On the eve of the 2012-13 season, the 2008 draft looks like it will boast two members of the club’s top 9 forwards. Not bad for a draft that didn’t include a second or a third round selection.


There are a lot of places on the internet where you’ll see Jordan Eberle being touted as an obvious choice at #22 in 2008, but the fact is that there were questions about him and Eberle was placed later in the first round on the Bob McKenzie list (it is generally agreed that McKenzie’s list is the industry standard).


  • Mike Remmerde: Strengths: Great sniper’s touch. Knows how to find scoring chances. Quick hands. Will take a hit to make a play. Weaknesses: Casual player – effort level is never there. Tends to stick to the perimeter. One of the best natural goal scorers in the draft. I’d like him a lot more if he ever broke a sweat. Skating seems alright, but almost never uses what speed he has. I’ll say one thing for him, he’s not scared. I’d rather have a lazy player than a scared one. Summary: Light a fire under him and you might have a 1st/2nd line scorer.
  • Bob McKenzie: A somewhat under-sized centre, Eberle is considered one of the smartest offensive players in the draft. He is a better goal-scorer than a playmaker and is an elusive talent when he has the puck. There are some questions about his speed, but he does have quickness, especially in tight situations and one-on-ones.
  • Central Scouting: Jordan is a slippery scorer with great hands. Jordan is an up-and-down the wing tease in the sense that sometimes he’ll look like he’s just going up and down the wing and you have him slotted as a checker and then he’ll cut in off the wing and use that shot to put his team up a goal.
  • Redline Report: Creative little center has been handling the rough going in the WHL better than we expected and is a productive offensive force every night.
  • International Scouting Services: A highly skilled goal scorer; he has all of the offensive tools. great touch: very good hockey sense, quick release and soft hands. Compares to Brad Boyes.

As you can see, there are some negatives ("casual player – effort level is never there" and "there are some questions about his speed") and he was not a slam dunk pick at #22. Four years later, Edmonton fans wouldn’t take him for most of the names that came before, and Eberle is a major part of the future.


  • International Scouting Services: "A real warrior who hates to lose. Great work ethic, loves to play a physical style and when he’s on he’s unstoppable. Has a habit of taking bad penalties. Does not have a lot of offensive flair but does have the skill set to be a reliable defensive center at the next level.”
  • Redline Report“good size and strength, his feet are fairly heavy.”

Teemu Hartikainen was selected 163rd overall in the 2008 draft, long after the suits had gone and left the scouting directors and their staffs alone to find hidden gems. He was not part of the draft combine and he did not get a push during the first seasons after turning pro.


This season, Hartikainen has (in the eyes of the Oilers) earned the opportunity to play in the NHL among the top 9 forwards:

  • Todd Nelson: Harty’s got pretty good hands around the net. Lots of his goals come in tight, off secondary chances. He’s also doing a heck of a job on the power play, in front of the net, mirroring the goalie.” (This came during a period Hartikainen scored 7 points in 7 games, playing with RNH and Eberle).
  • More Nelson“The thing (Hartikainen) has to do is what he did in the playoffs last year. He was very dominant. He played a very physical game. And he has the ability to score goals.” 
  • Hartikainen on playing the powerforward role: “I’ve been playing that way all my life, but when I came over here (to North America from Finland) I didn’t know how I should I play. Do I need to score a lot of points and be a really good player in the stats? Now I know.”
  • Steve Tambellini“What he brings is the ability for us to sustain pressure. It’s hard to move him off the puck. Teemu’s biggest thing has been having consistency as a pro, deliver every night. He’s off to a very good start, which is important for him. I know he’s working very hard on his strength and conditioning to sustain the type of play we’re demanding from him. If he keeps it up, he’ll have a good shot at (playing in) the National (Hockey) League.”

In the fall, the Oilers will have to keep Hartikainen on the roster or lose him to waivers. The other winger options (top 6) for the club are Hall, Eberle, Yakupov and Hemsky. Hartikainen can’t compete with that kind of skill, but based on how the Oilers are constructing their roster it looks like they would prefer a big powerforward over skill. The window of opportunity is there for the big Finn, and he appears to be up to the challenge so far in training camp.


