Oilers draft recap

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The Oilers made the correct pick at #1. They happily selected Connor McDavid, and then presented him with the new orange jersey. The Jersey looked great, and the Oilers even put McDavid’s number on the back, a sign they’ve known for months they were taking the Erie Otter star. Peter Chiarelli informed us he told McDavid prior to the draft they were taking him, but Chiarelli was happy to see McDavid was a bit nervous on the stage.

He is only 18 and he just fulfilled one of his dreams, being drafted, and goals, going first overall, and the excitement of the moment wasn’t lost on him. I saw McDavid in our hotel lobby hours after the draft and he was still beaming. He was elated to go first overall.

That move was expected, but what the Oilers did with their 16th pick overall pick was not.

Chiarelli said he would not trade the #16 for a goalie, but I was surprised when he traded the #16 and #33 for Griffin Reinhart. I don’t mind the player. I believe he will be an NHL player, but his best-case scenario is that that he will be a #3 D-man. Realistically he seems more likely to be a #4/5.

I was surprised they gave up two picks in the top-33 for a player who didn’t dominate the AHL this year. When you compare what other teams received for picks around #16, the Oilers got the least proven return.

Boston made the worst trade on Friday, sending Dougie Hamilton to Calgary for the #15, #45 and #52 picks. I wouldn’t have expected the Oilers to get such a great return with #16. The Bruins trade was so bad, from their vantage point, I couldn’t expect the Oilers to receive the same for their second first-round pick.

The Oilers actually offered a better package for Hamilton, #16, #33 and #57, but the Bruins made the mistake of letting emotions get in the way. Bruins fans should be livid that their GM turned down a better deal. It seems the Bruins didn’t want to trade Hamilton to a team that employed their former GM.

DID OILERS IMPROVE THEIR D?

They improved their organizational depth, but Reinhart is not a proven NHL defender yet. He gives them another big body who is used to playing big minutes, but only in the WHL and AHL thus far.

As I wrote earlier, I don’t mind the player — I don’t like what they gave up to acquire him. It looks like an overpay to me when you compare it to all the other trades involving top picks for NHL players. There is no arguing Reinhart is the least proven of Hamilton, Milan Lucic or Robin Lehner.

I also don’t care that he was drafted 4th overall in 2012. Once you are in the NHL, where you were drafted is irrelevant. Top picks will get second, third and sometimes fifth opportunities, but his value today isn’t higher in my eyes just because he was the 4th pick three years ago. It is about how you play now, not where you were drafted three, four or five years earlier. And every draft year is different, and a #4 pick in 2012 is not equal to a #4 in 2010, 2011 or 2015.

Reinhart’s development has been a bit slower than most top-five picks, but that doesn’t mean he won’t become a solid NHLer. I think he will, but I believe they gave up more for him than most teams would have. The Oilers really like him, especially Bob Green, and many scouts, GM and coaches like to have players they know. Green knows his personality and his potential.

“He has great hockey sense, he’s big and can play forever. He needs to improve his lowerbody strength.I’m a huge fan,” Green told me Friday evening.

The knock on Reinhart is his footspeed. His conditioning is off the charts, however. He has tested incredibly well in that department. He will never skate like Darnell Nurse, but he has a very good skating stride. He can improve, but he’ll need to work on his leg strength in the summer. He can get there (to space on the ice), but he needs to do it more consistently. He has shown he will work hard (cardio), but he needs to work just as hard getting stronger.

He is still young, and I believe that is why the Oilers made this move. They feel he can be a regular on the blueline for years. The Oilers believe in him and that should help. Reinhart and Green have a great relationship and the trade should show him how high they are on him. Players want to reward a team for showing confidence in them, so we’ll see if Reinhart rewards the Oilers by putting in the hard work necessary for him to play in the NHL.

Time will tell. 

DAY TWO…

It began with multiple goalie trades.

