At the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the storylines for Oilers fans will be myriad. Aside from the obvious (will they trade the No. 4 pick or No. 4???) there are a bunch of cool connections—or possible connections.
Connor McDavid put Erie on the map (probably, I still don’t know where the hell it is) and a bunch of his teammates from the Otters are draft eligible this year. Using my list, here are the players and their rank:
- 15 R Alex DeBrincat, Erie Otters (OHL): Small sniper, McDavid’s winger in 2014-15. He is a real shooter, someone the Oilers might consider—except he is extremely likely to be gone in the first round (after Edmonton picks). If you hear a trade announced around the middle of round 1 and the Oilers get a second pick on the Friday night, this could be it.
- 24 R Taylor Raddysh, Erie Otters (OHL). Power W who can score, he has size and plays a good two-way game. From the scouting reports I have read, he appears to have a range of skills but is not dominant offensively. Could slide to No. 32 and is a name to keep in mind.
- 45 L Kyle Maksimovich, Erie Otters (OHL). Small, very skilled player. Stepped up in a big way season over season, posted over a point per game in his draft season.
- 105 RD Jordan Sambrook, Erie Otters (OHL). Solid two-way D, capable with or without the puck. He did not play with the Otters a year ago, but had a good interview with the Oilers at the combine.
- NR RD Darren Raddysh, Erie Otters (OHL). Two-way D, Brock Otten likes him. Good defender, can make a good first pass. His last two OHL seasons saw him post 48 and 40 points.
The London Knights provided hockey fans with great entertainment at the Memorial Cup, and the number of quality draft eligibles was crazy. I wonder if the Oilers (or another team) would consider running the table with this group.
- 5 L Matthew Tkachuk: NHLE of 49 points and he flew out to Alberta for a wild Memorial Cup audition. Offensive winger who can win battles, what I noticed about him was his passing ability. Did not expect it, and along with a nice shot he has excellent vision. Defensive acumen and speed are discussion points, but the bet here is that he is already an Oiler—we are just waiting to make it official.
- 8 LD Olli Juolevi: Among the top ranked defenders at this year’s draft, he is my favorite. You will go years without seeing a teenage defender pass as well as Juolevi. His tape to tape passes on the fly are beyond gorgeous, he is splendid at it. Word is he made excellent progress defensively and I think he will be a star.
- 29 L Max Jones: Otten calls him a throwback PF. He is kind of scary in full flight, he is a load and can move. Aggressive in all areas, he has some real skill too. Might be John Tonelli, might be Raffi Torres.
- 35 G Tyler Parsons: He looks substantial based on numbers. .921. He is not big, but has a great glove and is acrobatic. I thought they were coaching that out of kids, but it is refreshing for old timers like me.
- 46 LD Victor Mete: Fantastic skater, he seems to be everywhere. I would say he is a chaos defenseman but do not know his game that well. Suspect there is work to do without the puck.
- 103 C Cliff Pu: Fast two-way center, I think he is a little shy offensively but he spiked late. So, a team that takes a risk in the top 50 might be getting a bona fide speed demon with real skill. A dangerous player in that way.
- NR RD Nicholas Mattinen: Huge shutdown defender with a monster shot from the point. A somewhat unusual skill set, but he is rated by many scouting lists.
WHO SAILS ON FIRST?
My guess is Nail Yakupov, suspect an Eastern Conference destination. Montreal? New York? Philadelphia? Don’t know. The Flyers first-round pick is at No. 18, so one would suspect the pick would not be in play. Habs pick at No. 9, there might be something there, but I keep coming back to acquiring a RHD in the deal—Habs have P.K. Subban and Jeff Petry, but they are not coming here.
Almost all of the rumors (Lucic, Tkachuk, Sanheim) are lefties—suggesting we may see some roster talent heading out to get balance. Or, and this is possible, the Oilers are willing to run lefties on right side.
