The Edmonton Oilers went to market with their new GM Craig MacTavish with a new mantra: skill, skill, skill! As a fan, I was hopeful this would mean an end to ‘walkabout’ selections (defined as reach picks in the top 100 overall) and added skill deeper into the draft.
That’s pretty much what happened. The Oilers used their top 10 selection on a two-way defenseman (first time in forever) and then used selections 56, 83, 88 and 94 on skill players that were either taken ‘in the range’ or were ‘value’ selections. The ‘walkabout’ picks began at #96–not exactly #100 but I’ll take it!
THE 2013 NHL ENTRY DRAFT
- #7 overall D Darnell Nurse (SS Marie, OHL) 68, 12-29-41. NHLE 4-11-15. I had him ranked 2nd among OHL players this season and 9th overall. I count this as a risk averse selection, and McKenzie (#9) and Pronman (#11) agree. I think he’s going to be a good NHL player, making his living with EV and PK minutes. His profile is here and you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see where I’ve ranked him in the top 20.
- #56 overall C Marc Olivier-Roy (Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL) 65, 29-38-67. NHLE 10-15-25. Offensive talent, fast skater, creative and an expert passer. Outstanding on the backcheck and has a strong 2-way reputation at this early age. Undersized (6.0, 180) but he’s an attractive center and a quality prospect. Enjoyed a terrific playoff (9, 5-11-16) and was 74, 34-49-83 overall this season. I mentioned him here and McKenzie (#59) plus Pronman (#70) had him in the range.
- #83 overall C Bogdan Yakimov (Nizhnekamsk Russian Jr). 11, 6-7-13. Huge C (6.05. 200) described by one scouting service as “a thickly constructed specimen” which immediately makes me think of the Russian tank Andrei Kovalenko. Strong along the wall and effective at puck retrieval. Isn’t a finesse player. Pronman ranks him #73 (again in the range) and Kent Wilson suggests he’s ranked amidst a group of similar “power forward” prospects like John Hayden, Avery Peterson and Nick Moutrey among others. More Wilson: There’s no precise way to calculate NHLE for the MHL or VHL but on the surface, Yakimov’s numbers look pretty good. He split time in VHL with two teams scoring eight goals for 22 points in 37 games following a solid six goals and 13 point performance in 11 MHL games.
- #88 overall L Anton Slepyshev (UFA, KHL) 11, 4-2-6. NHLE 18-6-24. The most talented player taken in the draft today by the Oilers, Slepyshev is a brilliant hockey player. Pronman has him #45, meaning he’s an exceptional value selection. Pronman: He is an above-average skater, with agility and free movement, as his shiftiness makes him hard to check. He has a plus shot and he knows it, as his mentality is often shoot-first, even from distance. He can still make plays, and he does not have tunnel vision, but his playmaking skills are not his best element. His physical game has progressed, and he has added strength since last season. He can protect pucks moderately well. He will display physical effort, although it could be better at times. He also needs to work on his defensive game.
- #94 overall R Jackson Houck (Vancouver, WHL). 69, 23-34-57. NHLE 8-12-20. Physical winger with good skills, footspeed is going to be his issue and he’s not a big prospect (6.0, 186). His father Paul was drafted by the Oilers in 1981. Houck sounds like a “tweener”, a modern Phil Cornet, but that’s on his draft day and there’s some range of skills here. Pronman has him #91, again in the range.
- #96 overall C Kyle Platzer (London, OHL) 65, 5-17-22. NHLE 2-6-8. I had a hard time figuring this player out early on, his numbers are nothing much and he’s no Coke machine. Then I found this from Redline: Skating under the radar because of the embarrassment of riches in the two-time OHL champion London Knights. Although just 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, Platzer plays with energy and grit, embraces physical contact and doesn’t shy away from the greasy spots in the offensive zone. Platzer lacks elite upside at the NHL level, but is one of those character players who never stops moving his feet and competing. A smart, dedicated player; scouts who watched him a lot appreciate Platzer far more than those unable to get extended viewings, but deserves a draft call at some point. Pronman has him #151, that’s a reach.
- #113th overall L Aidan Muir (Victoria Honda Midget) 37, 17-23-40. A project and a reach. Western College Hockey: He’s a decent skater for his size, though there is still some room for improvement. With his frame, there’s also the potential to add a little more strength. His biggest attribute is his grit and toughness in the dirty areas of the ice along the boards and in front of the net, and that he has the hands to make plays in tight spaces. He’s also a very high energy player and a tireless worker.
- #128 overall L Evan Campbell (Langley, BCJHL). 51, 20-46-66 NHLE 5-10-15. 20 years old, 6.01, 175 and headed to U. Mass Lowell this fall or next. The NHLE suggests there’s some offense there but then again he was 19 in the BCJHL this season. Definitely a reach pick.
- #158 overall D Ben Betker (Everett, WHL). 61, 1-5-6 NHLE 0-2-2. Cody Nickolet says he’s a big, rangy physical defenseman. Needs to work on footspeed. A definite reach selection.
- #188 overall C Greg Chase (Calgary, WHL). 69, 17-32-49. NHLE 6-11-17. Outstanding value pick, Pronman has him at #99. Pronman: Scouts praise his offensive mind and vision. He can slow the game down when he has the puck, hit targets through small lanes, and move the puck quickly when need be. He also has good hands, and when he is on, his offensive upside is apparent.
DRAFT BY LEAGUE
- RUS-JR 1
- In The Range: Nurse, Roy, Houck
- Value: Slepyshev, Yakimov, Chase
- Reach: Platzer, Muir, Campbell, Betker
- Mckenzie: Nurse (9); Roy (59)
- Pronman: Nurse (11); Slepyshev (45); Roy (70); Yakimov (73); Houck (91); Chase (99)
- Combine Invites: Nurse, Roy, Houck, Yakimov
The Oilers and Pronman should get together before the draft. The new top 20 (30) tomorrow morning.