The Edmonton Oilers drafted Ryan Nugent-Hopkins yesterday, giving the club a potential elite level center for the first time in a generation. Seventeen years ago this club boasted youth and skill in abundance at the position (Weight, Arnott) but the 2000′s were a tough time at C.
With RNH and a position switch among the gifted young wingers possible, the team could have impressive depth when those items are added to Gagner, Lander and others.
It’s all projection at this point, but these young men are bona fide.
I think we should expect a much different draft one year from now. The first round pick should have exceptional value and with the blue featured heavily it should dovetail nicely for the Oilers. After that, the cluster of picks that began with Jordan Eberle will begin getting paid in full and winning will become important for the first time in years.
- #1 overall- C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: Immediately the best prospect in the system, RNH is a vital pick in the development of this cluster. If he is in fact an elite level playmaker, the Oilers have at least four outstanding candidates for chemistry on the top line and powerplay.
- #19 overall- D Oscar Klefbom: I talk about a complete defender a lot because they’re really important to a team’s overall success. Klefbom’s numbers in the SEL don’t tell the whole offensive story, but when facing kids his own age the young man posted impressive crooked numbers. I’ll have a ranking of the top 20 prospects (summer edition) tomorrow morning; Klfebom is going to be an interesting player to slot.
- #31 overall- D David Musil: I’m a little surprised by the reaction to his selection. He was safely in my top 30, so getting him at thirty-one is a nice bonus to my way of thinking. I’m all for players with a nice range of skills, but defensemen who can make the safe play have value. Musil (imo) is another MBS 2nd rd gem–a player who fills a specific slot in the lineup and is likely to exceed GP expectations for second round picks. Redline ranked him as the 5th best defenseman in the entire draft, one behind Klfebom. I’m not sure where he’ll be in my top 20 tomorrow, but it’ll probably surprise some readers. I can’t really see a reason to dislike this selection.
- #62 overall- G Samu Perhonen: Matt Bugg dropped by Nation Radio today and riffed on the depth selections in this draft (he hit a big fly; that guy knows stuff). In regard to Perhonen, he gave me the impression that this is the ultimate risk/reward pick. We could be looking at a quality starter or a dud, with dud rising. The best thing about picking this guy at #62 is that most of the surer things were off the board.
- #74 overall- C Travis Ewanyk: Future role player has a nice range of skills and therefore a few slots he could fill. PF size and style, he can win faceoffs and projects as a future checking center. I don’t know that he’s going to bring enough offense to make the NHL, but he was chosen in the range where there’s risk involved with every selection.
- #92 overall- D Dillon Simpson: Bugg came to the rescue with this player too, describing a player who has a nice range of skills but some chaos too. I have no idea if he or a Brandon Davidson type will end up winning the day, but I think that’s the race he’s going to be involved in. Third pairing puck mover, that kind of thing.
- #114 overall- C Tobias Rieder: Redline report loves him, describing Rieder as an “undersized, but exceptionally smart playmaking winger with excellent offensive instincts and creativity.” Rieder impressed as a rookie in a very good league and according to Bugg is a guy who will work hard in tough areas to win battles. He was taken at the point in the draft where you shouldn’t expect anything, but it’s also true that Rieder is probably a better NHL prospect than a couple of the kids Edmonton picked before him.
- #122 overall- D Martin Gernat: Bugg started talking and wouldn’t stop when it came to Gernat. Listening to Matt, I got the feeling (actually he said it) that he felt Gernat had a real chance to be the best pick on day 2 by the Oilers. Huge kid (6.05, 187) and considered somewhat similar to Marincin (lower ceiling) in style. Raw prospect, will take time but he’s certainly a player of interest.
- #182 overall- G Frans Tuohimaa: Oilers saw him good and Bugg suggested he’s a guy they might like to come over in fall 2012. Has a nice SP in junior and Bugg told me that he’s definitely a worthwhile prospect, but other than that there isn’t much available.
I’ll tweak the draft posts below and will have a new top 20 up tomorrow. An interesting set of threads below, the comments are very interesting to read and thanks for giving your thoughts on the draft. Someone started a collection for me to attend next year’s draft (complete with hookers and blow) and thanks for that too, but apparently Oilers Nation has plans to send me next year (which is mighty nice of them).
Hope you enjoyed it, I enjoyed your comments.