Peter Chiarelli was caught on camera watching Canada play Switzerland this afternoon, it struck me the Oilers general manager may not draft any of the kids on the ice. The top three talents this year (Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi) are either not here or play for Finland, and the players ranked No. 4-10 have a wide range.
I think the Oilers list is probably as above, but No. 4 is going to be interesting. I have Pierre-Luc Dubois at that spot with Matthew Tkachuk and Mikhail Sergachev, Olli Joulevi and Jakob Chychrun just behind. You would have to be inside the room on draft day to know how any team ranks them and although all of these men have things to recommend them, there is a chance Edmonton trades down or out on draft day. A few observations from the U18s.
- Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro have both performed extremely well. I imagine their draft stock has risen because of it.
- I spoke to Kirk Luedeke from Red Line today, he mentioned Clayton Keller as a player who had impressed him. He also had a lot of nice things to say about Fabbro.
- Kailer Yamamoto of the Spokane Chiefs is lighting up the U18s, but he is not eligible until 2017. Impressive young player.
- I have David Quenneville No. 16 among WHL kids for this draft, but that might end up being low as an estimate. He is very good.
- Ondrej Najman is a Czech center ranked No. 30 Euro but he looks pretty substantial based on the math he is posting.
- Alexander Nylander is a real Nylander.
- I have C Janne Kuokkanen No. 25 on my current top 60. He appears to be bona fide.
- Aapeli Rasanen is improving his rank during this tournament.
- Nikolaj Krag is ranked No. 40000 CS Euro but he is having a nice tournament.
THE DRAFT IS ALMOST BAKED
This tournament is basically end of the line for scouts, they will monitor the top two names at the WHCs and of course the CHL and USHL playoffs continue. That said, most of the scouting work is done, and you will see a major spike (or fall) on draft lists. This last tournament is important, especially for the European players. Russian kids got screwed this year, God love ’em. I sincerely hope some of those young men make it to the NHL, anyway.
CHIARELLI’S SECOND DRAFT
So much of the Boston experience for Peter Chiarelli revolved around his first summer, when Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard were added via free agency. At that time, interim GM Jeff Gorton talked about their aggressiveness:
- Gorton: “We were really aggressive out of the gate. It made it much easier to sign Savard after Chara signed with us. He could see how serious we were about winning.” Source.
What could that mean for Edmonton? One of the things we might want to look for is an early trade, between series. If a club like Anaheim or Chicago loses in the next few days, it could set up a window of opportunity to do business. Now, it is extremely likely nothing happens until after the draft lottery but it is something to keep in mind.