NEEDS AT THE DRAFT TABLE

All things being equal, I’ll have my Top 150 for the 2017 draft tomorrow morning. Still some tweaks to go (not a lot in terms of up or down, but some notes added) and of course if something breaks it’ll get moved back. For now, I wanted to talk a little about what might be on the Oilers shopping list at this year’s draft:

  1. Offensive forwards
  2. Puck movers who can play defense

Even more than that, let’s drill down on each position, beginning with the greatest need.

LEFT WING

The Oilers haven’t chosen a LW in the first round since Taylor Hall, and the portsiders taken since then (Curtis Hamilton, Mitch Moroz, Anton Slepyshev, Tyler Benson) are either matriculating toward the NHL or down the road. Slepyshev has real promise and could end up playing a full 82 games with the Oilers this coming season. Joey Laleggia had a strong season with Bakersfield and if signed (he is RFA) would certainly be in the mix this fall. Drake Caggiula’s signing gives Edmonton some cover, especially if he can score enough to play on a skill line. Tyler Benson is a very good prospect but health is an issue.

  • Possible Selections: Eeli Tolvanen will be gone before No. 22, the Oilers might be wise to trade up if possible. LW’s who may be available when they draft in the first round include  Kristian Vesalainen, Isaac Ratcliffe and Jason Robertson. If Edmonton addresses this position later in the draft, look for Jonah Gadjovich, Grant Mismash and  Mackenzie Entwistle. A sleeper name? Ryan Peckford.

RIGHT WING

The selection of Jesse Puljujarvi last summer represents a major improvement in this part of the depth chart. Still, with Jordan Eberle not far from free agency and Leon Draisaitl possibly moving to center, there is a real need to add. Anton Slepyshev, who was drafted as a LW, also shows real promise as a RW, and could slide into a top 9F role as early as this season.

  • Possible Selections: Kailer Yamamoto and Klim Kostin are likely to be gone by No. 22, but if they fall the Oilers may pounce. Players in this range who may be Oilers on draft day include Kole Lind, Aleksi Heponiemi and Nick Henry. Mid-round RW’s like Adam Ruzicka and Lukas Elvenes are also possible. A sleeper name? Oliver Castleman.

RIGHT DEFENSE

The organization developed a quality player in Jeff Petry but traded him away while having no cover at all. Predictably, this was followed by a forced trade for Adam Larson. Matt Benning was an inspired signing and gave real depth to the position for the first time in forever. Peter Chiareli has drafted some RH blue who could turn out (Ethan Bear, Filip Berglund) but more is needed. If the club can find a puck mover this year, I expect they may try to trade up into the second round to get him.

  • Possible Selections: Conor Timmins would be a somewhat early pick at No. 22, but not completely out of range. Cal Foote is a player people talk about a lot for Edmonton, I wonder if his skating will be a factor. Pierre-Olivier Joseph will probably go before the third round, there are some nice things about him. Mid-round selections could be used on Henri Jokiharju, Ian Mitchell and Kale Fleury may also be in their sights. Late sleeper? August Berg.

GOAL

Chiarelli has been very aggressive in addressing this position, basically turning the entire thing over. Cam Talbot is the No. 1 man, looks like Laurent Brossoit has the backup job unless Vegas grabs him. Chiarelli signed college man Nick Ellis last spring and Shane Starrett this one and I like the idea fine. He has also drafted a goalie each year (Miroslav Svoboda and Dylan Wells) and both men have flourished since their draft day. I am encouraged by recent work here, actually more than that. Pleased.

  • Possible Selections: This is a very deep draft for goalies and Edmonton may grab one in the middle rounds. Jake Oettinger and Mike DiPietro are likely gone early, but after that names like Keith Petruzzeli, Daniil Tarasov and Olle Eriksson Ek may linger. If a bunch of goalies are chosen early, that may help Edmonton, because their greatest need is elsewhere. Dark horse? Matt Villalta.

LEFT DEFENSE

Steve Tambellini doesn’t get a lot of love, but drafting Oscar Klefbom helped this organization immensely. LHD drafted since then include David Musil, Darnell Nurse, Caleb Jones, Ziyat Paigin and Markus Niemelainen. I count this as an area of strength, but Andrej Sekera’s injury shows us that “strength” when it comes to the Oilers depth chart is probably the incorrect word. I don’t think we’ll see defensive defenders here but a puck mover is probably on the shopping list.

