The Edmonton Oilers have supplied us with endless stories at the draft table–some diamonds, some stone. The annual teenage crapshoot has blessed the copper and blue and beaten the Oildrop about the face and hands a few times too. For fans, sometimes the indications are clear early on. 


Pouliot’s story was injury. The young Q center had been rocked at the top prospects game and then suffered a long string of injuries on his way to being one of the poorest payoffs in the 2003 first round. He then hurt his hip that summer at the 2003 summer WJ hockey camp in Calgary, and suffered an adbominal injury in November of 2003. It was revealed in the spring of 2004 he’s also suffered a broken wrist during the 2003-04 season. 

After that, the injuries got more creative, reaching their zenith with the Pat Quinn "pubis thing’ media conference. Pouliot managed to play 192 NHL games before heading to Europe. 


Ranked 29th on Bob Mckenzie’s consensus list, Eberle was taken 22nd overall in the 2008 entry draft. He is one of the best draft selections in team history, ranking second in goals from 2008 draftees. Eberle is incredibly popular with the Oiler fanbase, partly because of his tremendous development as an offensive player during his junior career and his stunning international performances at the World Junior Championships. 

Jordan Eberle is as attached to the city of Edmonton as any Oiler since 1979. Massively popular, he’s a major part of the young cluster Oiler fans believe will someday bring Stanley back to Edmonton. 


The Jesse Niinimaki selection is one I’ll remember forever, mostly because there was very little information. I had my Hockey News on the coffee table, my resource material printed off and I was ready in 2002, until the Oilers announced Niinimaki. While I was shuffling and searching to find Niinimaki (Mr. Google was also in a panic) the tsn panel–the absolute experts–were also scrambling. They did manage to find words like "center" and "Finnish". Once I found something on him, it was not encouraging.

That was the day I began to value the phrase ‘risk averse’ and am hopeful we’ll see more this weekend from the Oilers. 


The draft is a crap shoot. Staying away from walkabout picks helps, but drafting in the top 5 is the absolute best way to grab outstanding talent. Can the Oilers trade into the top 5 this weekend?

  • Bucknuck

    I’ll never forget when they traded away from Parise, nor when they picked Ninimaaki, nor when they picked Kelly instead of Doan. That last one really pissed me off.

    The Pouliot one didn’t bother me as much, because they thought he was undervalued because he played on a poor team. I could understand the move, even though from what I was reading it wasn’t the smartest play.

  • T__Bone88

    Within the top 10 picks is there someone who you think might be a surprise riser or a player that would go lower than expected? Every year there is always a player taken at a different spot than expected that surprises the experts.

  • Lowetide

    There were indications Forberg would drop do to his apparant low offensive numbers. Lindholm I think is penciled in on many drafts 5-7, and I can’t see him dropping.

  • Lowetide

    Two things that come to mind about Niinimaki:

    1 – How different would his pro career had been if he hadn’t had that badly broken shoulder in 03/04 that pretty much borked his season (only played 10 games)?

    2 – When the Oilers finally got him to North America, apparently his upper body strength was pretty much non-existent. His arm strength was comparable to that of a strung out rock star.

    How about this for a trip down memory lane?


    • huskamania

      Wow that would be nuts he’s not Crosby, I am pretty sure Gags is 2nd in pts total in same draft year behind Kane. Draft best at 7 and clean up the slackers and we’re back to playoffs

      • 24% body fat

        2007 was a pretty weak draft class. Gagner’s points are meh considering he has played 6 years already. He has more points than Couture, would you take Gagner over Couture? Probably not.

        Gagner is a sub par skater and does not possess defensive acumen. Colin Wilson would slide in to our 2C spot and we wouldn’t miss Gagner. Also adds size AND brings all the defensive tools he picked up from Barry Trots.

        • 24% body fat

          you complain about gagner because he doesnt put up 65 plus points, but you want a center who puts up 30 because he is bigger. How is that a second line center. He is also on a team known for goaltending and defense so whose to say in the oilers system he brings anything more defensively than gagner.

          So to get wilson we give up a wack of points to get a guy just because he is bigger but has never done anything to be a 2nd line center.


          It has become more painful of the same old stuff everyday than it has to have season tickets since 2007. The writers here try to bring fresh articles in and the comments still revert back to the same old crap. To each his own with his opinion but come on it is getting old.

          • Bonvie

            LOL my point was you can’t say Gagner is amazing just because of points. Think of how many chances he gives up when he is on the ice.

