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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.


bubbling under depth chart

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. 


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). 


The Oilers Top SIx draft board might look like this today;

  1. C Connor McDavid
  2. C Jack Eichel
  3. D Noah Hanifin
  4. C-R Mitch Marner
  5. C Dylan Strome
  6. 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.

  • YakCity1039

    Poor drafting poor management poor organization. What do you expect? and every year people get excited over who they will pick or trade. Oilers develop AHL players . Would not help if they got #1 picks for the next 5 years this organization is defective. Until they get rid of management they will continue to do circles.

      • Dwayne Roloson 35

        Id be fine with stocking the cupboards with more prospects. We do alright in the 1st and 2nd round.

        We need defence but most teams arent giving theirs away at all. OEL isnt available because Arizona is building around him. Plus we have to get someone whos willing to sign here or has a contract with some years on it.

        We have Nurse in the pipeline almost ready to go. Hes projected to be a stud. Id prefer us to improve slightly every year for the next 5 years and be able to sign guys long term than to trade away our future for a couple years of immediate help. Klefbom is looking solid as well. Ive got great patience.

        • HardBoiledOil 1.0

          I don’t like counting on nurse and Klefbom, especially when they have no support in the NHL. It’s nice that nurse is looking good, but the water is alot deeper and colder in the NHL, he’s gonna need a life boat. Klefbom was looking good, but he has no support and is now minus 21 with 15 pts in 47 games. Who’s gonna show these guys how to play?

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Time to get NHL players to work with the core that is here.

    I would trade 2 first round picks and a roster player for

    #1 Goalie – last year NJ got a #1 goalie for first rounder. so a #1 goalie can be had

    Top defenseman – OEL for first rounder plus Schultz and/or Marichin

    Then we might be able to compete for playoff spot in the next few years.

    Quit hoping 18, 19, 20, 21 year old can play in the NHL.

  • toprightcorner

    Marner looks great against junior players but in the NHL he would have been pasted into the glass on a few of those plays. Sure he has grown 4″ and added 25 lbs in last 18 mos and his brother is 6’3 but I would be looking at the size of all of his extended family first. It is very rare for a smaller player with elite skill to have the same success in the NHL.

    Prime example is Petan playing with the Portland Winterhawks, 5’9″, 165 lbs and had 120 pts his draft year and was an unreal talent and went 43rd overall in 2013. Played last 2 world juniors had 113 pts in 63 games last year and slumped to 82 pts in 49 games this year. He has played a grand total of 7 preseason games and no NHL games 2 years after drafted with 120, 113, and injured 82 pt seasons. My take from this is he can’t show his elite skill in the NHL cause of his size.

    It takes 100 Petan’s and Marners to find 1 St Louis. Gotta pass on him. if 3 of out top 6 were over 210 lbs, no problem, the Oilers currently dont have any and Draisaitl will be the first hopefully in middle of next season at the earliest.

    Unless there is no clear choice between the pick on you list take big centers and big defense and offensively elite defense that ate not small.

    To me after McEikel, the Oilers need to look at Strome or Provorov. Haflin is Klefbom 2.o and Provorov will provide the true offencive dman and PP QB the we failed to get out of Schultz.

    I would be fine if the Oilers draft Crouse but it would have to be with PIT 1st..

  • Anton CP

    First of all, no team that won the past few championships trade in a team without their own core players. Kings had Kopitar, Brown, and Doughty. Hawks had Toews, Kane, and Keith. Bruins had Krejci, Lucic, and Bergeron. Pens had Crosby, Malkin, and Andre-Fleury. Wings had Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Lidstrom. Ducks had Perry and Getzlaf. Canes had Staal and Cole. Even the 06 Oilers had Hemsky, Horcoff, and Smyth. The winning formula will always be maintain the core players and build around them.

    Oilers collapse after 06 were for 3 reasons:

    1. Unable to find replacement for departed veterans and then…

    2. Signed almost everyone to bunch of huge contracts in hope they will either stay in town or they will fill the void which ended up crippled the cap space and then…

    3. Traded away the most important core player, Smyth, because of KLowe cannot agree to turn for about a chunk change.

    Trading away Hall? Whoever suggested it must really love losing. How do you find a replacement for Hall anyway? Who can you possibly trade in that can be better than Hall?

  • Anton CP

    And about depth of Oilers prospects, according to HF that Oilers ranked 25th in the entire league for the strength of prospects. That is pretty bad for a team that have missed playoffs for 10 years.

    If MacT has half of the brain to manage a hockey team then he should not trade away Marincin. He will need a bit more experience to become a proper NHL D-man. In 3 years that Schultz will fade but Marincin will be a solid D. If he decides to keep Schultz and let Marincin go then Oilers will keep on sucking.

    Brossoit will likely be a new version of Dubnyk to Oilers. Maybe he will have a few decent years but as soon as he starts struggling that he will be blamed for everything and get ship out of the town in a hurry.

    Yakimov has a decent size but his skill set will be at best as a third line C.

    Draisaitl and Nurse both are the future stars in developing but it will be up to management about how patient can they be to wait for them to develop properly.

    Moroz is a huge disappointment down in AHL, hard to see him to make it to NHL if he cannot start to perform.

    Hunt should be stick in AHL and never ever get the call up again. (At least not by Oilers)

    Khaira has a really good size but since he is struggling in AHL right now that he may not get a shot at NHL anytime soon.

    Simpson is more of a lower pairing D, unless Oilers have decent enough top two pairings then Simpson does not hold much of value to the team.

    Marco Roy and Platzer are even less than Arcobello, for C that they are about 3 sizes too small.

    Slepyshev and Zharkov may eventually decided to give North America a shot since the recent recession happening in Russia (all hail to the cheap oil!) however if they will sign with Oilers that remain to be seen. They will likely need to spend a year in AHL to adapt into North America’s style of hockey.

    Chase is a huge unknown. It is hard to predict if he can survive as a NHLer or not. However he may just what the team needs consider about his playing style, those who actually stay in front of the net to get those garbage goals.

    Lastly, it is kind of sad to review the Oilers prospects, other than Draisaitl and Nurse, no one else even remotely close to be an everyday NHLers.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      that 2013 draft could really pay off for the Oilers soon. no star players, but good 3rd and 4th line potential in the next couple of years.

      not sure if the Oilers will actually sign Houck or Roy, and the Oilers will likely not sign Zharkov either. they have many young guys in the system wanting spots in the AHL in the fall and guys like Houck, Betker and Roy could actually be trade bait at the draft….

      if you flip them for picks, they are off the books and the picks you make at this years draft have some time before they need to be signed.

  • Tikkanese

    Marco Roy is a legit prospect? He’s struggling for ice time as an over-ager in Junior. Not to mention a bandaid. Oh wait, that describes the Oilers to a “T”.