Ten years ago, on a cold dark night, the Edmonton Oilers chose poorly in a deep, deep draft. It has cost them for a decade, as other teams gathered one, two even three important parts of their foundation while the Oilers watched their picks fade away.

There are some saying the 2013 entry draft is the strongest since 2003. A repeat of the performance of one decade ago must be avoided at all costs.


It is a credit to the OilersNation fanbase that I don’t need to spend much time on 2003–we all know the story. However, a brief summary is in order:

  • The Oilers traded down in the first round, dealing #17 (Lou Lamoriello would select Zack Parise) for #22 (Marc Pouliot, who contracted everything but polio after being drafted) and #68 (Jean-Francois Jacques, who skated like the wind but spent his pro career far away from the puck–I think he had some kind of allergy to rubber). Not only did they miss Parise, but Ryan Getlzaf, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards and Corey Perry would also be selected in this first round). "We didn’t even have a name tag for him because we didn’t think he’d be there" said Lamoriello about Parise.
  • The Oilers chose Colin McDonald from a second tier USA league (EJHL) with the 51st selection. Chicago picked Corey Crawford with the next selection and St. Louis chose David Backes 11 picks later.
  • Mike Comrie’s situation was months from being resolved.
  • Deep in the 2003 draft, 214th overall, came the good news of the day: Kyle Brodziak, a player Oilers scout Lorne Davis wanted to draft a year earlier, finally became an Oiler.


Let’s review the results of the 2003 draft:

  • #22 C Marc Pouliot (192, 21-36-57)
  • #51 R Colin McDonald (52, 8-10-18)
  • #68 L J-F Jacques (166, 9-8-17)

This year, Edmonton once again has three picks in the first two rounds and one hopes they’ll do miles better.


  • #37 overall. The Favorite–C Ryan Hartman. Redline loves him too, saying that he’s a real ‘prick’ to play against. Certainly has enough skill to play on a skill line moving forward.
  • #37 overall. The Trending Player–D Chris Bigras, Corey Pronman says:


  • #56 overall. The Favorite–G Tristan Jarry. They know the player, his SP is all-world and he is absolutely one of the best goaltenders available in the draft. Hard to argue against this selection (outside of ‘draft for need’).
  • #56 overall. The Trending Player–R Michael McCarron. Big PF type, brother of Oilers pick from a year ago (John McCarron) and Prongman tells us his story:


We don’t know the Oilers list–I think there’s a very good chance that Edmonton deals #7 overall based on reports (the most recent being a Bob McKenzie tweet from last night). The key item is make those picks count. Stu MacGregor and his crew have three bullets early (currently) and need to make them count.

I’m absolutely certain they have something more sophisticated than "I love redheads" as a scouting report, and am confident they’ll deliver quality. That 2003 draft can serve as a cautionary tale, though. Trust your board, examine injury history, understand tier 2 is tier 2 and perhaps the fastest, biggest guy should also be skilled too.

We’re three weeks away. It’s going to be a thrill ride this summer, with the entry draft the top of the mountain.

  • stretch14

    This is why you don’t trade down! Look at all the all-stars scattered around MAP in that ’03 draft. And did the pick we acquired to trade down turn into anything? Nope.

    Trade the pick for a significant roster player or take the BPA on your list at #7. Whether that be Monahan, Nurse, Lindholm or whoever else. Don’t try and get all cute just to bugger things up again trying to prove you’re the smartest guys on the draft floor.

    • Stupendous Man

      The problem wasn’t trading down . . . the problem was trading down and not choosing Richards, Kesler or Perry over Pouliot. There are too many guys in this year’s draft that exactly fit the bill of the type of player the Oilers have been needing/coveting for years for the Oilers not to trade down. These types of players (skill/size/grit combinations) are extremely hard to acquire outside the draft (especially for a market like Edmonton in this day and age of no trade clauses). They were obligated to take BPA with the first overall pick in recent years. Unlike previous drafts — where there was only one Samuelsson or one McNeill — there are plenty of options for the Oilers here without having to resort to a reach pick. Frankly, I’m looking forward to the Oilers finally being able to take the guys they truly want instead of the players they’re supposed to take.

  • Mark-LW

    This strategy sounds too much like 2003 for my liking.

    If you go by the theory that the winner of the trade is the one with the best player (worked well for Pollock), then it would be the holder of the 7th pick who would have the best player.

    That is assuming the Oilers don’t get a >27 year-old top six forward or top-four d-man in the deal to trade back, and I don’t see that happening.

  • Lowetide

    oilgreg: I prefer Lazar to Horvat as well, but wonder if the organization feels the same way. I think they could deal down to #13 and get one or the other, and that may be exactly what happens.

    • Mark-LW

      This sounds strategy sounds too much like 2003 for my liking.

      If you by the theory that the winner of the trade is the one with the best player (worked well for Pollock), then it would be the holder of the 7th pick who would have the best player.

      That is assuming the Oilers don’t get a >27 year-old top six forward or top-four d-man in the deal to trade back, and I don’t see that happening.

