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.