The Edmonton Oilers are in search of Rod Langway (in photo). In an interview on the Oilers website, Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor said “our goal as a franchise when Steve (Tambellini) came in was to start getting bigger as an organization, which I think was one of the things we achieved in last year’s draft. We selected some bigger forwards and also some bigger defenceman, most notably Martin Marincin. Add the acquisition of Colten Teubert to the equation and we’re quickly seeing a turnaround in the makeup of our backend.”
I’ve always thought this coming draft would see the Oilers select one defenseman and a forward in the first round. However, at the top of the draft, they appear to have a safe bet (Adam Larsson) and three forwards with various skills (Couturier, RNH and Landeskog) and flags.
Last season at this time my money was on Tyler Seguin going to the Oildrop, something that changed at the Memorial Cup. There is no dynamic “Taylor Hall” at the very top of this edition (although one would like to see this Strome fellow), so until now my vote has been Couturier. I know this blog is devoted to avoiding “saw him good” conclusions but after watching Couturier in a QMJHL tilt it was surprising to see how little he uses his size. I wondered why there wasn’t much about physical play in his scouting report, wondered why he didn’t have a lot of pims. For the first time since the fall, I’m wondering if Couturier is the guy Edmonton selects this summer.
I think Adam Larsson is going to be an Oiler, unless this was just a bad night for Couturier. At the very least, the conversation for #1 overall should be re-opened. There is no slam dunk this year, let alone the two that were available a year ago.
The Langway: This season’s candidate for “the Langway” is Jamie Oleksiak. Kirk Luedeke at Bruins Draft watch has a stellar scouting report on the huge defender:
- Jamie Oleksiak, D Northeastern University (Hockey East) Huge kid at 6-7, 240 pounds and may not be done growing. Pretty mobile for someone so big, and more importantly, so young. Massive wingspan and long stick make it virtually impossible for opponents to beat him to the outside. Mobility makes it a challenge for them to go inside on him as well. With more work on his skating, could be even more mobile and difficult to beat. Working on his reads and progressions- still a work in progress who sometimes tries to do too much in his own end- needs to keep things simple. Decent passer on short to intermediate feeds, but on-ice vision is questionable and lacks the accuracy to stretch opposing defenses with long leads. As can be expected, has a big drive given all the power and torque he can generate on his twig. Needs to work on improving the accuracy and release. Important to avoid the lazy comparisons to Zdeno Chara or Tyler Myers because of size/mobility alone- those guys are more skilled with the puck and shooting skills than Oleksiak and he has a long way to go to reach that level. Oleksiak has upside, but may end up being more of a shutdown guy in the NHL.
Kirk’s scouting report is actually MORE in depth, I’ve cherry picked here. I encourage you to read his thoughts (via the link). Buddy’s absolutely killing the 2011 draft. Anyway, he’s describing Rod Langway at the outer marker in my opinion and that’s the guy MBS is tracking.
So, I think we should get ready for Larsson and Oleksiak in round one. The way this draft is setting up, Edmonton could select two defensemen this year and grab another from the deep draft next year. That trio should sustain the Oilers for a decade or more rolling out.
The asterisk on that statement is Couturier. IF that Q game was an anomaly, Couturier should remain at number one. But he’s a question mark, and MBS has always taken the smart bet in round one.
Washington has three young goalies who look like they can play. THREE. Semyon Varlamov, Michal Neuvirth and a kid named Braden Holtby. Holtby has played about 9 games and has been splendid. If you want to know how Ken Dryden emerged quietly in the spring of 1971, Holtby is an excellent comparable. There are 100 fans outside Washington and Lloyminster who know him, but the kid might be key two months from now.
The Oilers should be wearing their ass for a hat again tonight. Not much you can do when you bring a knife to a gunfight.