WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THE 2015 DRAFT?

The Edmonton Oilers received a stunning gift last month when the lottery went their way and fans (rightly) are still trying to find the words. As we spend more time watching this young man, more questions arise: Could this be the best Oilers draft ever? That’s basically impossible, but how good could it be?

BEST OILERS DRAFTS, ALL-TIME

  1. 1979-(Kevin Lowe, Mark
    Messier, Glenn Anderson). This would be my choice for best draft ever by the Oilers. Messier was a killer, an absolute
    killer. Anderson was a legend too, it’s ridiculous they got them same
    year along with a durable defender in Lowe.
  2. 1980-(Paul Coffey, Jari Kurri, Walt Poddubny, Andy Moog).
    Kurri played on the best line in hockey for ages and at the peak of his
    NHL career scored 45, 52, 71, 68 and 54 goals as an Oiler. Paul Coffey
    was the best offensive defenseman of his era and one of the best of all
    time, and Andy Moog was a quality goaltender for a long time. Poddubny
    established himself as a solid role player in the NHL during his career.

You may prefer one over another, but I think we have the best surrounded. As a two-year cluster, with Gretzky already in the fold? Ridiculous.

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THIS SEASON?

Scott Cullen of TSN wrote a terrific article in June of 2014 giving us a range of expectations for draft picks. Using the Oilers current draft numbers (some of these are projected and subject to change) we get a fascinating look at the possibilities:

  • No. 1 overall: Cullen’s top end—Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin; Average—A 1line F or top-pairing defender.
  • No. 16 overall: Cullen’s top end—R.J. Umberger or Markus Naslund. Average is fringe NHL player.
  • No. 33 overall: Cullen’s top end—Doug Weight or James Neal. Average is very good minor league player.
  • No. 60 overall: Cullen’s top end—Zdeno Chara or Brandon Dubinsky. Average is minor leaguer.
  • No. 79 overall: Cullen’s top end—Jonathan Quick or Chris Drury. Average is minor leaguer.
  • No. 88 overall: Cullen’s top end—Sergei Zubov or Milan Hejduk. Average is minor leaguer. 

Now there is no way they score on all of these picks (there may be one more along if the Habs go deep enough) but the No. 1 overall selection may in fact be a generational talent (good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise).

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about that Pittsburgh pick. Pick any (and I mean any) service and this draft is 20 deep (at least) with outstanding prospects.

BOB MCKENZIE MID-SEASON TOP 20

  1. Connor McDavid
  2. Jack Eichel
  3. Noah Hanifin
  4. Dylan Strome
  5. Mitch Marner
  6. Lawson Crouse
  7. Pavel Zacha
  8. Zach Werenski
  9. Mikko Rantnanen
  10. Mathew Barzal
  11. Oliver Kylington
  12. Ivan Provorov
  13. Kyle Connor
  14. Larry Bittner
  15. Travis Konecny
  16. Jacob Zboril
  17. Brandon Carlo
  18. Colin White
  19. Nick Merkley
  20. Timo Meier

CRAIG BUTTON APRIL TOP 20

  1. Connor McDavid
  2. Jack Eichel
  3. Dylan Strome
  4. Mitch Marner
  5. Ivan Provorov
  6. Zach Werenski
  7. Kyle Connor
  8. Brock Boeser
  9. Timo Meier
  10. Thomas Chabot
  11. Lawson Crouse
  12. Noah Hanifin
  13. Nick Merkley
  14. Mikko Rantanen
  15. Evgeni Svechnikov
  16. Jansen Harkins
  17. Anthony Beauvillier
  18. Mathew Barzal
  19. Thomas Novak
  20. Jakub Zboril

This is a very strong draft and those names represent exceptional value. I’m not saying Peter Chiarelli shouldn’t trade the Pittsburgh selection but he has to get substantial value if he’s going to move the pick.

