One more sleep till the draft!!! Before I get to who I think the Oilers will pick with the 10th overall selection I wanted to talk about a few things that have happened lately:
Lucic Trade Talks
Word is that Lucic may have asked for a trade or at least has approached Chiarelli and has agreed to waive his no-trade clause if the destination fits. This is perhaps the last chance that Chiarelli will have to move Lucic and his $6M cap hit without having to give up a major piece to ‘sweeten’ the deal. Lucic is coming off of a horrid season, by far the worst of his career, and is very likely to bounce back next season so does still hold some value especially to a team that puts alot of stock into the ‘intangibles’ of hockey players. Lucic is good in the room, a great leader, sticks up for his teammates and has won a Stanley Cup so there must be a team out there that feels adding a player like Lucic will give them that missing piece to make them a contender. If Lucic is not traded this off season I’ll be pretty disappointed and here are a few reasons why:
- Lucic is at the age where we can expect to see a decline in his performance and while next season is very likely to be better than the last season I don’t think he’ll ever have a season like he did in 2016-17 again.
- Lucic has a NMC which will really hurt the Oilers at the next expansion draft when Seattle becomes an NHL team. The team will be forced to protect players with NMC’s so will lose a better, younger player than Lucic if he’s still around.
- The Oilers NEED the cap space this season to be competitive. Even with the salary cap increasing to $80M dollars for next season the Oilers will be tight against it just to bring back the same team. Moving Lucic’s $6M cap hit would allow them to add a piece to improve the team.
So, basically moving Lucic is the right thing to do for the short term success and long term success of the Oilers. Make it happen right? Then we see things like this:
Chiarelli indicates that he expects a motivated Milan Lucic to be back in Edmonton next year
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 21, 2018
Cagguila and Benning Re-sign
The Oilers re-signed Cagguila for two years at a $1.5M cap hit and Benning for two years at a $1.9M cap hit. It didn’t take long after either signing for fans to light up Peter Chiarelli for overpaying these players who many thought would come in a few hundred thousand dollars less. Personally I don’t mind these deals too much, sure I would have liked the cap hit to be a bit lower but I really like Benning and think that the $1.9M cap hit could work out to be a value contract. Cagguila brings value because he’s so versatile in that he can play any forward position and can move up and down the lineup as needed. At this point fans have turned on Chiarelli to the point that he’s going to get ripped in social media for every move he makes. I understand the hatred though, I think the Hall trade will be remembered for a really long time for how one sided it was but he is the GM and I think its important to analyze any trades or signings he makes without bringing the past into it.
Hall Wins The Hart
Taylor Hall won the Hart trophy last night and I don’t want to add on to all the Chiarelli hate, there’s enough of that already. I do feel good for Hall and I think he deserves it and would have loved to see him have success in Edmonton.
With the 10th overall selection the Oilers Select….
This is a tough one, after the first two picks it gets pretty difficult to forecast this years draft so its more a question of who will be available at 10th rather than who the Oilers like. This is my list of who I think the Oilers are most likely to pick 10th overall. I strongly believe that the best approach to the draft is to take the best player available but I’m also fairly confident the Oilers would love to get a forward with the 10th pick if one is available. Their wish list probably looks something like this
- 30% – Ty Smith – He’s likely to be there at 10th and is the safe pick in my opinion from the players available.
- 25% – Barrett Hayton – Also likely to there at 10th and a safe pick. Two way center.
- 15% – Adam Boqvist – Higher ceiling than Smith but a risky pick. May not be available.
- 10% – Trade – Please don’t be another Reinhart trade!!
- 10% – Adam Bouchard – I think the Oilers would love it if he’s there at 10th but its not likely.
- 5% – Quinn Hughes – If he’s available at 10th a few teams will likely regret it.
- 5% – Oliver Wahlstrom – The perfect fit for Mcdavids wing? We can dream.
The scariest scenario for me is if Chiarelli trades the pick… this guy really scares me.
At this point there are so many draft lists and mock drafts I’m sure we all have a pretty firm grasp on where these guys will be picked right? There are a lot of players I think we can accurately predict but here are 5 that could surprise at the draft (In no particular order):
Kotkaniemi is a left shooting Center who has skyrocketed up most rankings over the past few weeks. I had Kotkaniemi ranked 12th in my rankings published on April 12th and at this point there seems to be a consensus that he is a top 10 talent. News from the NHL combine is that Montreal, Detroit and Edmonton each showed an interest in Kotkaniemi and while I would love to see Edmonton pick him 10th there is a chance he could go as high as 3rd overall.
