nhl draft lottery

Oilers fans are just over a week away from screaming their brains out as Connor McDavid is announced as the latest No. 1 overall selection in team history. It will be an astonishing moment, one we will remember for the rest of our lives. It’s easy then to overlook another major moment, same night. What to do at No. 16?


draft commonn12

The start of next Friday night’s draft from Sunrise should be fairly predictable. Edmonton drafts Connor McDavid, then Buffalo selects Jack Eichel. After that things may get a little crazy. First of all, Arizona could trade the pick but if they don’t will likely choose between big skill C Dylan Strome and exceptional defender Noah Hanifin. Toronto follows and they may choose Mitch Marner or the player Arizona leaves behind.

The bottom line: As Bob McKenzie has stated for some time, eleven names are extremely likely to go off the board in the first 11 selections. They are McDavid, Eichel, Hanifin, Marner, Strome, Pavel Zacha, Lawson Crouse, Ivan Provorov, Mathew Barzal, Mikko Rantanen, Zach Werenski. Rest assured, if ANY of those players make it to No. 16, the Oilers will race to the podium.

NO 12-15

McKenzie’s 12-15: Timo Meier, Kyle Connor, Jakub Zboril, Travis Konecny.

Others who have been mentioned ‘in the range’ are

  • Denis Guryanov (skill W, Red Line really likes him)
  • Jeremy Roy (he has some speed issues but is a dynamic defenseman)
  • Nick Merkley (his considerable skill was on display at the Memorial Cup)
  • Ilya Samsonov (ranked by many as best G in the draft)
  • Thomas Chabot (D spiked in a big way during the season)
  • Jakub Zboril (Impressive range of skills, plays with an edge)
  • Oliver Kylington (fast defender with some chaos)
  • Evgeny Svechikov (big and skilled)

I really like Svechnikov:

and Oliver Kylington

But what I’m really a fan of is the anticipation of that No. 16 pick. If the first 11 names are off the board, are there five more names Edmonton values in a big way? If Svechnikov, Meier, Merkley and Konecny are gone, does Edmonton pull the trigger on a prospect or:

  • Trade down
  • Trade out, addressing defense or goal

Ideally, a very good player gets past Calgary (this would require two excellent players to fall because the Flames won’t be doing any favors for Edmonton) and the Oilers score big. One thing I’m not in favor of: trading down UNLESS the offer is insane (No. 21 and No. 35, that kind of thing—which is pretty close to the Riley Nash trade btw).


If we get to that 16th pick and Edmonton pauses but decides to make a pick, the only possible negative would occur if the club goes walkabout. They HAVE done it previously this century, famously with Jesse Niinimaki and that Riley Nash pick wasn’t exactly a consensus first rounder, either.

What would a bad pick at No. 16 look like? Any goalie, a defenseman who isn’t a splendid offensive player, a two-way player who doesn’t deliver enough offense and any skater who has legit foot speed issues. Do NOT reach for a Coke Machine, Bob Green!!! Let them come to you.

I’d like to suggest two players who might end up being excellent additions but are somewhat outside the consensus at No. 16. First, Jansen Harkins. He’s my favorite normal human in the draft: Great hands, intelligent, and a very good passer. He’s fun to watch because everything looks natural, as reflected in this video: 

and Joel Eriksson-Ek. If you watch the video, it’s impressive to see just how often he’s in the right place at the right time. Isn’t shy about contact either. I love watching guys who keep their feet moving and this guy plays well offensively and defensively. 

I can’t wait. I have my beer in the fridge (bought it this morning, it won’t age too much in a week) and have the PVR wiped clean (I tape the draft and watch it probably dozens of times. If Mrs. Lowetide ever leaves me, and God knows she has cause, the 400th time I watch the draft in the month of August will be it).

I’m not going to predict (because I suck at it) but would love to hear your predictions for next Friday night. What do you think they’ll do?