  • Possible Selections: I would be shocked if the Oilers chose a LHD at No. 22, but if Juuso Valimaki, Nicholas Hague or Erik Brannstrom are there we could see it happen. In the third round, it would not surprise me to see Noel Hoefenmeyer, Uro Vaakanainen, Mario Ferraro or Max Gildon chosen. Dark Horse? Trade up for Mario Ferraro in the second round.

CENTER

This is the crown jewel of the Oilers depth chart, so impressive it spills over to the wing. If the Oilers run Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at center, I’ll call it the best in the NHL and have a good argument. Inexperienced? Yes. The talent is overwhelming.

  • Possible Selections: I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see a center (or more) chosen this year. At No. 22, Michael Rasmussen,  Alexei Lipanov, Ryan Poehling, Joshua Norris and others could be chosen. With later picks, seems to me Morgan Frost,  Alexander Chmelevski, Marcus Davidsson and Jack Studnicka are possible. Dark horse? Bryce Misley.

Top 150 tomorrow morning unless something breaks.

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57 Responses to "NEEDS AT THE DRAFT TABLE"

  1. Professor Q says:

    Question:

    If Vegas does indeed grab Brossoit, could that impede the Oilers perhaps more drastically than if they choose Reinhart or Khaira? I’m not sure what answers lie in goal, to backup and support Talbot (even short-term).

    The other positions at least have some promise and answers if they should happen.

  2. Kinger_Oil.redux says:

    Professor Q,

    – Great post LT! Subban in Boston is a much more likely pick, plus Fleury from Pitts: G solved

    – Looking forward to your list LT. Your like Santa: can’t wait to deliver presents!

  3. Ribs says:

    So I guess it would be a surprise for them to take Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, then.

  4. Centre of attention says:

    Bucci Mane‏Verified account @Buccigross 4m4 minutes ago
    If I was FORCED to bet a paycheck on whether Alex Ovechkin will be traded this summer, my bet would be yes. I believe the Caps will try hard

    Eberle + Pouliot (to make the money work), and our next two first round picks for Ovechkin.

    Who says no?

    Man. Imagine that power play.

  5. Brantford Boy says:

    Great work here LT! Some interesting sleeper options… although I shy away from smaller lighter players. As I mentioned before (based on lack of depth) I really like the Conor Timmins, Kole Lind and Adam Ruzicka options. Really like the Klim Kostin selection, just a sour taste… are we really ready to draft another Russian so soon from the Yakapov experiment?

  6. Diablo says:

    Centre of attention:
    Bucci Mane‏Verified account @Buccigross4m4 minutes agoIf I was FORCED to bet a paycheck on whether Alex Ovechkin will be traded this summer, my bet would be yes. I believe the Caps will try hard

    Eberle + Pouliot (to make the money work), and our next two first round picks for Ovechkin.

    Who says no?

    Man. Imagine that power play.

    The cloud hanging over Ovie is the concern that he values playing for Olympic gold more than the Stanley Cup – that if push comes to shove (and Bettman continues to be a fool) that he’ll ask his team for a 1 year hiatus to play in the KHL in order to join Russia ‘s Olympic mens team.

    Or an alternative scenario – he starts the year playing in the NHL, then takes a 2 week hiatus to play in the NHL – under those circumstances it is not a stretch to think that Bettman would levy some punitive measure on both Ovie (such as a very long suspension), and more importantly his team (such as the forfeiture of a 1st round pick) – since both parties would be complicit in ignoring league mandates.

    That’s really the only reason anyone is even talking about Ovie being available. Otherwise, Washington would be nuts to trade a guy who scores over 30 goals in a down year.

  7. Diablo says:

    Always enjoy your draft posts LT – love how deep you go into the draft crop looking for those hidden gems.

    I’ll be happy if they spend 3 picks on centres and 5 picks on D!
    No slow pokes, undersized players or coke machines.

  8. Oil2Oilers says:

    Centre of attention:
    Bucci Mane‏Verified account @Buccigross4m4 minutes agoIf I was FORCED to bet a paycheck on whether Alex Ovechkin will be traded this summer, my bet would be yes. I believe the Caps will try hard

    Eberle + Pouliot (to make the money work), and our next two first round picks for Ovechkin.

    Who says no?

    Man. Imagine that power play.

