In late June, the Edmonton Oilers will draft another crop of prospects who will (hopefully) blossom into productive players—maybe even receive Stanley from Connor McDavid on an early summer night in the days ahead. What would you like from an Oilers draft? High risk? Or a predictable list foretold by those who rank these things before the event? Interesting question.
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OILERS AT THE 2016 DRAFT
- This is Player, where they were chosen, Bob McKenzie’s ranking, then Craig Button, Corey Pronman and then mine.
- This was the last draft before Keith Gretzky.
- Edmonton hung in on the consensus through three selections, but went walkabout with two third-round picks.
- The three best picks, two years later, may end up being Jesse Puljujarvi, Tyler Benson and Filip Berglund.
- The three third-round picks are kind of strange looking now. Should have stayed with the consensus, men like Josh Mahura were available when Edmonton chose Matt Cairns.
OILERS AT THE 2017 DRAFT
- This is the first Keith Gretzky draft.
- It is also what we can safely call a predictable list, with the first four selections universally known and ranked “in the range” or better (higher).
- The fifth selection, Maksimov, might end up delivering huge value. Lots of criticism of Craig Button for his opinions, but he had Maksimov as a third-round selection. Both McKenzie and Pronman gave him honorable mentions.
If we use this style as a template, what might we come up with for this year’s draft? Let’s have a look.
OILERS AT THE 2018 DRAFT
- I chose Noah Dobson because the consensus would have been Wahlstrom and I don’t think he will be there at No. 9 overall. I would choose Ty Smith. Dobson’s NHLE is 24.0, he isn’t a dynamic offensive player, but can play defense and skate well. Steve Kournianos describes him as a “more of a facilitator than an orchestrator” in a recent article.
- Allan McShane (NHLE: 25.7) has first-round talent.
- Blade Jenkins (NHLE: 17.1) is close to a draft and follow, as he was born August 11, 2000.
- Alexis Gravel is among the highest rated goalies in a down year at the position.
- Trey Fix-Wolansky (NHLE: 31, this is his second year eligible) is another player with great hands. Edmonton may draft him and with good reason. He would be the first Oil Kings player chosen by the team since Mitchell Moroz in 2012.
- Semyon Der-Arguchinstev (NHLE: 20) has very little buzz going on but is another skill player.
We can’t get the identical effect of one year ago, as Pronman’s/McKenzie’s lists are not yet completed. Still, I think that gives us a template of expectations for this year.
YAMAMOTO VS. DEBRINCAT
- I’ve been using Alex DeBrincat as a Yamamoto comparable for some time now, wanted to run the final numbers (and add a wrinkle).
- When discussing Alex DeBrincat, very important to mention his junior linemates. Connor McDavid, Dylan Strome, Taylor Raddysh, no doubt some zooming going on there. That said, DeBrincat was (and is) a splendid offensive player.
- Kailer Yamamoto (Sept. 1998) and DeBrincat (Dec. 1997) are both late birthdays, making the comparison apt.
- Yamamoto trails all down the line, but almost caught DeBrincat in his final 27 games (after WJ’s).
- Oilers would be wise to have Yamamoto spend part (or all) of next season in Bakersfield, I don’t think they’ll have the discipline to do it. It’s a no lose situation if they do it, though. The young man pushes up with good performance and the organization adds depth and balance from the farm.
Mike Zanier (former Oilers goalie) is a hockey analyst in Sweden and drops me a line from time to time. He mentioned Joel Persson in a recent exchange (EP bio here). He’s a righty puck mover who would cost only a contract. Zanier said “He came to camp a number 7 D. Was the QB of the PP by October. Started out more as a offensive player but has developed into a solid D & still QB to the best PP in the SHL. Though Elias Pettersson might have something to do with that, he’s definitely worth looking at (for an NHL team).”