The Edmonton Oilers spent a lot of draft picks on defensemen and centers 2011+ and the impact on the prospect depth chart is predictable. The Oilers, despite needing defensemen and centers at the NHL level, are overflowing at those positions in the system and it could impact who gets drafted this summer.
OILERS DEPTH CHART (OUTSIDE THE NHL)
I have the two impact prospects in yellow (Nurse, Draisaitl) and youngsters who I believe are ‘legit’ NHL prospects in green (your mileage may vary). It’s also true that some players on this list can play center and have been listed on wing. Example: Greg Chase. He has played a lot of center during his junior career but I’ve been told by more than one scout he’s very good on the wing and may end up there as a pro.
There are some defensemen listed on their off-side (in this case lefties listed on the right) and that’s both for convenience and because several of these defensemen have in fact played on the right side.
Brossoit, in his 14th straight start, has me convinced he could contend for legit Oilers #2 in another season & a half. #OKCBarons
— Neal (@tweetneal) March 15, 2015
WHERE ARE THE AREAS OF NEED?
I would argue goaltending and winger are the spots Edmonton’s ‘bubbling under’ depth chart have weaknesses. Goaltending is wide open this summer, as we discussed yesterday. The winger position is deceiving—Edmonton has Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Nail Yakupov as skill wingers—but that’s an area the Oilers have a lack of quality at this time on their prospect list.
Goaltending is the big item, that sticks out like a sore tooth. I don’t know that Craig MacTavish waits until draft day to start fixing that area, we could see European or college signings in the next month addressing that area.
One final note: Defense may look barren but it’s important to remember that Oscar Klefbom and Martin Marincin are recent graduates. I’d also argue that Joey Laleggia is very close to being a legit prospect, we’ll have to see him at the pro level to see if he can handle the defensive side of the game (Iiro Pakarinen was the other player I thought about using a green marker on).
BTW, this is the video that made me fall in love with Mitch Marner. The thrill from Thornhill. https://t.co/wcOK6VOvsw
— Will (@WillySal89) March 15, 2015
WHAT ABOUT THE DRAFT?
The Oilers Top SIx draft board might look like this today;
- C Connor McDavid
- C Jack Eichel
- D Noah Hanifin
- C-R Mitch Marner
- C Dylan Strome
- L Lawson Crouse
If that’s the case, I would argue that Edmonton should feel completely justified in drafting Marner if he is (in their estimation) the best player available. Edmonton’s future at 1-2 center (Nuge, Leon Draisaitl) will be plenty good enough when it gets here, there’s no need to draft for need if the board suggests a better man (who plays the wing, or defense) is available.