            That was my point! He brings defensive strategies and positional hockey that he learned from Trots! You don’t dump tools you picked up from past coaches. He learned defensive hockey in Nashville hence he brings some of that to Edmonton. Pretty easy concept.

            I will agree that he is a bit of a risk but it is more of a stop gap at number two until Barkov comes in, which is likely in a year or so. It doesn’t make us worse next year and makes us better long term. Promise you that.

            Also, look at the talent Wilson had to play with vs. Gagner.

          • Bonvie

            I’m not complaining about Gagner and I don’t think mean machine is either. I love Gagner however if you can get Colin Wilson he is the real deal and he had 19 points in 25 games and 35 points in 68 games the year before so I think we could safely say he is at the 50pts per season level and still rising with the offensive talents of the Oilers, and is the real deal he is the Lucic or the Leclair of the now.

    • Bonvie

      If you are talking Colin Wilson that would be the type of deal that would be worth trading Gagner for, as I think he is a very good player. Just get another D substituted as I believe when Marincin grows into a man he’s going to be a very good NHL Dman.

      • 24% body fat

        Ok so we are giving up the most assets and the best player in the trade. WOW. This is an overpay. Barkov looks great (and I think he will be good) but there have been a lot of failed top ten picks. Nothing saying he is guaranteed to be a superstar or play in the NHL.

        Wilson is what the oilers need, but not at the price of giving away a better player. Size does not make wilson better. So lets make a modification;

        Gagner for Wilson and a 6th rounder

        7th and a 2nd rounder, 6th rounder and Gernat for 4th overall.

        So to clean it up

        Gagner, 7th overall, 2nd rounder, Gernat for Wilson and 4th overall.

      • TayLordBalls

        Yep was referring to Colin Wilson. I believe he was drafted as a centre. Adds some size too.

        I would say it would have to be Marincin because that 4th overall pick is at a high premium. Believe me I’d try Musil first, but doubt it happens.

        Also now that I think of it, Nashville is pretty good on the blue line, I wonder if they want another forward prospect with skill. Rajala is another consideration.

      • DSF

        That’s if it is enough.

        Sign Lapriere, Gordon, pull the trigger on the Clutterbuck trade. Maybe overpay for Bickell and give him Prust money, all of a sudden our top 9 could be:

        Hall Nuge Yak
        Bickell Barkov Eberle
        Wilson Gordon/Lapriere Clutterbuck

        Wilson could even play top 6 over Bickell or line up in the middle if injury occurs. I would have Wilson in the 2C spot while Barkov does his extra year in Finland. That lineup is a HUGE improvement. Sell Gagner at his peak value.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    When do the Jersey Devils have till, to let the league know when they’d like to absorb that first rounder penalty they were assessed?

    If the guy they want is gone when they’re due up, can they opt to accept this penalty in this 2013 draft?

      • Supernova

        Horvat is not far fetched at 7. Buffalo and Dallas are behind the oilers both have admitted they want a Center, if they fail to move up, Horvat will likely be gone.

        Like it or not that is a way the draft works, teams are always trying to gauge what the teams before them or after them are doing.

        If we did trade down to say 13. Horvat would likely be gone, if he is their guy than he is their guy. Doesn’t really matter if he is the 15th best player if 3 teams are willing to spend a top 10 on him. That means he is top 10.

        Believe me I would love it if they could trade back and add a pick and still get him but don’t think that is possible.

        Some teams have probably fallen in love with both Horvat and Lazar because they are almost sure fire many hundred of game NHLers. You might not win the draft but you certainly keep your job.

  • I know there was some talk on twitter about moving up and who would you be willing to trade.

    names like Gagner, Petry and Paajarvi were used.

    Personally, I would be willing to move Petry and 2014 first round pick for the 5th pick, i’m not sure the 7th needs to be added then.

    I still think Gardnier will be an Oiler so Petry is expendable asset.

  • TayLordBalls

    Mact’s recent comment about how a skilled player who is maybe not the fastest might still “learn” and “move the dial” for the team worries me.

    I hated the choice of Plante from day 1, especially when the scouting reports were crystal clear that mobility was a big issue.

    Please learn from that mistake, Oilers. Remember that a puck possession game relies on strong skaters, not players who will need 5 summers of power skating coaches to barely stay in the AHL.

  • Bonvie

    Gagner, hemsky, horcoff, 7th, both seconds,marincin, musil, davidson, gernat, arcobello,mps, n.schultz for fifth overall. Oiler fans are absolutely rediculous with overpays. Toronto fans are the opposite (their team isn’t). I can’t believe how many holes fans are willing to make in the roster in order to fill one. But don’t anybody dar touch the fab five or klefbom. Lets look at deals that make sense for the oilers, not just ones for players of interest regardless of cost.

