The Edmonton Oilers will get a ticket in the lottery April 30, and with their considerable ability to win lotteries, we should probably start at the top when discussing possible draft targets. This year, the top option is a 6.02, 194-pound forward who is described as an elite offensive talent. If the Edmonton Oilers win the lottery, and draft Auston Matthews, what will it mean? I think we are talking an earthquake of biblical proportions.

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No matter what team you cheer for, it is very obvious winning the lottery in 2016 has high value. How high? One way we can begin to look at the issue is through NHL Equivalencies. Gabriel Desjardins fine work on the subject was groundbreaking, and with the exception of tweaks in how much air to let out of the tires, remains the industry standard. Desjardins in his own words is here.

For our purposes, I am using Christian Roatis’ calculator, and it is here.

Here are the NHL equivalencies for the last six No. 1 overall selections in their draft year, with Matthews slotted in. Numbers are total points per 82gp, which is the universal way of stating NHLE. 

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  1. Connor McDavid 2015 (66.99 points)
  2. Taylor Hall 2010 (48.7 points)
  3. Nail Yakupov 2012 (43.1 points)
  4. Auston Matthews 2016 (41.91 points)
  5. Nathan MacKinnon 2013 (36.34 points)
  6. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 2011 (34.0 points)
  7. Aaron Ekblad 2014 (23.98 points)

A couple of points. First, Matthews is playing in a pro league, making the comparisons more difficult. Connor McDavid played in a junior league where he would probably play more—more time-on-ice, more power-play time—so we should asterisk the Matthews line and make sure to keep that in mind. That said, this is an impressive total, and Matthews overall scouting reports suggest a can’t-miss prospect along the lines of Jack Eichel.

  • Auston Matthews (from the link above) on his style compared to Jack Eichel: “We’re both pretty big guys and we like to have the puck on our stick;
    we’re both power forwards. I think the style of
    our game might be a little bit different. Jack is obviously an
    unbelievable skater. I’ve never seen somebody skate like him. He has a
    great shot and is really powerful. I kind of am a little bit quicker in
    the corners and stuff with my hands. I try to use my hands and vision a
    lot.” Source


  • Elite Prospects: A high octane dynamo that thrives under the microscope, Auston Matthews
    is a complete offensive forward who consistently boasts quick hands,
    feet, and thinking at both ends of the ice. Naturally nimble skater that
    accelerates to top speed very quickly. An unwavering focus on fine
    tuning elements of his own game facilitates confidence and competence in
    his young, but mature, mind. Prolific goal scoring ability and doesn’t
    wait for opportunities to show themselves. He makes his own luck, so to
    speak, maximizing the use of his body and stick to gain leverage against
    the toughest of opponents. All-in-all, a generational talent that has
    the potential to develop into a top flight franchise center. (Curtis
    Joe, EP 2016) Source
  • Dan Marr, Central Scouting Director: “He would have been right at the
    top of that mix. We would have had a healthy discussion and debate as
    who they would want as No. 1. Just talent wise, Connor has the cleverness, creativeness and
    finesse to his game where I would say Auston has more the power forward
    game where he’s really driven on the play but his puck skills are just
    as good.”
  • Craig Button, TSN: Watching Matthews, I see a player capable of impacting the game in
    multiple ways. The 6-foot-1, 194-pounder is an excellent skater who can
    beat opponents with speed or quickness and is capable of executing plays
    at high speed. His passing skills are precise and he has the ability to
    score off the rush, off the cycle, from a distance, from in close. He
    has the intelligence of high-end players and exudes an uncommon
    confidence. He swats away obstacles as though they are merely irritating
    . Source
  • Dennis Schellenberg, Hockey Prospectus: Although he is listed at 6-2 and 194, he is an agile skater who can move
    around on the ice without losing speed. He is able to make fast turns
    and does not get outskated. His skating balance is good which makes it
    hard for opponents to knock him off the puck with a quiet check.
    Matthews’ top speed is decent and helps him to start rushes in his own
    zone through the neutral zone without getting outskated. His first
    strides are powerful and he hits full speed within 3-4 strides. Although
    he has a good skating balance and leg strength, he isn’t an extremely
    explosive skater but can get rid of opponents in the corners with a few
    quick turns. He doesn’t have the “burner tag” though, but that could
    also be because of his size which does not allow him to a dancer with
    the puck. Source
  • Kirk Luedeke, The Scouting Post: The big center can really skate and push the offensive pace of a
    game- he has the skill and sense to bring a finesse style. However, with
    his big frame that is still filling out, he also has the ability to
    bull his way to the net, protect the puck on the cycle and excel in the
    greasy areas of the ice. In short? Matthews is the total package
    . Source


