The 2018 NHL Entry Draft may have more importance for the Edmonton Oilers than any of us thought possible. A bad season has a lot of things in play, including the possibility of front office and coaching changes. For fans, it’s a chance to contemplate (gulp) yet another lottery party. Let’s have a look.
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- Lowetide: Oilers and the 2018 Entry Draft
- I use NHLE as a strong guiding light. Christian Roatis has my current conversation calculator here.
- My list list rewards offense heavily, and the most gifted offensive players will be at the top. Players with a range of skills usually do well, but there is a fine line between a two-way player and a checking future. The list does not give high numbers to players who have a lot of their value tied up in the defensive side of the game. Goalies are graded (almost exclusively) by save percentage, although success over more than one season has terrific value.
- I view Bob McKenzie’s list as the draft Bible, but my list does not factor in any scouts input beyond the obvious. (My list is complete before his final one).
- Corey Pronman’s views have a major impact on my list. He’s been finding value in the draft for years and his list is unique.
- Craig Button’s list has high value for me, I like the fact he has the courage of his convictions. I pay attention to Red Line Report.
- Simon Boisvert is a wonderful resource. He’s on the Lowdown today.
- I also view McKeen’s, Steve Kournianos, Grant McCagg, Tom Hunter, The Black Book, Scott Wheeler, Brock Otten, Adam Sherren, ISS.
- I do not copy their rankings (this should be fairly obvious if you look at the rankings of the scouting services).
- Mark Edwards Black Book is a brilliant reference. His release last year has been very useful for this year’s draft. Highly recommended.
- It is very rare for me to rank a defenseman No. 1 overall. Last time? Victor Hedman, 2009.
- My list is not designed to compete with, or copy any of the sources mentioned above. Organizations like Red Line, ISS, McKeens, Future Considerations and others employ actual scouts who observe, evaluate and project. None of their work is contained here.
- This list uses math, previous draft trends (the CHL delivers enormous talent to the NHL), various pieces of anecdotal information volunteered by scouts and observers along the way, and an educated guess based on watching these things unfold since 1971.
THE 31 BEST PLAYERS IN THE 2018 DRAFT
- LD Rasmus Dahlin, Frolunda (SHL). The complete package, with size, speed and skill. Two-way acumen and he’s already playing well (26, 5-6-11) in a top flight pro league. Absolute franchise.
- R Andrei Svechnikov, Barrie Colts (OHL). Another complete talent, fleet winger (shoots left) who has a well rounded game. He brings size as well and is regarded as a plug and play right after the draft.
- L Filip Zadina, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). Another fantastic skill winger, he brings size and shooting ability to the game. He’s in the upper tier of offensive prospects in this draft.
- LC Jacob Olofsson, Timra (Allsvenskan). Speedy center with skill, he’s an emerging player who may be moving up lists.
- LD Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs (WHL). Nice range of skills and impressive offense, he’s smooth and makes smart decisions with the puck. Underrated based on rankings I’ve seen.
- RD Adam Boqvist, Brynas (SuperElite). Undersized puck moving defender who is very creative. Fast, brilliant, excellent in all areas with the puck on his stick.
- RC Akil Thomas, Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL). Undersized center with all of the tools, plus his work ethic gets mentioned a lot. Speed and skill (RH), another player who is underrated based on current rankings I’m seeing.
- L Brady Tkachuk, Boston University (NCAA). Rugged power winger with two-way skills, he has soft hands and can post offense. He’s shy of his brother offensively but an excellent prospect.
- RD Ryan Merkley, Guelph Storm (OHL). Another undersized puck mover, Merkley has holes defensively but is a ridiculous offensive package.
- LD Quinn Hughes, Michigan (NCAA). Fast as lightning defender, smooth as silk and very creative with the puck. Small (5.09) and electric, prototype for the modern game.
- L Joel Farabee, U.S. National Development Program (USHL). Speedy winger with legit skill, he’s a little undersized. Smart player.
- R Oliver Wahlstrom, U.S. National Development Program (USHL). Pure scorer with good size, he’s done well in international competitions. Plus shot.
- LC Filip Hallander, Timra (Allsvenskan). Big, fast forward is an excellent puck transporter and passer, although he can also shoot the puck.
- RD Jett Woo, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL). Coolest name in the draft (Charlie Finley would have chosen him on that alone) he’s a fine two-way prospect and a rare righty. Offense seems to be underrated in draft lists I’ve seen, he might be available when Edmonton picks.
- LC Ryan McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL). Late ’99 has size, speed and skill, plus the tools to flourish in all three disciplines.
- LC Barrett Hayton, SSM Greyhounds (OHL). Attractive player because he’s a shooter, possesses a heavy shot and uses it liberally. He played a depth role last season, more prominent in the Soo this year and numbers reflect it.
- RC Rasmus Kupari, Karpat (Sm-Liiga). Skilled center who has rocketed up the Finnish hockey system in the last 18 months. His offense is the big selling point, continues to progress. Offense obscured by playing in a pro league.
