Being an Oiler fan means never being completely happy. For many Edmonton fans, the draft has turned from Reinhart versus Ekblad at the top of the draft to Draisaitl versus Bennett at number three. Is there a reason to worry and fret? OF COURSE there is!
ABOUT SAM BENNETT
Make no mistake, this Sam Bennett fellow is going to be a worthy NHL player. Here’s a few nice things that have been said about him:
Chris Edwards, Central Scouting
“Bennett has not only been very noticeable but extremely effective
every shift of every game so far this season. His puckhandling and playmaking are excellent and he has one of the
best shots in this year’s draft class. He has scored several goals from the high slot and coming in off the wing and has been very effective on the power play.”
That’s a very nice scouting report. Bennett doesn’t take a shift off and he’s effective in all situations, including the power play.
THE BIG THREE C’S ON THE POWER PLAY
Bennett led his team in power-play goals this season, and that assist total was also tops on Kingston. Those are quality totals, but he ranks third among the top-ranked centermen in this year’s draft. There’s some concern over adopting these numbers as gospel, because we don’t know how much time these kids actually played with the man advantage.
As much as we know, Bennett is the number three offensive center with the man advantage.
JONATHAN TOEWS TYPE CAREER
- “There are guys who elevate their game when it matters most, and you’re
looking to project which players will do that consistently at the next
level. The guys we
have at the top all are in that mold, but when we look at Sam Bennett we
see a guy who could potentially have a Jonathan Toews type of career.”
THE BIG THREE C’S EVEN STRENGTH
If we’re going to find Jonathan Toews in this draft, even strength scoring would be a nice place to start. Bennett does very well in this category, scoring more than one point-per-game at even strength.
Reinhart is (again) the better offensive player in the group, and I think the other two are pretty close in ability. So, you could make the case that ‘either or’ will be a good choice.
NO DAMN WAY!
It looks to me like an even race, but early returns from Oilers Nation have Bennett out in front due to truculence and the ability to play a physical game.
- Reinhart is 6.01, 183 skilled and not overly physical.
- Bennett is 6.0, 181 and physical. He has 118pims
- Draisaitl is 6.01, 209 and wins battles but is not truculent. He has 24pims
The Oilers, based on some reports, may have fallen in love with Draisaitl. Which is fine by me, I’m not a scout and happen to think Stu MacGregor and his band of frequent flyer scouts are doing well. This season alone we got a nice look at Martin Marincin and Oscar Klefbom, among others. We eagerly await the arrival of Darnell Nurse and the signing of Dillon Simpson and on it goes.
The Oilers, once again, have to get it right. Why? Because Calgary picks fourth! If the Oilers choose Draisaitl and Bennett ends up being the better man, there’s going to be hell to pay. If it goes the other way? Well, at least the fanbase was happy on draft day.
This is the scenario that played out in the Nail Yakupov draft, and everyone is still happy about that one.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Suddenly, the entry draft is a landmine. What should the Oilers do? Well, they’re unlikely to ask my advice, but here it is anyway.
Trust your scouts. Pick the best player. Screw the politics of the moment and man up.
Make the call.