Glass Half Full?

There seems to be a lot of concern among OilersNation draft observers about making the wrong choice at number one in this year’s edition. There’s another way to look at this: there are no wrong answers. Not from here. 

Not long ago, commenter "Steve Smith" posted something along the lines of "this may be the draft where the cards are stacked against Stu MacGregor." Point being that although the Oilers have secured the top overall selection, there doesn’t seem to be a pure #1 overall pick (in historic terms).

I think it comes down to how you frame the issue, and answering the question "what is reasonable?" when it comes to expectations. ALL of the draft services and ALL of the observers say this is a 4 or 5 man race for number one. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Larsson, Sean Couturier, Gabriel Landeskog and Jonathan Huberdeau all look like they could be the best player from this draft a decade gone.

It seems to me that if everyone agrees there are 5 horses in the race and on raceday it’s a photo finish, then it is completely reasonable to suggest that the Edmonton Oilers should choose the guy they believe will be the best and then put the entire matter to bed. Although that isn’t how it’ll go–Steve is right, MBS is in a no-win situation and there’s every chance it’ll bite him in the ass if he can’t look five years into the future with aplomb–sometimes you have to take your chances at the draft.

I believe the Edmonton Oilers will take Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Bob McKenzie put the seeds of doubt in my mind last night during the draft lottery show. He detailed a conversation he’d had with Steve Tambellini after the Oilers GM returned from seeing Adam Larsson during the SEL playoffs. McKenzie stated that in his opinion the Oilers had two players in their cross hairs-RNH and Adam Larsson.

It should be a very interesting draft.

Starting today and going through the night of the draft (obviously you have to email before the draft begins), Nation Radio will be conducting our first contest. The prize? An authentic Oilers jersey with the name of Edmonton’s first pick at the 2011 entry draft on the back. Wanye is picking bottles on the side of the road as we speak, and we’re convinced he’ll have enough by draft day to cover it.

Email your top 10 (you can do it now or wait until later) to and we’ll award the Oilers jersey person who can correctly identify the top 10. You don’t have to list the team, just the top 10 in correct order. If there is no winner, we’ll identify the closest top 10 and award the prize.

This weeks’ guests:

  • David Staples from the Edmonton Journal. We’ll talk arena, the draft and have a solid look at his error stat and what it told us about last season’s Oilers.
  • Blue Bullet, a long time draft guru who has correctly identified all kinds of things from past drafts. Blue Bullet’s 2007 draft preview rings true these years later. Along with speeds (our guest last week on the show), BB is the best Oiler draft observer on the Oilogosphere.
  • Kent Wilson is such a good writer and smart oberver of the game he could be an Oiler fan–but isn’t. That’s good news for us because Kent can offer insight into a weird week in Calgary, and that’s just what he’ll do today.
  • Jonathan Willis is the Duke Ellington of the Oilogopshere: prolific and splendid at the same time. Jonathan will discuss the entry draft, we’ll talk about the rebuilding articles he posted here at ON and why Atlanta burned this time.

Emails are welcome at and we’re on twitter here. Hope you enter our contest and remember if you can’t listen to the show Wanye will have it posted right here at OilersNation.

    • CanaDave

      The sh@t must be coming from somewhere other than your colon. Kaberle is a free agent at the end of the season. You want him. You can offer him a contract. But why would you. He has been totally exposed for what he is. A 3-4 Defenceman. Do you think Boston might be regretting what they paid for him? He was supposed to help thier PP. Boston is below %9 since he joined the club.If we have learned one thing over the years its this. Toronto overhypes thier players. On the subject of Souray. If he can’t be dealt at the draft, Tambo will do the same thing he did this year. Put him on recallable waivers and see who will bite for 2.25 million. Or he’ll send him to purgatory again and we’ll eat his 4.5 million for another season and then be done with him.

  • CanaDave

    Case scenario – Liles and Courturier to Oilers for Larsson . Hemsky, Smid , one first (19th)and one second ( our second ) to Florida for Landeskog and Gudblanson . D.Musil Oilers no.31 pick .

  • Anyone still suggesting that the Oilers should trade the 1st overall pick and move down best start taking their meds. The 1st pick in the draft is far more valuable than the proposed returns Ive seen here would indicate.

    Teams literally need to knock you over with a return in order to even think about it. That doesnt mean taking back questionable prospects like Gudbranson or players like Bogosian. It means robbing another team of their blue chippers and still asking for more.

    Moving up from 19 by packaging it and 31 and throwing in 1 roster player who is older than 23 is reasonable. Adding anyone named Paajarvi, Eberle, or Gagner qualifies you for immediate lobotomy. Teams that move down rarely require more than the extra picks, so throwing in good young players is overkill.

    That said, doing nothing on draft day still nets the Oilers 3 players in the top 31, and there is nothing wrong with that.

    • CanaDave

      What about using the 19 and trading it in the other direction for Toronto’s #25 and a 2nd round pick. Toronto has said they want to move up. The Oilers could target Ryan Sproul or Kelfbom at 25 and then John Gibson at 31. I would see if they can use existing players to get another pick in the 10 – 15 range to try get get someone like McNeil.

        • CanaDave

          It might be the better option. It may give us a couple more picks in the 2cd and third rounds. especially if were talking Ottawa. who I believe have 2 picks in the second round. Or trade that 19th to Columbus for thier 1st round pick next year. I’d gamble that Columbus is a bottom 10 team next year.I don;t see them makingthe playoffs,

    • CanaDave

      I agree with that opinion. The wild card appears not so much what we would want to do but what other teams might be willing, wanting or needing to do. Firstly.Washington. Bluueline depth. Non existemt. They were totally exposed in the playoffs. Secondary scoring. They had none.Goaltending? Do we need to comment. Secondly. Philly. Goaltending. Nuff said. Thirdly. Columbus.No puck moving dman.Fourth. New Jersey. Salary cap issues on a grand scale. Parise is an RFA. He got 5 this year. They are ripe for the picking. Fifth.Montreal. Size, size and more size.Sixth. L.A..Anyone see the Dustin Penner comments from D.L the G.M.? They have players they need to sign. Or would like to sign. Like Brad Richards. Or move like Ryan Smyth.Lastly. The Rangers. Who covet Brad Richards also but also have cap issues.

      There are alot of scenarios out there that could involve the Oilers. Some teams are more deparate than others(New Jersey). The draft is where I see Tambo doing the most work this off season. July 1st is a non starter. He won’t be looking to sign free agents. So I think that we see a more active Tambo this draft.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Can’t help but feel there’s an opportunity here to pull this vehicle out of the ditch and get her shiney side up again.

    1) The one deal that solves 2 issues for us is the Panther deal, i’d give Florida most anything they want for that third selection and Gudbranson. Paajarvi,Smid,Brule the 19th. 3 roster players for a similar amount to what it would cost to just sign Gudbranson, heck, i’d even take a contract back from the Panthers if it help sweeten that deal up for them.

    2) Hemsky,Plante and the 31st to Columbus for the 8th selection, maybe even take back a salary dump in a Commodore type.

    The Oiler roster if these 2 deals could get done would include…..

    Taylor Hall,Jordan Eberle,Ryan Nugent-Hopkins,Sean Couturier,Erik Gudbranson and with Columbus’ 8th,the Oilers could grab whoevers left from Seimens,Hamilton,MacNeil etc. This group of prospects is as good as any 5-6 yr rebuild plan i could think of. Some will make the lineup this year and some it will be next yr…..we have enoughs guys going into the last yr of their contracts to make it work.

    Bring in Ryan Smyth either this summer or next and make efforts to bring in Scottie Upshall,Scott Hartnell or similar type guys who can play on the first or second line if needed. If things go south as expected this season we’ll have yet another lottery pick to add to the 6 kids that actually together now resembles a decent core group going forward. The fans paying the freight here in Edmonton atleast deserve an effort be made. A playoff team in 2 yrs and in 3 yrs this group will be guilty of creating considable damage in the playoffs, Taylor Hall is leading a group of kids that should keep Taylor here long after he’s eligible for free agency.

    • The problem is that Dale Tallon is a guy who prefers draft picks over players. I was watching the Draft last year and the TSN panel made a comment about that and his trades also prove it as he was content with moving live bodies for picks since taking over as the Florida GM. It’s going to be extremely tough to pry any picks out of his hand. But if Gudbranson is refusing to sign then it seems it won’t require the Oilers to sell the farm. The 19th and a prospect would do it since Tim Erixon only required a mid level prospect and two 2nd round picks.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        I know where you’re coming from. I’d be satisfied leaving Paajarvi off the table if it’s just Gudbranson we’re after. Maybe doing the two deal approach would help land Couturier in a seperate deal. Hemsky to Columbus for the 8th, then flip the 8th plus a roster player/picks to get us into that top 5 for Couturier.

        Things have never been more difficult here, just feel we’ll acheive more with some kinds words and a gun than we will with just some kind words in trade talks. The Oiler crest has been soiled considerably these last 3 yrs, to sit by and hear people say it’s acceptable for let it remain like that for as many as 5 more yrs screams incompetence to me.

        Beg, borrow or steal, what we’re watching here is unacceptable. Get your gun ready andrewmk20, you and i will fix this thing ourselves;)

    • Wax Man Riley

      Quicks… with the deals you mentioned, you just put the rebuild back another year or 2. Your lineup is made of rookies and sophomores. You just gave up 4 roster players, players that have proven they can play in the NHL, for picks that won’t be effective for a couple of years still. This is contradicting what you have been saying about speeding the rebuild up.

      Trade the 1st overall for Parise and NJ’s 4th.

      RFA Weber. Give up the next 4 years of 1st round picks for him.

      Throw $10M a year at the best free agent on the market this year.

      This would be speeding it up…. however I don’t agree with any of it except maybe the Jersey deal.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        I hear what you’re saying. I just believe that of the six/seven newbs on the team, perhaps 3 turn into elite players. It may take a couple yrs to get there but once there, we should be up in that top eight in the league. 3 elite players put us up with the better teams in the league. The others will find their way on this club in support roles i’m sure. So yes, you’re correct it would set us back a full yr but i can promise you one thing, it should restore the pride in this franchise a hell of alot sooner than those other two bozos have planned. If Jeff Skinner can beat the odds, i’ll take my chances these kids will as well. Paajarvi is the only unknown leaving here, the other 3 are support players and easily/already replaced if need be.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I find it funny there’s a similarly titled Canucks article on TSN… except it’s talking about the STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS and not the results of finishing last in the league for the 2nd year in a row!