There’s a wayward impression building in our part of the world and sometimes I wonder how good our collective memories are these days. The thought process goes like this: “Boy do the Oilers draft a lot of Oil Kings!” and the answer (total Oil Kings drafted by Edmonton’s NHL team) will shock and amaze.
THE ANSWER: TWO!
- C Travis Ewanyk, No. 74 overall in 2011
- L Mitchell Moroz, No. 32 overall in 2012.
That’s it, that’s all. Despite the large number of players connected to both franchises, only two have been drafted by the Oilers. It’s worth noting that Ewanyk was sent away in the Eric Gryba trade at the draft this year.
The Oil Kings and Oilers are connected by a large number of players who have turned pro since 2008 spring (the modern incarnation of Edmonton’s junior team began fall 2007).
- Cameron Abney was drafted by the Oilers in 2009 from the Everett Silvertips. The junior club traded for him just after Christmas 2009 in a search for toughness. Source
- Kristians Pelss was drafted by the Oilers in 2010 from Dynamo in the Belarus Juniors. The young Latvian was outstanding in an Oil Kings uniform after the junior team drafted him in the import draft. Source
- David Musil was drafted by the Oilers in 2011, and the junior team traded for him in the fall of 2012. In both cases, the Vancouver Giants were the team in question. Source
- Martin Gernat was drafted from Kosice of the Slovakian Juniors in 2011. Less than a week later, the Oil Kings selected him in the import draft. Source
- Laurent Brossoit was an Oil King drafted by the Calgary Flames. Edmonton’s NHL team acquired him from the Flames for Ladislav Smid. Source
- Grifftin Reinhart starred for the Oil Kings and was a very high draft pick for the NY Islanders. The trade on draft night by Edmonton for Reinhart is the latest inspiration for the “Oilers love too many Oil Kings” meme.
Davis Koch will enter his draft season this fall and scored 52GP, 11-14-25 for the Oil Kings as a 16-year old in 2014-15. Entering last season, head coach Steve Hamilton spoke about Koch: “He is certainly a very gifted player, he’s got a lot of ability. I think he’s finding the transition to junior hockey is
competitive. It’s competitive for opportunity, its competitive for ice
Andrew Koep passed through the draft in 2015 but I think he may have a shot in pro hockey. Cody Nickolet of the brilliant blog WHL From Above:
Andrew Koep is a pint-sized scoring forward for the Edmonton Oil Kings…doesn’t
have the purest looking skating stride…he gets nice and low but his stride is a
bit choppy and clunky at times…despite the visuals, he does have good speed and
shiftiness…that speed and shiftiness works well with the rest of his game as he
does everything (and can execute) at top speed…plays an aggressive style of
game in the offensive zone…buzzes around with live legs and creates plays…plays
with his head up, reads the play at a high level in the offensive zone and
executes even in tight coverage…handles the puck well…is a smart playmaker
but also has good goal-scoring tendencies.
- Lane Bauer has passed through the draft twice and it’s a good bet skating was the issue both times. He was an invite to the Oilers recent orientation camp and has some legit skills, as Nickolet suggests: he’s strong on his
stick, is a solid stickhandler and has the ability to go east-west against
traffic…is a very smooth receiver of the puck and is dangerous once he gets
it…understands spacing and can turn a pass reception into a carry, another
quick dish or a shot, if he’s in a good spot…shot power is surprisingly good,
highlighted by a strong release…has a neat little half-clap slapper that
generates plenty of power despite a small windup…puck protection and balance
are only ok but would improve with improved skating and overall mobility and
footwork…hockey sense is quite strong as he’s also a very capable defensive
player…he really grinds and works away from the puck…positioning and reads are
definitely above average for a player of his age at this level…isn’t the most
physical player but makes up for it with good body and stick positioning…has a
very mature approach to his play away from the puck Source
The next time someone says ‘those Oilers are using all of their draft picks on Oil Kings!” remind them the answer is two. As for the rest, we’ll just have to see about them. In the Oilers prospect chain, Brossoit and Reinhart rank high and there are five Oil Kings in their entry level deal with the NHL club (Brossoit, Reinhart, Moroz, Musil and Gernat). I expect we’ll see more Oil Kings down the line, but the answer to the question ‘which mordern Oil Kings player was the first to play for the Edmonton Oilers?’ has already been answered. Who is next?