MAKE THE CALL

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

TOP 3F ON PP

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

Dan Marr of Central Scouting gave Bennett a tremendous endorsement

  • “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

top 3f at evens

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?

kunis gif

    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.

    • BC BOY

      If and I say If the Oilers do not trade their top pick and/or package assets during the coming draft in exchange for immediate help in the form of a huge and top pairing defenseman this will prove without any doubt that this organization is not interested in becoming competitive as soon as possible, is not dedicated to rebuilding and disregard their fan base.

    • No problem drafting Bennet. That being said is his size going to hinder his play?Sure he is a bull dog but does he have the strength to get around 6’3 220 pound dmen or get to the middle of the ice? His style of game also has risk of injury.

      Please read this quote from corey clouston on draisaitls complete level:

      Quote from Raider’s head coach Cory Clouston:
      “I have no idea where that would come from,” Clouston said. “I don’t know where that would have started. I don’t sugar coat things. Leon is a great kid, he’s fun to coach, he’s a guy who shows up at the rink, he’s focused, he’s like any other 18 year-old. There’s obviously areas he has to improve on but that’s kind of the fun thing about it. We saw him at the start of the year where he was, I’m not going to say he was one-dimensional but he was not as multi-dimensional as he sure ended up at the end of the season. That to me has a lot to do with his attitude, the guys really liked him, he loves doing extra work after practice and often he’d come in and instead of the coaches going to him, he’d show a lot of initiative coming to us and saying, he brought up the power play, can I look at power play video, can I look at 5-on-5 stuff? We utilized him on the penalty kill so he had quite a bit to learn, a big learning curve on the penalty kill so I would have no idea where those rumours would start and that’s the furthest thing from the truth.”

      Nuff said

        • True, it is bad asset management.

          But this isn’t the stock market, it’s a freakin hockey team and the top six is in bad shape and so is the back end. Just because you are selling low and buying high does not mean you aren’t improving your team.

          Look at the Nash deal. Everyone laughed at the return for a cornerstone player. Anisimov, Dubinsky, a D prospect playing in the minors and the 21st overall pick. That was supposedly “terrible asset management”. BUt it also got Nash’s contract off the books allowing columbus to grab some much needed free agents. They are now in the play offs and we aren’t.

          Mac T does not have a lot of moves to make in order to make this team better. So no matter what he does, it’s probably not going to be categorized as “good asset management”. And seriously if that’s holding him back from making this team better, then I hope his term as GM is short.

          Ha! I bet you though the Perron deal was bad asset management.

    • “Oh, and there is a long tradition of hyping up Edmonton prospects. Until they actually make it to the NHL and make a difference, I have a hard time believing in prospects. Look at Lander. The kid dominates in the AHL but just can’t put it together at the NHL level.

      We have had a parade of prospects like this. I’m happy he’s doing great, but until he does great on the Oilers, I’m on the look out for the immediate upgrades.”

      Definitely agree, I’d toss the pick for immediate help on the backend too, but this guy will be great.

      Highlights from this season: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkR-F14cK1Y

      • I’ll admit, he does look tough to push off the puck.

        And honestly, I really think it would be difficult to screw this pick up. Maybe Ekblad falls to third, and we take him, or we get one of the 3 centers which is also an area of need for the Oilers.

        Either way, we are getting a really good player.

        Depending on what they can get for Gagner, I think a center might help make the team better next year.

        But Ekblad could be our cornerstone defender, and help make up a formidable top pairing.

    • How soon we forget. 2009 Magnus Paajarvi-Svenson drafted 10th by Oilers IN 2009. 6 ft 3in at 210 and has 32 goals and 40penalty minutes after 218 games. Size must have heart and willingness to play hard and Bennett has proved that while Driastl still unproven. The worst thing that an Oiler fan is Calgary picks Bennett and he becomes the Star and Driastl becomes another Jason Bosignore

    • Quicksilver ballet

      macT in his press conference said he’s really focusing on character guys. Seems like Bennet is skilled and has some serious passion. If macT has to pick between size or character I think he goes character. My vote is Bennet and I think it’s macTs as well.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I’m definitely confused and torn on both Bennett and Draisaitl. Initially I figured Draisaitl all the way, hes got size, he can score and has all the right tools the Oilers desperately need in their top 6.

      However, the more I read and hear about Sam Bennett the more I’m convinced he would be our guy. His PIMs alone says he’s got a mean competitive streak in him, he’s got sick hands and Bob Mckenzie stated Bennett is the most complete overall C in the draft. If we’re bringing in a player to slot in at 2C we’re going to need someone whose a scoring threat just as much as them being defensively responsible.

