What Should the Edmonton Oilers do with their draft picks?

Draft Lottery

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?

The Picks


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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).

The Needs

Defensive mess

Reader mileage may vary here, but in my view the Oilers’ summer shopping list should look something like this, in order of urgency:

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  • 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

Peter Chiarelli2

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.

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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.


  • DieHard

    Get yhe D and Goal improved must be the most important step. Keep McDavid and see what else can be done on Draft day. Still missing the bold moves MacT was talking about.

  • TKB2677

    if todd mc becomes coach here whats the chances we could pry burns or vlasic out of san jose? like maybe the 16th and eberle for one of them?? who knows, but how good would one or both of those d men look on our team

    • ATL Oiler

      Trading Any of core in my eyes is wrong. Not unless you were getting amazing back.plus the sharks I doubt would part ways with vlasic. We have a ton of picks and some decent prospects that we could use.

    • CaptainLander

      I need to take my cheers back.

      Like Burns. Like Vlasic. Hate the idea of trading Eberle and the 16th for one of them. Maybe both, but not just one.

      I would offer Nail straight up for either. SJ saves money and gets a once very promising 1st overall pick who might gel with one of their veteran centres.

  • freelancer

    hold onto number 1,16, 33 and play around with the balance of the picks.

    numbers 16 and 33 will be value contract bewtween 2017-2013 … pretty sure we will need good players then as well

  • Armchair_Gm

    Never trade first round draft picks………..never unless someone knocks your socks off.

    Trade 2nd round picks if needed but if I were PC I would be very hesitant to trade any first round pick.

  • Armchair_Gm

    Couple thoughts….

    I love Yaks. My favourite player. But a package of him and the 16th could possibly land Brent Burns? Maybe Marincin or Yakimov as a sweetner?

    Burns is a vet on a team transitioning to youth. He’s already singing praises about McLellan and how he’ll miss him. Big, heavy right handed shot who is a true #1 D-man.

    Possible or pipe dream?

    • Armchair_Gm

      I like the idea of Burns, especially because they have him playing as a winger in the top six. So sending Yak their way to play that spot, while getting the D man we’d need back is good. Plus they need some cap to go out and get everything they need for the summer as well, and Yak helps that a lot.

      I would do that deal, even though it will open up a big hole at forward.

  • Jaxon

    Another thought…

    If he was even remotely available I would move heaven and earth to get Seth Jones. I’ve coached against him and IMO is the greatest D man I’ve ever encountered.

    The last generation of D-men were headlined by Pronger, Neidermayer and Lidstrom.

    In 20 years when people look back on this generation, names like Doughty, Weber, Chara, Subban, Keith and Karlsson will be prominent. In my opinion, Seth Jones will be better than all of them. I would trade as many first rounders plus Eberle and whatever else it took excluding Hall and McDavid to get him.

    Imagine Jones & Nurse as a top pairing for the next 20 years. I got a hockey boner just thinking about it.

    • Cowbell_Feva

      I have been saying for a long time that Seth Jones is the player that Edmonton should target. I would probably move heaven and earth to get him.

      I don’t think he will be as good as your projecting him, but having him play opposite Darnell Nurse for the next decade would be a complete 180 from what we see from todays Edmonton Oiler defense.

      He is elite. He is underrated, and Nashville has a surplus of defenseman and a need for offense. I would make him target #1, however I have a feeling Dave Poile knows that he has a stud on his hands, and won’t give him up unless its Hall or Draisaitl plus picks.

      If we can get Jones, and then sign either Talbot or Ramo in the offseason I will do cartwheels all the way down 118th!!

  • Spoils

    definitely looking to trade picks and be open to moving anyone not named Connor

    What do you want back?

    A player like Hedman, OEL, Hamilton etc. a true blue #1 D.

    next to impossible, but I think it can be done if you are willing to move enough value you the other way.

    and it will be worth it.

    get goalie and second pairing D by free agency

    Use the remainder of the picks to get the best possible LARGE player. so we have the opportunity to sprinkle in size and grit and net front presence throughout the lineup with the odd pick that happens to turn out.


    Like the other guy said, trading away your next top 2-3 picks after McDavid is not smart. In 2003 Perry and Getzlaf plus a few other superstars including Weber were drafted after 16. This draft is supposed to be simular. The #16 or #17 pick is very valuable, almost half the teams in the league don’t have a higher pick. Unless the player you are getting is a big time player and not 108 years old like most teams are trying to get rid of + thier huge contract that runs until they are almost 40 I would pick a potential star player who you will need in a few years because you won’t be keeping every star player that will be on this years roster because of the cap.

  • Armchair_Gm

    The Oilers may be smarter to acquire players thru free agency and drafting. Not all players and their families may be happy with a northern winter.

    Better to take a young single guy who will meet and wonderful Edmonton girlfriend than someone who is forced to come here via trade.

    Free agent player come here willingly.

    With the improvement to the team and the addition of McDavid, there should be a lot of players wanting to come here.

  • Jaxon

    Marincin and #33 for Talbot. After reading ‘Woodguys’ analysis of Talbot, I’m convinced he should be the main target of the Oilers this summer. However, in this draft I think I’d rather give up Marincin (or Yakimov, Platzer or Chase) and #33 than #16. But I think if #16 alone would get it done, I’d have to consider it. I think Edmonton has to get a goalie and they will have to overpay the UFAs this summer who are not all that great. I think Niemi, the only true #1 available, will cost too much and may be getting too old for the Oilers. Guys like Tomas Greiss, Michael Neuvirth and Andrew Hammond are all unproven but they will cost less.

