Today, we are going to look at the 60 best players in the 2016 entry draft. Eventually, we will stretch this thing out to 90, and then 120, as the draft year comes into view. The Central Scouting list is a big help, and will allow us to start looking into specific leagues and nations for the coming draft. Here we go.
THE OILERS IN THE 2017 DRAFT
- First Round: No. 24 overall
- Third Round: No. 77 overall (FROM ST. LOUIS—this is payment for Nail Yakupov)
- Third Round: No. 86 overall
- Fourth Round: No. 117 overall
- Fifth Round: No. 136 overall (FROM Vancouver—this is payment for Phil Larsen)
- Fifth Round: No. 148 overall
- Sixth Round: No. 179 overall
- Seventh Round: No. 210 overall
Edmonton has a valuable chip (first round) and a few lottery tickets, but their list has a look similar to 2014—and that was a poor draft. The Oilers need a second rounder, and one hopes they find a way to get it.
The LT draft list isn’t an attempt to project the actual draft order, but rather rank players based on specific strengths—NHLE, speed, range of skills—and prefers established leagues over distant ones. In projecting the draft, Bob McKenzie’s list is the projection bible, my list is kind of all over on draft day. Here are the Oilers picks in 2016, with my rankings in brackets:
- No. 4 (No.3)—R Jesse Puljujarvi, Karpat (Sm-Liiga).
- No. 32 (No. 34)—L Tyler Benson, Vancouver Giants (WHL).
- No. 63 (No. 108)—LD Markus Niemelainen, Saginaw Spirit (OHL).
- No. 84 (No. 145)—LD Matthew Cairns, Georgetown Raiders (OJHL).
- No. 91 (No. 61)—RD Filip Berglund, Skelleftea AIK (SHL).
- No. 149 (NR)—L Graham McPhee, U.S. National Development Team (USHL).
- No. 153 (No. 112)—C Aapeli Rasanen, Tappara U20 (Jr. SML).
- No. 183 (NR)—RD Vincent DeSharnais, Providence College (Hockey East).
The third best player (by my estimate) is Berglund, and he didn’t land until pick No. 91. It happens every year—there is an entire group of defense first blue and Coke Machines that go every draft year from about No. 45 to No. 70—so I wanted to make you aware of it.
DRAFT TOP 62, 2017
- (1) RC Nolan Patrick, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL). Size, complete skill set, impact player.
- (2) R Owen Tippett, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL). Size, speed, best sniper in the draft.
- (5) L Nico Hischier, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). Soft hands, elusive, creative.
- (3) RD Timothy Liljegren, Rogle (Swe Jr). Mobile 2-way D, complete range of skills.
- (4) RC Gabriel Vilardi, Windsor Spitfires (OHL). Creative center with size.
- (6) RC Nick Suzuki, Owen Sound Attack (OHL). Speedy, creative, sublime passer, one dimensional.
- (7) LD Juuso Valimaki, Tri-City Americans (WHL). Big puck mover, talented, creative.
- (8) LC Casey Mittelstadt, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL). High skill, quick hands, extra gear.
- (11) L Elias Pettersson, Timra (Swe-1). Brilliant passer, creative, late bloomer.
- (18) RC Cody Glass, Portland Winterhawks (WHL). Smart 2-way center.
- (9) L Nikita Popugaev, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL). Big winger, good skater, plus shot, passer.
- (10) L Eeli Tolvanen, Sioux City Musketeers (USHL). Plus skater, great one-timer. Sniper.
- (12) LD Nicholas Hague, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL). Rangy, aggressive, big shot from point.
- (13) C Michael Rasmussem, Tri-City Americans (WHL). Big C, dominant physically, good skater.
- (16) C Mason Shaw, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL). Small skill C, terrific skills.
- (14) L Kristian Vesalainen, Frolunda (SHL). Big W, skilled, strong, good shot can play L or R.
- (19) R Kailer Yamamoto, Spokane Chiefs (WHL). Smart player, elusive, offensive. Lacks top gear.
- (15) LC Lias Andersson, Linkoping (SHL). Throwback 2-way C, aggressive, quick. 5.11, 200.
- (17) R Martin Necas, Brno (Czech). High speed skill W, just 5.11.
- (20) L Matthew Strome, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL). Strong 2-way W, offensive potential.
- (22) RC Robert Thomas, London Knights (OHL). Speedy forward, creative offensive player.
- (21) G Mike DiPietro, Windsor Spitfires (OHL). 35gp, 2.15 .925, is on a very good run.
- (23) RD Cale Makar, Brooks Bandits (AJHL). Fast defender with exceptional puck-moving acumen.
- (25) RD Kallan Foote, Kelowna Rockets (WHL). Huge D, awkward skater, good passer, tough.
- (27) RC Ivan Lodnia, Erie Otters (OHL). Small skill C, great skater.
- (24) R Klim Kostin, Balashikha (MHL). Giant W with ability to bull his way, good offense.
- (26) G Jake Oettinger, Boston University (NCAA). 21gp, 1.81 .934. Fabulous numbers.
- (32) R Aleksi Heponiemi, Swift Current Broncos (WHL). Cerebral winger with skill, anticipation.
- (29) R Kole Lind, Kelowna Rockets (WHL). Speedy winger with skill.
- (30) RC Morgan Geekie, Tri-City Americans (WHL). Tall thin C with 2-way rep and emerging offense.
- (31) L Isaac Ratcliffe, Guelph Storm (OHL). Big winger, great skater, some skill.
- (33) R Nicholas Henry, Regina Pats (WHL). Emerging scorer making a move up the list. Not fast.
- (37) RD Conor Timmins, SSE Greyhounds (OHL). Impressive numbers, good at both ends of the ice.