    • Joy S. Lee

      To me, he is clearly better than you think he is. It is a goddamned mystery to me how you could not notice the impact he can have on the game in the biggest of moments, considering he played for Canada in the WJC’s.

      He’s already got the size and compete thing down pat – which is a need we could fill around here, by the way. But I think he’s going to light it up eventually, because this kid is going to get better, and better, and better… especially if he gets quality linemates. Right now, he’s got the bull in a china shop vibe about him, but he also has an upside on his hands he could realize; and if he does progress that way, then he’s money.

      It’s a goddamned mystery to me that so many people can’t seem to see this kid’s potential. I think he’s the youngest player in the draft… ? He makes the team around him better. If the team returns the favor, he’ll reward said team for a very, very long time.

      You think I need a reality check? Ok yeah, the Eastern media is probably behind the plot to trick people like me into believing in Crouse… so that they can rule the world???

  • powerwheels

    Option #1: Trade #16 & prospect for a 1-2 defenceman

    Option #2: Draft Svechnikov or Chabot

    Using a pick this high on a goalie such as Samsonov makes no sense. Especially since he just signed a new 3 year contract with the Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Who knows when he’ll ever come play in North America…

  • MattyFranchise

    Chicago, St. Louis, the Islanders, Pittsburgh, Nashville, and the Rangers don’t have a 1st round pick this year. Those are your targets, except for Pittsburgh obviously.

    Which one has a D or G that would make sense in Edmonton? I’d focus more on the D than the G in this situation. The goalies that Edmonton has or can get are decent when they have an actual defense in front of them.

      • MattyFranchise

        Scrivens did ok in LA, Fasth did good in Anaheim, the big fish goalie this year Talbot did well in New York. Neuvirth/Holtby did well in Washington, Lehner did ok in Ottawa.

        Apparently all of those guys are on the market for the right price. When Scrivens and Fasth played and got their numbers which got them their contracts they played for LA and Anaheim. Both of those teams have good defensemen.

        I’m really failing to understand the confusion here. Edmonton’s problem is largely due to having Jultz and Ference as your top 2 guys.

        Look at what 2 actual defensemen did down in Calgary for Hiller and Ramo. And while I am a Calgary homer they are by no means a good team.

        Defense and centers are the core of your team. When you start the year off with 2 centers and 0 D-men then you get what the Oilers got. A top 3 pick in the draft.

        • bradleypi

          But did you watch any oiler games last year? Scrivens couldn’t stop a beach ball. I don’t care what he did in LA. Fasth isn’t coming back because he also could not stop a beach ball. What If the Oilers don’t get any of those goalies you mention? Then what? Why does oilersnation believe that all of a sudden every team in the league is lining up to give the Oilers exactly what they need? And blaming 2 defencemen for how bad the Oilers were last year just proves that you did not actually watch any oiler games. It was a complete team effort to be as bad as they were. And oilersnation will be eating their words when this is a completely different team under coach McLellan next year.

  • Philippine Oiler

    We are all reading a column written by a man who video records the draft – are we cool or what!

    No idea who to draft but do not use the 16th to draft or trade for a goal tender.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    PC trades the 16, 33, and 57 to Arizona for #3 then flips that pick and yak for Keith and saad.

    *drops mic, sits back*

    It’s fun making crazy trades lol

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      Haha crazy is right, dude. You watched the playoffs, no? Keith will still be under contract for the Hawks when he’s 95 and can’t lift an elbow pad. Defensemen that good are near-mythical.

      EDIT: And to the guy wanting to package Leon + a 1st to grab Toronto’s pick, I’ll also say hell no. Leon was the best player in the dub last year, and he’s a big, skilled centre who can work the boards. In a year or two, we could have Nuge and Leon battling for 2C. That’s a hell of a good spot to be in.

