The 2013, 2014 and 2015 drafts featured many traded picks (12 over the three years) but delivered great riches in the first round and three NHL defensemen in 2015’s depth rounds. The 2016 draft was supposed to be the one that stocked all the shelves: The Oilers had their first three picks, plus two extra thirds in which to enrich the system. That was four long years ago, and the Oilers are desperadoes waiting for the train.
Great perspective from a ridiculous group of writers and analysts. I am proud to be part of The Athletic. Here are the most recent Oilers stories.
- New Jonathan Willis: Can the Oilers find value picks among the 2020 NHL Draft’s impressive Russians?
- New Lowetide: 10 free agent targets for the Oilers this offseason
- New Lowetide: What if the Oilers went scorched earth in front of 2020 free agency?
- New Lowetide: Examining Matt Benning’s future with the Edmonton Oilers
- Lowetide: Oilers Top 20 Prospects, Summer 2020
- Jonathan Willis: Unqualified RFAs could be top offseason targets for the Oilers
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Q&A: Legendary Oilers PA announcer Mark Lewis discusses his temporary comeback
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s bet on Andreas Athanasiou and how Oilers will proceed
- Lowetide: Lessons learned from the ghosts of Oilers’ draft weekends past
- Lowetide: Oilers’ William Lagesson may benefit from extraordinary circumstances
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: ‘We’ll learn and grow from it’: Connor McDavid’s tune different compared to last year
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Who stays? Who goes? The most likely players to stay with and leave the Oilers
- Lowetide: A rational approach for the Oilers at the 2020 draft
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: What’s holding back the Oilers? Superstars’ defence and team’s depth under focus
- Jonathan Willis: After a play-in round exit, the Oilers need an offseason of change
- Lowetide: Oilers 2020 picks finalized, it’s go time for Jesse Puljujarvi
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s urgent summer as Oilers general manager begins
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: The Oilers have some disappointing lessons to learn — even in season of progress
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Replacing Tyler Ennis: Ranking the best left wing and backfill Oilers options
- Daniel Nugent-Bowman: Bang for your buck: Ranking the Oilers based on contract expectations
- Jonathan Willis: Is Philip Broberg on track to be a top-pairing defenceman?
- Lowetide: Ken Holland’s roster construction options over the next five months
THE 2016 DRAFT
It’s vital for the Oilers to get something from this draft. Nine selections, five inside the top 91, and Tyler Benson’s seven games last year were the extent of overall contributions for the 2016 Edmonton draft.
If Holland can get Jesse Puljujarvi under contract, that’s a win. An immediate result would be (imo) that one of Zack Kassian-Kailer Yamamoto-Josh Archibald-Alex Chiasson would be dealt. My guess is Chiasson. Anyway, JP’s NHLE this season is 82, 16-19-35 which is probably second line production. So the depth chart might in fact be (in terms of points) Yamamoto-Puljujarvi-Kassian-Archibald. That would be a big step forward for the wayward 2016 draft.
Tyler Benson told us more about himself this year, some good, some bad. I’ve mentioned before, some worry about the goals but it’s clear he can play a physical game, win battles and pass the puck like ringing a bell. His NHLE (82, 8-23-31) suggests top-9 forward and maybe the Oilers grab a veteran center like Erik Haula and run Benson with Puljujarvi for a year.
Markus Niemelainen led his Liiga team (Assat) in five on five ice time during 2019-20, and played a lot on the penalty kill. His NHLE (82, 1-4-5) puts him in the Martin Marincin family of shutdown defensemen with very little punch. I’m not sure he has an NHL future, we’ll see him in the AHL when Bakersfield plays again.
Matt Cairns is another big defensive defenseman, just finished his junior season for Cornell. His senior season would be 2020-21, but the whole hockey world is up in the air. I don’t see him being signed based on his current resume.
Filip Berglund was the third rounder I was most interested in on draft weekend. He is signed but had planned to stay one more year in the SEL. Berglund’s NHLE (82, 5-14-19) is the most impressive among the defensemen and his defensive game has improved over time.
Dylan Wells, Graham McPhee, Aapeli Rasanen and Vincent Desharnais appear unlikely to make the grade. Wells is under contract but my guess is he’s dealt in one of those trades where someone from the 50-man gets included to make things even (Angus Redmond).
I can never, ever complain about this draft. No less than six players were on my final list.
Lowetide’s Here comes the sun 2016 draft day ranking: No. 3 Jesse Puljujarvi; No. 34 Tyler Benson; No. 61 Filip Berglund; No. 108 Markus Niemelainen; No. 112 Aapeli Rasanen; No. 145 Matt Cairns.
PRONMAN’S ORGANIZATIONAL LIST
The reason I thought of the 2016 draft when reading Corey’s 2020 organizational piece (it is here) is how little has been accomplished. Now. The 2015 draft experienced a breakout in 2019-20, perhaps Puljujarvi and Benson emerge this coming season and Berglund in 2021-22. Edmonton needs this draft to produce an actual NHL player.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
We hit the airwaves at 10 this morning on TSN1260. Corey Pronman from The Athletic will join us at 10:20 to chat about the Oilers pipeline. His article was very revealing in terms of what he (and some in the industry) feel about the Oilers current prospects. Carlan Gay from NBACanada.com will join us to talk about an historic 24 hours in sports and what we may see today. Frank Seravalli from TSN will pop in at 11 to talk about the NHL’s decision to play yesterday and what we might see today. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. This is going to be a difficult but necessary day.