The 2017 entry draft had three specific themes for the Edmonton Oilers: Skill forwards, a trade up for a goalie they clearly valued, and less emphasis on defensemen. In both the 2015 and 2016 editions, the club drafted four blue, meaning a large group coming through the pipeline from 2017-2020 from those draft summers. Can we identify player style and positions that might be the focus at this year’s draft? Let’s have a look.
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- New Lowetide: Even in a trying season, Adam Larsson delivered solid defense.
- New Jonathan Willis: Edmonton can’t afford to enter ’18-19 with Kris Russell as top 4D.
- New Ian Tulloch: The search for a right defence upgrade (Leafs, but fits Oil)
- Lowetide: It was a tough season for Oscar Klefbom.
- Jonathan Willis: Darnell Nurse delivered a strong season for the Oilers.
- Scott Wheeler: Final Draft Rankings 2018.
- Lowetide: Oilers summer to-do list short and sweet.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Russia: A draft tragedy.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the Republic of Finland
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and Sweden.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the QMJHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers and the WHL.
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: Oilers draft history and the OHL
- Lowetide: Draft 2018: The Oilers and the NCAA.
- Goalies are not a feature group in this draft.
- Defense is a strong option at No. 10 overall. Edmonton has a deep pool of young blue (Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Darnell Nurse, Matt Benning) in the NHL and a large number (Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones, Filip Berglund, Dmitri Samorukov, others) of kids bubbling under. The team lacks a complete player who can do everything, but there’s quality and quantity when taken as a whole. The team doesn’t have to take a defenseman at No. 10 overall. Even if a righty blue who can move the puck is sitting there, that player won’t be able to help Edmonton in the fall (very small chance). However, bottom line: This is the team’s chance to fill a need at the position (RHD puck mover).
- Center is an area of strength but the Oilers under McLellan have been collecting centers since he arrived, playing some on the wing. So, if there’s a center at No. 10, don’t be surprised if the Oilers grab him.
- Wingers are an area of need and if one of the dynamic wingers fall, suspect the Oilers won’t hesitate to grab him.
PROJECTED OILERS LIST
I’ve been watching the Oilers draft forever but Keith Gretzky and Bob Green aren’t Kevin Prendergast and Stu MacGregor. Drafting Kailer Yamamoto represents a departure in thinking for the organization and so we could be in for another surprise this time. Here’s my guess for Edmonton’s top 10 (they are currently holding meetings on the subject via Bob Stauffer).
- LD Rasmus Dahlin, Frolunda (SHL). If there was a way, PC would move heaven and earth. Buffalo finally wins something. Dahlin is No. 1 on Edmonton’s list, they’ll never see him in an Oilers uniform.
- R Andrei Svechnikov, Barrie Colts (OHL). Major talent. I can see Edmonton trying to trade up for this player. He is as close to McDavid’s Kurri (he is ridiculously skilled and has the tools for a 200-foot game) as we’ve seen since 97’s draft day.
- L Brady Tkachuk, Boston University (NCAA). Rugged power winger with two-way skills. Edmonton values him highly based on their own modus operandi. Some concern possible over recent reports he will stay in college, but I bet you a 2-4 he’s inside their top 5.
- RD Evan Bouchard, London Knights (OHL). Big numbers, intelligent two-way D. He is a good skater and has a big shot, plus Bouchard can find seams and passing lines and hit them on the fly consistently. I imagine they love his game.
- L Filip Zadina, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL). Size, shooter, he’s fast and might be a great fit for Edmonton. I think they would be less likely to trade up for him.
- RC Oliver Wahlstrom, U.S. N. D. P. (USHL). Sensational shooter, he’s one dimensional based on reports. Phil Kessel had similar reports in his draft season.
- RD Adam Boqvist, Brynas (SuperElite). Brilliant puck mover, chaos defense. With the puck on his stick, Boqvist is exceptional, highly creative and a nightmare for opponents.
- LD Quinn Hughes, Michigan (NCAA). Fast as lightning defender, smooth as silk. I bet they would take him in a heartbeat at No. 10.
- LC Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Assat (Sm-Liiga). Smart, very skilled and he’s 6.02, 190. Value spiking. I think the Oilers might take him if he’s there at No. 10.
- RD Noah Dobson, Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL). Two-way defenseman isn’t the dynamic offensive force they want but represents terrific value at No. 10 overall.
CONNOR MCDAVID AT THE WORLDS
There was a shortage of words to describe Connor McDavid in his rookie season, now it’s a real issue on its way to being a constitutional crisis. Jesus, Mary and Joseph what a hockey player.
"I can't say enough about him. He has changed my game. He brings so much positivity and wisdom. It is amazing. He has been life changing honestly." Stuart Skinner on his head coach Manny Viveiros. #Broncos #WHL
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) May 10, 2018
Maybe the Oilers will announce the signing of both men on the same day. Skinner is playing the best hockey of his life and Viveiros is apparently drawing interest from 10 states and four provinces.
OILERS 2018 DRAFT
No one drafts for need, while everyone drafts for need. With that understood, I think the Oilers prospect chart could most use the following:
- Complete forward: Svechnikov and possibly Kotkaniemi fit the bill, I like Farabee a lot in this category as well.
- Complete defenseman: He is in the draft but will be gone when Edmonton makes the pick.
- Two-way D: You can never have too many of these guys. Defensemen are always breaking down so you have to double up whenever possible.
- Two-way F: I still don’t see a Pisani, although Benson might grow into the role.
- Goalie: I like the idea of grabbing one per summer after the third round.
CURRENT PROSPECT DEPTH CHART
One year beyond Keith Gretzky’s first draft with the Oilers and we’re talking positive about Kailer Yamamoto, Stuart Skinner, Dmitri Samorukov, Kirill Maksimov and Ostap Safin. Hell, even Phil Kemp had a strong draft +1.
I would recommend giving this scouting staff a draft pick in each round, do that for about five years and you can turn this rig around. I don’t know how a general manager does that with his job on the line while facing a summer of substantial procurement, but that’s the play here.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Hockey Helps the Homeless will be on the ice from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with 19 teams, including 30 Oiler alumni and other pros, at the Terwillegar Rec Centre today. I’ll be there broadcasting live, the entire TSN1260 lineup will be out there all day. Much fun, many goals, insane lying about things that happened 30 years ago, and a wonderful cause proving these gentlemen have their hearts in the right place. Lansky will be along, I’ll also have an interview with Theo Fleury about an upcoming event you might be interested in. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. Talk soon!