  • TKB2677

    Lowetide. How can you not say that Chiarelli HAS to trade that Pitts pick for immediate help? They lucked out and will get to draft McDavid so with Nuge, Drais and McDavid, they are set at center for at least the next 10 years. But they still need immediate help at goal and on defense. A 16th overall will get you some immediate help. You say you need to get significant value for that pick. If you can get a legit top 4 NHL dman that will step in at training camp and make you team immediately better, is that not significant value? A #16 probably has 2 years of junior left to complete plus at least 1 year in the minors before he even makes his NHL debut. Then it probably takes him at least 1-2 seasons in the NHL before he steps into whatever role he is cast for and is a player where you know what you have in him and don’t have to worry. So we are talking at least 5 years from this draft before you have the start of a real NHL player. Real NHL player meaning he is in the line up being an asset, not a liability. Provided he pans out. So if you can get a REAL NHLer that can contribute immediately and make your team better for some or all of that 5 years you are waiting for that #16 to develop, don’t you have to jump on that? The Islanders got Boychuk for a couple of seconds and he is in their top pairing signed up long term now. A #16 in a deep draft is worth a lot more than a couple of 2nds spaced out over a couple of years.

  • TKB2677

    Lowetide. How can you not say that Chiarelli HAS to trade that Pitts pick for immediate help? They lucked out and will get to draft McDavid so with Nuge, Drais and McDavid, they are set at center for at least the next 10 years. But they still need immediate help at goal and on defense. A 16th overall will get you some immediate help. You say you need to get significant value for that pick. If you can get a legit top 4 NHL dman that will step in at training camp and make you team immediately better, is that not significant value? A #16 probably has 2 years of junior left to complete plus at least 1 year in the minors before he even makes his NHL debut. Then it probably takes him at least 1-2 seasons in the NHL before he steps into whatever role he is cast for and is a player where you know what you have in him and don’t have to worry. So we are talking at least 5 years from this draft before you have the start of a real NHL player. Real NHL player meaning he is in the line up being an asset, not a liability. Provided he pans out. So if you can get a REAL NHLer that can contribute immediately and make your team better for some or all of that 5 years you are waiting for that #16 to develop, don’t you have to jump on that? The Islanders got Boychuk for a couple of seconds and he is in their top pairing signed up long term now. A #16 in a deep draft is worth a lot more than a couple of 2nds spaced out over a couple of years.

  • TKB2677

    Lowetide. How can you not say that Chiarelli HAS to trade that Pitts pick for immediate help? They lucked out and will get to draft McDavid so with Nuge, Drais and McDavid, they are set at center for at least the next 10 years. But they still need immediate help at goal and on defense. A 16th overall will get you some immediate help. You say you need to get significant value for that pick. If you can get a legit top 4 NHL dman that will step in at training camp and make you team immediately better, is that not significant value? A #16 probably has 2 years of junior left to complete plus at least 1 year in the minors before he even makes his NHL debut. Then it probably takes him at least 1-2 seasons in the NHL before he steps into whatever role he is cast for and is a player where you know what you have in him and don’t have to worry. So we are talking at least 5 years from this draft before you have the start of a real NHL player. Real NHL player meaning he is in the line up being an asset, not a liability. Provided he pans out. So if you can get a REAL NHLer that can contribute immediately and make your team better for some or all of that 5 years you are waiting for that #16 to develop, don’t you have to jump on that? The Islanders got Boychuk for a couple of seconds and he is in their top pairing signed up long term now. A #16 in a deep draft is worth a lot more than a couple of 2nds spaced out over a couple of years.

    • TKB2677

      if this draft is 20-deep with elite prospects, then the obvious move is to keep the pick or try and trade up. The medium and long-term future is just as important as next season.

  • Zarny

    I think many should many re-read Scott Cullen’s projections for each draft pick.

    The Oilers should undoubtedly look to trade the 16th pick as well as two of the picks from 33-88 for immediate help.

    The average 16th pick overall is a fringe NHLer. The average for every Oiler pick after that is the minor leagues.

    That 2015 is a good draft and relatively deep doesn’t mean the general rules don’t apply. Even if the 16th pick turns out to be as good as Seabrook they won’t play in the NHL for 3-4 years.

    Sure there is a small chance the Oilers nab a Boone Jenner or Brock Nelson with the 33rd pick. There is a much greater chance they select another Tyler Pitlick or worse, a player that never suits up for an NHL game even once.

    Even if the 16th pick isn’t packaged for a sexy name like Seabrook, the Oilers would be better off trading it for a prospect like Jared Tinordi drafted in 2010 and ready for the NHL than Thomas Chabot or Jeremy Roy.

    Why not keep the pick and sign UFA’s? Simple…money. Specifically cap space.

    The Oilers aren’t overflowing with cap space. They in fact have very little cap space to add more than 1 free agent. If they buyout or trade Nikitin maybe they can afford 2.

