There is a significantly different feeling in the Staples Centre on day two. There are very few fans here and the family contingents are much smaller. Yesterday was the sizzle, but today is the substance of building a winner. The Oilers and every other team needs to draft players who will morph into NHLers down the road.
The Oilers start the day with picks 31, 48 (from Nash), 61, 91, 121, 162 (from ANA), 166 (from OTT) and 181, but I expect them to move a few picks, and also make at least one deal today. If they can find a partner I expect them to move Riley Nash. Nash has turned out to be a disaster of a first round pick, and has hinted he will play his final year in the NCAA and then could leave as an UFA next August.
Darryl Sutter just came up to the media riser and said no chance he will be moving up and making a pick in the 2nd round. Interesting to note that the Flames, Leafs and Canucks have yet to make a pick and to start the 2nd round none of them
10:05… The Oilers Tyler Pitlick, a centre from Minnesota State. Pitlick becomes the highest drafted player ever out of MSU, prior to Pitlick Tim Jackman was the highest at 38th. Pitlick patterns his game after Peter Mueller. So the Oilers end up getting a Taylor and a Tyler. Oiler fans will get to see Pitlick next year because he is leaving the NCAA and will play for Medicine Hat in the WHL.
10:10… The first round took four hours, and thankfully today will go much faster. We’ve had four picks in the first four minutes, so expect things to move quickly.
10:19… The Maple Leafs get in on the action trading an unnamed prospect to Chicago for the 43rd pick. The Leafs selects Brad Ross from the Portland Winter Hawks. Too bad, the Oilers could have used him at 48. He is a robust pain-in-the-ass type of player.
10:21… The New York Rangers draft Christian Thomas, son of former NHLer Steve Thomas.
10:24… BINGO… .The Oilers trade Riley Nash to Carolina for the 46th pick and choose Martin Marincin a hulking D-man from Slovakia. Marincin is likely the top choice in the CHL import draft and play in Prince George, which is good news for Oiler fans because they’ll be able to watch Pitlick and Marincin when they play the Oil Kings.
10:27… The Oilers pick LW Curtis Hamilton from the Saskatoon Blades. Hamilton had an injury plagued 2009/2010 season, breaking his collarbone twice and separating his shoulder. The 6’2”, 210 pound winger plays a physical style and this is the pick the Oilers received in the Denis Grebeshkov trade. Some scouts felt if Hamilton had been healthy all year he could have been a first rounder.
10:43… Philadelphia trades up and takes Jason Zucker. He was another agitating type of player I thought the Oilers could use.
10:45… Oilers open up the third round and select Ryan Martindale from the Ottawa 67s. Stu MacGregor was really high on Martindale and told me earlier this week that he’d love to take him. Martindale a 6’3” 185 pound centre is late 1991 birthday and will be playing as a 19-year-old this season. He will need to add some muscle if he hopes to play in the NHL.
10:47… Tampa Bay selects Brock Beukeboom, son of former Oiler Jeff Beukeboom. The younger Beukeboom plays the same style as his father, except he is considered to be a better passer.
10:49… The Islanders take Kirill Kabanov, the sketchy Russian who left Moncton during the QMJHL playoffs last year and parted ways with agent JP Barry before the draft. Kabanov has loads of talent, but his attitude is the big concern. This could turn out to the biggest steal of the draft or just another mistake by the Islanders.
11:00… The Calgary Flames make an appearance and select Joey Leach, a D-man from Kootenay of the WHL. It’s fitting that the Flames, despite their lack of offensive players, take a blueliner from the WHL with their first selection.
QUOTES FROM PITLICK
I had a quick one-on-one with Tyler Pitlick…
JG: Why did you leave the MSU for the WHL?
A lot of it was school. It was tough for me to balance school and hockey. I want to put all my focus on hockey because that’s what I want to do. I really plan on playing in the NHL; I never planned on doing anything with the degree right now, maybe someday after hockey is over, but right now I want to put all my focus on hockey.
JG: Do you use your size? Are you a physical centre with skill or more of a pure finesse player?
Definitely. Last year I was one of the youngest guys in college hockey and I showed a physical presence every game, everyone knew I was going to throw my body around. That’s part of my game, to be physical, and create energy for my team. That’s one of my biggest things to do, especially at the beginning of the game to get myself and my team going.
JG: Did you get a sense the Oilers were looking at you with this pick?
Not too much. Before the draft I talked to them at the combine and did a few things on the Internet with them, but this morning I spoke with my agent and they said it was a possibility, and now I’m very excited.
JG: You said earlier you wanted to be a first rounder, but that didn’t happen, will you use that as a bit of motivation to show teams they missed out?
I would have wanted to go in the first round, because it’s the first round and everyone talks about it, but being the first pick in the second round isn’t that bad. I can use it as motivation and while I was disappointed yesterday I’m very excited right now and looking forward to being an Oiler.
JG: The Taylor/Tyler debate has raged in Edmonton for two months, but now the Oilers have a Taylor and a Tyler. Give me your thoughts on playing with Hall.
I read and heard a lot about that debate and it was interesting to watch. Taylor Hall is a great player and everyone has been talking about him for years and he’s been the number one prospect for the past years. Hopefully I get a chance to play with him in the future.
