The Edmonton Oilers choose No. 22 overall at the 2017 entry draft and that should have you wondering about how this is going to turn out. The Oilers have been drafting in lottery spots recently, so you may have forgotten about the team’s own established tendency to think outside the box.
Example: Day two, just one year ago. On that morning, I posted my list minus the first-round selections (that had been taken during Day One). Source
- No. 15—R Alex DeBrincat, Erie Otters (OHL): Small sniper. NHLE: 44.
- No. 19—C Pascal Laberge, Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL). Skill, size, consistency an issue. NHLE: 26.
- No. 20—G Carter Hart, Everett Silvertips (WHL): .929 in playoffs.
- No. 22—L Adam Mascherin, Kitchener Rangers (OHL): Undersized scoring W. Bona fide. NHLE: 33
- No. 24—R Taylor Raddysh, Erie Otters (OHL). Power W who can score. NHLE:29
- No. 25—R Vitalii Abramov, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL). Explosive scorer. Dynamic. NHLE: 31
- No. 26—LD Cam Dineen, North Bay (OHL): Impressive offense. NHLE: 23
- No. 27—C Rasmus Asplund, Farjestads (SHL). He is 6.0, 180 and quality two-way forward.
- No. 30—C Janne Kuokkanen, Karpat (Fin Jr). Skilled C, good speed. Playmaker.
- No. 32—C Will Bitten, Flint Firebireds (OHL): Fast skater, scoring playmaker. Intriguing.
- No. 33—C-R Nathan Bastian, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): Big skill F with smarts.
- No. 34—L Tyler Benson, Vancouver Giants (WHL). Physical two-way forward. Injured a lot.
- No. 35—G Tyler Parsons, London Knights (OHL). He looks substantial based on numbers. .921
Edmonton chose Tyler Benson at No. 32 overall, with Yegor Korshkov going at No. 31 to Toronto. Benson’s NHLE (20.66) was shy of the group above, and there were injury concerns about him. The stories at the time had Edmonton getting ‘inside intel’ about young Benson and that he was fully recovered. The young Vancouver Giants forward had a fine beginning to the year (33gp, 11-31-42) in 2016-17, but health issues once again derailed Benson’s future.
With Edmonton now incredibly low on forward prospects (they have drafted three outside the first round in the last two years) there’s a suspicion among some (me) Edmonton will focus on forwards during this year’s draft.
WHO ARE THEY TAKING?
I’m not certain exactly who Edmonton will be choosing this year, but believe there is one player who might inspire a “DeBrincat-Benson” reaction among the fan base and those who closely observe the NHL draft.
- “Isaac Ratcliffe is another interesting winger from Guelph in the OHL. Ratcliffe had a career season in 2016-17, potting 28 goals and adding 26 assists in 67 games. He is the CSS 15th-ranked North American skater and The Hockey News lists him as their 20th-overall prospect.” Source
The Oilers are publishing a few articles of this type over the spring to familiarize fans with some of the options. They’re a good idea and well written (Chris Westcott). One of the reasons these articles are interesting is that someone, somewhere mentioned Ratcliffe. Counter-trey? Some for sure. But Ratcliffe? I have him No. 42, while acknowledging his skating and size. I don’t know that he is in the same offensive range as the players who will go around No. 22 overall. Craig Button’s most recent big list had the winger at No. 28 overall. Corey Pronman has him outside the first round.
THE COMBINE LIST
This is the complete list, also available here. My thanks to Scott Wheeler for being a stand up guy. Among the names missing that are something of a surprise? LD Noel Hoefenmeyer would be my main one but I only had a chance to take a quick glance.
ISAAC RATCLIFFE SCOUTING REPORT
- Brock Otten, OHL Prospects: I could see him being drafted anywhere from 15 to 50. He has some extremely alluring qualities to NHL scouts. First thing you notice is his size at 6’6. And he skates very well, with good speed and acceleration. But he’s also not even 200 lbs yet. As he fills out, I don’t think we truly know how good he could be. Ratcliffe’s other best quality is his shot. He has an absolute rocket of a wrist shot and I think he’s got big time scoring potential. Once he’s able to add that aforementioned strength, he’ll be able to generate more scoring chances for himself as he can protect the puck better and look to be aggressive in driving the middle of the ice. His physical game is inconsistent and that’s another area of his game that will need to improve. Ditto for discipline. Anyone who watched the U18’s can tell you that he struggled with some lazy stick penalties and it was the same in Guelph too. He has the potential to be an excellent defensive player though with his size and skating ability. Source
TOP WINGERS, 2017 DRAFT
- R Owen Tippett, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL). He covers 3 important categories (size, speed, sniper).
- L Elias Pettersson, Timra (Swe-1). Impressive talent, very skilled.
- L Eeli Tolvanen, Sioux City Musketeers (USHL). Plus skater, NHL shot and release.