CHIARELLI’S NEEDS LIST
- Top-pairing D to partner with Klefbom (Jason Demers, Travis Hamonic)
- Second-pairing RHD to partner with Sekera (Tyson Barrie, Sami Vatanen)
- Acquire RHC with some skill (Andrew Shaw)
- Backup goalie (Chad Johnson)
There are other items (re-stock the system, etc) but these are the main issues over the next month. I encourage you to look at Jason Demers. He is not Bobby Orr, but he can play and all he costs is money. Is it better to overpay Demers, or to deal your second best player for a somewhat better option? I think the answer is Jason Demers.
CHIARELLI’S AVAILABLE LIST (UPDATED)
- Nail Yakupov
- Taylor Hall
- Jordan Eberle
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
- Benoit Pouliot
- Cap space
- Mark Fayne
- Griffin Reinhart
- No. 4 overall selection
- 2017 1st round selection
I have shuffled the list quite a bit, things are coming into view. The No. 4 overall selection seems less likely to be dealt, suspect the team will select Matt Tkachuk if he is still there. Nail Yakupov moves to No. 1, because it makes sense that he goes first, possibly a week or more before the draft (picks may be involved).
I have taken Darnell Nurse off the list, it was always a long shot and in reviewing things there simply isn’t a reason to believe they are contemplating dealing him. Nurse is a long-term solution for Edmonton. I have also deleted Leon Draisaitl, mostly because the team has control of him inside the McDavid window—and that cluster is the most important one. The $6 million trio move up (if No. 4 overall is not used, someone is going) and I have Hall ahead of Eberle and Nuge.
BUYOUTS BEGIN WEDNESDAY
Oilers candidates include Andrew Ference and Lauri Korpikoski, but I think we may see LTIR for the former Bruin. Korpikoski is a fascinating case. Despite clear evidence he has eroded to the point of being one of the poorest possession forwards in the game.
One of the reasons a team looks for a veteran coach is situations like this one. In the heat of battle, middle of the season, it is somewhat predictable to see a coach go with his veterans. In the clear light of day, when looking at Corsi or shot volume, it would be impossible to proceed with this player.
I suspect that if Korpikoski is not bought out, the plan is to bring him to camp and have him fight for an NHL job—with Bakersfield a handy option. That said, all evidence points to Todd McLellan trusting this player, and we do not know the metrics used by the coaching staff in assessment. Interesting follow.
OILERS MOCK, TWELVE DAYS OUT
- No. 4 overall— L Matthew Tkachuk, London Knights (OHL): With an NHLE of 49 points, a brilliant Memorial Cup performance and a skill set made for Connor McDavid, it is over. Only the Columbus Blue Jackets—or a team willing to trade up to No. 3 and take Tkachuk—can stop this train.
- No. 32 overall—R Taylor Raddysh, Erie Otters (OHL). Power W who can score, posted an NHLE of 29 points this season. Fits a need, so qualifies as an Oilers second rounder (they always pick for need).
- No. 63 overall—RD Filip Berglund, Skelleftea AIK (SEL). A big defender (6.03, 209) with a nice range of skills. He may appear to be a somewhat risky pick based on some rankings, but our own Swedish Poster has given me plenty of reason to like him here. He improved markedly season over season and would be a value pick here in my opinion.
- No. 84 overall—RD Jordan Sambrook, Erie Otters (OHL). Solid two-way D, may be undervalued.
- No. 91 overall—RC Dylan Gambrell, U of Denver (NCAA). Fast, skilled, brilliant.
- No. 123 overall—C Tyler Steenbergen, Swift Current Broncos (WHL). Spiked in-season. He is not a big player, but has a range of skills. I have him No. 62 on my list, but doubt he goes before the sixth round—and he may not be drafted at all.
- No. 149 overall—LD Sebastian Aho, Skelleftea (SHL). Undersized, puck moving D.
- No. 153 overall—L Brandon Hagel, Red Deer Rebels (WHL). Skill W, undersized.
- No. 183 overall—R Egor Babenko, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL). Small, very skilled and represents terrific value here.
- My list.