August 12 2012 09:43AM
The Edmonton Oilers took a practical approach to addressing their defense: using later 1st and 2nd round picks to stock the shelves and then adding later selections when the quality warranted. The three 'early' selections are all on track, and the depth group has a couple of trending prospects. It's too early to shout, but the Edmonton Oilers may well be flush with blue.
THE EARLY PICKS
- Oscar Klefbom, #19 in 2011
- David Musil, #31 in 2011
- Martin Marincin, #46 in 2010
These are the young men Edmonton's scouting department has to be right about, as the organization spent valuable picks on each of them. So far, things are right on track:
- Klefbom has been so impressive the Oilers want him to jump the pond this fall. However, Klefbom has resisted and will hold firm on his plan to play out his contract with Farjestad. We are beginning to get a sense of him: a quality 2-way defender.
- Musil has been a little under the radar, partly due to injury and partly due to usage (the Vancouver Giants use him as a hard minutes shutdown defender, impacting his boxcars and plus minus). All of the things we talk about in terms of young defenders--reading, reacting, positioning, moving the play outside--seem to come naturally to Musil. We should be prepared for him to arrive quickly after turning pro, altough thankfully the organization has no need to rush him.
- Marincin turns pro this fall and will likely play his first season in OKC. He's a big, mobile defensemen with a nice range of skills, and he's a year ahead of the Klefbom and Musil. I have no idea what his ETA might be, but a seldom mentioned item in regard to his development is good health.
THE LONG SHOTS
- Erik Gustafsson, #93 in 2012
- Joey Laleggia, #123 in 2012
- Dillon Simpson, #92 in 2011 (in photo)
- Martin Gernat, #122 in 2011
- Brandon Davidson, #162 in 2010
- Kyle Bigos, #99 in 2009
If Stu MacGregor is to become legend, these are the names (along with goalies Bunz and Roy, forwards Hartikainen and Rieder) that will make it so. An NHL team must not only rely on their scouting staffs to score well in the first and second round, but also deliver enough quality in the later rounds to sustain the future.
Among the group listed, Dillon Simpson and Martin Gernat are emerging talents. Gernat is a big, rangy kid with impressive skills and physical tools, and Simpson is so good at the fundamentals that his foot speed and lack of size are not considered career limiting.
I'm not one to suggest someone is a "#1D" or a "future #5" but we can place these young defenders into player styles and possible future roles.
- 2-way defenders: Oscar Klefbom, Martin Marincin, Martin Gernat, Dillon Simpson, Brandon Davidson, Kyle Bigos
- Offensive defenders: Joey Laleggia, Erik Gustafsson
- Defensive defenders:David Musil (photo)
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
We're still a long way from knowing, but it is never too early to take a guess:
- Most likely to succeed: Oscar Klefbom
- Leading scorer: Martin Gernat
- Best actual defenseman: (tie) Klefbom, David Musil
- Most likely to injure: Kyle Bigos
- First to make their NHL debut: Martin Marincin
- Most likely to miss: Joey Laleggia
- Powerplay options: Laleggia, Martin Gernat, Erik Gustafsson
- Dark horse: Dillon Simpson
- Three you'd bet money on: Klefbom, Marincin, Gernat
- How many are tracking well enough to be considered prospects: all of them