matty draft

The Edmonton Oilers didn’t win the draft lottery, and that’s a news story. The club has had three number one overall selections in recent seasons and had a good shot at another, but the Florida Panthers won the day and are now on the clock. Does it change the Oilers plans? Yes. And not really.


Most Oiler fans probably feel the team’s chances at Aaron Ekblad are gone now, but the draft is a tricky item. Remember Seth Jones one year ago? Fell all the way to Memphis Nashville, and it could happen again.

drance ekblad


There are three centermen available, and the Oilers will get a crack at least one of them on draft day. We compared their even scoring and their power-play production early in the year.


top 3f at evens

Reinhart is the best offensive player at even strength, but this is close. I’d say all three of these players are going to have enough ability to play top 6F in the NHL. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, but there were questions about Draisaitl’s offense (and Bennett’s too) and this graph addresses those concerns.



Interesting. We don’t have TOI totals, but the two WHL kids appear to be either more effective or more fortunate than Bennett. That doesn’t mean they are better players—coaches make decisions based on their rosters and Bennett may have been used in a secondary manner.


gregor reinhart

Yes. If, as Jason Gregor suggests, Florida takes Reinhart #1 overall, Buffalo may take the big defender. However, they have an impressive group of young defensemen either in the NHL (Myers, the dancing McCabes, Pysyk) or on the way (Zadorov, Ristolainen).

It isn’t a slam dunk the Sabres take Ekblad.



If you’re heading to Vegas, bet Leoni.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Take Ekblad if he’s there. I like Leon’s size, but I like Bennett’s tenacity. If Ekblad gets picked, I have no clue who they should take.

  • Anton CP

    The harshness on Yakupov is very over emphesized. Let’s be honest, we won’t make the playoffs next year but the year after is not out of the question. Yes, Yakupov is more raw than most 1st overals in most recent years. However, his skill is incredible and his ceiling is higher than any other player on this oilers team and this includes 2 other first overals. If we look at him as a prospect we can say that hey, if we bring this guy along right, he could be an amazing player. That job is up to Dallas Eakins. It is his job to bring yakupov a game full circle, and when he does I believe we will be marvelling in the in flexible player we have. The guy has so much drive intensity love and care for the game that his effort cannot be questioned. With that type of effort, a guy is going to make strides.
    In regards to the draft, we know that Sam Reinhart is gone and I do believe we need to draft ekblad if he’s available. However, I seem ever so tempted to take either Bennet or Draistl. We all know their games. Bennet is ferocious on the attack and grinds despite his size with a great touch with the puck (reminds me of a larger, more skilled Gallagher. And I love that guy). Then Leon is a large puck controlling centerman with a great touch with the puck and wicked shot. For me the decision will come at the combine when true height and weight is shown as well as the fitness level of these athletes. If Leon lacks in fitness I’ll probably take Bennet, but if Bennet is smaller than he is said to be at 6’1/2″ and 182lbs I take Leon.

    Just my take on things.

    Ps. I agree. Yakupov is in this draft class he still goes #1.

    • TKB2677

      Who’s going to be big enough to get to the front of the net where most of the goals are scored or battle physically with the likes of a Kopitar, Getzlaf, etc if the Oilers add another barely 6ft, maybe 200lb with equipment on when he turns 23 forward to their already small line up?

      Perron, Yakupov, Eberle are all under 6ft and all under 200lbs. Perron and Eberle are in their low 20’s, they aren’t getting any bigger. Yak is 185 right now, he MIGHT add another 10 to his frame.
      Nuge is 6’1, 180 at 20. He might add another 10lbs.

      There is 4 out of your top 6 guys already. Hall is 6’1, 201 at 22. Could he add maybe another 5 lbs?

      So there’s 5 out of 6 of your top 6. Bennett is 6ft, 180. So what’s realistic? Another 15 lbs, MAYBE 20. Who’s battling in the corners? Who’s winning puck battles against 225lbs Dmen? Who’s standing in front of the net and actually keeping that posiiton for longer than 1 second? Who’s actually getting to the front of the net with the puck? You can’t score all your goals on the rush. At some point you have to win puck battles and a 225lb Dmen or other forward is going to win WAY MORE battles than a guy that’s barely 200. That’s physics people!!

