LOS ANGELES — The Edmonton Oilers hit the draft floor at the Staples Center today with some choices to make after taking Taylor Hall first overall on Friday, then having no other business to take care of with GM Steve Tambellini unable to swing a deal for a second first-round pick.
Sitting there waiting for them with the first pick today, the Oilers have prospects like Tyler Pitlick, John McFarland and Tyler Toffoli, plus two players remaining from their Wish List at No. 31: Ryan Martindale and Curtis Hamilton.
Chief scout Stu MacGregor said going to the draft that the Oilers would be looking for size and grit, be it up front at forward or on defence, at No. 31, so we’ll have to see how this plays out — it won’t take long.
10:55: Roll call, sort of like being back in high school . . . Edmonton, "Here." Boston, "Here." Florida. "Here." Columbus. Crickets. Huh? . . . I keed. I keed. Oh, this hockey writing is a glamorous life.
11:00: No action around the Oilers table. Everybody sitting there, like the pick is set. I’m thinking Pitlick, but nobody has told me that. He fits what MacGregor said going in.
11:06: Oilers on the clock . . . take Tyler Pitlick.
11:07: Quick bio on Pitlick from NHL CSS:
— Pitlick completed his freshman year at Minnesota State playing predominantly as a winger — his 19 points (11-8–19) in 38 games led all freshman scorers on the Mavericks. MSU has had 11 players selected in the NHL Entry Draft – the New York Islanders’ Tim Jackman (38th overall in 2001) is the highest-ever player drafted from MSU.
— Serving as team captain at Centennial High School in 2008-09, Pitlick was a finalist for the 2009 Mr. Hockey Award, given annually to the most outstanding senior high school hockey player in the state of Minnesota.
— He led Centennial and the Northwest Suburban Conference in scoring last season, scoring 64 points (31-33–64) in 25 games.
— Pitlick, who patterns his game after Peter Mueller of the Colorado Avalanche, is the nephew of former NHLer Lance Pitlick — Lance played 393 NHL games between 1994 and 2002 for the Ottawa Senators and the Florida Panthers.
11:20: Pitlick tells me his school days are done and that he’ll be playing with the Medicine Hat Tigers in the WHL next season.
11:22: Oilers trade Riley Nash to Carolina to get the 46th pick.
11:23: Oilers use the pick to take defenceman Martin Marincin from Slovakia.
11:25: Marincin is a pick that’s a bit off the board, given where the Oilers took him, but we’ll find out what they see in him.
11:28: Oilers take LW Curtis Hamilton from Saskatoon. They really wanted this guy.
11:32: Here’s what I wrote about Hamilton in my draft preview:
— Hamilton played just 26 games for the Blades, but managed to record 16 points (7-9-16) and shake off breaking his collarbone (twice) as well as separating his shoulder. He will take part in Canada’s World Junior evaluation camp this summer.
— He is the son of Bruce Hamilton, a former Saskatoon Blades forward (1974-77) and current owner and general manager of the Kelowna Rockets. His father was selected by St. Louis 81st overall in 1977.
— Hamilton was drafted in the second round (36th overall) in the 2006 Bantam WHL Draft and was a member of Team Canada at the 2009 Under-18 World Championships.
12:18: Just filed a story on Pitlick . . . What did I miss? A TRADE!!!!!!! WHAT TRADE!!!!!! . . I see the Oilers got Martindale with the 61st pick. That’s a steal, where the scouting staff is concerned. With Hamilton (he’s not in Los Angeles) and Martindale, Tambellini gets both his remaining Wish Listers. Not bad. For everything that Tambellini didn’t get done in terms of trades on Friday, this has been a very good bounce back day for the Oilers.
Here some of Martindale’s bio, courtesy of NHL.com:
— After breaking out in 2008-09, his second season in Ottawa, with 23 goals in 53 games, Martindale settled into more of a play-making role this season – tallying 41 assists in 64 games.
— He had an advantage that most young hockey players do not, his father was a goalie for the Toronto Marlboros in the OHA (1979-83) – “It’s an advantage because (my dad) knows the goalie’s tendencies and he’s really helped me out in how to score and what to do and the best places to shoot.”
— Martindale, whose favorite athlete is Joe Sakic, wore number seven in minor hockey because his father was a big fan of Phil Esposito. He wears number 77 in Ottawa because seven is retired (number worn by Doug Wilson and Denis Potvin).
12:23: Oilers take defenceman Jeremy Blain from Acadie-Bathhurst with the 91st pick to open the fourth round.
12:29: Taylor Hall is doing an interview next to us with Bob Stauffer of 630 CHED. Looks a lot more relaxed today than yesterday . . . I’m going to wander over and put the arm on him for an interview. What’s he going to say? No? I’m Robin (F*cking) Brownlee . . .
12:32: Hall just told to me to get out of his face . . .
12:40: Got the interview with Hall (with eight other guys). Will file it ASAP, so check back.
1:04: Hall item sent . . . the rest is up to Bingofuel.
1:06: I see T Bunz on the board at 121st. Sounds like Tambellini got himself a hip-hop guy.
1:35: A lull waiting in the NY Islanders with the 155th pick — they just traded it to Atlanta. Oilers are up at 162nd.
1:46: Oilers next . . . oh, the building is electric . . . reporters lean in . . . they take Regina D-man Brandon Davidson . . . Oilers up again with 166th coming . . .
1:50: Oilers at 166th with Jesse Niinimaki, doh! . . .make that Drew ???? (they can’t find a name bar for him) from Kootenay of the WHL . . .Carolina picked 167th and they have a name up, but still nothing for Edmonton. . .
1:54: It’s Drew Czerwonka. Oh, that guy . . .
1:58: Now’s the time when all the jarheads and oafs in the crowd start saying stupid stuff . . . one-liners, guys auditioning for stand-up spots at the Jerk-off Factory Comedy Club down on Sunset . . ."Hey Burke, you suck, derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr." . . . I feel sorry for the kids still sitting there in their suits.
2:02 — Gregor up in the stands beating the crap out of the stand-up comedy guy . . . actually, he’s talking to Oil Kings GM Bob Green, trying to get some dope on Czerwonka.
2:10: Oilers about to open the seventh round with their pick . . . pause, pause, it’s Latvian Kristian Pless (NHL board guy buggered it up the first time with Pelss). .now they’ve got No. 202 coming . . . NO, it’s Pelss, after all (Oilersnation gomer buggered it up).
2:17: Gregor and I will be waiting on Tambellini to talk to him about the draft overall, but we might not get that up here before we head for the airport . . . all in all, a pretty decent day with Pitlick sitting there and Martindale and Hamilton on board.
2:37: Off twith Tambellini during the Oilers final pick at 202nd, but it’s Kellen Jones of the BCJHL.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.