In a just world, Edmonton would have finished higher in the 2015-16 standings. You can blame the players, the management, the coaching staff, the bells of Merthyr, injuries, that blasted puck or your neighbor. We are here. All the available evidence says Auston Matthews is the No. 1 option, and that any team would be lucky to have him. Including Edmonton.


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  • Ready to Win

    As long as he doesn’t end up on the Flames or Nucks I’m happy, but the pure rage that would be aimed our way if the Oilers win the lottery would bring some joy to my summer.

  • Spydyr

    The Oilers are the best and winning draft lotteries. I for one will never forget the smug smile on Mr. Dithers face when he won. It was like he accomplished something.

    • Namudi

      Getting the right to draft mcdavid is the best feat this organization has done since the Stanley Cup finals in 06. I was smug a.f when I seen that gold card.

    • Jay (not J)

      Ugh! He even had the gall to go to the podium with that smug, self righteous look on his face and say that the Oilers were proud to pick first again. There was something seriously wrong with that guy. Just a total disconnect from the reality of his situation. Then he went and added frickin’ Belanger and called it a good summer.

  • Boom or Bust

    So wouldn’t that pick net us something great in the defensive department? If we get the first pick we can’t seriously use it for another center. We best trade it and start to fill our gaps.

      • Boom or Bust

        Well that’s certainly plausible and makes sense…Auston Mathews may be the next big thing…however Nuge is also really good player with experience now and plays his bag off!! Mathew’s is a rookie and there’s no guarantees he would be any better!! That pick alone is worth alot!!

    • bradleypi

      If Chiarelli trades the 1st overall pick he should be fired immediately. There’s plenty of current oilers thar aren’t working out that should be shipped out of town before an 18 year old potential superstar. Drafting Mathews and trading a big ticket contract is only benificial to the oilers and the salary cap.I’m pretty sure I asked lowetide in October if this was Chiarellis plan and he blew me off while oilersnation told me I was an idiot because everyone except me and verdad thought this was a good hockey squad and the playoffs were gonna happen.

  • Morgo_82

    It’s now been seven years since the initial first overall pick and we’re still talking about it because it’s likely to happen again… for the fifth damn time. This better be the last time doing this, dear God let this be it. I can’t take much more of this.

    • Great White

      6’2′ soon to be 200lbs. Plays all 3 forward positions. Character. Speed. Skill. Under Oilers control for at least 7 years… but no. Let’s trade for OEL who’s a free agent in 3 years. Good thinking pal. Really using that brain of yours.

      • Keepyourstickontheice

        Call me crazy, but I’d trade any draft pick, including the #1 … for A SINGLE YEAR OF A REAL FRANCHISE DEFENSEMEN. 3 would be crème brule. This team isn’t in the basement because they don’t have top flight talent, their in the basement because defensively, the oilers are an abyss. I’ve been staring at it too long and it stares back.

        We have zero room for Mathews on this team, we do not need another rookie center playing in our top 6, even as good as he is.

        • Cheap Shot Charlie

          I think if you have one of the best up and coming forwards in the league you make room. To say we have no room for a guy like that is like saying you have no room for dessert. You do what it takes to fit it in.

          • Keepyourstickontheice

            The dessert analogy is very fitting. Every year at the end of the season this team looks in the mirror, and says I don’t like what I see. I should diet, and work out and change what I see. This plan last until the draft where we are tantalized by the dessert and the plan goes out the window. We just can’t help ourselves.