    Sounds great, I don’t mind if he takes a two week holiday every February. Let’s face it all of us in Northern Alberta feel that is a reasonable way to make through winter.

  9. JDI says:

    Bo-knee-no.

  10. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Centre of attention:
    Bucci Mane‏Verified account @Buccigross4m4 minutes agoIf I was FORCED to bet a paycheck on whether Alex Ovechkin will be traded this summer, my bet would be yes. I believe the Caps will try hard

    Eberle + Pouliot (to make the money work), and our next two first round picks for Ovechkin.

    Who says no?

    Man. Imagine that power play.

    When you take on a massive contract for a player over 30, that in itself is the consideration. Ovechkin for Eberle and Fayne straight up. Both are useful or better NHL players.

  11. Melman says:

    What’s the over/under on Chia trying to recapture a little 2016 draft magic by pulling out the ‘stache for Vegas? He’s got a solid 3 weeks to get that bad boy back in time for the podium.

  12. Centre of attention says:

    Scungilli Slushy,

    I like the sound of that deal rather than a bunch of first rounders. I’m sure if WASH wanted to trade Ovi though, they would look to load up on future drafts. It would be the start of a dismantling, they would want to go younger in general.

    Seeing Eberle with Backstrom would be wicked, until the Oilers played them. =/

    This trade will never happen by the way, just fun to think about.

  13. Centre of attention says:

    Pekka is going to cost Nashville a cup.

  14. godot10 says:

    Centre of attention:
    Bucci Mane‏Verified account @Buccigross4m4 minutes agoIf I was FORCED to bet a paycheck on whether Alex Ovechkin will be traded this summer, my bet would be yes. I believe the Caps will try hard

    Eberle + Pouliot (to make the money work), and our next two first round picks for Ovechkin.

    Who says no?

    Man. Imagine that power play.

    Me. The Oilers and McDavid need a #2RD far more than than need a $10 million dollar aging left wing

    $30 million something on three forwards is a recipe for disaster. $16 million on two left wings is nuts.

    #WingersDONTMatter

  15. Rondo says:

    By letting Anaheim get way with penalties ,the refs taught Nashville how to play. Now the Refs are calling these penalties. This is horrible ruins the game no wonder people are turning it off.

  16. Professor Q says:

    Centre of attention:
    Pekka is going to cost Nashville a cup.

    Are you suggesting that they Rinnege on their relationship?

  17. JDI says:

    Rondo: no wonder people are turning it off.

    Easy now. I’m still a supporter.

  18. BlueNoteNorth says:

    Centre – the crown jewel of the Oilers depth chart.

    Music after all those years with Centre being the glaring need.

    I favour the San Jose approach to drafting forwards – take centres over wingers. Play them on the wing if need be.

  19. JDI says:

    Professor Q: Are you suggesting that they Rinnege on their relationship?

    He’s Finnished in Nashville.

  20. Pescador says:

    JDI: Easy now. I’m still a supporter.

    Ah yes, but he said people. No one knows if you really are a person and if so, what kind of person would be a supporter of this?
    Makes you wonder…

  21. Pescador says:

    Melman:
    What’s the over/under on Chia trying to recapture a little 2016 draft magic by pulling out the ‘stache for Vegas?He’s got a solid 3 weeks to get that bad boy back in time for the podium.

    I think a fake moustache would provide instant credibility, especially when your in the business of trying to Hornswaugle other GM’s

  22. JDI says:

    Pescador: No one knows if you really are a person

    More hooman than hooman!

  23. Centre of attention says:

    godot10: Me.The Oilers and McDavid need a #2RD far more than than need a $10 million dollar aging left wing

    $30 million something on three forwards is a recipe for disaster. $16 million on two left wings is nuts.

    #WingersDONTMatter

    Yeah it would definitely not be a good move in the long term view.

    “But I want Ovi winning a cup in Edmonton with McDavid as his center NOW!” -Stubborn kid voice-. Haha. It will never happen anyways so nothing to worry about.

  24. MrEd says:

    Agreed. The overall goaltending situation is so much better.
    Question: How many games can a 1G be counted on playing in a year?
    Talbot put in a massive year this year. #5 all time amongst active goalers for games played.

    What if Cam Talbot can go only 50?

  25. JDI says:

    Centre of attention: But I want Ovi winning a cup in Edmonton with McDavid as his center NOW!”