  • bradleypi

    LT I don’t get your reasoning that any goalie taken in the 1st round is a “bad” idea. I’m sure history would prove you wrong on that. Craig Button has the oil taking Samsonov in his mock draft. His reasoning… “the oilers have no elite goalie in their system. Samsonov could be an elite goalie, just not right away”. Pretty sure I’ll defer to the guy who used to gm in the league. And after all the failings of this scouting staff over the years, do you really think PC is just gonna sit back and have no input at all in who the oilers draft? I would think he would want to put his stamp on this team. Long story short after getting McDavid 1st I would have no problems taking a goalie at 16. Time too shore up the net in oil country.

    • Sit back and defer to a former GM… who wasn’t very good at his job.

      While some goalies work out in the first round, there is lots and lots of evidence that scouts ability to project which 18 year old goalie will be an elite 24 year old NHL goalie is not great.

      I look at it this way:

      1. What’s the average draft position of a Rocket Richard trophy winner? The last guy to win it who wasn’t drafted in the first round was Milan Hejduk in 2002. Forwards are the easiest to project.

      2. What’s the average draft position of a Norris Trophy winner? Only 2 of the last 10 went to guys drafted in the first round (Karlsson at 15 and Neidermeyer at 3). Subban, Keith, Chara were 2nd rounders, Lindstrom was in the 50s which might have been 3rd round back then.. or late 2nd. DMen are harder to project than forwards.

      3. What’s the average draft position of a Vezina Trophy winner? 4 of 10 were awarded to first rounders (Brodeur 3 times @ 20th overall, Rask once at 21st) but the other 6 guys were drafted in the hundreds, the two hundreds, or undrafted. So while there are more Vezina nods in the first round than the Norris, the fact that lots of them go to guys who weren’t really projected to be NHLers at all tells me that drafting goalies is a crapshoot.

      So in summary, it’s not that good goalies never come out of the first round. More than that, it’s that guys like Craig Button make statements about 18 year old goalies that “will be” elite every year, and they are often wrong (you should have heard people salivate over Jack Campbell a few years ago, he was considered an COMPLETE LOCK TO BE ELITE).

      I’m not convinced Samsonov is so much better a prospect than Brossoit or the new Fin to pass up the opportunity to draft a very projectable elite forward or a somewhat projectable elite dman. The gap between the goalie available at 16 and a goalie available in the 3rd round is historically relatively small.

      • MattyFranchise

        I like this summary. Well done. First round picks should be directed at projected top 6 forwards and/or top 2 defenseman. Period. Round two should follow a similar path with projections of top 9 forward, top 4 defenseman, and/or a goalie with a complete skill set. Round three and beyond is just good fun/drinking games. Have fun next Friday folks!!

        • bradleypi

          Not sure if you guys realize this but the oilers are drafting a top 6 forward at #1. Plus they have hall,ebs,nuge,yak,pouliot,draisatl. That’s 7 top 6 forwards in the system and 6 of them are 25 and under. How many top 6 forwards do you guys want? And how are you gonna pay for them all?

      • bradleypi

        I will defer to the former gm and guy that works for tsn before I even attempt to read whatever you wrote in that essay. All I’m gonna say is Montreal is a perennial playoff team because they draft goalies. Good ones. If button says Samsonov has potential to be elite I’ll take his word over yours. Has anyone ever pegged brossiot to be elite? Not that I know of. Guy has one ok year and as usual oilersnation jumps hard on his bandwagon. The Oilers are drafting a franchise player at #1. They have enough forwards with skill to surround McDavid. There’s no dman at 16 that’s better than nurse, klefblom or Schultz so I’m going off the board and taking a goalie to grow with this team. IF, and that’s a big if the Oilers don’t trade for talbot or lehner.

        • Randaman

          You should be able to read my clearly articulated statement in 60 seconds. I can’t have an argument with a guy who won’t spend 60 seconds listening to my point. Especially when his counter argument is MOAR BUTTON!

          • Bandwagon jumper

            Ca$h, you lost him because your comment was “clearly articulated”. You clearly spent a little time formulating your conclusions rather than just spewing crap. Well done.

