The Edmonton Oilers may have a decision to make after all at this year’s entry draft. Aaron Ekblad may still be their choice, but a big German center who plays for Prince Albert is going to make the decision difficult.

matty twitter

Earlier in the month, Jim Matheson posted this on twitter, and I’ve been wondering about it ever since. Matheson is a connected newspaper guy and those connections run deep. So, let’s assume that the tweet comes from somewhere credible and there’s a chance Edmonton takes Draisaitl in front of Reinhart.

Is there a reason we can find? Why would Reinhart be behind the other two prospects, or Sam Bennett for that matter?


top 3f at evens

We’ll take a look at Ekblad (and compare him to last year’s blue) in an upcoming post. For now, let’s have a look at the three center’s at the top of this year’s draft. This is very close, and each of these players posted strong seasons in the season leading up to their draft. 


The Oilers (according to Matty) value Draisaitl more than Reinhart and Bennett. From the scouting reports, we know the following about these players:

  • Reinhart is 6.01, 183 according to the WHL website
  • Bennett is 6.0, 181 according to the OHL website.
  • Draisaitl is 6.01, 209 according to the WHL website.

So, if we’re looking for things that make Draisaitl stand out the extra 25 pounds stands out. Fair?



With the man advantage, Reinhart and Draisaitl appear to be very close. The two teams are similar offensively, so without knowing time on ice I’d have to assume the two men are equal offensive talents. Bennett doesn’t have the kind of boxcars Reinhart and Draisaitl do, but opportunity may have a lot to do with it.


good grief

The smart money is on Edmonton taking Aaron Ekblad. With the emergence of Leon Draisaitl as a viable option, I think there’s a chance the Oilers choose the big center instead. MacT would have to get a veteran center to bridge the time between Leon’s draft and NHL debut, but ‘building up the middle’ can be satisfied by selecting the Deutschland Dangler.

  • vetinari

    You can’t go wrong with any of those prospects, but with the centremen, you can look at it this way– Draisaitl is putting up the same numbers as the other centremen despite having a weight advantage over all of them.

    • The Real Scuba Steve

      I heard the same talk in months leading up to when we picked Nudge and Yak. There is no such thing as You can’t go wrong with any of those prospects.

  • TayLordBalls

    The last few games have been for player evaluations.

    The Oilers took their number 1 draft pick (Hall) and leading scorer the season before, then tried to turn him into a centre. That was a poor decision and the start of all the kaos to follow.

    Well nows the time to try something different.


    If Yak would agree, why not let him try centre? He has the smarts, abilities, drive, weight and size.

    That test would tell the team what they need further into the draft.

  • Craig1981

    I used to think the oilers just need to finish in the top 4 (ok, bottom 4) but if you look at all the scouting reports (there is a page that lists 10+ scouting groups) Bennet, rienhart, and ekbland are always top 3.

  • One of the mis-labelled columns in your PP chart highlights an important factor: age.

    Draisaitl – Oct 27, 1995

    Reinhart – Nov 6th, 1995

    Sam Bennett – June 20, 1996

    Bennett is a year younger than the rest. It would almost be fairer to compare his stats from next year to Draisaitl’s stats from this year. The german is the oldest, and should be out-producing Bennett by a mile. At least he made team Germany.

    I’m sure the smartest men in the room will make the right decision.

    • TKB2677

      Also besides age, Bennett has a mean streak and is scoring way more at Even Strength which to me is more impressive than all the PP points the other two get.

      My thoughts are fire all the scouts and just follow Bob Mckenzie’s draft guide, he has a great track record.

  • Neilio

    Ekblad all the way for me. Draft him and send him back to junior with nurse while we work on this dumpster fire.
    I find it interesting that one of the reasons that teams have cooled a bit on Ekblad is that he’s man-sized playing against teenagers. But when you apply that to the forwards it doesn’t matter? Draisaitl isn’t using his size to his advantage? Its not covering up holes in HIS game?
    Bennet is the smallest of the three and he puts up points while playing exactly the style of game that the Oilers need. He has room for improvement, because he will still need to fill out some.
    I’d hate to think that the Oilers are leaning towards Draisaitl solely because he has the size to step into the NHL right away. Because if there is one thing we’ve learned, rookies are NOT saviors.

  • I should ad that the Oilers reputedly took Yak because of Katz meddling.

    If that phenomenon still exists I don’t see how the Oilers pass on Sammy….. he’s just so damn cute. ;)) and that schooling of the Hitmen…. good grief.

  • Leon.

    The good….Lots of skill, big and strong. Protects the puck very well. Phenomenal passer who sees the ice beautifully. Pro style coaching in this year of junior.

    The bad.. plays soft, not a great skater, has a variant quality in his back checking and defensive disciplines. He improved this year under Clouston but has miles to go.

    Button says he is NHL ready and to be fair… this is the Oilers i.e.. the easiest team in the NHL to make… but I don’t see it. Then again.. in the context of the Oilers…. maybe.