            I’m beginning to think this team is cursed.

        • bradleypi

          You do realize he could be better than drai right? There is plenty of room for good hockey players on this team. You do know the oilers are in last right?

          • Keepyourstickontheice

            The Oilers are already in a tough spot cap wise dressing all these young phenoms cap wise, there isn’t as much room as you think. If the plan is to say move Draisaitl for a defensemen, maybe your argument holds water, but to me draisaitl isn’t that much worse than Matthews, he’s a great young center with size, skill and he’s two years older than Matthews.

            The Oilers are not in last place for lack of skill, they are in last place for lack of capable defenders and depth players. Matthews does not address this.

          • bradleypi

            So who would you draft if Mathews doesn’t address any team needs? You would pass him by because he’s not a dman? Mathews makes the team better. You’re fooling yourself if you think otherwise. Oilers are in last place in case you forgot

          • Keepyourstickontheice

            I would not use the pick. I would either trade it straight up for the best dman I could get OR I’d trade down a few spots and try to get a youngish defencemen that’s a 22-23, and then draft BPA with the pick you get back.

        • Great White

          You would trade a franchise player for pennies on the dollar. You sound like a person who hardly thinks before he writes. Everything is an affectation these days.

          • Keepyourstickontheice

            Any idiot, present company included, can look at scouting reports and decide which 17yo forward should be drafted first.

            Its much harder to try and project what a 17yo defenseman’s game will look like at 24 or 25. Not everyone gets as lucky as Florida did, where there is a consensus #1 dman man-boy like Ekblad available.

      • Keepyourstickontheice

        Also, pretty speculative to say that Matthews has character. Dude hasn’t even been drafted yet, how do we know what kind of character he has until he really plays under the limelight.

        • Great White

          “He loves to win, he doesn’t like to lose I can tell you that much, he’s one of those people who has excellence at the forefront of everything that he’s about, and as I said earlier that’s what all NHL clubs are looking for. This is a guy you can certainly build your franchise around.” -Marc Crawford, his head coach.

          • Keepyourstickontheice

            So a washed up NHL coach thinks his star 17 year old has character?

            Good for Marc, what I’m saying is that being 17 was a trying time for all of us, but none of us had the pressure of being adult to test our character.

            Wait until he makes it to the NHL and gets put in some big boy situations before throwing out words like character.

      • Namudi

        Lol wow r u kidding. We don’t need anymore forwards. We need defense.

        Oel plays 28+ minutes a night.

        The only guy on our roster even close to playing the much is….

        Jordan oesterle : /

      • bradleypi

        About time someone actually used some common sense. A last place team trading the 1st overall pick for a rental defenceman would be bizarre to say the least. What has OEL done to get Arizona in the playoffs?

        • Zarny

          Good grief, one the top 5 D in the league with a ridiculously good contract for the next few years is not a “rental”.

          What has OEL done? You need to watch more hockey if you don’t know what OEL has done.

          Auston Matthews is not a prospect that should be traded lightly; but OEL is certainly a player you would trade him for. OEL is that good.

          • bradleypi

            What has he done since you seem to watch so much more hockey than me? Been in the playoffs yet? Taken home any major awards? If trading for oel is Chiarellis move for a defenseman this summer, then expect another last place finish next year. He’s not the type of dman this team needs. We need to hope nurse, Klef and Davidson turn into the oilers best defenceman. All I want this summer us a solid top 4 right handed defenceman to help this group out. I don’t have pie in the sky dreams of landing a “stud” dman like the rest of you. Who trades those away unless they old anyways?

          • bradleypi

            What has he done since you seem to watch so much more hockey than me? Been in the playoffs yet? Taken home any major awards? If trading for oel is Chiarellis move for a defenseman this summer, then expect another last place finish next year. He’s not the type of dman this team needs. We need to hope nurse, Klef and Davidson turn into the oilers best defenceman. All I want this summer us a solid top 4 right handed defenceman to help this group out. I don’t have pie in the sky dreams of landing a “stud” dman like the rest of you. Who trades those away unless they old anyways?