    • Craig Button USED to GM in the league, as did Mike Milbury. There are likely very good reasons they are both on TV now…..I don’t put very much stock in anything Craig Button says

  • vetinari

    I’m not getting attached to that #16 pick because I think that it will be cashed in for a veteran defenceman and/or goalie. Whatever we get with it though, it will complete the Perron trade started by MacT and finished by Chiarelli.

      • paul wodehouse

        brent seabrook not huge enough? y’think a weber or keith are huge enough?

        just add hall and any other of ‘the kids’

        marincin plays behind just about every oiler dman there is…

        • THRNHJE

          Everyone brandishes Marincin around as a sweetener to trades. If you look at what he did this year with the brutal ZS playing the toughs, he’s not really behind any oilers defenseman. He’s a beast, and if he is traded, it should not be as a way to sweeten the deal, or just for something small. People underrate his ability because he defends differently than people want him to.

        • MattyFranchise

          Marincin, Klefbom, and Nurse are the future. Keep em.

          Also, Seabrook? The asking price STARTS at one of the three guys I mentioned. I wouldn’t do it. If the Hawks decide to give up Seabrook, they’re gonna ask for a first and a roster player that shows promise. Edmonton would be stupid to do that.

          Remember MacT isn’t in charge anymore.

  • vetinari

    I would be shocked if they don’t trade the pick for immediate help in Goal or D.At 16 they won’t get a player that can step in now and I think PC wants to compete now.

    • MattyFranchise

      Well admittedly they do this every year but this could seriously be the deepest draft since 2003. You hold on to that 16th pick unless something amazing is coming back.

  • bradleypi

    Oliver Kylington………..looks and skats like Darnell Nurse.

    I hope that he is available at number 16 ……….I hope that PC drafts defenceman as NO team ever seems to want to trade them.

    Wise teams fill the prospect cupboards dumb team trade away draft picks!

  • bradleypi

    I like Jeremy Roy. Skill, toughness…
    If he is off the board at 16 then perhaps another dman or better yet trade the pick for an established dman, best you can get i.e. Boumeester.
    57th and third rounder for Lack.

    Come out of the draft with McDavid, Boumeester, dman from 33rd pick and Lack.

    One week today, should be a fun evening!

  • Zarny

    I think the top 2 options for 16 should be moving up into the 2nd tier or trading the pick. Easier said than done but I think the Oilers are situated better than anyone to get it done.

    There will no doubt be good options if Edm stays at 16, but even in 2003 half the picks from 12-30 were busts. The 2003 2nd rnd had 9 hits with Eriksson, Bergeron, Weber etc. The thing is, 29 of the 38 picks (including compensatory picks) were complete misses.

    Oliver Kylington might be the best example of the inherent risk even in this draft. Lowetide loves him. He started the year 8th on McKenzie’s list. He finished the year 24th. Jordan Greenway was the only top 15 player to fall further.

    Eriksson-Ek is 23rd on McKenzie’s list. Harkins is 30th. I think you have to be completely sold on either player, and right, to take them at 16 this year. Both seem more likely candidates for 33.

  • Bandwagon jumper

    Hey Lowtide,

    You are one of the few local sports guys on the radio that doesn’t let his EGO get in the way. When are they going to give you more airtime?

    Keep up the good work.

  • Tikkanese

    To those proclaiming Marincin as a “beast” and basically untradeable, answer me this: If those things are true, why was he a healthy scratch in the AHL playoffs this year?

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Marincin, but proclaiming any Oilers D as a “beast” is laughable.

  • bazmagoo

    The funniest thing for me about all the trashes to my far fetched comment earlier in this post is that Oilersnation still has faith in our scouting staff. Come on guys, haven’t you been paying attenion? Our scouting staff sucks! Trade this years pick for players, let Chiarelli get rid of all the dead weight this season, then go into next years draft with a confident, revamped scouting staff. The time is now!