11:22… The Oilers select Jeremie Blain, a D-man in the QMJHL. Blain was ranked 127th and stands 6’2” 190 pounds. He had 38 points in 64 games in his second season with Acadie-Bathurst.
12:01… The Oilers select Medicine Hat netminder, Tyler Bunz. The Oilers only have Olivier Roy in the system, and taking a goalie was a must. Bunz is from St. Albert and was 31-19-5 with a 2.91 GAA and 0.898 SV% in the Hat last year.
12:18… Phoenix selects Louie Domingue with the 138th choice. Domingue had about 20 family members in the crowd and that had to be a welcome relief. I wonder if your kid isn’t ranked in the top 100 if you’d want him to come to the draft. If he gets picked it is a great, but as I scan the crowd I see at least 20 kids dressed up in suits who haven’t been picked yet. Making the trip to LA and not getting picked would be crushing, and parents should really encourage kids who aren’t in the top 100 to stay at home.
The energy has completely left the building. It is deathly quiet between picks, and outside of the families that still remain in the building, there isn’t much noise when a pick is announced, unless it belongs to the Kings or Ducks, then you will hear a smattering of cheers.
12:36… Brownlee just set a record for most apples consumed at one draft, as he munched down his 5th in two days. Rueben has lost 57 pounds since March and his dedication to eating healthy is making me sick as I eat my 14th cookie of the draft.
12:46… With their first pick in the 6th round, 162nd overall, the Oilers select from the Regina Pat defenseman Brandon Davidson. The Oilers continue to draft players with size, as Davidson stand 6’2”, 195 pounds. So far Taylor Hall is the smallest player they’ve drafted.
12:49… With the 166th, the Oilers select another WHL player taking Drew Czerwonka from the Kootnay Ice. In 55 games in 2008/2009 Czerwonka had 16 goals and only two assists. Last year he tallied four goals and 13 points in 54 points, but he is an energy guy. He skates well and is physical according to Bob Green. The Oilers took him with the hopes he turns into a 4th line energy guy in a few years.
12:50… .Some Oiler fans sitting in section 104 to the left of the Oilers table yell out play the Brass Bonanza after the Oilers last pick. Those guys have some great taste in hockey music. The BB or any other music would be a welcome change right now. There are still at least 15 Oiler jerseys in the crowd right now. Oiler fans have represented themselves nicely in LA. “Lets Go Oilers, Let’s Go” has been chanted a few times this afternoon.
THE FINAL ROUND
1:10… With the 181st pick the Oilers took Kristians Pelss (it is pronounced Pless) from Latvia. Mark Spector, a proud Latvian, is the happiest guy in the building. “I can’t believe he fell this far,” laughed Spector. Pelss is a highly skilled forward, who is obviously a long shot, but his supposed upside is his skill.
1:13… The Oilers acquire the 202nd pick from Phoenix for a 6th rounder next season. They must have a player in mind that they know no one will take, because they made this deal when the 186th pick was being announced. If they can find the next Patrick Hornqvist they will be ecstatic.
1:29… With their final pick, the Oilers choose small forward Kellen Jones from the Vernon Vipers in the BCHL. Jones’ biggest asset is his speed.
The Oilers end up with eleven selections.
On Pitlick leaving NCAA for the WHL
“When we interviewed him, he was all about what he can do to get better and get to the next step. He knows he needs that next step of competition and that was a good message for us.”
On Riley Nash trade.
“He wasn’t willing to come out (from NCAA) at this time, and you got another year and then he would be a free agent, so we made a decision to move on.”
Tambellini wouldn’t comment on whether Nash was upset with the organization or vice versa, but it was pretty clear that Nash wasn’t interested in playing for the Oilers, so they moved him to Carolina for the 46th pick, which turned out to be Martin Marincin.
“His world junior tournament was better than the under-18 tourney, which shows that he has the ability to play good against strong competition. He moves the puck nicely for a big man, and he plays well against skilled players, especially positionally.”
Overall review of picks
“I think we really upgraded our depth chart as far as size and compete level especially down the middle when it comes to Martindale. Hamilton, who is a very strong two-way hockey player with intelligence, really we got some size in the middle and some size on the back end.
“I’m really looking forward to the development camp when I think of the roster that is coming to that camp; pretty impressive with Taylor, Paajarvi, Eberle, Lander and all the picks today.
LOOKING AHEAD NOW
After a busy two days, Tambellini and crew will turn their focus to buyouts, trades, qualifying offers and potential free agents.
“We’ve got some discussions going on with other teams right now, but there wasn’t as much trade talk as normal today with things moving so quickly through the draft,” said Tambellini on player moves.
“I think you will probably see some things over the next few days, maybe some player movement prior to July 1st.”
You can bet on Tambellini making some moves prior to July 1st.
- He will try to trade Ethan Moreau, but the more likely scenario will be a buyout.
- Gilbert Brule, Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, Colin Fraser, JF Jacques, Devan Dubnyk, Jeff Deslauriers need to be qualified by this Monday and will all receive an offer. Marc Pouliot probably gets one as well, and even Ryan Potulny. I don’t see Potulny signing unless it is a two-way deal.
- It sounds like a Sheldon Souray deal will happen after July 1st rather than before.
- Patrick O’Sullivan and Robert Nilsson will be shopped, but the likelihood of finding a partner is slim. Nilsson makes sense as a buyout, and they might be stuck with O’Sullivan for one more year.