The Hurricanes traded Anton Khubodin to the Ducks for James Wisniewski. It is interesting to note Khudobin makes more, $2,25 million, than Anaheim’s current two goalies, Freddie Andersen and John Gibson, combined. There were reports the Ducks are looking to move Gibson, which seems risky to me, and the Khudobin trade only added to the speculation.

The Canucks traded Eddie Lack to Carolina for the 66th pick this year and a 7th rounder next year.
The Stars acquired Antti Niemi’s rights from San Jose for a 7th rounder.

Oilers fans were getting a bit nervous, but Chiarelli landed the goalie he wanted all along, Cam Talbot. The Oilers acquired Talbot and the 209th pick (selected Ziyat Paigan) from the Rangers for the 57th, 79th and 184th picks. I’ve written before that I felt Talbot was the best option between Lack, Lehner, Markstrom and Jones, so I like this trade.

When given the opportunity to be the every day starter last season Talbot proved he could do it. While Henrik Lundqvist was injured Talbot started 23 of 25 games between February 4th and March 26th. He played both games in back-to-back three times going 2-0-1 in the second game while posting an equal or better sv% than the previous night, which is rare.

In those 23 starts, Talbot had a record of 16-4-3. He stopped 655 of 703 shots (.931sv%) and had a 2.04 GAA. He faced an average of 30.5 shots/game. I don’t expect him to have the same numbers with the Oilers, because Edmonton isn’t as sound defensively as the Rangers, but I don’t agree with the theory Talbot’s numbers are only good because of who plays in front of him. I’ve never heard anyone suggest Henrik Lundqvist is only good because of his defence.

There are no guarantees, especially with goalies, but Talbot has shown, albeit in a small sample size, when given the opportunity he can be a solid starting goalie.

Chiarelli wasn’t done trading.

He sent Martin Marincin to Toronto for Brad Ross and the 107th pick. He then sent that pick along with Travis Ewanyk to Ottawa for Eric Gryba. He acquired a better defensive defender. Ross signed in Germany last December, after testing positive for steroids while playing in the AHL. He is a aggressive, gritty forward, and if he re-signs with Edmonton he is likely destined for the AHL.

Gryba is a pure defensive defender. He is big, strong and reliable in his own zone. He does not possess Marincin’s puckhandling skills, but the Oilers need to start building a team that has players who excel in specific areas. Marincin didn’t produce offence and was not stellar defensively. Gryba will be a third pairing defender who kills penalties, but he is big and strong enough to break up a cycle and push people around in the defensive zone. He only has one year left on his contract, $1.25 million, so he is paid accordingly to his skillset.

I see Gryba as a defensive upgrade. He isn’t a sexy acquisition, nor is he the top-pairing defender the Oilers need, but he’ll be steady.

QUICK HITS…

  • Reinhart shoots left, but he can play the right side, and likely will next season. When I asked Chiarelli if he expected Reinhart to play in Edmonton next year, he answered yes, without hesitation.
  • If the Oilers traded David Perron and a second round pick for Griffin Reinhart and Rob Klinkhammer, most would suggest they lost the deal. That is what the Perron trade looks like now. I wrote in January I didn’t like it, mainly because it made the Oilers worse at that time, and now six months later I still don’t think they won the deal. Reinhart will need to become a solid #4 for the Oilers to win that deal.
  • Mark Fayne is currently their best option on the right side, and the Oilers are hoping Schultz puts in the necessary work in the offseason so he is strong enough to engage in a battle. Andrew Ference is likely the third pairing left defender. I’m curious what the Oilers do with Nikita Nikitin. He can’t possibly be as bad as he was last year, and they are hoping he gets off to a better start and can at least contribute something. I’m skeptical. The Oilers have eight D-men signed for next year, including Nurse, so signing a UFA defender would likely coincide with a trade or buyout.
  • The Blackhawks didn’t shed any salary, at least not yet. Pittsburgh and Washington want Patrick Sharp, and some other teams might try to acquire him if they strike out in free agency.
  • Unless the Oilers add another forward, my top-two lines would be:
    Hall-McDavid-Purcell
    Pouliot-RNH-Eberle

    Until Yakupov improves his defensive awareness, I wouldn’t put him with a young McDavid, and if he plays with Lander he can get some favourable matchups. Purcell is a veteran, and he has proven he can produce when playing with skilled players. He is next year’s option, but I wouldn’t re-sign him next summer.

