Now that we know the position Edmonton will draft this summer, let’s talk about options. Remember, Craig MacTavish doesn’t have a full chamber this time, and might seek additional bullets as we lead up to the entry draft.
CURRENT PICKS (OILERS EDITION)
- #3 overall (first round)
- #91 overall (fourth round, this is the Bryzgalov return)
- #116 overall (fourth round, this is the Mike Brown return)
- #128 overall (fifth round, this is the first pick of the Ales Hemsky return)
- #136 overall (fifth round, this is the Nick Schultz return)
- #153 overall (sixth round)
- #183 overall (seventh round)
- Craig Button on Aaron Ekblad: When you build a team, you need a solid foundation. Aaron is a pillar defenceman who can play 25 minutes or more and do so in all important situations. His on-ice maturity is exceptional.
- Corey Pronman on Sam Reinhart: Reinhart is the best pure passer in this draft class. His ability to dictate the tempo of a hockey game, in terms of increasing or decreasing pace and making plays at all those speeds, elevates his game to a distinct level. Reinhart can make all kinds of plays with the puck, and his elite hockey sense stands out regularly in terms of the passing lanes he sees.
- Mike Morreale on Sam Bennett: The scouts found no reason to move the 6-foot, 178-pount, left-shooting Bennett from his perch at the top. Considered by many to be a clone of Kingston general manager and Hockey Hall of Fame member Doug Gilmour, Bennett finished with career highs across the board in goals (36), assists (55), points (91), power-play goals (10), plus-minus rating (plus-34) and penalty minutes (118).
- Bruce McCurdy on Leon Draisaitl: The big centre (listed as 6’1, 209) was neither overly physically aggressive nor a speedster, but largely impressed this observer with his overall command of the game. The play went through his stick constantly, and for the most part, good or at least promising things developed thereafter. He showed a couple of bursts of what I would term “situational speed” but his A game is clearly one of controlling the play rather than pushing it. As I said to my voice recorder at one point, “When the puck is on Draisaitl’s stick, he owns it. Even if there’s a guy in his kitchen he’s in full control.” And later, “Very calm with the puck on his stick, not quite nonchalant but knows how much time he’s got, which in this league is a lot. Big and strong and can dangle the puck out of reach of the man who’s on him, pick his spot and distribute… A lot of subtle stuff, some little mistakes at the end of shifts, but with the puck on his stick he makes a lot of good decisions.”
- Craig MacTavish on Nikolaj Ehlers: “He looked pretty good to me. He’s a pretty dynamic, a very dynamic player. He’s really exciting to watch. Every time he’s on the ice you can see he has a hunger and intense desire to play the game: high-speed skill, quickness, great stick skill. He looks very dangerous to me.”
- Craig Button on Michael Dal Colle: Michael has the abilities to impact the game in multiple ways. Very good skater with speed and power and with his size, is the type of player who can ‘go where he wants.’ Smart and can make plays and has good puck skills in passing and shooting. Appears to be very comfortable on the wing and can create advantages for the team along the boards, at the net and with his skill. Players with these attributes are coveted.
- If Ekblad and Reinhart are gone, who do you choose?
- Do you consider trading up?
- Do you consider trading down?
- If the Oilers choose Draisaitl, are you convinced they’re making a mistake?
- What one reason can you name for the Oilers passing on Sam Bennett?