      • Supernova

        I like Button’s comments on Horvat, in that he can most likely play anywhere on your forward line up aside from your top line. Also Horvat has to date played a lot more “true Center” then Lazar. Lazar is also a low risk pick, although more likely to end up as a wing than as a Center but probably has a higher goal scoring upside. Also the slight difference between A left shot and a right shot.

        If its me and I have the choice between the two of them ( at a lower pick like 13) I go with Horvat. But would be pleased with either at a lower pick. This type of player is exactly what the oilers where missing this year. They are the Dubinsky types of the future.

        • Not to jump in here but I completely agree with this.

          I said this prior to the MEM cup, watch Horvat vs Lazar then tell me who’s better, I got to watch Horvat a lot.

          Lazar will be a RW, Horvat is a shut down center, a Horcoff 2.0 with an edge.

          Not only that Horvat is a idiot savant in the face off circle….amazing.

          Except Horvat will be gone before 13.

          • Supernova

            I would agree that Horvat is most likely gone by 13 as well.

            I think if you look at the draft from where Buffalo sits, they will be in on either Lazar or Horvat. They too want a Center with size just like Edmonton, after years of drafting smaller FWD’s they also want to get bigger. The difference is their two best young FWD’s are Grigerenko and Girgensons are Centers with decent size. In saying this they might be even more desperate to move up then edmonton to get a true top line talent or even Monahan. They also have quality picks this year to convince a team to move down.

            I really think the oilers should go full out for Barkov, failing that I would prepare to move back a few picks and try to grab one of Horvat or Lazar and a late first early 2 and pick up a Hartman or Rychel.

            In saying that I truly think MacT will be outright trading the pick for immediate help.

          • Well, I like your thinking my good friend! I couldn’t have said that better.

            Everything you just said.

            Buffalo is a worry.

            I’m afraid Buffalo scoops the Oilers too, genuine fear.

            That’s why I have to think the Oilers have to be ultra aggressive, people may not like what goes out the door.

            Cost of doing business.

          • More writing this to say I get where you were coming from with your last post in the Horcoff to a contender thread…

            I will say that the 2nd last line there is why I like MacTavish, as he seems like he’ll be aggressive and not be scared to upset the fanbase with every little tweak he does.

            Actions do speak louder than words though, but I think MacT will live up to this boldness he speaks of.. just hopefully it pays off.

            On another note, Bob Stauffer tweeted that the Oilers are going to have a meeting with the Pro Scouts. This has been a huge area of weakness… I am hoping for some new minds in here, and some old minds out.. at least with the north american group.

          • Ya, I agreed with your last post on the other thread too, I’m just going to wait and see, not making my mind up till training camp.

            However, I can agree that he has been aggressive in the approach and his word are encouraging.

            I think it’s time the pro-scouts got new blood.

            I sure would like that Barkov though! Having said that, I’m good if a like player comes via trade.

  • TayLordBalls

    I saw Horvat play in Saskatoon, and came away under-impressed. In comparing him and Lazar, I would say Lazar;
    1. Is much faster (ie. much quicker getting to the d-men on the forcheck).

    2. Has a higher offensive ceiling. Yes, Horvat did score plenty this year, but he also was playing with a pretty good set-up guy).

    3. Is harder to play against. While Horvat is certainly tough to knock off the puck, it is Lazar who is the one most likely to finish his checks.

    I hope the Oilers DO NOT trade back in the draft, but if they do, it should be Lazar and not Horvat that is the target.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Prick, now there’s a word not heard in these part for a lot of years when it comes to describing Oiler players.

    Time to put the pirate gear in the next couple weeks and jump onto someone else’s ship to rape, pillage and plunder. Tallon, Yzerman, Poile and Rutherford should all be getting stalked by the Oilers by now.

    To heck with all these plan B guys the Oilers figure they can get. Sell the farm and aim for MacKinnon/Barkov and Darnell Nurse. Edmonton can still take a shot at the usual suspects come July 5th.

    • Wax Man Riley

      Which farm are we selling?

      Hall? Eberle? I doubt a package of anything we have can get a #1 or #2 pick.

      Take BPA. scour free agency, Europe, and trades.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Anyone not part of the fab 5. There has to be something there, along with the 7th selection, that would allow them to move up a few spots.

        Think MacTavish has a shine on for MacKinnon. Here’s to hoping he’s a motivated buyer at the draft in a couple weeks.

        • Here’s hoping he does Quick, for three years we’ve been telling them to sell the farm and move up, get another pick inside the top 5.

          This IS the year to sell the farm, get rid of everything not nailed down.

          Barkov or MacKinnon with a side order of Horvat would do us fine thank you!

      • Why do you have assume Hall – Eberle or any of the kids?

        Would the 7th, Petry and Paajarvi move you up?

        Would Gagner and Marincin move you up?

        Would Smid , Hemsky and Horcoff move you up?

        Would Smid and 2014 first move you up.

        Not that I would do any of those trades, but here’s the thing.

        Petry,Smid, Gagner, Hemsky,Horcoff have all been mentioned to be available to move.

        I’m seriously sceptical right now that the Oilers could make a coherent sentence but IF MacTavish is serious about improving the team then why not move up a secure a elite center?

        Or at least trade for one.

        Time will tell, lots of holes to fill.