By the end of this month, we’ll know which way the wind blows. Seasonal coverage will continue every morning here, but if the playoffs become a distant bell, we’ll drill down on the draft. Edmonton has a lot of picks this year, my early view of the consensus lists has about a dozen great defensemen and less than 10 great forwards. Considering the spot Edmonton is likely to draft, that means blue on blue. Not ideal based on Edmonton’s established needs.
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- New Lowetide: Should the Oilers trade their 2018 first-round pick?
- New Jonathan Willis: Rejuvenated Oilers set sights on post-season.
- New Corey Pronman: Team Canada WJ preview.
- Lowetide: Connor McDavid: The Athletic’s Person of the Year!
- Lowetide: Anton Slepyshev
- Lowetide: How much skill is bubbling under for the Oilers?
- Lowetide: Jesse
THE 2018 DRAFT, OILERS PICKS
- No. 5 overall
- No. 36 overall
- No. 67 overall
- No. 98 overall
- No. 129 overall
- No. 160 overall
- No. 191 overall
It’s a stretch to suggest the Oilers are going to pick fifth overall, but we’re approaching the halfway point of the season and another slump probably means draft talk. The value of a No. 5 overall pick to a team that already houses Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, Jesse Puljujarvi and Darnell Nurse is clearly enormous. The elite cluster could always use another knight. If this team drafts No. 5 overall, there will be changes.
THE 15 BEST PLAYERS IN THE 2018 DRAFT
- LD Rasmus Dahlin, Frolunda (SHL). The complete package, with size, speed and skill. Two-way acumen and he’s already playing well (26, 5-6-11) in a top flight pro league. Absolute franchise.
- R Andrei Svechnikov, Barrie Colts (OHL). Another complete talent, fleet winger (shoots left) who has a well rounded game. He brings size as well and is regarded as a plug and play right after the draft.
- RD Adam Boqvist, Brynas (SuperElite). Undersized puck moving defender who is very creative. Fast, brilliant, excellent in all areas with the puck on his stick.
- L Filip Zadina, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). Another fantastic skill winger, he brings size and shooting ability to the game. He’s in the upper tier of offensive prospects in this draft.
- RC Akil Thomas, Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL). Undersized center with all of the tools, plus his work ethic gets mentioned a lot. Speed and skill (RH), another player who is underrated based on current rankings I’m seeing.
- LD Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs (WHL). Nice range of skills and impressive offense, he’s smooth and makes smart decisions with the puck. Underrated based on rankings I’ve seen.
- L Brady Tkachuk, Boston University (NCAA). Rugged power winger with two-way skills, he has soft hands and can post offense. He’s shy of his brother offensively but an excellent prospect.
- LD Quinn Hughes, Michigan (NCAA). Fast as lightning defender, smooth as silk and very creative with the puck. Small (5.09) and electric, prototype for the modern game.
- RD Jett Woo, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL). Coolest name in the draft (Charlie Finley would have chosen him on that alone) he’s a fine two-way prospect and a rare righty. Offense seems to be underrated in draft lists I’ve seen, he might be available when Edmonton picks.
- RD Ryan Merkley, Guelph Storm (OHL). Another undersized puck mover, Merkley has holes defensively but is a ridiculous offensive package.
- LC Joe Veleno, Saint-John Sea Dogs (QMJHL). Good size and speed, creative center who has 25 assists in 31 games this season. Improved in a big way season over season.
- R Oliver Wahlstrom, U.S. National Development Program (USHL). Pure scorer with good size, he’s done well in international competitions. Plus shot.
- LC Ryan McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL). Late ’99 has size, speed and skill, plus the tools to flourish in all three disciplines.
- RC Rasmus Kupari, Karpat (Sm-Liiga). Skilled center who has rocketed up the Finnish hockey system in the last 18 months. His offense is the big selling point, continues to progress. Offense obscured by playing in a pro league.
- L Joel Farabee, U.S. National Development Program (USHL). Speedy winger with legit skill, he’s a little undersized. Smart player.
I think the Oilers, if they’re drafting around No. 15, are going to get some nice options. I think the top eight players will be gone, but one of Woo, Merkley and McLeod may be available. Miles to go, centers and blue are going to be the best options when Edmonton is on the clock. Pretty sure.
White face, black shirt White socks, black shoes Black hair, white strat Bled white, died black
Yesterday, the Edmonton Oilers made a flurry of moves and there may be one more today. Let’s review all of them before we get to the new 50-man list:
- Greg Chase traded to the Florida Panthers for future considerations
- Mark Fayne loaned to Springfield of the AHL
- Oscar Klefbom placed on IR
- Anton Slepyshev recalled
- Nathan Walker waived
Greg Chase has real talent, although it didn’t shine in the minors during 2+ seasons in the Edmonton system. I ranked him No. 51 in his draft year, he was chosen No. 188. It didn’t work out in Edmonton, hope it does for him in Florida. Mark Fayne gets to play the final stretch of his contract out east, wonder if he sees the NHL again. I think he can still play.
Oscar Klefbom going on IR feels like it could have happened at any time and is a damned good idea. Let the young man heal, get him back in a week and see if he continues his climb toward Top Oscar. Anton Slepyshev is among the 12 best forwards on this team, don’t think Todd McLellan thinks so, though. Sail on, Nathan Walker, we hardly knew you.
WHO COMES OUT OF THE LINEUP?
Once Andrej Sekera is activated (right soon!) and Klefbom returns, who comes out of the lineup? My guess is injuries and slumps will dictate, but we would be wise to remember Sekera may not be Sekera right away.
This assumes Nathan Walker is plucked off waivers, Bob mentioned yesterday several teams put in a claim at the same time as the Oilers. The biggest in-season addition (for the franchise) is clearly Jesse Puljujarvi, I think, but Mike Cammalleri and Brandon Davidson have helped, too. Mark Fayne remains on the 50-man.
Several of you have asked me about Brian Ferlin. He hasn’t played since December 3, and this is a good story waiting to happen. Is he hurt? We’ll find out this morning from Ryan Holt. Photo by Mark Williams, who is a worthy follow.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning on the show, beginning at 10, TSN1260.
- Darcy McLeod, Because Oilers. Was Todd McLellan stubborn with Jesse Puljujarvi?
- Eric Fawcett, Press Basketball. Great Christmas day schedule, what’s going on with my 76ers?
- Ryan Holt, Bakersfield PBP. Ferlin, Bear, and your questions.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!