Back at the first universal draft (1969) things got a little wild. Scouting director Del Wilson of the Montreal Canadiens was laying down the righteous truth.
Wilson: “We got 10 of our top 33. We were hoping to fluke out and get maybe 4. (Bobby) Clarke would have been Los Angeles’ best player. He could be Philadelphia’s leading scorer this year. Philadelphia was lucky to get him. They don’t deserve it.”
Wilson was mad. His Montreal Canadiens had used the first two picks of the draft on Rejean Houle and Marc Tardif, meaning Montreal picked 1, 2, and then nothing until 32. Philadelphia chose Clarke No. 17 overall, in the second round. Wilson, the GM of the Regina Pats, would have seen Clarke (Flin Flon Bombers) a bunch and knew damn well what Clarke was and there wasn’t one damned thing he could do about it.
That’s kind of what the draft is all about: Waiting for the chance to draft your guy, only to watch another team grab him. I think that’s what the draft is for most scouts and scouting directors. A little bit of them dies with each name off the board from their region. Pain comes in many forms, this version both obscure and exquisite. Welcome to draft weekend.
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’s the latest!
- New Lowetide: Who should the Oilers draft at No. 19?
- New DNB: Is Zach Hyman coming to Edmonton? Top Oilers draft targets?
- Lowetide: If the UFA market fails, can the Oilers find their 3rd-line centre internally?
- New DNB: What I’m hearing about the Oilers offseason
- New DNB: The Oilers must act fast to address their hole on defence
- DNB: Replacing Adam Larsson
- Lowetide: Why Dominik Kahun is the best Oilers expansion option for the Kraken
- Lowetide: 5 players outside the NHL who could help the Oilers
- New DNB: Adam Larsson and free agency? Who’s on the expansion list?
- New DNB: Oilers talking to Zach Hyman’s camp
- Lowetide: Lessons learned from Oilers’ previous drafts
- Jonathan Willis: Duncan Keith, by the numbers
- DNB: How Ken Holland’s overpay for Duncan Keith limits the Oilers’ offseason options
- Lowetide: 10 free agents for the Oilers to target this offseason
- Jonathan Willis: Yes or no? Have your say on 10 hypothetical Oilers trades
- Lowetide: Is this the year the Oilers find a world-class agitator in the draft?
- Lowetide: Which draft prospects will be available when the Oilers pick at No. 19?
- Lowetide: Oilers 2021-22 roster projection, including trade and free agent targets
- DNB: How do Oilers fans feel about their team’s 2020-21 season?
- Lowetide: Will the Oilers draft from the OHL after a season that never happened?
- Lowetide: Finding the ideal No. 3 centre for the Edmonton Oilers
- New DNB: What I’m hearing about the Oilers offseason
- DNB: Five offseason scenarios that could upend the Oilers’ best-laid plans
- Lowetide: Why Oilers defenceman Evan Bouchard is poised to exceed expectations
- Jonathan Willis: How the Oilers could make a Jack Eichel-level trade happen this offseason
- Lowetide: The 7 Oilers roster spots GM Ken Holland must improve this offseason
- Lowetide: Why huge Oil Kings goalie Sebastian Cossa could be the perfect first-round fit for the Oilers
THE FINAL 124
This was an unusual year for everyone and I’m glad it’s over. What I would like to see is something resembling normal for next year, but that’s a universal wish as opposed to a demand. I published June 1, which is usually three weeks before the draft, but this time seven weeks have passed and some of my list should be tweaked.
As I’m a stubborn kind of fellow, that won’t happen. Here it is:
- LW William Eklund, Djurgardens. Exceptional offensive talent already in SHL.
- RW Dylan Guenther, Edmonton Oil Kings. Great skater, has pure goal-scoring ability.
- RD Brandt Clarke Barrie Colts. Puck-moving D smart player with good size.
- LW Matthew Beniers, Michigan Wolverines. Two-way center with impressive skill.
- LD Owen Power, Michigan Wolverines. Great skater, terrific two-way ability, great passer.
- LD Luke Hughes, USNDTP Terrific skater with complete range of skills.
- RW Nikita Chibrikov, St. Petersburg Small skill winger. Massive U18’s in Texas.
- LC Mason McTavish Peterborough Petes. He’s a pure goal scorer, PF’s tools.
- LW Kent Johnson, Michigan Wolverines High skill level, impressive numbers.
- LC Zachary Bolduc, Rimouski Oceanic. A fairly complete talent.
- LD Simon Edvinsson, Vasteras IK Huge (6.05, 207) two-way blue with great mobility.
- LW Zachary L’Heureux, Halifax Mooseheads Plays like PF, is a streaky scorer, filthy.
