Every year I rank the draft and in 2016 I had the early stages of the Oilers list surrounded. Jesse Puljujarvi went No. 4 (I had him No. 3), Tyler Benson went No. 32 (34 on my list). After that? Not so much.
The Athletic Edmonton features a fabulous cluster of stories (some linked below, some on the site). Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. Proud to be part of The Athletic, check it out here.
- New Lowetide: Mavrik Bourque a quality option for the Oilers in the draft
- New Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Inside the franchise-altering decision to pick Leon Draisaitl over Sam Bennett
- Lowetide: Adam Larsson’s Oilers future uncertain as ‘sexy’ options emerge
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: One-on-one with Wayne Gretzky: On the time he visited Moscow during the Cold War
- Jonathan Willis and Lowetide: Discount forward options the Oilers could pursue in free agency
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘Oh my God, Edmonton’s picking first’: An oral history of the 2015 NHL draft lottery
- Lowetide: Comparison of Oilers, Flames drafts 2010-19 closer than it should be
- Lowetide: The most potent lines in Oilers history
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: On the time Dave Semenko fought Muhammad Ali
- Lowetide: Why Jan Mysak could be a value pick for the Oilers at the 2020 Draft
- Jonathan Willis: The Oilers overcame malice in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver to join the NHL
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Remembering Jacques Plante’s brief tenure with the Oilers at age 45
- Lowetide: Oilers need to find (or get) real value in William Lagesson
- Jonathan Willis: What does the Oilers best possible playoff lineup look like?
- Lowetide: Why Jack Quinn is a perfect 2020 draft fit for the Oilers
- Lowetide: Oilers’ five-on-five with and without Connor McDavid is improving
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: If play does not resume, 5 notable questions that will go unanswered in Edmonton
OILERS 2016 DRAFT
Here’s what I said about the Oilers picks on draft weekend. Below is the spot where each player was chosen, my rank in brackets and my thumbnail sketch on each player at the time.
No. 4 (3) R Jesse Puljujarvi, Karpat (Sm-Liiga): Big, fast, rambunctious.
No. 32 (34) L Tyler Benson, Vancouver Giants (WHL). Physical two-way forward. Injured a lot.
No. 63 (108) LD Markus Niemelainen, Saginaw Spirit (OHL). Giant defender, mobile, some offense.
No. 84 (145) LD Matthew Cairns, Georgetown Raiders (OJHL). Smart defender with good size, mobility.
No. 91 (61) RD Filip Berglund, Skelleftea AIK (SEL). Intriguing offense, may take awhile.
No. 123 (NR) G Dylan Wells.
No. 149 (NR) LW Graham McPhee.
No. 153 (109) C Aapeli Rasanen, Tappara U20 (Jr. SML). A fine prospect, good size and skill.
No. 183 (NR) RD Vincent Desharnais.
Notice my ranking of the defensive defensemen? I learned over years of ranking that players who don’t deliver any (or very little) offense as especially prone to failure. For instance, I had David Musil No. 26 in 2011 (he went No. 31) but learned in the five years that followed.
Jim Matheson has more on Berglund and Niemelainen (and some other things) here. I was on The Jason Gregor Show yesterday discussing Berglund and Niemelainen with Gregor and Jason Strudwick.
One of them asked me if I thought either would make it to the NHL, my answer was that it’s probably less than 50 percent. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to sign Berglund and Niemelainen. They could develop, or become solid AHL players who help develop others.
The signing of Berglund and Niemelainen will probably bring an end to the NHL contracts from the Oilers ’16 draft. Matthew Cairns remains a possibility but the current trajectory is not promising.
If none of JP, Benson, Niemelainen, Berglund or Wells emerges as a 500+ games regular or better, this will rank as the worst draft since 2012 (Nail Yakupov, Jujhar Khaira, Erik Gustafsson) or 2009 (Magnus Paajarvi and Anton Lander).
OILERS PRO DEPTH CHART (DEFENSE) 2020-21
If the Oilers do sign both Euro blue, it would set up the depth chart (Oilers and Condors) like this:
Oscar Klefbom—Adam Larsson
Darnell Nurse—Ethan Bear
Caleb Jones—Evan Bouchard
Kris Russell—Matt Benning
William Lagesson—Logan Day
Dmitri Samorukov—Filip Berglund*
Work to be done, I don’t think the NHL blue will return as above (someone with money attached is heading out of town) and suspect Mike Green gets a deal as well. There are spots in Bakersfield for both Berglund and Niemelainen. *I understand Berglund plans to play in Sweden for another year, wonder if he comes over for camp.