      What is easier to do? Draft an already 6’1 1/2, 208lb at 18 year old second line center that costs you nothing and trade for 1 more bigger winger or try and trade for 2 bigger players? Eberle scored 28 goals and 65pts. What do you think it will cost to get a bigger player that can score that much? Eberle + more. Perron is similar. He scored 28 goals, 57 pts. Same problem as Eberle.

  • Bob Cobb

    You know who else was a big Center, not overly physical, that could skate, from Prince Albert, Mike Modano. I’m not saying Draisaitl is Modano but if the ownership in Prince Albert got it right once, I’d take that as a good sign on Draisaitl and they are roughly the same size.

    Than again what do I know after all it is all speculation at this point.

  • Harry2

    The better question is who is the best two way player, since the organization, MacT and Easkins want 2 way players.

    I fear if we draft the best of the offencive players, they are going to get frustrated like Nail.

    Our Scotting and our Coach/GM need to be on the same page on who we are looking for in a player, than find that player in the draft.

    Pick the best talent should always be the best play, however when that player does not fit in what the GM/Coach wants, whats the point.

  • OilersDynasty

    Saw this trade idea posted on Lowetides twitter from a person:

    To EDM
    Josh Bailey
    NYI 5th overall pick 2014

    To NYI
    Sam Gagner
    EDM 2015 1st round pick

    To EDM
    FLA 1st overall pick 2014

    To FLA
    EDM 3rd overall pick 2014
    NYI 5th overall pick 2014

    It’s intriguing. What do you guys think?

    • Sorensenator

      29 other teams are just waiting for Edmonton’s garbage players for quality players in return…hahahah!

      Your logic is no different than 6 rings and MacT. Expect to obtain better players without giving up any of your first overalls. What a joke. In fact it is becoming obvious the Oiler 1st overalls appear to have little market value. They have lost their confidence, are overpaid (gap contracts avoided by management) and they have a losing culture. They simply do not know how to win.

      Keep dreaming..another 5 years of bottom 5 finishes at a minimum!

      • Anton CP

        The only joke is Oilers fans sense of reality, do you even know what bridge contracts mean ? So lets say Taylor Hall gets a “bridge deal” for 2 years at what 4.5 or 5 mill and then have to pay him 8 or 9 mill per year for 7 years, yes because that makes so much sense, and you can use that for eberle as well, especially after the Clarkson signing, yay we pay Jordan (70 – 75 point player) 4.5 mill for 2 years ohhh wait because of Clarkson among others we will have to pay him 7 – 8 mill for 7 years, yes that makes so much sense.

        As well if you think there are not 29 other gms that would want any of the “top” picks then I question your knowledge.

        But I know your response I am drinking the kool aid because I actually use common sense.

  • I can’t speak to Bennett, but I can say Draisaitl played generally with Dakota Conroy on his right wing and throughout the season usually Carson Perreaux or Chance Braid on his left from what I saw. Once Prince Albert added Valcourt from Saskatoon he played with Draisaitl some… but it was on and off from what I saw.

    In saying that they weren’t hugely high end wingers. Conroy was good enough to be a point per game guy and score 30 goals. However, he was very inconsistent and I think got a huge boost from who he was playing with. Perreaux and Braid are both basically physical grinders. Draisaitl was clearly the one carrying the water on the line. The play started with him and the puck was usually on his stick.

    Reinhart meanwhile has had strong and skilled linemates with Kootenay. He is still clearly the best player on his team, but he is surrounded by more skill on his line than Draisaitl was without a doubt.

    I’m not saying that puts Draisaitl about Reinhart because Reinhart because there are a million factors in making decisions like that. I’m just saying Reinhart has had better support on his line.

    The other side of that is Draisaitl has Josh Morrissey to play with on D and Kootenay doesn’t have anyone near that talented offensively on their back end.


    First I wish to state that the Oilers need Eckblad most when considering the four to five top prospects in 2014. I say that the Oilers definitely take him in a flash at #4 myself or make a deal without offering up a stupid package with Florida.

    Concerning the present open-minded idea of drafting Sam Reinhart at #3 if he’s there, I have seen NHL teams in the past…(aka the Oilers)…pick draft prospects such as Pouliot becuase they scored tons of points on their junior team and were stars.

