With Montreal’s second round exit from the postseason, we now have a pretty strong idea of where the Edmonton Oilers will be picking in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. That, of course, assumes that the team keeps all of this year’s draft picks. What should Edmonton do with the collection of selections it has assembled?
2015 draft picks within the top 100, via ProSportsTransactions.com:
- No. 1 overall – The Oilers’ first-round selection, which will be used on Connor McDavid.
- No. 16 overall – The Penguins’ first-round selection, acquired in the David Perron deal.
- No. 33 overall – The Oilers’ second-round selection.
- No. 57 overall – The Canadiens’ second-round selection, acquired in the Jeff Petry deal.
- No. 79 overall – The Senators’ third-round selection, acquired in the Ales Hemsky deal.
- No. 86 overall – The Blues’ third-round selection, acquired in the (other) David Perron deal.
The Oilers also have Montreal’s fourth-round pick in 2015 (Petry deal) and their own selections in rounds five, six and seven. We also should note that Edmonton has all of its picks in the 2016 Draft, as well as the Stars’ seventh-round selection (Shawn Horcoff deal).
Reader mileage may vary here, but in my view the Oilers’ summer shopping list should look something like this, in order of urgency:
- Top pairing defenceman.
- Starting goaltender.
- Second pairing defenceman.
- Third line forward.
Some of these needs will be solved through free agency, perhaps even three of four.
The NHL’s free agent goaltending situation is such that the Oilers could reasonably go to July 1 and expect to come away with a competent player. They may choose not to go that route if an attractive enough option comes available in trade. It’s also reasonable to expect Edmonton to add one of the team’s two defencemen via free agency; that will involve an overpay but there are enough second-tier candidates out there that one should be attainable.
The third-line forward is more of a luxury item, based on the desirability of starting Leon Draisaitl in the AHL. There probably isn’t much need to trade for that player; if he’s available late in July at a cheap price great (generally there are a handful of interesting wingers available around the middle of the month for cheap) and if not it’s reasonable to expect Draisaitl to step in. Failing that, a really cautious G.M. could probably convince a team in need of cap relief to dump a contract for a 2016 pick.
Trades and Selections
Lowetide made a pretty good point at his site the other day:
Leon Draisaitl is an important part of this team’s future, no matter where he plays in 2015-16. If you start him at 3L behind Hall and Pouliot, that gives Edmonton five center’s every night and frankly Leon is a better bet on portside than guys like Matt Fraser or Iiro Pakarinen. The problem? Oilers are going to be hella-young as it is with McDavid. Talk of trading Leon Draisaitl is lunacy in my opinion. The team’s central cluster will be McDavid’s group and that’s important to remember. Remember the difficulty in drafting the defensemen after Hall—Eberle? Not the same issue with Nurse and Klefbom being older than McDavid … The cluster’s center is McDavid. Starting June 26.
I’ve been vocal about the idea that Edmonton would be wise to trade the No. 16 pick. Essentially, they need a defenceman and that’s the obvious piece to build a package around. I’m starting to wonder about the possibility of moving the 2016 first rounder instead. In a perfect world, the Oilers would keep the No. 16 and add a good young prospect at the same age as McDavid to the mix.
If it’s possible, great. If not, the need for a defenceman in the here-and-now trumps the desirability of adding to the McDavid group.
If Edmonton opts to go the trade route in net, it’s a fair bet that the No. 33 pick would be the centerpiece. A first-round selection represents an overpay for all but a handful of goalies, and that handful isn’t likely to be available to Edmonton this summer. The No. 57 pick might get it done, as might the second-round pick in 2016, but the No. 33 selection is the best bet in a trade for a reasonably competent starter.
Let’s assume that the Oilers have no choice but to move the No. 16 and No. 33 for a defenceman and a goalie. Even in this scenario, they’ll land McDavid at No. 1, another good player late in the second round and have two third-round choices to bolster the prospect pool, plus all of their picks next year.
Peter Chiarelli has the chance to address both present needs and add prospects to the system for the years down the road when the Oilers (if all goes well) will have a great need for cheap young talent. It’s a nice position to be in.
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