Weekend winners and losers…

Winners…

Buffalo Sabres. They improved their team the most over the
weekend. They drafted Jack Eichel and traded for Ryan O’Reilly, Jamie McGinn, David Legwand and
Robin Lehner.  They had lots of areas to
improve, but GM Tim Murray improved his goaltending and centre ice issues and he has two veteran centres to protect his young ones rather than have young guys force fed tough minutes.

The Oilers. They drafted McDavid — that alone makes them a winner. They acquired goalie Cam Talbot
and added some size on the blueline in Eric Gryba and Griffin Reinhart.           

Calgary Flames. Dougie Hamilton was an excellent
acquisition, especially because they didn’t have to give up a roster player to
obtain his rights.

Carolina Hurricanes. James Wisniewski gives them a good
puckmover and Eddie Lack will push Cam Ward and could easily be their starter
of the future.

Florida Panthers.They did a great job on draft day. The
building was energetic and their in-house highlights and big screens were
top-notch.

Losers…

Boston Bruins. They traded Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic
and replaced them with draft picks and a backup goalie in Martin Jones.

Toronto Maple Leafs. They drafted Mitch Marner and eight other players, but they were unable to move Phil Kessel or Dion Phaneuf. Marner will help them down the road, but the Leafs didn’t make any significant changes to their roster. We’ll see what Shanahan/Hunter can accomplish in free agency. 

Recently by Jason Gregor:     

    • STR8 SHOOTER

      Great Weekend. I went to Rexall Place for The Draft and took 3 teenage boys. They were so happy when we picked #1 and for Reinhart. Kids only see the positive, I think we all can learn from that.

      Awesome time.

      Oilers won all the way with 97.

      I am so grateful.

      been waiting since 1990 for the Cup

    • pkam

      Although I like Reinhart, I have to agree with Jason that this is an overpayment.

      If Chiarelli thinks Hamilton is worth the 16th, 33rd and 57th and Reinhart is worth the 16th and 33rd. Anyone here thinks Hamilton just worth Reinhart + 57th. Anyone here will trade Hamilton for Reinhart + even 33rd overall? If not, then you know we are either underpaying for Hamilton, or overpaying for Reinhart.

      The other way to use the offer sheet compensation as a base. How much do you think we should offer for Reinhart that Islanders will not match? We only have to pay a 1st and a 3rd for up to 5M. If the offer is under 3.3M, it is just a 2nd rounder. I don’t think anyone will think Reinhart will worth more than 3.3M now, let alone 5M. So a 1st and 3rd will guarantee the deal and a 2nd alone is very likely.

      • Naterator

        You can’t compare Hamilton to Reinhart, we were never going to get him, we offered more.

        Boston could have gotten a lot more, Arizona said they offered a nice package as well but Neely is the new Lowe and traded him to Calgary for peanuts out of spite. Reminds me of the Comrie for Perry deal.

        I feel sorry for Boston Fans, we all know how hard it is to get rid of an OBC which is exactly what’s going on there. Sweeney is just a puppet

        • pkam

          I am not talking about how much Hamilton should worth or whether we will get him.

          I am comparing what we offered for Hamilton to what we paid for Reinhart, and the difference is a 57th. So like I said, either we under offered for Hamilton or we overpaid for Reinhart.

          • Naterator

            I think it was a little bit of both.

            Hamilton should have gotten a lot more. Would be happier with the 57th for Reinhart but we over payed a little.