- (28) LD Uro Vaakanainen, JYP (Sm-Liiga). Fast two-way blue with a good shot.
- (34) LD Miro Heiskanen, HIFK (Sm-Liiga). Puck-moving defender with excellent vision and speed.
- (35) LC Evan Barratt, USNDTP (USHL). Small finesse center with substantial skills.
- (41) LC Jake Leschyshyn, Regina Pats (WHL). Responsible 2-way C, I will love him.
- (36) LC Jaret-Anderson Dolan, Spokane Chiefs (WHL). Small, very quick skater and plus skill.
- (38) RC Joni Ikonen, Frolunda (Swe SuperElite). Small skill center with good speed.
- (50) LC Ryan Poehling, St. Cloude State (NCAA). Big skill C with an offensive reputation.
- (39) LD Noel Hoefenmeyer, Ottawa 67s (OHL). Fairly complete defender, good D and some offense.
- (40) RD Henri Jokiharju, Portland Winterhawks (WHL). Smooth skating Finn OD, needs defensive work.
- (NR) LC Morgan Frost, SSM Greyhounds (OHL). Smart, skilled, and emerging.
- (42) LC Joshua Norris, USNDTP (USHL). Two-way C showing good offense.
- (45) RD Kale Fleury, Kootenay Ice (WHL). Fascinating prospect. Haydn’s brother. Range of skills.
- (NR) R Stelio Mattheos, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL). Excellent skater, heavy shot.
- (43) L Alex Formenton, London Knights (OHL). An absolute burner, has some skill.
- (49) RD Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL). Two-way D, some nice boxcars.
- (NR) R Adam Ruzicka, Sarnia Sting (OHL). Big (6.04, 202) forward who plays intelligent game.
- (NR) L Jason Roberstson, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL). Big (6.02, 196), skilled. Oiler. Speed average.
- (44) LC Shane Bowers, Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL). Impressive two-way C, plus skill.
- (NR) RD Artyom Minulin, Swfit Current Broncos (WHL). Big defender with emerging skills.
- (46) L Maxime Comtois, Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL). Skilled, good size, skating average.
- (47) LC Alexei Lipanov, Dyanmo Balashikha (VHL). Two-way C, a little shy offensively.
- (48) LC Marcus Davidsson, Djurgardens (SHL). Two-way center has some offense, nice range of skills.
- (NR) L Mackenzie Entwistle, Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL). Big winger, who can skate, check, some skill.
- (NR) RD Eemeli Rasanen, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL). Giant defender with skill, mobility.
- (NR) L Ostap Safin, Sparta Praha (Cze). Big forward, good skater, has plus skills. Nice range.
- (NR) C Jesper Boqvist, Brynas (SHL). Average size, good speed and skill.
- (NR) L Zach Gallant, Peterborough Petes (OHL). Fast skater, intelligent player, boxcars moving.
- (NR) RC Scott Reedy, UNDTP (USHL). Speedy center with range of skills, dynamic.
- (NR) LD Robin Salo, Sport Vaasa (SML). Mobine two-way defender, mature.
FIRST OILERS MOCK, 2017
I like to do these from time to time, give us a chance to check out some of the more obscure prospects early, before we slot them in on the final list.
- First Round: No. 24 overall—RC Robert Thomas, London Knights. Edmonton should have some very good options here, and I would not be surprised to see them trade down in exchange for a second and another depth pick. I also think Cale Makar would be the choice if available, but suspect he will be off the board. I like Thomas for his range of skills and his emerging boxcars. He is an excellent prospect.
- Third Round: No. 77 overall (FROM ST. LOUIS—this is payment for Nail Yakupov)—L Ostap Safin, Sparta Praha. One of the things that happens every year at drafts is really good players slide because teams grab Coke Machines, stay-at-home defensemen and goalies early. Safin has first-round pedigree based on his scouting report (big, strong, speedy), the boxcars are all in the Czech league and we haven’t seen him a lot in international play over the last several months. He is likely to climb the draft charts by June.
- Third Round: No. 86 overall—RD Dylan Coghlan, Tri-City Americans. He is a big defender (6.02, 190) with a nice range of skills. Smooth and lacking one outstanding skill, he can get lost a little in an impressive crowd of Americans blue, but he has legit skill.
- Fourth Round: No. 117 overall—LC Jordy Bellerive, Lethbridge Hurricanes. He isn’t getting a lot of love in draft lists I have seen, but has a solid resume in terms of skill and scoring. Just 5.10, he would represent great value at No. 86, let alone No. 117.
- Fifth Round: No. 136 overall (FROM Vancouver—this is payment for Phil Larsen)—G Stephen Dhillon, Niagra IceDogs. There are a lot of goalies this year, Edmonton may choose to select a prominent option earlier in the draft. Dhillon has a pretty good track record, I think he is a solid option.
- Fifth Round: No. 148 overall—LD Jack Ahcan, St. Cloud State. I expect he will be off the board far earlier, but 5.08 defensemen are not normally high selections. He was impressive at the WJs and I expect it will get him drafted.
- Sixth Round: No. 179 overall—R William Wia, Djurgardens. His scoring rates at lower levels have been good.
- Seventh Round: No. 210 overall—R Bobby Dow, Kemptville 73s. Oilers are now drafting from obscure leagues, Dow has skill and some size.
In summary, I think we should look for Edmonton to attempt adding picks at the deadline, although the players who might be in play (Benoit Pouliot, Brandon Davidson, Matt Hendricks) could be used to acquire NHL players as well. It is also possible Peter Chiarelli cashes in that first-round pick for two lesser choices, although that probably happens draft weekend.