- R Kailer Yamamoto, Spokane Chiefs (WHL). Smart, elusive, offensive.
- R Klim Kostin, Balashikha (MHL). Giant winger, good offense. Injured.
- R Kole Lind, Kelowna Rockets (WHL). Speedy W with skill. Good Oil option.
- L Kristian Vesalainen, Frolunda (SHL). Big W, skilled, strong, can play L or R.
- L Matthew Strome, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL). Strong 2-way W, offensive potential.
- R Nicholas Henry, Regina Pats (WHL). Emerging scorer. Not fast.
- L Nikita Popugaev, Prince George Cougars (WHL). Big, good skater, plus shot, passer.
- R Aleksi Heponiemi, Swift Current Broncos (WHL). Cerebral W with skill, anticipation.
- L Isaac Ratcliffe, Guelph Storm (OHL). Big winger, great skater, some skill.
- R Stelio Mattheos, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL). Excellent skater, heavy shot.
- L Ostap Safin, Sparta Praha (Cze). Big forward, good skater, has plus skills. Nice range.
- R Adam Ruzicka, Sarnia Sting (OHL). Big (6.04, 202) forward who plays intelligent game.
- L Jason Robertson, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL). Big winger with a good shot.
- L Alex Formenton, London Knights (OHL). An absolute burner, has some skill.
- L Grant Mismash, USNDTP (USHL). Physical winger with some skill.
- F Andrey Altybarmakyan, St.Petersburg (MHL). The math is strong on this one
- L Zach Gallant, Peterborough Petes (OHL). Fast skater, intelligent player, boxcars moving.
- L Jonah Gadjovich, Owen Sound Attack (OHL). Emerging PF, 40-goal man. Average speed.
- R Lukas Elvenes, Rogle (SuperElite). Highly skilled winger, terrific hands.
- L Mackenzie Entwistle, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL). Big winger, who can skate, check, some skill.
- L Maxime Comtois, Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL). Skilled, good size, skating average.
- L Jacob Tortora, USNDTP (USHL). He is a burner and he is skilled and he is small.
- R Emil Oksanen, Espoo (Mestis). Skilled winger, great shot, he can scoot.
- L Filip Chytal, HC Zlin (Czech). Two-way C, skilled, intriguing prospect.
- L Pavel Koltygin, Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL). Two-way winger.
- W Jonas Rondberg, Vaxjo (Swe Jrs). Smart offensive winger with plus skills, lacks top end finish.
- L Ryan Hughes, Portland Winterhawks (WHL). 5.08, July 1999, 55 pts/65 games.
- L Ivan Kosorenkov, Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL). Undersized, 34 goals by getting inside.
- L Rickard Hugg, Leksands (SuperElite). Intelligent two-way winger, playmaking skill.
- R Aatu Luusuaniemi, Karpat (Jr. Sm-Liiga). Winger with skill, excellent boxcars, zero buzz.
- L Joel Teasdale, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL). Smart, skilled, good speed.
- L Ryan Moore, Flint Firebirds (OHL). Small and very skilled.
- L Vladimir Kuznetsov, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL). Good skater, skilled, with size. 1998.
- L Macauley Carson, Sudbury Wolves (OHL). A 30-goal season in a strong league.
- LC Brayden Burke, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL). Lots of skill, undersized and 20.
- F Pavel Shen, Marmonty Yugry (MHL). Small, skilled, August 1999.
- R Sami Moilanen, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL). Small buzzsaw who can score goals.
- F Alexei Toropchenko, Balashikha (MHL). Size and speed, some offense.
- R Artur Tyanulin, Ottawa 67’s (OHL). Skill F posted strong season.
- R Austin Pratt, Red Deer Rebels (WHL). Power winger who can skate. Offense still uncertain.
- R Jonathan Davidsson, Djurgaden (SHL). Impressive skill W, I’ve ranked him 3 times!
- R Brett Davis, Kootenay Ice (WHL). Good size, impressive offense for a June 1999.
- L Ryan Peckford, Victoria Royals (WHL). Good skater, terrific shot.
- L German Poddubnyi, Erie (OHL). Big PF could be fine draft & follow.
- R Lane Zablocki, Red Deer Rebels (OHL). Two-way W with skill, kind of a throwback player.
- R Bobby Dow, Kemptville 73s (CCHL). Impressive offense at lower levels.
- L Ryan Hughes, Portland Winterhawks (WHL). 5.08, July 1999, 55 pts/65 games.
OILERS DRAFT 2017
- First Round: No. 22 overall
- Third Round: No. 82 overall (FROM ST. LOUIS—this is payment for Nail Yakupov)
- Third Round: No. 84 overall
- Fourth Round: No. 115 overall
- Fifth Round: No. 126 overall (FROM Vancouver—this is payment for Phil Larsen)
- Fifth Round: No. 146 overall
- Sixth Round: No. 177 overall
- Seventh Round: No. 208 overall