      End of the day when it comes to the draft you don’t draft based on need you draft BPA. Bennett is projected at #3 overall so my vote is for Sam Bennett.

      • I know i’ve been watching too much nfl when I start thinking about needs vs. BPA, but we already have a sam bennett.

        Greg Chase (centre):

        2013-14 Regular Season Calgary Hitmen GP70 G35 A50 P85 +-29 PIM83

        6’0, 204lbs.

        I really don’t see why we would pass up a beast down the middle, that is, if ekblad is taken.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          I love your thinking but why don’t you mention that we have big centres in Yakimov and another big centre in Khaira. Both of these guys are huge, so to be fair to the rest of the league we should forfeit our picks because we don’t need them.

      • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

        If Bennett is what everyone here thinks he is….then there’s no way he should be there at the third pick…if he’s all the things you say he is why wouldn’t you…and every other team, take him in front of Reinhart?

    • My take: Ekblad if available. The Oil have a nice stable of up and comers on the back end. Keep the best, trade bait what’s left. Otherwise, my vote is absolutely clear – Sam (Doug Gilmour v 2.0) Bennett – welcome to Edmonton!!

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      Calgary absolutely cannot get Bennett. Monahan and Bennett would give us Oil fans hernias every BoA for the next ten years.

      If Ekblad is there, nab him. If it’s down to Bennett or someone else, Bennett all day long. Reinhart or Leon, take Leon.

      My priority list:

      Ekblad, Bennett, Ze German, Reinhart

      • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

        I have read many comments like yours where Oilers fans appear to be more concerned about what Bennett would do for the Flames than what is best for the Oilers. Reminder…the Oilers have been rebuilding for eight years now and the roster is full of 1st overalls of the Sam Bennett mold.

        Other than last year the Flames have been drafting no lower than 15th overall and have young talent on the roster that are mainly 4th or 5th round selections. They are now easily projected to make the playoffs in the 2016 season after 1 year of rebuild.

        Don’t worry about the Flames……..Get 1-2 established defenseman and 1-2 power forwards. Yes you will need to trade 1-2 of your first overalls!

        • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

          IMO I agree the team dynamic and culture of the Oilers has to change, which means trading a couple of the core to get quality pieces that bring size, grit and do-or-die tenacity to mix with speed and skill.

          The D are still 3-4 years away and we really need a couple quality power forwards. Yak and Ebs provide great trade bait for the right team!

          However to date MacT has been gun-shy about making the major deals he talked about to improve this team so I rather doubt anything is going to happen.

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      People seem to forget that Tim Murray was apart of Ottawa that drafted zibenajad who bennet is somewhat compared too.

      Oilers problem is not scoring off the rush which it seems bennet mainly does, it’s offensive zone pressure and cycling against the big pacific boys. Who would help? Perhaps draisaitl

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      The Oilers are full of Sam Bennett’s so as a Flames fan I say go ahead and draft him. I have been reading all the comments and not one Oiler fan has mentioned Dal Colle. He is turculent has size and soft hands and the Flames covet him. They also like Leon for the same reasons MacT likes him…size and skill!

      I agree with 2 ON fans who suggest they trade the pick for some established defensive help. Of course Sam Bennett will not make any kind of impact for 3-4 years so enjoy your bottom 5 finishes in the future Oiler fans>

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      Chambers is right that we should worry about our team, not the Flames. But I disagree with trading any first overalls, unless we are following the NY Islanders rebuild model.

      • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

        I think you are 2-3 players from turning this disaster around. Oilers will never get the quality player required to do this without giving up some of your first overalls.

        In my view the only untradeable player you have is TH.

        • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

          Jason Gregor posted an article here a while back about teams trading their first overalls. His examples, perhaps selective, perhaps not, seemed to indicate the teams trading the first overall always lost the trade.

          Can you think of any examples to counter this conclusion? Not trying to be a jerk, just genuinely interested.

    • 2004Z06

      It makes me sick to my stomach that we are even having this conversation again. Lets draft another small, skilled forward….We need more of those. Worked out well so far right? Draisaitl may not be “truculent” but the scouting reports say he protects the puck well. When is the last time you heard that about any Oiler?

      He doesn’t need to be nasty, he just needs to be able to protect the puck and lean on guys.

      At the end of the day, it is irrelevant anyway. This team does not need any more draft picks, we need NHL players!

      Everyone here saying to keep the pick must be a fan of the Islander model. Perpetual rebuild!!

      Oh and for those making comparisons to guys that played the game 20+ years ago…You do realize that the game has completely changed since then? The average size of a guy in the NHL today is 3 inches and 20 lbs bigger than in Gilmours era. Apples to oranges folks. Stop living in the past.