  • RexLibris

    Re: the Devils and their window to forfeit a 1st round pick, it has to be 24 hours prior to the draft.

    I agree, very little chance of that happening. They ought to have forfeit last year’s 29th overall, but obviously it will happen next year.

    To compensate I suspect Lamoriello will trade for a 1st rounder.

    Would anyone here offer the Oilers’ 2014 1st round pick for Henrique? I exclude Larsson because I think we all know that isn’t going to happen.

    • DSF

      I would but why would the Devils do this?

      Henrique has already performed at the level of a first round pick despite having a diminished second season.

      NJ very much needs value contracts as they are working to sign their veterans.

      Zubrus took a haircut today to sign for another 2 seasons and Lou is working on Clarkson.

    • IIRC NHL numbers had a great article on the Devils.

      Paraphrasing ( to lazy to go searching for the article) basically the Devils are the oldest team in the NHL with a poor group of forwards.

      The Devils keeping the 29th pick was a poor decision, keeping the 8th pick was fine but keeping the pick in this draft is where the risk is huge, keeping this years pick even at 9 when all the numbers indicate the Devils will be worse next year is a massive risk especially when next years draft is suppose to be deeper!

      The Devils talent pool is not at all that good, and the chances of retaining Clarkson are low, but even if they do its not a huge win.

      Lou knows this, if he doesn’t trade this pick he’s making a huge mistake, even if he doesn’t have a 3rd or a 5th pick.

      He’s in a pickle.

  • DSF

    It really is the time to put to bed the notion that Gagner is the “second best scorer in his draft class”.

    He isn’t.

    The only reason he accumulated more total points than others is because he was thrown into the NHL at 18 while other teams bring their prospects along more slowly.

    Kane – .951 PPG

    Couture – .719 PPG

    Voracek – .623 PPG

    Gagner – .623 PPG

    Pacioretty – .621 PPG

    Perron – .582 PPG

    JVR – .536 PPG

    I expect Pacioretty, Perron (if healthy) and JVR (now that he’s playing on a scoring line) will pass Gagner this upcoming season.

    • Of Patches/Perron/JVR, it seems to me that Patches is the only one with even a halfway realistic chance of surpassing Gagner in PPG by the end of next season. If he can manage another 65 point season while staying healthy (and assuming Gagner doesn’t himself improve on his PPG totals over a full season), then yeah he’d do it.

      Perron and JVR are IMO big longshots, they’d have to put in 80 point seasons (for both, that would be way more than they’ve ever done before) to even have a chance. To me that’s not a bet with good odds.

      • DSF

        You have to remember that part of Perron and JVR catching up to Gagner involves playoff games.

        While Gagner got the early push, Perron and JVR are on playoff calibre teams.

        JVR lead the Leafs in playoff scoring at 1.00 PPG. The kid is breaking out.

        Perron, with the addition of some high end forwards like Ty Rattie and a full season of Tarasenko should benefit from a higher scoring STL team.

        • G Money

          Ah, the DSF speciality – cherry picked stats and small sample sizes.

          JVR’s 1.00PPG in a staggering 7 games is no more valid a sign of him ‘breaking out’ then Gagner and his 8-point game (which for the mathematically challenged is an 8.0 PPG rate over only a slightly smaller sample size).

          For the record, the PPG for this last season:

          JVR – 0.67
          Perron – 0.52
          Gagner – 0.79

          It is possible, though not probable that JVR will make the necessary 18% improvement in his PPG rate in order to match Gagner. Both are old enough that they are nearing the top of their development curve, but both young enough that their actually fully developed games won’t show for another year or two.

          Unlikely that at this point Perron is going to make the 52% improvement in his PPG rate needed to match Ganye, no matter who he plays with.

          I also expect Gagner – who will have a second year man in Yakupov on one side and hopefully a good possession winger on the other side – to improve next year, though as with JVR and Perron, those improvements should be measured in single digit percentages.

          • DSF

            Not much has changed from their draft year 2007 surprisingly . JVR went NBR.2 , Gagner we lucked out on at 6 because of his size , Voracek went 7th whom we also coveted , Perron went surprisingly 26th and Pacioretti one after Riley @22 I believe . All good players except for Riley .

        • DSF

          I didn’t forget about playoff games, I just didn’t consider it relevant to the discussion since you didn’t include those games in your PPG rates from your original post.