Tkachuk has been in the top 5 of almost every ranking I’ve seen and I had him ranked 4th in my top 10 rankings in April. I’m not completely sold on his offense and I think there is a real possibility he could fall a bit in this years draft. I don’t think he’ll be around for the Oilers at 10th but its worth keeping an eye on.
I have Merkley outside my top 20 and most lists agree that he won’t be picked higher but there are some that think Merkley could be the 2nd best defensman in the draft after Dahlin and he’s ranked so low due to off ice issues and attitude. So will a team look past the off ice stuff and take a risk with Merkley? Honestly I don’t think the Oilers should take a gamble at 10th but wouldn’t be surprised if Merkley is gone by 15th or is still there for round 2.
Kravtsov is outside my top 20 rankings as well and in most mid season rankings he was projected to go somewhere in the 2nd round. After a strong playoffs to close out his season in the KHL he’s moved up quite a bit on most lists. I think its fair to expect Kravtsov to go in the top 20 but is there a team that seen him good in those playoffs that takes him earlier?
Would it be worth it for the Oilers to trade down in this draft to pick up an extra asset and then pick either Merkley or Kravstov? Could happen if Kotkaniemi who is the guy they seem to like isn’t there at 10th.
This is a follow up to Oilershockey’s Top 10 Draft Rankings – April to list the players I’ve ranked from 11 – 20 for the upcoming NHL draft.
11 C Rasmus Kupari 6’2 183lbs – FIN – Shoots Right
League: Liiga – 39gp 6g 8a 14pts NHLE: 12.8
Kupari is a strong skilled skater with an above average shot. While his NHLE number doesn’t look great we need to be aware that Kupari’s minutes were limited after being called up and he did have a strong performance at the U18 tournament picking up 7 points in 4 games.
The Oilers closed out the season last night with a 3 – 2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in a shootout. Normally that would be a good thing but in this case the win moved the Oilers past the Blackhawks and the Rangers to finish the season in 23rd place overall or more importantly 9th last. If they had lost the game in regulation last night not only would the Sedins have left on a more positive note but the Oilers would have finished 7th last and had a better chance for a higher draft pick.
When the season started I really didn’t expect to be thinking about who the Oilers would be picking at the draft come april but here we are. The Oilers will be picking somewhere in the top 10 so I’ve done some research and have come up with the first ever Oilerhockey top 10 draft rankings.
The NHL will hold an expansion draft on June 21st of this year in which the Vegas Golden Knights will pick one player from each team to build its roster for the 2017/18 season. Each team will have the ability to protect a list of players from the expansion draft but are required to expose a minimum number of players who meet certain criteria.
The Edmonton Oilers continued their recent history of drafting highly touted offensive prospects in the first round. With the fourth overall pick in the 2016 draft, the Oilers drafted 18-year old Swedish right winger Jesse Puljujarvi. This marks the fourth time in five years the Oilers drafted an offensive player with a top five pick: 2012 #1 Nail Yakupov, 2014 #3 Leon Draisaitl, 2015 #1 Connor McDavid and now Puljujarvi.
Puljujarvi comes to the NHL with high expectations. The 6’3” right-winger recorded four goals and four assists in 16 games as a 17-year old in Finland’s top professional league. NHL’s Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb had high praise for Puljujarvi saying, “He’s a powerful skater with good speed and balance. He has outstanding hockey sense and reads the play well. He’s a good playmaker with strong puck-handling skills. He can take advantage of 1- on-1 situations with his long reach.”
About the only thing the Edmonton Oilers can win in recent history is the draft lottery and they’ve done it again. Unless something really crazy happens the Oilers will select Connor McDavid with the first overall pick who has been projected to be a generational talent similar to Sydney Crosby so I thought it would be a good idea to do some comparisons.
These are stats from the draft years for Connor McDavid, Sydney Crosby, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov
The Oilers have a huge whole in their center depth and Leon Draisaitl has a real shot at making the team this upcoming season. Before the draft I posted the last 20 3rd overall picks in the draft to get an idea of what we could expect of the Oilers pick this year and I thought it would be interesting to see how long it took those players to be NHL’rs.
The table below shows the number of games played by the past 20 3rd overall picks in the first 3 years after they are drafted.
We know that if the Oilers don’t trade the 3rd overall pick they’ll take one of Ekblad, Draisaitl, Bennet or Reinhart, but what can we expect from these kids? Below is a list of the past 20 3rd overall picks: