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.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I have him at 5, but he might end up being the best player in the entire draft.

    Very little chance I think. Unless he takes as big a step this year as he did this past season.


    Most of the reports I have read have typified this as a fight between a top 3, and then among the next 5. You have it the other way around… a fight between the top 5 and then the next 3.

    I was wondering why.

    • Lowetide

      Two players: Sean Couturier and now Huberdeau. The top 5 (at a guess) looks like RNH, Huberdeau, Larsson, Couturier and Landeskog. Which means that Strome falls out of my top 5 and joins Hamilton and Murphy.

      I think Larsson could go anywhere from 1-5, but that Murphy could go anywhere from 4-8. It’s a strange draft.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        From this side of the fence this looks like a pretty good top 5 to me, could end up being one of the better drafts in the last 15 yrs. Has to be more question marks than answers in MacGregors mind with this yrs crop.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Note to Wanye….since we’ll all agree i’m a lock to win this.

    The Oilers are bringing back the white version of the retro jersey for this coming season. Please wait till this jersey becomes available before you make an effort to aquire said item. I’ll have the number 93 on the back and the name Hopkins please.

    thanks yoop sir!

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    LT: What are your thoughts on Bob MacKenzie’s attitude towards combine results? He was mentioning that some scouts look at underachievers who play well in-game, and try to use those results to extrapolate their in-game play once they have access to an NHL-calibre training staff. Do you buy into that?

    • Lowetide

      A little bit. I think RNH scored well in the disciplines you’d expect and they got a look at him physically. It’s all a projection–I don’t think you’ll see a moment like the Oil change 1.0 clip where Simon Bennett is talking about Hall’s being an ideal frame–but RNH has the things they are looking for: projectable frame and he’s gained some weight and is healthy.

      You can’t measure vision, so this was never going to be an RNH showcase. But the things they can measure–first step quickness, capacity, that kind of thing–Nugent Hopkins scored well in.

      So I think if you went into the combine convinced he was your man then everything has been confirmed.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    Wish me luck today, guys. I’m trying for Jets season tickets – probably the only way I have a chance to see the Oilers this coming season short of flying to Edmonton.

      • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

        Thanks! I’m really excited for this. I moved here from St Albert in 1997, so my only memories of the Jets were the Oilers stomping them mercilessly at every opportunity.

        It’s looking pretty grim so far, but I have 4 guys trying for the same set. The pre-sale was made available to the 2000 Moose season-ticketholders, and over the past 3 days that group has scooped up 7100 of the 13000 available, leaving 5900 available for the rest of the province (plus Grand Forks ND and probably Kenora ON).

    • Lowetide

      I don’t think he’s slipping so much as we’re getting the depth of this draft (it’s 8 deep at the top end).

      I have him at 5, but he might end up being the best player in the entire draft.

  • If it’s a 4 or 5 man race for 1st overall, shouldn’t Tambellini do everything possible to get that additional pick?

    The Oilers can’t afford to leave the draft without getting a #1 Center. I’d consider moving Paajarvi & #19 for a chance at RNH & Couturier.

    Even if it means another season of futility…

    • Quicksilver ballet

      considering paarjarvi has had just one season under his belt it’s way too soon to deal him. He’s 6’3 200 and skates like the wind, not exactly something that happens that often. Also there are a lot of defenceman after Larsson. Hamilton, Morrow, Beaulieu, Oleskniak, and Brodin are all projected outside the top 6. The Oilers are deep at forward and a no.1 pick would increase that depth even further. They need to look at defenceman after the 1st pick badly as only Petry and Marincin are touted as higher end defensive prospects and Marincin is still a long way off.

      Besides if they are looking to deal Hemsky would be a more logical choice as he’s in the last year of his deal and isn’t really a veteran player you learn from. Given what history has shown about him he’s talented but isn’t in the mold of a leader as he’s usually the first guy off the ice in practice and is not a leader. The types of guys you place in a room as veteran leaders are players like Weight, Gilmour, Roenick(i’m aware they’re all retired just examples). A team like Jersey that has money tied up long term in a team that should be contending now would be worth exploring.

      Besides unless Tambellini gets aggressive by picking players off teams that are right against the cap that still need to sign a lot of players(Penguins, Capitals, Flyers, Blackhawks etc.) it’s going to be another bad year.

    • fuzzy muppet

      That would be exceedingly stupid. The reason that it is a five person race for #1 overall is that none of them are good enough. In a normal draft year these guys wouldn’t be in the conversation. Paajarvi by himself is worth more than the #5 pick.

      Hemsky, Gagner, Paajarvi, all of these guys are worth more than a top ten pick. They were top ten picks themselves and have exceeded expectations at the NHL level (yes, even Gagner). Trading actually good players for draftpicks is wishcasting.

  • Bar Qu

    This year’s #1 will have a long road to even measure up to last year’s. Large portions of the fan base are guaranteed to be disappointed in the selection.

    The other side of there being no consensus top choice. OTOH, the Oil have lots of chance to make hay with 19 and 31, even if they trade them to move up. Should be an interesting day.

    • Lowetide

      Ferg: Not that I saw. I can say with some authority that there are “types” of players Edmonton will be interested in.

      If I made a list of those players: Mark McNeill, Duncan Siemens, Jamie Oleksiak, Mark Scheifele, Joe Morrow, Matt Puempel and Joel Edmondson my guess is we’ve identified at least a few of their targets.