            Still worked out in the end because we got Talbot and Reinhart just difference in which picks went to which team.

    • Zarny

      Oiler fans should be over the moon. Hamilton, Lucic, Lehner…Edmonton added the best player with McDavid.

      I agree 16 + 33 is an overpay for Reinhart. Hamilton was obviously plan A. I wonder if Chiarelli and the Oilers felt pressure to make a move? I don’t expect Reinhart will ever bring a lot of offense, but if he can learn to play defense like Hjalmarsson no one will care. If Reinhart becomes Luke Schenn it will have been a bad trade.

      On the flip side they got a good deal for Talbot. Time will tell if the Oilers are better off with Reinhart over two prospects. Regardless, some fans should take a deep breathe. The difference between a great draft and some the silly comments on ON certainly isn’t one prospect like Svechnikov or Carlo.

      • pkam

        I am not upset at all but an overpayment is an overpayment.

        It is not a good sign if the management will overpay under pressure.

        And I think the Talbot trade is just a fair deal. We didn’t get robbed but neither did we rob them.

    • robc186

      The only way to look a the Perron and Petry trades is that they were traded for McDavid. Otherwise we would’ve had the 6 or 7th pick and McTavish would still be GM.

      • pkam

        Huh? 6th or 7th pick? Not sure how you come up with this assumption.

        I thought we were dead last when we traded Perron and 2nd last when we traded Petry. And we finished the season 3rd last. Never in a point of the season we were ahead of bottom 3, except perhaps the first two weeks.

    • Stack Pad Save

      Really sad when all the great hockey minds on tis thread start a debate over who is sitting at the draft table and why.

      Get a life and talk hockey. It is a great game.

    • OILFANMEXICO

      It is only an overpay if the market says otherwise Chiarelli obviously had to give up the extra pick to get Reinhart and time will tell if it was a fair trade. Adding another big young highly touted defensemen can’t hurt this club. I really hope Talbot knocks it out of the park wouldn’t that be something maybe Slats knew something and threw us a bone. I’m pretty curious about Gryba if nothing else he can will keep the other teams honest they better keep their heads up.

    • bradleypi

      What does a mean streak mean in hockey?

      My first junior team I remember is 67-68 FLIn FLON Bombers.

      Reichmuth LW 60gm 333PIM;

      Hart D 58gm 290PIM;

      Leach RW 59gm 208PIM;

      Criel D 58gm 204PIM;

      Hawrysh C 60gm 159PIM;

      Clarke C 59gm 148PIM;

      Klewchuk LW 59gm 124PIM;

      Swenson LW 36GM 87PIM

      Penalties were taken winning the battles in front of the net.

      Def D. Keep them to a distant shot or no shot at all.

    • Chainsawz

      We have to remember Griffen Reinhart (’94) could have played for the Oil Kings this year. He played 8 NHL games, and the rest of the year in the AHL.
      Isn’t that what many on the board are saying would be best for Nurse?
      GR will be working hard all summer with a skating coach, and working out with RNH.

      GR has been taught hockey theory all his life from his Dad, Paul. He will be a very good Dman for the Oilers, in a couple of years.

      I am very optimistic about the Oilers Defence corp, with Klefbom, Reinhart, and Nurse leading the charge.
      GM PC had a great draft weekend. He took charge and got some pieces for the future.

      • Cheap Shot Charlie

        I don’t think many people disagree that taking a chance on Reinhart is a good idea. The debate is what we paid to get him. Hamilton is a non-starter. But would many people pay what they did for Ladi Smid? I think GR will be in and around Smids quality. Good defensively, tough on the puck, great team guy, little offensive pop. It’s not a knock on either guy.

        i’d give the 33rd for that guy. I could see giving the 16th for that guy…but both? In what is considered an extremely deep draft?!? That’s going to be his down fall. And it’s because Oiler fans are well educated (…mostly).

