As the weekend began, the Edmonton Oilers were reportedly contemplating several trades. Oscar Klefbom, No. 10 overall, RNH, all manner of rumors running rampant as Gary Bettman hit the podium. It turned out well, all things considered.
LOWETIDE PROJECTED WEEKEND
- First Round—No. 10 overall—LD Ty Smith, Spokane Chiefs (WHL).
- Second Round—No. 40 overall—LC Jacob Olofsson, Timra (Allsvenskan).
- Third Round—No. 71 overall—L Johnny Gruden, U.S.N.D.T.P. (USHL).
- Fifth Round—No. 133 overall—LC Riley Stotts, Calgary Hitmen (WHL).
- Sixth Round—No. 164 overall—R Samuel Fagemo, Frolunda (SuperElite).
- Seventh Round—No. 195 overall—L Paul Cotter, Lincoln Stars (USHL).
This is a fun thing I do on Friday morning, guess the list and see if we can find a match. Three years ago I got two right (McDavid, Bear) and one correct two years ago (Filip Berglund). Last two drafts? Crickets.
- First Round—No. 10 overall—RD Evan Bouchard, London Knights (OHL)
- Second Round—No. 40 overall—LC Ryan McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL).
- Third Round—No. 62 overall—G Olivier Rodrigue, Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL).
- Sixth Round—No. 164 overall—RD Michael Kesselring, New Hampton (USHS).
- Seventh Round—No. 195 overall—L Patrik Siikanen, Blues 2 (Fin Jrs).
HARVEST MOON 2018
- No. 10 overall: RD Evan Bouchard, London Knights (OHL). The best offensive defenseman drafted by the Oilers since, well, umm, it might be Oscar Klefbom and it might be Paul Coffey. That’s the problem with Oilers history, sometimes reality trumps hyperbole. Bouchard’s OHL numbers are as breathtaking and unique as the white cliffs of Dover. He appears to be a substantial piece, after that we’ll have to wait and see how high he flies. NHLE 82, 10-24-34 .414
- No. 40 overall: LC Ryan McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL). It’s hard to project him as a pure skill forward (top six F) based on his track record, but at the very least he should be able to cover a depth role in the NHL or a complementary spot on a scoring line. In my opinion, every second round pick should be like this one (or Tyler Benson) unless it’s an historic draft year. NHLE: 82, 10-17-27.
- No. 62 overall: G Olivier Rodrigue, Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL). Red Line compares him to Corey Crawford, also saying “makes every first save and doesn’t give up softies – shooters have to earn every goal. Outstanding reflexes and quickness around the crease. Lightning fast moving cross-crease, and always under control. Very quick feet and glove.” I see a lot of people dissing the pick, I think it comes down to what we can know. I can’t know this player is an NHL player today, he’s like a prospect pitcher in baseball. You need to see him fly 1,000 sorties, and if he’s still healthy at the end, chances are he can help you a little or a lot.
- No. 164 overall: RD Michael Kesselring, New Hampton (USHS). One reason I recommend HockeyProspect.com every year is guys like Kesselring. He gets drafted, we’re lost in the supermarket, but the Black Book has information on everybody! He’s a big defenseman, a project, he’s smart and we’ll see if his body and neurons can find a way to rhyme. I’m fine with this kind of pick, it’s late in the draft and maybe he blossoms. Last high school pick? Troy Hesketh, I believe.
- No. 195 overall: L Patrik Siikanen, Blues 2 (Fin Jrs). Black Book had some game notes from the Five Nations tournament around Valentine’s Day: “Siikanen had a couple of high-end scoring chances while playing on the third line. He continued to find soft spots behind coverage, giving him an additional scoring chance on the right wing. Siikanen didn’t display much in the way of vision but showed plus offensive awareness and had some dangerous moments on the ice today.”
I think the Oilers decided the draft ended around number 70 and it was worth it to deal up and grab a third bona fide prospect. I can’t say it was a mistake, only time will tell. Evan Bouchard has the resume of a player who should be comfortable for a long time on this Oilers team, we’ll see about role but there are many jobs he appears to be qualified for down the line. Ryan McLeod is in that family of good second rounders that includes Tyler Benson. Marco Roy, Tyler Pitlick, Anton Lander and Jeff Petry. Some work out just fine, some sail on. He’s got a chance.
Olivier Rodrigue has a solid resume and the Oilers bought from the Q so they must really like him. The two kids at the end are distant bells and we’ll cheer for them and check in from time to time to make sure they’re doing fine.
A reasonable bet for this draft? Evan Bouchard hangs around a long time and contributes in many ways, McLeod sees the NHL for a time and adjusts enough to have a career. Rodrique? Too many factors, ladies and men. I thought Steve Passmore was going to be a wonder and honestly have no recollection of Tim Thomas in the Oilers’ system. It was a fine weekend. Evan Bouchard is your lead, McLeod and Rodrigue below the fold. We’ll see.