- D Vili Saarijavi, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL). Small D is a wizard. Big U18’s.
- R David Kase, Chomutov (Cze-2) Skilled W, aggressive bent. Impressive U18’s.
- L Austin Wagner, Regina Pats (WHL). Speedy winger emerged late and can do a lot of things.
- G Michael McNiven, Owen Sound Attack (OHL) 23GP, 2.78 .914
- C Tyler Soy, Victoria Royals (WHL) Lightning quick forward.
- C Glenn Gawdin, Swift Current Broncos (WHL). Keeps impressing with two-way skills.
- R Conor Garland, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL). Small, extremely skilled.
- L Jesse Gabrielle, Regina Pats (WHL). Projects as a scoring W—better than boxcars.
- L Robin Kovacs, AIK (Allsvenskan). Skill winger with speed, rugged and pesky style.
- D Jesper Lindgren, Modo (Swe Jr). ‘Erik Karlsson clone’ according to Red Line.
- L Kirill Kaprizov, Novokuznetsk (KHL). Small skill winger.
- G MacKenzie Blackwood, Barrie Colts (OHL). Big butterfly style goalie.
- C Gabriel Gagne, Victoriaville (QMJHL) Huge C, good speed, very creative offensively.
- C Dante Salituro, Ottawa 67’s (OHL). Small forward, terrific skill.
- G Felix Sandstrom, Brynas (Super-Elite). 14GP, 2.63 .907 in SE.
- D Sebastian Aho, Skelleftea (SHL). Undersized, puck mover. No. 11 LT last year.
- C Yakov Trenin, Gatineau Olympique (QMJHL). Skilled forward, foot speed an issue.
- D Kyle Capobianco, Sudbury Wolves (OHL). Skill D had a strong finish to OHL season.
- G Adin Hill, Portland Winterhawks (WHL). .921 SP and he’s 6.04
- D Jonas Siegenthaler, SZC (Swiss). Big defender, can pass the puck well.
- C Jakov Forsbacka Karlsson, Omaha Lancers (USHL). Playmaking center, good passer.
- L Sebastian Ohlsson, Skelleftea (SHL). Small skill center showed well at U18’s.
- D Gustaf Bouramman, SSM Greyhounds (OHL). Puck-moving D with decent size.
- C Adam Musil, Red Deer Rebels (WHL). Skill W, would be higher but EV scoring is troubling.
- D Parker Wotherspoon, Tri-City Americans (WHL). Good skater, defender.
- R Deven Sideroff, Kamloops Blazers (WHL). Skill W, hard worker, very good passer.
- C Dennis Malgin, SZC (Swi). Small, fast, extremely skilled center.
- R Lukas Jasek, Trinec (Czech). Smart two-way forward with skill.
- L Sebastian Aho, Karpat (SM-Liiga). Smart, skilled offensive player.
- C Anthony Richard, Vad d’Or (QMJHL). Great skater, quality offense.
- D Guillaume Brisebois, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL). Tall, rangy D, skates well.
- C Giorgio Estephan, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL). Skill player on a bad team.
- C Brett McKenzie, North Bay Battalion (OHL). Two-way C with skill.
- D Dennis Gilbert, Chicago Steel (USHL). Huge defender, skilled. Red Line loves him.
- C Brad Morrison, Prince George Cougars (WHL). Speedy and creative center.
- R Jeremiah Addison, Ottawa 67’s (OHL). Playoffs were fantastic showcase.
- L Adam Helewka, Spokane Chiefs (WHL) Smart winger who can score goals.
- L Mihkail Vorobyov, Ufa, Rus Jr. Big W, some offense. 6.02, 198. Impressed U18’s.
- D Jeremy Lauzon, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL). Tall, lean D, good foot speed.
- D Thomas Schemitsch, Owen Sound Attack (OHL). Intelligent two-way defender.
- D Brendan Guhle, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL). Sleeping giant, range of skills.
- D John Marino, South Shore Kings (USHS) Undersized skill D, stock is rising.
- D Veeti Vainio, Espoo (Fin Jr). 6.02, 170, mobile D who can pass the puck, defend well.
- D Vladislav Gavrikov, Yaroslavl (KHL). Two-way D with size and skill. He’s a 1995.
- D Simon Bourque, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL). Two-way D, mobile, powerful skater.
- R Kay Schweri, Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL). Fantastic playmaker.
- D Loik Leveille, Cape Breton (QMHL). I can’t keep him off the list. Ultimate boom/boom.
- C Brayden Burke, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL). Was very good in half a season.
- D Andrew Nielson, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL). Big two-way defender
- L Pius Suter, Guelph Storm (OHL). A small, older, highly skilled C, scored 72 points.