    Barring a trade for Talbot, I’d keep all the draft picks. The Oilers are really going to need the cap space that good entry level contracts from draft picks provide. I’d also be concentrating on RD, RW and G for the picks. If a RD, RW or G is in the same range as other players you’re considering they should get priority. The Oilers prospect pool needs a bit more balance.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    With two selections in each of the first 4 rounds. It could present an opportunity to get aggressive and move up on that 16th overall selection. If Provorov is still available in the 7 or 8 spot, it could be an affordable deal. The kid looks a little gangly at times, reminds me of Drew Doughty at times.

    I’d even go as far as moving that 16th, 33rd, the 63rd and a Pitlick or Mirincin. A tad of an overpay but you have to give up something to get something.

  • HarryB

    Some fans have love affairs with players on other teams and do not see their faults. E.g. OEL. Like to have him but, he is a liability defensively but, no Oiler faans recognize it. Others that are offensive with defensive warts?? Subban and Karlsson. Last year, all the hate was directed to petry. Now? What a mistake to let him go. We need to improve defense yet should give Schultz time and help.

    • MacT's Neglected Helmet

      OEL, Subban, and Karlsson are all very, very good.
      Petry is good too. Most smart Oilers fans knew that.
      Schultz is not a good all-around dman. Not even close. One day? Maybe. Probably not though.

      • TKB2677

        My point is that OEL, Subban and Karlsson are not all round defenseman. Petry out played Subban in playoffs. I would like all 3 Dmen but do recognize they have areas yet to improve.

  • MacT's Neglected Helmet


    A: Depends on what the 29 other GMs would give up for those draft picks.

    Boring answer, but it’s the truth.

  • JOFA

    The oilers need to get adam larsson or jakob trouba both to me are actual guys who we might get at lower prices and right hand shots. And no I dont mean bargin bin prices but neither are considered the franchise cornerstone which all I ever hear about for first pairing guys also I know we have alot of center depth but I want to just say a yakupov+2/3 round picks for martin hanzal is what I want let go get a guy that already deserves to be at least a 2nd line center and eventually when he loses a step he moves down the depth chart but we still need size and a 2way center he fills that and hes on a team that needs to tank anyway

  • Tirtle

    Let’s remind people here, MacT is responsible for some of these picks and Oilers winning Draft Lotto pick for McDavid. Even Tambellini deserves some credits of Oilers demise too, but it’s paying off now. The team is starting to take shape, with new Arena coming 2016.

    MacT prepped and cooked the meals then Chiarelli get to sit on the table and eat, then get all the praises?

    Success comes with pain and suffering along the way, so all the losing since 2006 til now, the winning will come in the future.

    Oilers was 3-1 in playoff series since 2006, the Leafs was 0-1 in playoff series the same span for a big market team. The Oilers are in a better shape than the Leafs now.

    Coaching will make a difference with success of the team, win with what they have.

    The Habs did ok with Tom Gilbert and Jeff Petry on Defense, both ex-Oilers Dmen. The Wild won with Dubnyk in goal too. These players got ride out of town by the fans.

    Today’s team and the future of this team is the cause and effect from the past 9 years of losing.

    Let’s look forward the bright future of this team and forget the bad past.

  • Joy S. Lee

    It’s simple, really… the real value of a draft pick is in making the right selection. Sure, there are no guarantees, but the top 50 kids are really, really good, and we essentially have 4 selections to make amongst that group. Trading any of those picks is risky business, but Chiarelli even said he is comfortable with risk. So long as he gets full present-day value for the long-term value he is giving up, and makes the team significantly better now, I am good with that; however,I do see these picks as being on the high-end scale of player value. I would want a great deal(s) coming back in the exchange.

  • Tirtle

    Instead of losing picks on a draft that is apparently similar to the 03 draft, improve the defence by trying to trade for a guy like Seth Jones. Mentored by weber for 2 years now? Trade eberle and a pick. If that won’t get him I wouldn’t be scared to add in a Schultz. Schultz + Eberle for Jones… Schultz has the ability to be a good player, I don’t know about great but let Nashville develop him into a stud. Plus they need offence and Eberle brings 20+ a season. Where as Jones has the ability to be our Shea Weber. The pillar defence man every team needs, and oilers fans have wanted for a while. He’s a potential superstar and could pay more dividends then both of Schultz and Eberle combined.

  • Joy S. Lee

    The best option by far is to trade our 16th and Marincin for a top 4 solid 24-30 year old d man and then trade a combination of 2015 2nd round pick and 2016 first rounder plus prospect (musil/gernat/davidson etc…) for a veteran top 2 d man 26-32 years old then sign a goalie via free agency and we are of to the races and get to keep all or core players and add 2 good d man to help them along the way. I would even go as far as trading our 2016 1st rounder and 2017 1st rounder for an actual 1 d man just like chiarelli did in Kessel trade except in reverse. I feel its a safer bet Oil will not finish as low as leafs did the two following years post Kessel….right? …Maybe? Come on! We’ve been there too much. Now is our time! We must seize this special opportunity and run with it!

  • Tirtle

    Trade for a big, tough, no-nonsense right winger. Or, sign Justin Williams as a free agent. We need someone to look out for McDavid … and Ebs sure won’t be that guy …