          As for JVR breaking out, you could be right, but it could also be just as much a mirage as his 2010/11 playoff run where he scored 7 goals in 11 games, only to have a mediocre 11/12 season followed by a poor playoffs. IMO taking playoff scoring rates and using it as a predictor for future career success is rife with fool’s gold. Fernando Pisani should’ve taught us that much.

          Perron could see improved scoring rates with Rattie, though I wouldn’t be counting on him quite yet…let’s see how he handles playing against men vs. kids 2-3 years younger than himself before counting on him to boost anyone’s scoring rates.

          As for Tarasenko, a full season from him will certainly help Perron…but I’m thinking a full season from Yakupov will help out Gagner every bit as much, if not more so. And if the Oilers draft Nichushkin, who knows what’ll happen.

          All in all, I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree, and we’ll see how things play out. If you end up being right, I’ll certainly commend you for it.

  • huskamania

    What I am saying it’s a lot to give up Logan wasn’t involved in your original post. I think Barkov will be good but if he was exceptional he would be in the top two conversation. Just my thinking if he was a franchise player I would agree. I have seen Sam fight bigger guys and his heart is such a huge thing to have on a team just don’t want to dismiss all the other things he adds besides size. Let’s just hope we can get good pick or if Sam is traded we get over trade value for him and not have to give other assets that haven’t had a chance. Go Oil

  • huskamania

    Gagner and two second round picks for Crosby or Malkin . Maybe Gagner and one second round pick for Weber ? Lets get down to business here . Gagner as safe as Krueger , if the price is right !

  • DSF

    Here’s a rumour from the Twitterverse tonight that could rock the draft.

    Kris Letang to Toronto for a 1st round pick, a roster player and a prospect.

    Perhaps Toronto’s 1st this year (Pittsburgh doesn’t have one), Jake Gardiner and a Marlie.

    • DSF

      For some reason I don’t feel that is enough. Staal got 8th overall, Sutter (roster player) and Dumoulin (an A prospect). I don’t doubt Toronto made that offer, but I think a team like Carolina could do better:

      Gleason, 5th overall, Rask for Letang.

      Haven’t checked cap geek though

      • DSF

        Gleason has nowhere near the value that Gardiner does.

        Gleason was the #5 defenseman on the Carolina team by TOI/G.

        And, for the cap strapped Penguins, Gardiner at $1.1M would be much, much more attractive than Gleason at $4M.

  • MacTavish is going “balls out” at this draft!!

    I would not be surprised if the Oilers are not picking at least 5th.

    I’m calling 2 picks in the first round!

    I’m calling at least two trades

    One “Wow” factor trade!….so three trades total!


  • DSF

    Whitney , Horcoff , Hemsky apparently gone or going -not to mention all the others . What have we replaced them all with ? Any upgrades or personnel to fill their assets no matter how vast or small ? We did this only a few years ago and created monster holes that still remain . Just don’t throw away your assets no matter how small for more liabilities .

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Even with Briere and Bryzgalov off the books, Holmgren still looks like he has work to do.

    Be more than happy to take Talbot and Hartnell off their hands for Nick Schultz and a second rounder.

  • DSF

    The 2007 draft was maybe our worse draft season if it were not for Gagner . Time to fix that now and get at least 2 we should have drafted . Plante and Riley picks were same type of reaching as Jankowski was for Flames last year . Gagner that draft year had accumulated in his junior career Games 414 , G-91-A-167 ,Pts.258 -P.I.M.surprisingly 203 second only to D.Perron .

    D.Perron , the one I thought for sure we would take after Gagner never came , much to my chagrin . He went 26th after the likes of Plante and doling out plenty to move down for wasted pick Riley . Perron 340-114-198-232 (tops in first round despite only playing 340games and being the most dynamic player in Memorial Cup with J.Bernier) .

    I’d also like to get the NBR.11 pick that year Brandon Sutter . Those gaffes really set the Oilers back and harkened the tailspin we are still trying to overcome . M.Pacioretti nbrs. whom we let go to take Riley was 246-68-85-153-170P.I.M. Man , did we ever screw up with other two picks in round one .

  • While Couture, Kane, and Pacioretty are all guys I’d rather have over Gagner, I much prefer him over JVR and Perron. Gags was a fair pick and hasn’t really disappointed relative to his draft class.

    • DSF

      Kanes in a class by himself , the rest are pretty close to even and the case can be made that Gagner may be the best of the lot beyond Kane . They are all good players , to bad we only have one of them .