Peter Chiarelli has Bob Green and Scott Howson running the draft and they have two first-round selections. In 2011 the same first-round opportunity delivered Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Oscar Klefbom, and for me the current group needs to deliver more than Nuge/Klef value this day. McDavid is a better prospect than Nuge, and the Oilers pick (or are slated to pick) at No. 16—an area where the available talent is superior to the 2011 group (Klefbom was followed by Connor Murphy, Rikard Rakell and others).
We should expect quality selections throughout tonight and tomorrow. Connor McDavid, Joel Eriksson Ek—that’s the line in the sand. The nature of the draft allows the Oilers all form of leeway (there are probably 25 players qualified to go No. 16 or higher) but they must get quality all weekend, beginning with tonight’s two selections. The 2013 draft is a reasonable template and of course Edmonton has more draft picks early so the results should be outstanding.
OILERS PICKS THIS WEEKEND
- No. 1 overall: C Connor McDavid. My guess is he’s at center ice for opening faceoff 2015-16, with Hall and Eberle alongside. Music!
- No. 16 overall: C Joel Eriksson Ek. Impressive C, good offense and a gritty style.
- No. 33 overall: D Travis Dermott. Effective offensive defender, can play defense.
- No. 57 overall: D Ethan Bear. Solid defenseman, built like a brick outhouse, fine shot.
- No. 79 overall: G Matej Tomek. Tomek and Jalad at Tanagra. He’s a good goalie.
- No. 86 overall: C Tyler Soy. Very talented player, spiked in the second half.
- No. 117 overall: D Jeremy Lauzon. Big defender with a range of skills. May be long gone before this.
- No. 124 overall: R Keegan Kolesar. Tough winger with some skill, Oilers looking for this type. He can play.
- No. 154 overall: C Alexandre Goulet. Checking C if he makes it, does a lot well at evens.
- No. 184 overall: C Tyson Baillie. Extreme skill, hard worker, speed only average. Could be a home run pick. Seriously.
- Draft McDavid (and sign him)
- Find a quality goalie option (this is the Talbot item)
- Acquire a legit top pairing blue (as always, clear as mud days before bullets fly. Dougie Hamilton=perfect fit)
- Sign a more offensive two-way F
- Ignore MacT re: Marincin (Or trade Marincin for real value and not a damn pick)
McDavid arrives today, Cam Talbot would cover the goalie option but Adam McQuaid doesn’t move the needle on option three. Early days men, we should allow Peter Chiarelli to do his work. IF the Oilers leave Florida with McQuaid and no other blue for 2015-16, we should expect something in the coming days (beyond McQuaid). I’m guessing trade.
Fully expect the Oilers to close on a goaltender today, likely before the draft. P.C. won't hesitate or let this linger too long IMO
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) June 26, 2015
I suspect it will be Cam Talbot, that’s the play here. The problem? As we’ve discussed all along, Glen Sather is the asshat’s asshat when it comes to negotiation. I had a boss years ago (good guy, on the off chance he’ll read this) who used to say it’s only a good negotiation if both sides feel a little pain. Sather’s like that, every day is a root canal. Loved it when he was Oilers’ GM, hate it now. My guess is (and has been for some time) No. 33 overall and a substantial pick from 2016.
Chiarelli says flat out they are not trading the 16 for a goalie.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) June 26, 2015
So far this draft season, Chiarelli has played things straight up in my opinion. He MAY reach a point of overpay but I think he’s reading the market correctly. If the Flames (as an example) blow their brains out on Talbot, that leaves the free-agent market with one fewer player. You want Talbot, but not at any price. Fair? I think so.
— Murray Pam (@Pammerhockey) June 26, 2015
I do think the Flames may end up with Cam Talbot but Edmonton will have given their best shot. In this area, and I’m aware of the McQuaid upset, I think we have to give Chiarelli credit for identifying quality and pursuing it. Cam Talbot would be a terrific add, the question is the price. I still think it’s No. 33 overall and another pick inside the top 90 next year. If the Flames end up with Talbot, I’d like to see Chiarelli take a run at Eddie Lack. After that? Free agency with Enroth and Neuvirth and I’m fine with that outcome as well. The early part of the day has been interesting, suspect we’ll see something big by the time noon hits Edmonton.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
10 this morning, TSN1260. We’ll have as many topics as possible but this is a fluid show and could be all McDavid all the time or goalie central. Whatever happens, we’ll have it. Scheduled to appear:
- Steve Lansky, Big Mouth Sports. NHL draft, Free agency and Pan Am Games.
- Antony Bent, FC Edmonton. Eddies update and Women’s World Cup.
- Brock Otten OHL Prospects. McDavid’s beyond dreamy.
- Paul Almeida, SSE. We’ll talk about the crazy and the draft.
10-1260 text @Lowetide on twitter. McDavid Day!