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.
MARC ANTOINE POULIOT
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.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
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?