The Edmonton Oilers have chosen 71 OHL players in 42 NHL drafts, the most recent being Tyler Tullio of the Oshawa Generals. The best in the group, Paul Coffey, Jeff Beukeboom, Jason Arnott, Steve Smith, Kirk Maltby, Sam Gagner, Taylor Hall, Darnell Nurse, Connor McDavid, enjoyed great success in the NHL. All but Maltby did something with the Oilers that Edmontontians will remember. Maltby begat Dan McGillis who begat Janne Niinimaa who begat Raffi Torres, so there would good times there, too.
Edmonton has enjoyed great success when drafting in the OHL. The club should do it more often.
I’m proud to be writing for The Athletic, and pleased to be part of a great team with Daniel Nugent-Bowman and Jonathan Willis. Here is our recent work.
- New Lowetide: Every major transaction Ken Holland has made as Oilers GM
- Jonathan Willis: Five questions the Oilers need to answer by the NHL trade deadline
- Lowetide: Carter Savoie’s college season suggests Oilers could have a real goal scoring prospect
- Lowetide: Has Oilers goalie prospect Stuart Skinner turned a corner?
- Lowetide: Where does Zack Kassian fit on the Oilers, now and in the future?
- Lowetide: Oilers’ midseason depth chart informs their needs for trade deadline and beyond
- Jonathan Willis: A position-by-position look at the Oilers after 30 games
- Lowetide: How will Oilers GM Ken Holland make room in the lineup for Evan Bouchard?
- Lowetide: Are the Oilers and Elvis Merzlikins a trade match?
- Lowetide: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Dominik Kahun, Dylan Holloway and a perfect storm on the Oilers’ left side
- Lowetide: Why Oilers GM Ken Holland shouldn’t wait for the deadline to make a trade
- Lowetide: Three Oilers prospects form hottest line in the AHL
- Lowetide: Oilers’ top 20 prospects, trade deadline edition
- Lowetide: Why are some Oilers fans hesitant to give Darnell Nurse his due?
- Jonathan Willis: Can Oilers improve enough to beat TML it in May?
- Lowetide: Top trade targets for the Oilers at the 2021 deadline
- Jonathan Willis: Oilers 2021 trade value rankings
- Lowetide: Is this peak Connor McDavid?
TOP 20 ONE YEAR AGO
This is how I ranked the 20 best OHL players in the draft for 2020:
- LC Quinton Byfield. Power forward with mad skill. Aug 2002, 6.04, 215.
- LC Marco Rossi. Good speed, exciting, range of skills. Exceptional talent. He belongs here.
- RHD Jamie Drysdale. Great speed, passing and instincts, instant offense.
- LC Cole Perfetti. Outstanding talent, not as fast as top forwards, has tremendous skill.
- RW Jack Quinn. Impressive offensive winger was a late breaker. Pure goal scorer.
- RC Jacob Perreault. Skates well, great shot, great numbers, excellent passer.
- LC Jan Mysak. Skilled and is effective in all areas. Major move in second half.
- RC Tyson Foerster. Great offensive weapon, quick release and accurate.
- LW Martin Chromiak. One of the most skilled players in the draft.
- RC Jean-Luc Foudy. Speedy center plus skill, mediocre season.
- RW Luke Evangelista. Skill winger, great passer, plays in all disciplines.
- RC Tyler Tullio. Small playmaking pivot. Good passer, great shot.
- LD Ryan O’Rourke. Good size (6.02, 181) projects as a top-four defenseman.
- RC Jaromir Pytlik. He’s a fine skater and has two-way skills.
- LW Will Cuylle. Has a great shot, plus size and skill. Smart winger.
- RW Brandon Coe. Power forward scored 25 goals in the OHL this season.
- LC Antonio Stranges. Terrific speed and skill, disappointing season.
- G Nico Daws. .924 save percentage represents a big performance spike.
- RC Zayde Wisdom. Pure scorer, strong season, wheels are the concern.
- LW Pavel Gogolev. Now 20, he is fast and has a great shot.
I had Tullio No. 53 on my list, he went No. 126 to Edmonton and that has a very good chance to be a steal. Here’s the next group.