    While he is ripping it up for Kootenay, Reinhart plays with great linemates on a very good junior team just as Pouliot once did alongside a super kid named Crosby.

    We all know how Pouliot turned out.

    Once Eckblad is gone (if he is by #3) the Oil should hold up not for Bennett or reinhart…but go for the big Draisaitl as I believe he is more like a Joe Thornton type guy and this is an excellent second line tpye centre to play with anyone of/or all.. of Hall, Ebs, Perron, Yakupov. Him and Yak could become a dynamic duo alone with his passing and strength to set up Yak’s awesome shot.

    That being said, the Oilers have until July 1st (I believe) to trade Gagner before his no trade for one yr kicks in. Unless the Oilers make him a third line winger to play with Gordon…. Put him and some prospects in a package for a very good top 4 defenceman to help Ference bring along and teach the kids (Petry, Schultz, Marancin, Klefbom, Nurse).

    So…..If Eckblad’s gone then…(as armchair GM)…Draisaitl is the next one for the Oilers.

    • Jordan1126

      im pretty sure pouliot only played with crosby during his final junior year, and if i recall correctly this was after he was drafted by the Oilers? If thats the case there is no relation.

  • HockeyYoda

    I think from reading reports that the Oilers would take in order.

    1. Ekblad

    2. Draisaitl

    3. Bennett

    4. Reinhart but only if they trade Yakupov or Eberle.
    Reinhart is too similar to what Oilers have already.

  • Zarny

    You can’t help but laugh that some think the answer is another 18 y/o after spending all season dissecting the deficiencies of kids drafted 1st overall.

    This is not a high-end draft year. Ekblad, Reinhart, Bennett, Draisaitl…none of them are projected to be generational talents. None are compared to McDavid or Eichel next year. None of them have Hall’s pedigree. Nuge and Yakupov were as good or better prospects than all of them.

    Plan A should be to trade the pick. Package it with Klefbom, Marincin, Schultz, Yak, Eberle or whoever is needed to bring in players ready to play now…not in 3-5 years. The only untouchable should be Hall.

    And yes, whoever the Oilers trade away will likely be a very good NHL player. So what? That’s fine.

    The Kings traded away Schenn, Simmonds and Jack Johnson to get Carter and Richards and now they have a Cup. That is how MacT has to think. It doesn’t matter if Klefbom or Marincin become good NHLers if we keep the other, have Nurse and get someone like Coburn or Myers back.

    And enough with the silly suggestions that Edm won’t get anything for their assets. NJ got Cory Schneider for the 9th overall pick last year and the Oilers are sitting on the 3rd pick. Dallas got Seguin, Peverley and a prospect for Eriksson and prospects Reilly Smith, Joe Morrow and Matt Fraser.

    Other GM’s don’t care how long Edm has missed the playoffs or how many Oiler fans have wet their pants and think the sky is falling. If you offer assets they will listen. Full stop.

  • as a grown man who only follows NHL hockey, i could care less which teenager the Oilers draft. It’s unlikely that the kid they draft this summer is going to be the difference between 15th place and 8th place in the Western conference. That change will come from within, and from a combination of trade/free agency.

  • @Jordon1126

    I just checked and I do stand corrected …. Pouliot did play with Crosby in final yr after drafted. Thanks for pointing that out.

    I just wanted to point out that if being in the position of choosing either of Renihart or Draisaitl, I think Draisaitl had the lesser type linemates to get points than Reinhart does.

    However, it will be very close with from whom to choose…. any of Eckblad, Reinhart, Bennett, or Draisaitl.

  • Building for the future is good.

    However, there comes a time when the present outweighs the future. MacT wants to keep, and build around 4 mentioned players. Surround these 4 guys with players that can play now, not three years from now.

  • A-Mc

    This is the first year where i’m actually nervous about what the selections might be at the draft. last year, it didnt really matter how things shook out, i was fairly certain we’d get nurse. But this year, it could go ANY which way. Eckblad and Draisaitl could go 1/2 based on size alone. It’s not likely (with Reinhart kicking so much arse) but it’s possible.

