As much I love the Entry Draft (I love all drafts, watch the NBA draft and haven’t watched a full NBA game in many years) this year’s edition is likely to be slow going for Oilers fans. With only one pick likely in the top 100 the first day of the proceedings will be rather uneventful and the entire Oilers draft could consist of 4 or 5 names.
With that as a backdrop (and mindful of what having 50 contracts can do to you), I think the Oilers might want to sign a college free agent or two this summer. The undrafted guys are older, you know what you’re getting (not much development left) and you can address weakness and perhaps add a roster player as soon as fall time.
I’ve chosen Derek Whitmore because he’s a goal scorer. In fact, in the entire NCAA he is third overall in goals (24 goals in 28 games played) and has 10 with the man advantage. He’s 5-10, 190 and turned 23 just before Christmas. He is about 2 and a half months younger than Colin McDonald, he played in the USHL the season after Matt Greene left. He’s from that era of prospects, which means the Oilers still have time to add to that group via the amateur procurement department. Whitmore is from Rochester, New York and his goal scoring has improved each season in Bowling Green (11, 13, 19 and now 24).
The scouting reports on him are vague, I can’t really give you much. Here’s what I found:
- Whitmore moved out of his parents’ house at the age of 16 to play junior hockey in Wyoming
- “[Whitmore's] a big part of our success,” coach Paluch said. “We went through a stretch where Derek wasn’t scoring, and we didn’t have the same results we had when he was scoring. He tried to do a little too much, and he wasn’t as effective when he was out there. But, he’s really been an outstanding leader for our team. What he means to our team – he’s been extremely valuable.”
- His shooting percentage this season looks extremely good, as in he may never do it again. He has 24 goals on 111 shots (21.6%). Last season he had 19 goals on 124 shots (15.3%) and the season before that 13 goals on 82 shots (15.9%). As a freshman he scored 11 goals on 68 shots (16.2%).
I believe he went to Atlanta’s camp last fall (Ryan Duncan apparently went to St. Louis’ camp so that doesn’t apparently affect NCAA eligibility) so maybe they have the inside track.
Either way, it seems like every team has some guy with a strange non-hockey name playing in the NHL via the college fa route and the Oilers haven’t had one I can recall since Ty Conklin. Have the Oilers been bullied out of this area?
I think they should push right back by signing someone like Derek Whitmore.