LOWETIDE 2021 OHL TOP 8
- LC Mason McTavish Peterborough Petes and Swiss League. Top rated OHL player heading into the year that never was, so I have him starting at No. 1. He’s a pure goal scorer with a power forward’s tools should he continue to grow (6.0, 198). Fantastic shooter, good speed, hard worker 29 goals in 57 OHL games during his draft minus one season. This is an exciting prospect.19.5 -1
- RD Brandt Clarke Barrie Colts and Slovakian League. Puck-moving defenseman with terrific speed and good size (6.01, 185). He is a February 2003. He was on the draft radar entering the season and his Slovak numbers (26 games, 6-7-13) are encouraging. Teams will like his size and speed combination and the fact he had success (57 games, 6-32-38) in the OHL during his draft minus one year. 17.7 -1
- LD Daniil Chayka Guelph Storm and KHL. He’s an October 2002, so a little older than the other two men at the top of the list. Fine skater, 6.03, 185, he’s a two-way defender who will play big minutes wherever he lands. His draft minus one OHL offense (56 games, 11-23-34) and KHL numbers (11 games, 1-1-2) tells me he is in the same range as Clarke offensively. These two may switch on my final rankings. 16.1 -1
- LC Francesco Pinelli, Kitchener Rangers and Alps Hockey League. Smart, high skilled center who passes well and has plus speed. He’s 5.11, 182 and it isn’t certain he’s a center based on what I’m reading. He went 18-23-41 in 59 games in draft minus one season and did well in the Alps league but I don’t know that we can gather much from it. He’s a fine prospect, I’m not certain what his proper draft number should be. 18.4 -1
- LW Brennan Othmann, Fint Firebirds and Swiss League. Performed well in the Swiss league and is the best first-shot scorer among wingers in the OHL who are draft eligible. Smart player, just 5.11, 165 and a January 2003. Conflicting reports on his skating, we’ll have to find out before draft day. He appears to be rising based on the printed words over at Brock Otten’s OHL Prospects.
- LC Brett Harrison, Oshawa Generals. A two-way center with good speed and a solid reputation for good penalty killing. His OHL numbers in draft minus one (58 games, 21-16-37) aren’t far behind Pinelli’s but the scouting report for Harrison reads No. 2 or No. 3 center. He’ll likely be late first or early second round on my final list. Kind of a Ryan McLeod vibe.
- RW Chase Stillman, Sudbury Wolves. At 5.11, 170 he has plus speed and is effective in all game disciplines. His draft minus one offense (58, 13-21-34) in the OHL is just a little shy of the top end, so (like Harrison) I think he’ll fall down to the 25-35 range by draft day.
- RC Connor Lockhart, Erie Otters. Probably the best skater among draft-eligible forwards in the OHL this year, his offense has lagged so far but this would be the time for him to spike (January 2003). I have him ranked behind the two-way types for now, the OHL is going to get going (we hope) and Lockhart will be a player to follow.
I wonder if the Oilers could shoehorn Taylor Hall in under the cap. During the period 2011-16, Hall scored 32-61-93 in 2273:26 at five on five with Nuge. That’s 2.45 points-60 and represents great production. Hall is older now, and still misses games due to injury, but is worth pursuing if available and affordable.
HOLLAND AND A TRADE
The Oilers are off until Saturday, then play Monday and are off again until the following Friday. If Ken Holland has a move available, this would be the time to pull the trigger. What area has the most need? I’ve been saying goaltending but since the beginning of February Mike Smith has a .922 save percentage and Mikko Koskinen owns a .914 save percentage. So, it’s scoring left wing, right? Or No. 2 left defense?
What about a recall from Bakersfield? Holland could send Patrick Russell and Joakim Nygard to Bakersfield and recall two of Ryan McLeod, Cooper Marody and Tyler Benson, but who would those chaps force out of the lineup? There’s no use recalling these young prospects unless you’re going to play them. Perhaps that gives us our answer, as Cooper Marody is 24 and his time is now. Recall Cooper Marody, activate Alex Stalock and send Dylan Wells to the AHL. He could make those moves.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy morning with the NBA trade deadline upon us, we’ll kickstart the day at 10 on TSN1260. Bruce McCurdy from the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal will do his usual great historian work in regard to the canceled games this week, plus we’ll chat about the Oilers at the deadline. Joe Osborne from OddsShark will talk NBA trade deadline and the real madness that is March Madness 2021. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!