    Player tenacity is a great thing, but at this point i think the Oilers literally need size/weight. I love how Perron plays, but i would probably choose a bigger skilled guy over another guy like Perron. At some point, we need players that can’t be pushed around so easily and that comes with size; it doesn’t mean our big guy is a goon or plays rough. The other side of it is that often big guys are less susceptible to injury (Draisaitl hasn’t missed a game in 2 years, for example)

    All the top guys are quite good in their own way, but i would love for the Oiler selection to come into the league already being at or heavier than the League average and not coming in at 185 where we can all hope he eventually hits 200.

    205-215 as a starting point is excellent and i hope we get someone in there somewhere.

    • Stack Pad Save

      I feel the complete opposite. This is the year the Oilers can’t mess up by picking the best player available (cough Yakupov) and can actually take the player they need. 1 of Draisaitl, Bennet or Eckblad will be around. They are the player types the Oilers have a hole that needs to be filled….. Oilers need a second line center, as this season proved Gagner cannot be that person, maybe Bennet or Draisatle can be that person. The Oilers also have holes in their D corps, Eckblad will fill that role sooner than Nurse.

      • Sorensenator

        I agree completely.

        I would work backwards and start discussing now with other GM’s what they would want in a trade for the likes of a Weber (a top 1D or a two way 2C)

        Regardless of who they pick in the draft, they will not make a huge impact for the first couple years. The Oilers need experience NOW. The fans will not accept another year like the last 8.

        Except the top line of Hall, Eberle and the Nuge, Perron and Shultz, and the 2 goalies, all others are expandable.

        Trade the pick if need be, to land that 1st D or 2nd C. For the Oilers even to have a dream of making the playoffs next year, these are two crucial pieces that need to be in place before training camp.

  • bwar

    1. Sam Reinhart
    2. Aaron Ekblad
    3. Sam Bennett

    Oilers should end their first round scouting after those three. Draisaitl is a much bigger gamble than any of those three and should be completely removed from the conversation for the first round pick. Bennett should be the player that the Oilers are drooling over at #3 and if he gets grabbed earlier then the Oilers should still be ecstatic to get Reinhart or Ekblad. Don’t trade the pick, don’t gamble with the pick, just stick to the script and take one of the Sam’s or the D-man.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Trade this year’s 3rd overall plus Gagne to Buffalo for their next year’s first overall.

    Buffalo would then be picking 2nd, 3rd, and 5th (probably) in one draft giving them an awesome head start on a re-build.

    Then next year the oiler with their high chance of shiating the bed again, and buffalo in the same boat, we might have a chance at two of the top three in a crazy good draft,or maybe even get the top two guys!

  • The Last Big Bear

    Not to mention not every team has a Kevin Lowe… most teams can’t even stomach the thought of sucking a year longer than they have to. Getting 3 guys into development asap, shortens their re-build by a ways.

  • TKB2677

    Lots are writing we need a 2C, why is RNH the only choice for 1C?

    RNH is loaded with talent, but serious competition will make him better …



    Then Drisaital

    • Anton CP

      Wow!! Nugent isn’t even close to being a 2 c on any team in the league save for the oilers…

      I tried to write a big meaningful thing after that point, but nothing came.

      Put Nuge as a second center on LA, Loius, Chicago, or the ducks…
      I don’t see anything but negative.

  • Zarny

    I don’t understand the knock on Draisaitl that he is big but isn’t physical, I love hard checking players but to me Draisaitl uses his size for something that matters way more in a game then hits and that is protecting the puck. He is very strong coming off the boards and charging the net (exactly something the Oilers need). He is also just a strong player he doesn’t need to lay a guy out but if he can tie a man up in front of the Oilers net when backchecking then that is what is needed. He doesn’t need blazing speed because he can pass and let the wingers carry it in the zone. He can also retrieve pucks (the size does help) which is something the Oilers desperately need, especially on the PP.

    I am no expert but Draisaitl seems to be exactly what the Oilers need. I think id be willing to give up 10-15 individual points from him to Bennett if he can do the things from the first paragraph in the NHL.

  • Anton CP

    We live our lives in a world of suck thanks to to oilers performance.

    We get so used to ups and downs in performance, that we don’t even have a scale anymore.

    Every other team in the league loses their shiat after one year of what we consider “minor” issues.

    That was the most redundant thing I habe ever typed… I actually felt myself get 5 yearts older.