June 24 2011 12:48PM
This is the day Steve Tambellini can finish laying the foundation for the Edmonton Oilers rolling out over the next decade.
A chance to shoot the moon, to grab Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Adam Larsson and add another solid item later in the draft. Should things roll out as they should, Edmonton will have a legit player or prospect in the chute for most of the positions required for a quality NHL team.
- Elite calibre offensive center:
- Quality secondary offensive center: Sam Gagner
- Impressive checking center: Anton Lander
- Elite calibre offensive left winger: Taylor Hall
- Quality secondary offensive left winger: Magnus Pääjärvi
- Impressive checking left winger: Teemu Hartikainen
- Elite calibre offensive right winger: Ales Hemsky
- Quality secondary offensive right winger: Jordan Eberle
- Quality secondary offensive right winger: Linus Omark
- Impressive checking right winger:
- Complete blue with wide range of skills: Ryan Whitney
- Complete blue with wide range of skills: Martin Marincin
- Puck moving bluewith defensive ability: Tom Gilbert
- Puck moving blue with defensive ability: Jeff Petry
- Physical defender who can PK: Theo Peckham
- Physical defender who can PK: Ladislav Smid
- #1 goalie: Devan Dubnyk
Not all of these players are where I've slotted them, but have the resume to deliver on promise. Adding RNH and a defender with a wide range of skills covers off more on the list. And there's more: Tyler Pitlick, Curtis Hamilton, Tyler Bunz and others should be considered for slots on the list. The Oilers are building a strong pipeline. Here's my guess for today's additions:
- #1: C Ryan Nugent Hopkins: I think the separation comes down to things like first step quickness, ability to make plays and anticipation. The numbers suggest there are four forwards in a tight group at the top, but the "saw him good" group have all reached the same conclusion: he's the BPA. I'm impressed that so many scouts and scouting services mention his 2-way game. I think the Oil Kings playoff series and his performance in the Top Prospects game (where he made a sweet Doug Weight pass to Sven Bartschi on one shift and then broke up a play while hauling ass on the back check on the next shift) cemented RNH as the class of this year's graduates.
- #19: D Joe Morrow: Nice range of skills. I think teams should draft Joe Morrow's whenever they're available, because if a couple turn out then you're set for a generation. Wide range of skills, including solid defense, nice headman pass and a heavy shot, he's improved in leaps and bounds over the last two WHL seasons. His ranking is spotty and he could slide, making him an exceptional value.