- LC Francesco Pinelli, Kitchener Rangers Smart, skill C who passes well, plus speed.
- RC Xavier Bourgault, Shawinigan Cataractes There’s just too much offense to ignore.
- RW Chaz Lucius, USNDTP Great shot, high skill, good speed. He could be a steal.
- RC Logan Stankoven, Kamloops Blazers 5.07, 165. Demon on the forecheck, plus skills.
- RW Fabian Lysell, Lulea. Breathtaking skill winger, great release.
- G Sebastian Cossa, Edmonton Oil Kings. Giant had a .941 save percentage this season.
- G Jesper Wallstedt, Lulea. 6.03, 214, 22 games and a .908 SP in the SHL.
- LW Matt Coronato, Chicago Steel Pure scorer, great release, headed to Harvard.
- RW Olivier Nadeau, Shawinigan Cataractes More bull than beauty, he is effective.
- LD Daniil Chayka, CSKA Moscow Two-way defender, plays in all game states.
- LW Brennan Othmann, Flint Firebirds Best first-shot scorer in the OHL.
- LW Eric Alarie, Moose Jaw Warriors 6.01, 196. Big PF with plus skill.
- LW Fedor Svechkov, Ladia Togliatti. Smart two-way winger who can push the river.
- LC Aatu Raty, Karpat Talented center who struggled in the Liiga
- LD Carson Lambos, Winnipeg Ice A big man already (6.01, 200) he is a fine skater.
- RC Ryder Korczak, Moose Jaw Warriors A top play-making center in the WHL.
- LW Oskar Olausson, HV 71. Skill winger, great hands and 6.02, 181.
- RD Corson Ceulmans, Brooks Bandits. Tremendous offensive defenseman.
- LW Ayrton Martino, Omaha Lancers Small speedy winger, September 2002.
- LW Conner Roulette, Seattle Thunderbirds He has good hands/speed.
- RW Chase Stillman, Sudbury Wolves At 5.11, 170 he has plus speed.
- RW Isak Rosen, Leksands. Speedy playmaker, March 2013. Sixth sense offensively.
- LD Olen Zellweger, Everett Silvertips He is undersized (5.09, 165) but very skilled.
- LW Joshua Roy, Sherbrooke Phoenix. High-end skill, could go higher.
- RW Simon Robertsson, Skelleftea. Bert’s boy, has a powerful shot. Feb. 2003.
- LC Cole Sillinger, Sioux Falls Stampede Dangerous shooter, fine passer.
- LD Evan Nause, Quebec Remparts Two-way defender is 6.02, 186 and spiking offensively
- LC Brett Harrison, Oshawa Generals A two-way center with good speed.
- RC Connor Lockhart, Erie Otters. Probably the best skater among OHL eligibles.
- LW Sasha Pastujov, USNDTP Plus shot, offensive winger. Average speed.
- LW William Stromgren, MoDo Big skill winger with good wheels.
- RC Riley Kidney, Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Another skill pivot, a good skater.
- LD Stanislav Svozil, Brno. Impressive with the puck, solid without it.
- LC Oliver Kapanen JYP Smart offensive player who drives offense.
- LC Wyatt Johnson, Windsor Spitfires Skill center showed second half improvement
- RC Justin Robidas, Val d’Or Foreurs. He’s Yvan Cournoyer small, bullet on skates.
- LW Alexander Kisakov, Moscow Dynamo Just 5.10, 141, terrific skill.
- LD Sean Behrens, USNDTP. Undersized blue is very skilled and smart.
- LC Lorenzo Canonica, Shawinigan Cataractes. Another skill center, great skater.
- G Alekesi Kolosov, Minsk. KHL goalie, .911 SP and still a teenager.
- RW Samu Tuomaala, Karpat Good shooter, average speed, two-way resume.
- RW Prokhor Poltapov, Moscow. Skilled winger plays NA style. 25 goals in 61 games.
- LD Ethan Dal Mastro, Mississauga Steelheads A big, strong shutdown blue.
- LC Sami Päivärinta, Lukko. Small two-way center, fine playmaker.
- RC Danila Klimovich, Minsk Zubry. Size, speed, shot, set the U18s on fire.
- LC Zach Dean, Gatineau Olympiques. He is going in the first round.
- LD Artyom Grushnikov, Moscow. Big shutdown blue, mobile, great passer.
- LW Zack Ostapchuk, Vancouver Giants. Speed and size, plus some skill.
- RD Aleksi Heimosalmi, Assat. Versatile two-way defender.
- G Benjamin Gaudreau, Sarnia Sting. Impressive U18 (.919 SP) has him here.