    • TKB2677

      I don’t agree with the “soft” term. Just because you don’t try to put every guy thru the boards and beat the crap out of people doesn’t make you soft.
      Here’s a list of some of the top centers in the game today.
      E. Staal
      J. Staal

      Those are just some of the centers I could think of. I look at that list and there isn’t 1 guy on that list that will fight anyone on a regular basis, is known for being mean and nasty or even hits a lot. Everyone one of those guys I would take in a heart beat. Most of those guys have good compete, use their bodies to their advantage and are tough to get off the puck. Does that make them soft?

      I heard an interview with Draisaitl and he compared himself to Thornton. Thornton has never been known for being a big, nasty center even though he’s huge. But he uses his size to his advantage. He leans on people, is hard to get off the puck and is a pretty damn good center.

      Would you turn down Joe Thornton because he’s “soft”?

      The problem with the Oilers at the center position is they have NO ONE to match up with the big centers size wise. They need someone to play the “heavy minutes”. I love Nuge and his skill but when you put him up against the Thornton’s Getzlaf, Kopitar in the west game after game, when you are giving up 20-30 lbs you aren’t going to win all the battles. Skill wise or hockey sense wise he maybe is a little better than those guys but that only wins you 2 maybe 3 battles out of 10 because you out smart them. The other 7 times, the big guys just lean on Nuge when he gets close.

      • TayLordBalls

        Did you happen to see the Canucks/Ducks game Saturday when Getslaf went after Don Cherry’s golden boy Kevin Bieksa? Of course Bieksa picks his fights and declined then Burrows came in with his visor and previously broken jaw and got his ass handed to him.Getslaf is someone the opposing teams don’t want to wake up.

        • TKB2677

          Great that’s 1 guy out of the 15 I listed off the top of my head that once in a while can get nasty. How often does he do it? Rarely. He’s 6’4, 221lbs and he has 94 hits in 70 games. So that’s barely just over 1 hit per game. Nuge has 66 hits and he’s tiny. What’s Getzlaf’s excuse?

          • TKB2677

            You’re exactly right. 6’4, 221lbs and strong so he is big enough and strong enough that it is difficult to get the puck away from him. But my point is he doesn’t have a mean steak in him either.

            David Backes plays on one of the best teams in the league for the past 3-4 years. They are an excellent possession team. Backes 260hits in 69 games this year. IN 48 games last year, he had 158. He plays a very physical, tough style. That’s just the way he is. They both are very big guys, both play on very good teams, both play on very good puck possession teams where hitting isn’t a necessity because they have the puck all the time. One guys hits everything that moves by choice, the other doesn’t by choice.

            So if you look at Backes’s numbers vs Getzlaf’s, based on the numbers, it looks like Getzlaf is a soft player. I don’t for a second think Getzlaf is soft at all but according to the numbers, he is.

            So what is the definition of soft?

          • TKB2677

            Exactly. You don’t have to be skilled goon to be considered “not soft”. Just be a guy that has some size that uses it to his advantage and doesn’t get pushed around. I watched Drasailt play vs the Red Deer Rebels. Yes he didn’t run around the ice like a wrecking ball, demolishing every guy he could see but he was strong on the puck and used his huge body to shield guys off the puck. Once he got the puck, the only way they got it away from him was doubling him up or when he passed or shot it. If he was 1-1, good luck in getting it off his stick. Granted he was playing against juniors but in 2 years when he is in his early 20’s and is 225lbs or bigger and has come man strength, it will be the same in the NHL. One thing you can’t teach a player is size and the Oilers have zero size upfront.

            IN looking at the Oilers, it looks like they have defense coming (Nurse, Marincin, Klefbomb). They have NO big, skilled centers coming either in the minors or who they have drafted.

          • Spydyr

            Relax,I wasn’t disagreeing with you, just making the comment about what can happen once in a while, this used to happen with Joe Thorton when he was younger as well.

  • CMG30

    Draisaitl, Reinheart, Ekblad… I don’t think that there’s a wrong move here for the Oilers. Anyway you slice it, the Oilers get something they need. With the Oilers not picking first this year, it takes the pressure of making the ‘right’ pick away.

  • Big Cap

    They should have pulled a trigger on a deal for Johansen at the 2010 draft as was rumored, or in his first couple of seasons when he was struggling. Having a 1-2 combo of Johansen-Nuge is something they could properly build along.

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    Lowtide, is this article a denegation of last nights game.?

    This team as bigger problem than Eckald vs ……..

    Forgive me if you wrote this before the
    Gong Show that happened at Rexall last night.

  • The Real Scuba Steve

    Still think they should it trade with a player for some NHL talent to fill the holes on the team. Drafting another young kid makings me think we will have another season like this next year.

  • Big Cap

    firstly, the Professional is a fantastic movie. like really good.

    second, can you not write a similar focused post next year on draft picks, please. much appreciated. i’d rather not know anything about the top 3.

    IF they keep the pick, Ekblad.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    the Oilers are really in a good position here. likely to draft in the top 3, if they don’t trade the pick, having Draisaitl, Reinhart or Ekblad there for the taking is a real gift, after the Sabres likely pick *fist* overall. personally, for the Oilers needs, i’d rank them 1.Ekblad, 2.Draisaitl, 3.Reinhart.