    They need more than 2 players and they need them sooner than 3-4 years from now. That doesn’t mean trade away every pick, but 2015 is a deep draft and there are several top teams with very good players that are tight to the cap.

    The Oilers have to look to take advantage of this.

  • Zarny

    I saw a Mark Messier recently. Some american guy talked to him and it was probably from a couple years ago.

    Messier was a 4th rounder. I didn’t realize that. I sure hope the Oiler’s are set up better to make some good non-top-10 selections (given that Eberle was an exception).

  • Zarny

    OEL is a 23-year old #1 d-man who plays 25 minutes a night. Given his age, he hasn’t hit his prime yet. Short of trading the McDavid pick, or Nurse and Draisatl, I can’t see any reason the Coyotes would trade OEL to Edmonton. Teams don’t trade perennial Norris candidates (except on NHL ’15).

  • TKB2677

    Leon D will not be the Oilers future 3rd line centre as he will push to play in the top 6, certainly after next season. Nor will he upstage either McD or RHN. I believe he will end up playing wing with Hall and McDavid. Why … puck control, size, sublime passing ability. Oilers will then possess two amazing lines! Lander will only improve and has recently demonstrated that he is more than capable of 3rd C duties, especially if surrounded with competent NHLers. Sad to say, Yakupov may be the odd man out as he is not a 3rd liner and with his new two year contract would attract substantial interest from other teams. How good a return on defence could a combination of Yakupov and lets say the Oilers first or second round pick attract? A top Pairing defenceman wold be my guess. Youso not get a top player without giving up something substantial.

  • Joy S. Lee

    PS: If the right trade came along, then no problem, and Chiarelli is an astute manager so I would expect him to get a favorable return… but the Oilers have long been in a position of weakness. That may have changed, but we really can’t be sure how much. Most of the players on this club have underperformed to date. Their value isn’t what it should be. As things are right now this very moment, that could change significantly by the time October rolls around.

    Something to consider further with regards to McDavid: he’s 18, right? The core here is young… right? He should feel comfortable, he’s got top draft picks surrounding him, and they are almost as newbie as he will be.

    A UFA-veteran like Justin Williams could teach the lot of the forwards something about winning, not to mention how to play. Find a GOOD UFA-defenseman and goalie, and we’re off to the races. I don’t think it’s possible any more that we suck as bad as we have for years. That would be truly amazing, if we filled those holes and provided world-class coaching and development, and got no better with the lot of talent that will be in town for 2015-16 as things are right now. I’d just as soon assume the probability that improvement actually is about to take place, and move forward from there. We’re all far too stuck in the land of failed expectations, and it’s clouding our judgment. Isn’t it obvious? Things are no longer as they were, there has been a dramatic shift. Yes, it’s about time, and yes, it hasn’t surfaced in an actual NHL game for us to proclaim it reality, but it’s coming, it has to. That #97 kid changes everything, brings it all together. That’s what I see coming. Nothing has to be forced. Address the weaknesses, but do it not from perspective of the way things were, do it from the perspective of the way things are now, and what they will be. I don’t think they can screw up, unless Chiarelli gets trigger-happy, but even that has a certain potential with the Next One in town. It would be fun to see a young group riding together again, though, creating offense and becoming the NHL’s next great gate-drawing machine. Saw that movie before, and I’ve noticed that this one has some similarities. The view is looking rather magnificent. Overall, while you are not, I am pretty happy with exactly where we are, and excited for more and better.

  • Joy S. Lee

    Lowetide: sorry for all of the super-long posts. Everyone is probably long gone from this article (it’s so yesterday), anyway, so I don’t expect it’ll affect things much. I was feelin’ it, I guess, and just had to get it all out there, that’s about as best as I can explain it, lol. Cheers.

  • TKB2677

    Interesting comment on Oliver Kylington

    Erik Liljekvist · Top Commenter · Karlstad, Sweden
    I have seen him play in Färjestad BK the past two years, and he got talent to be a top 5 pic, but that personality is not the ideal one. The reason he got loaned to the second division was because he was demanding to much as a 17 year old. He demanded more then 20 minutes of ice time (he had 14) and could not see to the teams best. Färjestad did the same with Jonas Brodin (Minnesota) and Oscar Klefbom (Edmonton) regarding to icetime, so they don’t give them to little, they give them just enough to develope, but he could not appreciate that.

    I do hope ( and think) he will become a great D man in 5 years, but for now, he is far from being that NHL ready player.