- LC Jakub Brabenec, Brno. Skilled center with size, quality at U18s.
- LW Jackson Blake, Chicago Steel. Elusive skill winger with big-league moves.
- LD Nolan Allan, Prince Albert Raiders. A big (6.02, 190) D with good speed.
- RC Daniil Tesanov, Yaroslavl. Big center with speed and range.
- LC Redmond Savage, USNDTP. Solid two-way center with speed.
- RW Mackie Samoskevich, Chicago (USHL) Speedy skill winger.
- LC Cole Huckins, Acadie-Bathurst Titan. He has size, can skate. Skilled.
- LW Matvei Petrov, Moscow. Big winger (6.02, 178) can score, great shot.
- RD Jacob Guévin, Muskegon Lumberjacks. Offensive defenseman, fine skater.
- LD Anton Olsson, Malmo. Big, sturdy shutdown defender. Mobile.
- LD Graham Sward, Spokane Chiefs. He’s 6.02, 169. Physical mobile shutdown blue.
- LD Janis Moser, EHC Biel-Bienne. Overager, fine skater and complete skill set.
- LW James Malatesta, Quebec Remparts. Speedy winger is small, plays a rugged style.
- LD Vladislav Lukashevich, Yaroslavl. Shutdown blue, he’s a good skater, good shot.
- LC Florian Elias, Mannheim. Small skill center, he’s a determined player.
- LW Sean Tschigerl, Calgary Hitmen. Two-way winger aggressive in all areas.
- LD Shai Buium, Sioux City Musketeers. Big defender plays smart two-way game.
- LW Viljami Marjala, Quebec Remparts. C-LW is highly skilled, creative playmaker.
- LW Nikita Buruyanov, St. Petersburg. Small winger, terrific speed and aggressive play.
- LD Aleksi Malinen, JyP. Fantastic skater, skilled, some chaos.
- LD Jack Peart, Fargo Force. Impressive young player, undersized with range of skills.
- G Brett Brochu, London Knights. Under radar goalie delivered a .919 SP as a rookie.
- LC Victor Stjernborg, Vaxjo. Two-way forward, aggressive forechecker, great passer.
- LD Vasily Machulin, Moscow Dynamo (MHL). Good size, dynamic skater.
- RD Jack Bar, Chicago Steel. Good size, plus shot, some skill.
- LW Jeremy Wilmer, USNDTP. August 2003, great passer, high skill.
- LW Ville Koivunen, Karpat. Smart winger with skill.
- RW Jake Chiasson, Brandon Wheat Kings. Good size, improved offensively.
- LC Samuel Helenius, JYP. Huge checking center already in the Liiga.
- LW Tristan Broz, Fargo Force. Nice range of skills, fine passer good skater.
- RC Ryan Winterton, Hamilton Bulldogs. Solid prospect, skilled and September 2003.
- LD Aidan Hreschuk, USNDTP. Solid two-way defender, effective in coverage.
- LW Owen Pederson, Winnipeg Ice. Big winger with goal-scoring ability.
- RW Zakhar Bardakov, Vityaz Podolsk. Big PF with some skill. He is 20.
- LC Theo Rochette, Quebec Remparts. Undersized two-way center, intriguing offense.
- LC Cameron Berg, Muskegon Lumberjacks. Good speed and skill.
- LC Juuso Mäenpää, Kalpa. Very small but highly skilled playmaker.
- RC Josh Pillar, Kamloops Blazers. Fast player, scored well and is draft re-entry.
- LC Vasily Atanasov, Mamonty Yugry. Great speed and he is skilled. Undersized.
- LD Dave Ma, USHL, Chicago Steel. Tremendous skater and very creative.
- RW Ilya Fedotov, Nizhny. Smart player with skill and utility.
- RW Oliver Suni, Lukko Rauma. Strong winger with range of skills.
- RD Brent Johnson, Sioux Falls Stampede. Undersized chaos blue with great speed.
- LW Ilya Nazarov, Yaroslavl. Big winger with skill, May 2003.
- RC Ethan Cardwell, Surahammars. Two-way center with skill, effective forechecker.
- RW Nikita Grebyonkin, Magnitogorsk. Skill and size plus some speed.
- LW Arvid Sundin, Brynas. Underzied burner has breathtaking shifts.
- LD Cameron Whynot, Halifax Mooseheads. Two-way blue, fine skater.
- LC Samu Salminen, Jokerit. 6.03 center with real talent, heavy boots.
- LD William Trudeau, Charlottetown Islanders. Puck mover with calm feet. Raw.
- RD Roman Schmidt, USNDTP. Huge shutdown blue with some offense.
- LC Liam Dower-Nilsson, Frolunda. Two-way center with some offensive spark.