        He’ll be compared not only against Barzal but against everyone who came after him in the 1st and 2nd round.

        • Chainsawz

          I don’t know I’d give up Barzal for a Smid clone, which I would agree is a fair comparison. And considering Blackwood was still available at 33, I wouldn’t have traded that pick either.

          You know how the Oilers feel about Parise? Hang on to that, it’ll come in handy coming to terms with this trade down the road.

    • Toofun

      The oilers addessed their needs and are better after the draft than they were before it but they still need another starting defensman. The Talbot deal is great.

      I thought Vancouver and Toronto moved backwards. Calgary / Edmonton games are going to be fun to watch.

      I’d like to see Vancouver and Edmonton switch spots in the standings next year…

    • Chainsawz

      As a Flames fan I gotta agree, Alberta and Buffalo won the draft this year. I think the Reinhart trade was good for both sides. You guys didn’t need Barzal and Reinhart played well in that building in junior. New York added to its forward group in case Okposo isn’t re-signed at the end of this year, while trading from their strength. We could easily be back to the 80’s dominance of Alberta and New York in a couple of years here, with a splash of Buffalo instead of Montreal :).

      • TKB2677

        The Flames crushed it this draft. How they didn’t have to give up a single player is mind boggling to me. Most 2nd rounders have a good chance of making the NHL. 3rd rounders start to get fairly long in odds. So Hamilton is WAY more valuable than any of those guys will probably ever be. The 15th the Flames gave up, the Bruins used to draft a guy that was ranked in the mid second round by most everyone so I don’t see how the Bruins even make out close to at least being even in the trade.

        Good for the Flames but wow, no clue what Boston is doing.

    • TKB2677

      I still have no idea what the Bruins are doing. They barely missed the playoffs, I think losing out on the last day if I am not mistaken. So they dump maybe their best Dman who’s a big, right shot, puck moving, point producing Dman who happens to only be 21 for picks. They don’t get a single player. They guys they drafted with all those picks, the 15th might be lucky to be in the NHL in 3 years. Then the Bruins go and dump Lucic for a back up goalie and #13.

      They follow that up by drafting with the 13th Zboril who many had in the low 1st. Debrusk who everyone had near the bottom of the 1st and Senyshyn who most had in the middle of the second.

      The Bruins, with the goalies they have and the remaining forwards and defense they have are still good enough that they will be in that 10th no mans land of not good enough to make the playoffs but not bad enough to get high picks.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        That no mans land/team death zone perception is gone now that the first three spots are up for grabs for non playoff teams.

        Lightning strikes next spring when teams with minimal chances for a premium pick win two of those top three selections. I think the Bruins will be fine. Just look at who they still have, not what they’ve given away last weekend.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      Grabbing a Mathew Dumba from Minnesota would’ve been a far wiser/more winnable gamble. No mobility issues, offensive potential and a right handed shot, and affordable to boot.

      Now that the Wild have cap issues, perhaps that’s something that can still be done. If they took Backstrom off their hands it might even further their chances.

    • TKB2677

      They gave up a 21 yr old, right shot, big, good skating, point producing Dman who’s most likely a top pairing guy. Plus they gave up a 27 yr old big, strong, nasty, top 6 forward who can pump in a goal one shift, drill a guy through the boards the next shift, then beat the crap out of someone later. All they got in return was a back up goalie and some picks and you think they did well?

      People shredded Mac T for trading underperforming, not wanting to be in Edmonton Perron, who’s play faded in Pitts for the 16th and a useful 4th liner.

    • mcjesus take the wheel

      Oilers were losers draft day. PC made terrible moves. Yes we got McDavid but he got fleeced on the rest and his past relationship with Sweeney and Neely hurt us not helped us. Grif is not a good player. He may have played right side some but he’s no where good enough to play the right side in the NHL. He got away with it in junior due to his size and reach. Better be something else happening because right now we are no better on defense.