If we can agree that you need 5 seasons after a draft to do a reasonable "early" assessment, then this summer would be the first opportunity to get a good long look at the 2008 draft and ask: does this draft have legs?

I think the answer is yes. Eberle’s report card is in–all A’s and trending well. For Hartikainen, this 48-game NHL season is an opportunity to earn an NHL job with an up and coming hockey club.

His emergence is a key element for assessing the 2008 entry draft. We wait.


  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    I had no idea both of these guys were Centers….

    when did they get moved off pivot?

    Could they ever play it again?

    I think the emphasis on size over skill reflects the state on the ground as much as historical tendency of the organization… when rnh, eberle, hall, yak, gags and hemsky make up your top 6… you’ve got a size problem, relatively speaking.

    any word for the fallen? (Motin, Cornet, Bendfeld)

    are they the Syd Barretts here…

    • Reg Dunlop

      Shine on… Syd Barrett… I get it. Well done.

      Regarding Redden, 35 and 2 years out of the NHL, no thanks. He will fit in well with the Red Wings, aiding in the free fall from the penthouse that Detroit will face this season.

      Harti could become the bull that the oil need on the second line, keeping Yak on the 3rd line while he figures out the NHL. Yak will still get PP chances and hopefully rides his stick after his 1st PP marker against the flames.

  • Lowetide

    Motin went back to Sweden, very unlikely he’d return. Bendfeld is I believe out of hockey, and Cornet is in the AHL and facing a long uphill climb.

    I think its just the two now.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    A little birdie told me Wade Redden will be an Oiler within the next week. Yet another break for the Oilers. Redden for two or three yrs would make the Oiler blueline semi respectable. Would also help bridge the gap for Klefbom and whoever else pans out for potential blueliners.

    What say you……….biotches!

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Did you have an opportunity to stop by the Coliseum earlier this week LT? Seems Eberle is half a step quicker to me it appears. Previous fears of an unsustainable shooting % will be put to rest, he’ll beat last yrs SP easily.

    Ebs and Hartikainen, more than covers the bet in one draft yr.

    • Lowetide

      No, and God knows I tried lol. Eberle is such an interesting player, because if you are betting him from draft day onward it would be under and he’d have all your money now.

  • justDOit

    Hey LT.

    Saw Redden a few times in the AHL. He looked disinterested much of the time, but two games went to overtime, and he suddenly became the best player on the ice. Not sure that means much, but might add context to his ahl numbers.

  • Reality Check to the head

    I have to say that the fact “Detroit and Vancouver,” are interested in Redden does not make it impossible for Edmonton to get him. I am not saying that Edmonton should take Redden, however, Edmonton has all arrows pointing up, while Detroit and Vancouver has some serious down arrows and seem to me to trying to tread water to keep their position in the NHL.

  • Reality Check to the head

    I remember reading about Eberle before the draft and how he grew up an Oilers fan. I saw him as a guy who I would want to pick if he were available at 22 so I was pretty pumped when we got him. That said, he has blown my expectations (and anybody else’s) way out of the water.

    As for Hartikainen, it’s nice to see him come out of nowhere and work so hard to get to where he is now.

  • Reality Check to the head

    I think Harty will do GREAT with the Oilers. We need the size in the line up. He is the Oilers only viable option.

    Redden to Edmonton would create some unneeded Hype, to an already hyped up season. Although I don’t think he would do worse then Barker. But these KIDS have enough expectations on them.

  • engineer

    “Does this draft have legs?”

    How can you expect any answer but “yes”, when you post the question in an article full of Jill Hennesey?

    They both got real nice legs.

  • Cheap Shot Charlie

    I’d say that the extra years in junior helped a lot. I’d be surprized if Coaches of Oilers past didn’t have some effect on Eberle’s career. The fire of “you’re lazy and you’ll never play after junior” would motivate most people.

  • Cheap Shot Charlie

    The 2008 draft was monster and I think all said and done will be the best draft ever. I know 2003 is right there also.

    We do actually have 3 players from the 2008 draft, although we didnt draft one. Justin Schultz

    To bad we didnt have a second or third round pick, there was some great talent left in the second round.