    There’s no better scenario than winning a Cup with a line like Pitts’ Crosby & Company. $8.7M center with $1.5M in wingers.

  26. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Pittsburgh was happy to scuttle several Cups to justify the overpay for Fleury. The Preds should be happy to default, or pull him on the second weakish goal,or face losing long term, because it’s Oilers all the time from now on.

  27. Nuclear leak says:

    Mcdavid and Ovi vs Sid and the guins in the final.. a NHL PR dream

  28. Centre of attention says:

    JDI: There’s no better scenario than winning a Cup with a line like Pitts’ Crosby & Company. $8.7M center with $1.5M in wingers.

    Yup.

    Not sold Slepy or Cagg’s are Sheary & Guentzel though. I mean at least Slepy had a stretch where he was over a point per game in the AHL.

    We need to clone Patrick Maroon, is what we need to do. I wonder if the Oilers circle back to a guy like PA Paranteau. He’d be a nice cheap scorer.

  29. MrEd says:

    LB has played in 15 NHL games.
    NHL Totals 15: 2.75 4 6 1 0.907 (hockeydb)

  30. JDI says:

    MrEd:
    LB has played in 15 NHL games.NHL Totals15:2.754610.907 (hockeydb)

    Ziss exhibit is clozed.

  31. leadfarmer says:

    Holy rebound Rinne,

    There is going to be much better g available to Vegas than LB.

  32. leadfarmer says:

    I had Rinne as the second goalie most likely to lose a series after Elliott in western conference. It’s taken him a while but he’s finally coming through

  33. MrEd says:

    JDI,

    Just sayin’:)
    Wondering if signing an NHL proven capable back-up might be something that Chia has on his mind?

  34. JDI says:

    MrEd,

    It’s just not fair to quote a young goalie’s early stats, and I really don’t think that anything regarding the expansion draft is going to go the way most people predict.

    But I’m really looking forward to The Summer of George.

  35. Professor Q says:

    JDI:
    MrEd,

    It’s just not fair to quote a young goalie’s early stats, and I really don’t think that anything regarding the expansion draft is going to go the way most people predict.

    But I’m really looking forward to The Summer of George.

    McPhees must be paid.

  36. JDI says:

    Professor Q: McPhees must be paid.

    Alright, there’s something there with Graham and pay ’em, but I’m off to watch the latest episode of The Americans.

  37. Rondo says:

    LT,

    Do you have Santeria Virtanen ranked in your top 150 ? Could be a player.

  38. MrEd says:

    JDI,

    DD did happen I agree. Just not sure that LB has the same qualities or pedigree.

  39. jtblack says:

    Oh wow. good read. Oil should grab best RW or RHD @ #22.

    Henri Jokiharju for a sleeper I like, you mentioned him …

    For Goalies, my junior team has Stuart Skinner. big, athlethic, solid kid. I think he has the potential and would be worth drafting in the 3rd or 4th round. Not sure where you have him ranked or if you do, but he’s worth a later round pick ..

    I love the Draft, and your posts make it that much Greater. thanks LT

  40. godot10 says:

    JDI: Alright, there’s something there with Graham and pay ’em, but I’m off to watch the latest episode of The Americans.

    The fifth season of The Americans was a slow burn, the calm before the storm, compressing the spring. The finale last night lit the fuse for season 6. The final 10 episodes are going to be explosive.

  41. JDI says:

    godot10: The fifth season of The Americans was a slow burn

    Agreed, although I was kind of questioning my perspective after watching a few seasons of Shameless.

    Oh my…

  42. jtblack says:

    “I’ll call it the best in the League” – Edmonton’s centers. I have to suggest the best in the League at C is about to win their 3rd Cup and 2nd B2B. Croz, Malkin, Bonino, Cullen.

    McD can compete against Croz.

    Malkin is HHOF and all world. Drai is coming but I still can’t put him in Malkin’s class.

    Bonino. RNH. I will take RNH all day BUT Bonino has been clutch for Pens and RNH was not for Oilers. I hope RNH can change the story this coming year.

    Cullen vs. Letestu. Cullen is great 5×5 and does all things well. Letestu gets caved 5×5. He’s good but not as good / useful as Cullen.

    PENS are dominant down the middle and about the Hoist the Cup again. Let’s hope the Oilers are getting close to this level. I do agree, they are probably my #2 in the League at C.!!!

