With the Oilers season finished, I’ve begun to really start to dig deep into the draft eligible prospects. As like many Oilers fans, I’ve become a fan of the draft over the years as a natural reaction to the high draft picks, and lack of playoff hockey. Although I’ve been following all these players throughout the year, and reading other opinions on top prospects, this is the first time that I’ve drawn up my own list. This is a preliminary list and is bound to change slightly by draft day but I wanted to get my opinions out there.
Quick side note, I was fortunate enough to take in, game 3 of the Kitchener Rangers vs. London Nights series the other night, in which London took a 3-0 lead in the series. I have now been able to get out and see each of Juolevi, Chychrun, and Sergachev, albeit for only one game each, but all very enticing prospects.
- Auston Matthews (C): From what I am hearing he is an average first overall pick. As weird as it seems to call this kid average in any way it means that he is not comparable to McDavid, but maybe more Rick Nash. Either way possible franchise Centre, who the Oilers most certainly should trade if they win the lottery, and KEEP NUGE.
- Patrik Laine (RW/LW): Right handed with a canon of a shot, the type of player the Oilers could use especially if they trade Eberle. Some chatter about him being a potential threat to go first overall, but that is highly unlikely. Draft year numbers are not quite as good as Barkov’s coming out of the finnish league.
- Jesse Puljujarvi (RW): No surprises to this point, both Finns tore up the world juniors and have the right shot that the Oilers certainly covet. Puljujarvi is considered the better skater and more of a two-way guy than Laine, but has not produced to Laine’s level in the finish league.
- Jakob Chychrun (D): Explosive skater, by many accounts the best in the draft, from my limited viewing the best of the top 3 D-men. Similar numbers to Juolevi, so I’m not sure as to why so many scouts have Chychrun below him, suspect it has to do with Chychrun not being in the World Juniors. If he was a right shot he would without a doubt be my target for this draft, he will be a star in the NHL.
- Pierre-Luc Dubois (C): Good size, and finished the regular season very strong. I was later than most to come around on this guy (I have a bias against the QMJHL). Potential to sneak into that third selection.
- Matthew Tkachuk (LW): Power forward, great below the hash marks, some questions about the number of secondary assists that he’s racked up. Peter Chiarelli type player, but certainly not whom I would take with the Oilers first pick
- Mikhail Sergachev (D): Best offensive numbers of the three OHL D-men, likes to play on the right side as a left shot.
- Alex Nylander (LW/RW): Highlight-reel skill, by no means a big player but not as small as people think. Lots of questions about who is better, him or his brother. Alex is known to be stronger defensively.
- Olli Juolevi (D): Didn’t blow me away in my live viewing, but was great at the world Juniors. Believe there is a sizeable difference between him and Chychrun.
- Alex DeBrincat (RW): Started the year strong, finished the year strong. He’s about 5 inches short of being a potential top-5 pick. Suspect there is a chance he slips outside of the top 20, but at what point is it good enough to get a guy that could be the next Mats Zuccarello. My early pick for steal of the draft. If one of the bigger teams (LA, St. Louis, etc.) has a late teen pick and he’s still available, they should take him.
- Jake Bean (D): Elite offensive production in the WHL, haven’t seen him play outside of the top prospects game, but the scouting report on him is that he is by no means one-dimensional, and exhibit strong defensive play. Unsure as to why he’s not included with the big three.
- Charlie McAvoy (D): The first right shot defenseman in my rankings, would not be upset if the Oilers traded down to get him. Can produce offensive numbers and is a great passer and skater.
- Dante Fabbro (D): Playing in the BCHL so as to preserve his college eligibility, Fabbro is a tough player to judge. I’ve heard comparisons to Duncan Keith. Another right shot.
- Clayton Keller (C): The American Marner, or so I’ve heard. Undersized with oversized skills.
- Michael McLeod (C): Good size and an excellent skater. Only put up modest offensive numbers on a very good line. I’m not as high on this guy as most. Seen him ranked as high as third.
- Logan Brown (C): Massive centre who uses his size well and has an excellent shot. Takes care of his own end and can move the needle offensively. Could see him going a lot higher.
- Julien Gauthier (RW): Don’t know where to put this guy, big power forward who can really score, but issues surrounding his foot speed. Could be a guy that drops.
- Tyson Jost (C): Another BCHL player, who tore it up offensively. Hard to tell with players in other leagues but he’s been a goal scorer everywhere he’s been.
- Vitali Abramov (LW/RW): Small with magic hands. Racked up points in the QMJHL this year
- Kieffer Bellows (C/LW): His scouting report reads eerily similar to Tkachuk’s. Has a mean streak in him, but can also rack up the points.
- German Rubstov (C): From what the scouts are saying, he might be the best two-way centre in the draft at this point in time, but it’s hard to get any looks at him to confirm.
- Adam Mascherin (C/LW): Shorter, but a stocky player, that possesses an excellent shot and can play with speed. Likely to slip into the second round but could be a steal.
- Luke Kunin (C): Right shooting centre has highlight-reel potential and put up good but not great NCAA number this year.
- Taylor Raddysh (RW): Good size and puts up good point totals. Surprised he’s not higher on most lists. Concern over whether he’s just a product of his linemates.
- Carter Hart (G): Not too great on goalies, but unanimously the top goalie in this year’s draft. Only 6’1” so undersized for a goalie in today’s game.
- Chad Kyrs (D): I have an affinity for defencemen from the US National Development Team, and Chad Kyrs fits the bill. Also, not on this list, but keep an eye out for Adam Fox.
- Brett Howden (LW): Size and skill. Likely to get picked ahead of smaller yet more talented players.
- David Quenneville (D): 5’8”. My most controversial pick but his offensive numbers are spectacular. A right shot defenseman, who’s a native of Edmonton. I’m hoping the Oilers take him in either the third or fourth round. He has two older brothers who are around six feet, if he ever ends up growing a couple more inches, could be a difference maker. Put up better draft year numbers than fellow undersized Edmontonian, Jared Spurgeon. Could be a home run.
- Tyler Benson (LW): Two-way winger. Has dropped considerable from two years ago, due to lack of production and injuries. Plays a rugged style of game. Expect serious consideration from Edmonton if he’s available at 32.
- Cam Dineen (D): Excellent offensive numbers. Smaller puck moving defenseman.
Not on the List:
Riley Tufte, and Mitchell Mattson, are two names that I’ve seen on some top-30 lists that I can’t seem to understand. Both of them have excellent high-school numbers, but have yet to convert that to any form of meaningful production in a league of any significance. Both have great size, but as far as I can tell would likely not be drafted if the were 5’10”. Slightly worrisome that Peter Chiarelli might over value their size, and take one in the second or third round.
Overall this draft doesn’t appear to be as deep as last years’ draft, but is shaping up to be an important one for the Edmonton Oilers as they attempt to improve their draft record and restock the system.