- LC Joe Veleno, Saint-John Sea Dogs (QMJHL). Good size and speed, creative center who has 25 assists in 31 games this season. Improved in a big way season over season.
- RD Noah Dobson, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL). A big (6.03, 179) two-way defenseman whose scouting report includes glowing reports with and without the puck. He might go higher based on range of skills.
- LC Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Assat (Sm-Liiga). Smart, very skilled and he’s 6.02, 190. Has good speed, is a playmaker but has a good shot. A nice resume.
- RD Evan Bouchard, London Knights (OHL). Two-way player, big numbers, his first-step quickness is average and he’s one of the oldest players in the draft.
- LD K’Andre Miller, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). Big defender who can skate and has a big shot. Converted forward so he’s a bit raw in coverage.
- RD Calen Addison, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL). He’s small but everything else is strong. Very creative player, very fast and surprisingly effective defensively.
- R Dominik Bokk, Vajxo Lakers (SuperElite). Another impressive German forward, he’s an elusive skater and a fine stickhandler, has a scorer’s instincts.
- RD Bode Wilde, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). Has size, skill, skating ability plus can shoot the puck and pass it very well. That’s a pretty complete skill set.
- RC Cam Hillis, Guelph Storm (OHL). He’s a burner and he’s spiking, point-per-game over his last 25 games. June 2000, playing in an outstanding league.
- LC Phillipp Kurashev, Quebec Remparts (QMJHL). My favorite player type, intelligent two-way center who has already established that area of the game as a strength. The question is offense and that’s why he’s here.
- LC Milos Roman, Vancouver Giants (WHL). A 1999-born prospect who will impress you with his vision and passing ability, Roman is a smart player in all areas of the ice.
- L Isac Lundestrom, Lulea (SHL). I’m nicking older eligibles more than ever, but this guy appears to be a real player. Playing in a strong pro league in Europe and having some offensive success, he is a burner, probably a little shy offensively.
- W Samuel Fagemo, Frolunda (SuperElite). Impressive climb through the Swedish system, he has good boots and an excellent shot. Dynamic with the puck on his stick, raw in other parts of the game. Boisvert likes him.
- LD Jared McIssac, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). Strong offensive potential, he’s a powerful skater who can blue bayou. Emerging offense, too soon to know.
Oilers at the 2018 Draft
Numbers based on standings January 15, 2017.
- First Round—No. 7 overall
- Second Round—No. 38 overall
- Third Round—No. 69 overall
- Fourth Round—No. 100 overall ( Oilers acquired goaltender Al Montoya from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. If Montoya plays less than seven regular season games for the Oilers the draft pick becomes a fifth rounder)
- Fifth Round—No. 131 overall
- Sixth Round—No. 162 overall
- Seventh Round—No. 193 overall
- First Round—No. 7 overall. LD Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs (WHL).
- Second Round—No. 38 overall. LC Allan McShane, Oshawah Generals (OHL). Good skater, skilled, intelligent, two-way skills.
- Third Round—No. 69 overall. RD Axel Andersson, Djurgardens (SuperElit). A nifty puck-moving defensemen who can also play the position.
- Fourth Round—No. 100 overall. ( Oilers acquired goaltender Al Montoya from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. If Montoya plays less than seven regular season games for the Oilers the draft pick becomes a fifth rounder)
- Fifth Round—No. 131 overall. RD Ty Emberson, U.S. National Development Team (USHL). Impressive speed and skills, he projects as a puck mover with a good shot and the ability to retrieve pucks like a madman. Zero buzz, but he has a nice resume.
- Sixth Round—No. 162 overall. RC Connor Roberts, Flint Firebirds (OHL). A big PF prospect whose only question mark appears to be offense. A trade to Flint gave him an opportunity to play a more prominent role and he’s taking advantage.
- Seventh Round—No. 193 overall. L Ryan Chyzowski, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL). Good skater, some skill.
I’m sure some of you would take Merkley or a forward at the No. 7 spot but Smith appears to be something else. He has the complete range of skills and may emerge as that power-play quarterback Edmonton so badly needs. I wanted the mock to reflect what is available and the answer is defensemen.
Bakersfield plays today, we’ll update as the afternoon rolls along. Iiro Pakarinen (17gp, 9-4-3), Brad Malone (29gp, 9-9-18) and Ty Rattie (36gp, 16-12-28) are the most likely forward to be recalled when the trades start popping in Edmonton.
As for defensemen, the most interesting are Ethan Bear (20gp, 2-8-10), Caleb Jones (36gp, 1-10-11) and Ryan Mantha (34gp, 3-6-9). I suspect the first recall would be Eric Gryba (4gp, 0-0-0) and the next goalie recall could be Nick Ellis.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
At 10 this morning, we kickstart the week with a giant group of guest. TSN1260, scheduled to appear:
- Pierre Lebrun, TSN and The Athletic. Oilers at the deadline, Olympics, Canada’s best team.
- Simon Boisvert, Prospect Insider. Condors and 2018 draft.
- Marc Majeau, TSN1260. Oilers, NFL weekend, Taylor Swift.
- Kent Wilson, The Athletic. Flames on fire.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!