  43. Scungilli Slushy says:

    Scungilli Slushy:
    Pittsburgh was happy to scuttle several Cups to justify the overpay for Fleury. The Preds should be happy to default, or pull him on the second weakish goal,or face losing long term, because it’s Oilers all the time from now on.

    I said 2!

  44. Ribs says:

    When I first read the title of this post on my phone earlier, I thought it said “NERDS AT THE DRAFT TABLE”. *Shrug*

  45. dustrock says:

    No love for Robert Thomas at C LT?

  46. MrEd says:

    Ribs,

    Yah it did stud:)

  47. Lowetide says:

    It did NOT say Nerds at the draft table. 🙂

  48. Lowetide says:

    dustrock:
    No love for Robert Thomas at C LT?

    Suspect he’ll be gone. I have him in the top 15, so am a fan.

  49. Rondo says:

    Top 9/10

    Patrick, Nolan
    Hischier, Nico
    Heiskanen, Miro
    Vilardi, Gabe
    Mittelstadt, Casey
    Glass, Cody
    Makar, Cale
    Tippett, Owen
    Pettersson, Elias

  50. stush18 says:

    I’m really hoping the oilers take lilligren if he falls to 22

  51. Ribs says:

    Lowetide:
    It did NOT say Nerds at the draft table.

    NERD!! Lol

    Thomas is sooo smooth when he plays with that Santana kid, though. *Dragged off stage by giant hook*

  52. Professor Q says:

    Lowetide:
    It did NOT say Nerds at the draft table.

    Well maybe they’re making up for Eakins’ fruit and veggies by digging in to some lucky Wonka candies?

  53. Johnny Stomper says:

    I know Im so late to the dance but trading Eberle and Poo for Ovechkin would be an intersting trade and one worth looking at. All Connor needs is a trigger man and Ovi hasent got it done in Wash but conner feeding Ovi would be something.

  54. russ99 says:

    IMO, Center is a higher priority than defense in prospect acquisistion. We have Jones and Bear we can let develop for a few years in the AHL or use as trade chips, we don’t have anyone at center near that level.

    We have Platzer and Chase who don’t look to hit the 100 NHL game mark, and likely not even get partially as far.

    Vesel has 3 more years of college, so he’s a long-term bet.

    So unless we draft a few or sign some college FAs, the cupboard will be bare for some time.

    Foo would be a nice signing, and we need to stop pushing these signings to the NHL right away, but I’m not convinced his ceiling is any higher than third line.

    Starting next summer we’ll be up to the cap for the forseeable future. Even if McDavid and Draisaitl lock down center for the next 10 years, we’ll need cheap, controllable forwards to contribute during that time frame.

  55. russ99 says:

    Johnny Stomper:
    I know Im so late to the dance but trading Eberle and Poo for Ovechkin would be an intersting trade and one worth looking at. All Connor needs is a trigger man and Ovi hasent got it done in Wash but conner feeding Ovi would be something.

    Why would Washington do this? Even if they’d entertain moving Ovi, Eberle and Pouliot are roughly half the value that would meet the requirement, IMO

    In Gzowski’s book, there’s a famous quote of Sather’s where every other GM wants the kids.

    Same goes for us. Anyone of real value we want and the opposition will want players from the McDavid cluster.

  56. rickithebear says:

    IMO: In my Opinion

    IN: Def; Adverb: Experessing an arrival at a Destination.
    This case a destination of thought.

    My: Def; Determiner: Belonging to or associated with the speaker.

    Opinion: Def:
    Their are 2 paths.
    1. Thought, Belief or conclusion about something or someone but not substantiated by Knowledge or Proof (Data).
    2. Judgement about someone or something based on special knowledge or proof.

    Russ: while some may view your Point as pat 1.

    Any simple visit of Star trade history says you are basing it on path2.

  57. Jaxon says:

    I like right-handed winger Nikita Popugayev and RHD Conor Timmins, at #22.

    I also like Johnny Kovacevic as a late round RHD. Overager (19), ranked 155 NA by NHL Central, with a NHLE of 16 in Hockey-East rookie season. He’s 6’4″, 215lbs.

    http://www.sbncollegehockey.com/hockey-east/2017/2/21/14646736/jonathan-kovacevic-merrimack-warriors-finding-their-stride-mark-dennehy-nhl-draft-cchl-hockey-east

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