- G Patrik Hamrla, HC Energie Karlovy Vary. Dominated Czech junior.
- LW Matthew Knies, Tri-City Storm. 6.02, 210 PF, might be a little shy on top-9 skill level.
- LD Kirill Kirsanov, St. Petersburg. Good skater, passer, physical. Bet the Oilers like him.
- RD Scott Morrow, Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Big D has complete skill set at high school level.
- LD Yaroslav Busygin, Chekov. Big blue who can hit, has some skill.
- G Carl Lindbom, Djurgarden. Top draw U18s has him here.
- RW Robert Orr, Halifax Moosheads. Two-way winger with a great shoot.
- RD Ryan Ufko, Chicago Steel. Mobile puck mover can run a power play. Undersized.
- RW Albert Sjöberg, Sodertalje. Great shot and work ethic.
- RW Simon Knak, Portland Winterhawks. Prolific junior scorer, January 2002.
THE LOWETIDE 2021 MOCK DRAFT
No. 19 overall: LC Zachary Bolduc, Rimouski Oceanic. I have him No. 10 overall, Bob McKenzie has him 19. Bolduc has a nice range of talent and the QMJHL seems to be producing these complete players annually now. A fine center, great passer and owner of a plus shot, Oilers fans should be thrilled if he falls to Edmonton. February 2003. NHLE 25.0
No. 116 overall: LW Eric Alarie, Moose Jaw Warriors 6.01, 196. Big PF with plus skill. I spent more time tracking down information on him than any other player this year, mostly because he isn’t listed by most scouting sources that I pay attention to each season. NHLE: 26.0
No. 180 overall: LC Sami Päivärinta. Undersized two-way center played a major role on his junior team and at the U18 championships. Maybe he’ll fall through the draft (he is a June 2003) but there is offense here. 7, 1-2-3 at the WJ’s.
No. 186: LD Vladislav Lukashevich, Yaroslavl. He plays in the MHL, Edmonton has drafted three men from the Yaroslavl program recently (Ilya Konovalov, Maxim Denezhkin, Maxim Berezkin) and this young man should be available later in the draft. He’s a stringbean (6.02, 159) and a May 2003, great skater and his skills include deft passing and wingspan. NHLE: 7.8
No. 212 overall: LD Janis Moser, EHC Biel-Bienne. Overager, fine skater and complete skill set. He had a strong World Hockey Championships and if he falls this far Edmonton would be wise to grab him. NHLE: 24.1
TRADING DOWN, OR OUT!
Ken Holland mentioned trading the pick during his avail yesterday, and said it won’t be for a rental. Although he is open for business, the turnaround time (he didn’t have anything cooking as of yesterday morning) is so small one suspects it might be next year’s first in play (and that has less value).
Trading down makes sense if Edmonton’s targets are gone (I have an article at The Athletic today on this subject) and the club can get two picks that land in good spots inside the top 75 overall. It’s such a weird draft I wonder if Holland trades for three seventh rounders. Players who are in the team’s top 60 could still be available, it’s such a wild draft.
THE SUMMER AHEAD
Based on Holland’s avail yesterday, I think it’s safe to say the organization is still reeling a little from the Larsson exit and the ramifications. There’s no one on the market who can fill that role, and coach Dave Tippett is going to play the hell out of Kris Russell, but we are here.
Edmonton needs a Steve Staios this summer and I can’t see him from here. There was a time when this organization could find good defensemen at midnight in a snowstorm with a flashlight and a four-inch strip of rebar. If the guy who identified Staios is reachable, ask him for the next Staios and get that guy.
As for people hammering Ken Holland, well that’s the job in Edmonton and we’ll see how the GM handles the rest of summer. I like the Nuge signing, believe Keith is better than many think (based on what I’ve read about his puck moving ability) but the Oilers overpaid to get him, and am less angry about Larsson leaving because you can’t hold people back from living their best lives.
So, there’s plenty of dollars for free agents and Holland is shopping in the right areas (Hyman is a fine player). Tonight, he could get a solid piece for the 2021-22 team, or a nice addition for the future. We wait.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy show on the way to a busy day on TSN1260. At 10:20, Steve Lansky from Inside the Truck podcast will join us, we’ll chat about the Oilers, Adam Larsson and Zach Hyman. At 11, Matt Iwanyk will pop in to talk NHL draft, Elks and more. At 11:20, Scott Wheeler from The Athletic joins us to give final notes and set the stage for the 2021 draft. TSN1260 coverage of the draft will begin at five with Jason Gregor, and at six tonight I’ll be back on the radio with Tom Gazzola and Hernan Salas to cover the first round. 10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!