We entered the weekend under the impression the Edmonton Oilers would draft forwards and focus on skill. The third draft with Peter Chiarelli and Bob Green at the helm (with Keith Gretzky now firmly ensconced) had the usual third-round meandering we’ve come to expect from Edmonton (going back decades) but the expectations were finally satisfied.
LOWETIDE PROJECTED WEEKEND (KISS OF DEATH)
- First Round: No. 22 overall—L Eeli Tolvanen, Sioux City Musketeers (USHL).
- Third Round: No. 82 overall—LD Mario Ferraro, Des Moines (USHL).
- Third Round: No. 84 overall—RC Tyler Steenbergen, Swift Current Broncos (WHL).
- Fourth Round: No. 115 overall—L Macauley Carson, Sudbury Wolves (OHL).
- Fifth Round: No. 126 overall—R Aatu Luusuaniemi, Karpat (Jr. Sm-Liiga).
- Fifth Round: No. 146 overall—G Matt Villalta, SSM Greyhounds (OHL).
- Sixth Round: No. 177 overall—LC Jacob Peterson, Frolunda (SuperElit).
- Seventh Round: No. 208 overall—F Andrey Altybarmakyan, St.Petersburg (MHL).
This is a fun thing I do on Friday morning, guess the list and see if we can find a match. Two years ago I got two right (McDavid, Bear) and one correct last season (Filip Berglund) but got shutout this time. I did have the list surrounded though (on my various rankings):
- No. 11 overall—R Kailer Yamamoto, Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
- No. 52 overall—L Ostap Safin, Sparta Praha (Cze).
- No. 133 overall—LD Dmitri Samorukov, Guelph (OHL).
- No. 12 goalie list—G Stuart Skinner, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
- No. 25 WHL list—G Stuart Skinner, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
- No. 45 USA list— RD Phil Kemp, USNDTP (USHL).
HARVEST MOON 2017
- No. 22 overall: R Kailer Yamamoto, Spokane Chiefs (WHL). One of the best skill players in the draft, boxcars throughout his WHL career show impressive skill and a great deal of progress. Size is going to be an issue for him as he enters pro hockey in 2018 or 2019 fall, but outstanding speed and skill should take him a long way if Yamamoto can stay healthy. I had him just outside the top 10 overall and consider this pick to be the latest in a string (Leon, 97, JP, Yamamoto) of brilliant/lucky selections.
- No. 78 overall: G Stuart Skinner, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL). In listening to Bob Green in his media avail, it’s pretty clear the club had targeted this goalie and were willing to give up an extra pick to get him. He posted a .905SP in the regular season and .916SP in the playoffs. Skinner had a great .920SP a year ago, and this may be a case of (like Dylan Wells) getting better value due to a goalie’s performance in his draft year. The last time we saw this kind of verbal on an Oilers goalie draft pick was Devan Dubnyk. The numbers don’t imply that kind of player but we’ll see how things turn out.
- No. 84 overall: LD Dmitri Samorukov, Guelph Storm (OHL). A big mobile defender who struggled to find consistency this year, he is regarded as a solid two-way prospect. Samorukov turned a corner mid-year and appears to be a more substantial player than his numbers imply. Brock Otten spent some time with me today discussing him and believes he has second-round talent.
- No. 115 overall: R Ostap Safin, Sparta Praha (Czech). I’m a fan of this selection and had him in my second round (No. 52) for the 2017 draft. One of three picks today that I think fans can be genuinely pleased over. Corey Pronman: At 6-foot-5, he has very good feet for a big man, with an easy first few steps. He handles the puck fine, can make the occasional creative play or distribution, possesses an accurate wrist shot and is able to finish chances well. However, he’s not going to be a primary playmaker on his line as a pro. His physical play is inconsistent.
- No. 146 overall: L Kirill Maksimov, Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL). Name is also spelled Maximov so don’t be fooled in that regard. Like Safin, this is a player who should be considered as a legit offensive prospect. An “honorable mention” on Bob McKenzie’s list, the industry seems to think he is among the 100 best prospects in this draft. Size, speed, skill. The only LW chosen on the day, perhaps giving us a clue about Tyler Benson’s health. Maksimov scored 19 goals in his final 33 games this season, perhaps he spiked in a timely fashion.
- No. 177 overall: C Skyler Brind’Amour, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). The only center taken this weekend by Edmonton, he has a nice range of skills. In a draft that keeps me reminding me of last year, I would say his skills are comparable to Aapeli Rasanen. Steve Kournianos: Skyler is a strong-skating forward who is competent in all three zones. Brind’amour is a cerebral player who hustles, competes and displays occasional periods of dominance. He doesn’t have breakaway speed but is difficult to slow down once he reaches top speed.”
- No. 208 overall: RHD Phil Kemp, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). When in doubt about a draft, never a bad idea to take kids out of this program and Peter Chiarelli does it frequently. He is a young (1999) man with a defensive skill set, 6.03 and 201. Good skater, defense first, blocks a lot of shots. I’ve learned from Caleb Jones not to trust boxcars from the USHL, numbers are dependent on usage and this fellow could have some offense we don’t know about at this time.
The Oilers delivered less talent potential this year than in 2016, but that has a lot to do with the talent available and fewer selections. In fact, I’ll say PC and his group were more efficient this time, don’t see an eyebrow raising league anywhere as we saw with Matt Cairns a season ago. I love the fact Edmonton shopped in strong leages (OHL, WHL and USHL) twice.
For me, the Oilers hit a home run in the first round and got terrific value in Safin. The Skinner selection has them excited, I see a .920SP from 2015-16 and maybe there’s a story there. Samorukov and Maksimov have stories to tell and it will be fun to see if the positive trends continue. The National Team prospects have potential, that team is stacked with good players.
A reasonable bet for this draft? Yamamoto has a successful NHL career and one of Skinner or Safin make the grade and hang around for a time.
I’ll have the Top 20 list up first thing tomorrow morning and then we can get back to arguing about the roster. I hope you enjoyed this blog’s coverage of the draft, love sharing this part of the hockey calendar with you.