          • Zarny

            Yes, OEL has been to the playoffs. His rookie season where he put up 32 pts. He also helped Phx to 51 pts in 48 games during the lockout season and to 89 pts in 2013-14. Certainly far exceeds anything we’ve seen in Edm the past decade.

            Has he won major awards? Nope, highest he’s placed in Norris voting is 7th. So what? The only D to win the Norris over the last 15 years are Pronger, Lidstrom, Neidermeyer, Chara, Keith, Karlsson and Subban. Weber, Suter, Doughty and quite a few D who haven’t won awards would help the Oilers.

            OEL is exactly the type of D the Oilers need. He’s outstanding offensively, drives possession and is very good defensively. He’s literally one of the 5 best D in the league. The fact you don’t know this changes nothing. The Oilers certainly won’t finish last with OEL on the blueline.

            What will guarantee another last place finish is “hoping” Nurse, Klefbom or Davidson turn into the Oilers best defencemen since that is at least 2-4 years away. Hoping and relying on young kids is about the dumbest strategy the Oilers could employ…in case you haven’t been paying attention over the last 6 years lol.

          • bradleypi

            Lol. We will revisit this discussion in October when Chiarelli HASN’T traded a 1st overall pick for extra salary that that the team can’t afford. And could just walk out the door when his current contract is done. And If oel is as good as you claim then tell me more about why Arizona is so anxious to trade him? Especially when they already have strome to center their top line. Oh and in what world is developing and grooming their own defencemen “the dumbest strategy the oilers could employ”???? Isn’t that how good teams are built or are you using some strange oilersnation logic where trading away 1st overall picks is the norm?

          • Zarny

            LOL…you are obtuse.

            First, the Oilers have to actually get the 1st overall pick before they can actually trade it.

            Extra salary they can’t afford? Good grief, OEL makes $5.5M per year. A mere million more than Nikitin whose contract is off the books this year. Affording OEL isn’t even close to a problem. To have a bona fide 1 D @ $5.5M would be money they mostly certainly can afford lol.

            And the risk of OEL just walking away in 3 years is about the same as Matthews or McDavid forcing a trade after 3 years. So that’s not really much of an argument; it’s just baseless speculation.

            No one said Arizona is anxious to trade him. Quite the opposite; the odds are likely that Maloney won’t trade OEL. And if it was strictly a hockey decision Arz probably never trades OEL. Alas, hockey is also a business. And Arz could use a star forward to market. As good as OEL is, D just don’t have the same pizzazz as star forwards. So it’s possible Maloney wouldn’t trade OEL for the 1st overall or anything at all. But it’s also possible he is simply setting up a conversation to trade OEL for Matthews plus a D prospect like Klefbom. Time will tell.

            And no it’s not the dumbest strategy in the world to develop and groom their own D. It’s dumb to “hope” Nurse, Klefbom and Davidson improve as your plan A.

            You said you’d be happy with adding a 3-4 D. That amounts to adding one of the top 61-120 D in the league. That isn’t players like Hamonic or Shattenkirk. That’s players like Jason Garrison. Adding a D like Garrison isn’t going to move the needle in the standings I’m afraid.

          • bradleypi

            So you’re saying that nurse and Klef have peaked? What we see is what we get? Time to make knee jerk reactions and trade for any defenceman that might be available and pay any price? Why didn’t Chiarelli do that last summer then? Or at the trade deadline? Surely by then he knew that the defence was bad. I’m thinking Chiarelli is more patient than you and isn’t going to trade for oel just because you think he’s a great fit. And I stick to my guns that going after Mathews was Chiarellis plan all along. And nuge is the one in play for a dman. It’s pretty clear since nuge was rumored in the Jones deal and then Chiarelli didn’t name him to the under 23 team. He’s clearly not as high on nuge as you and oilersnation are.

          • Zarny

            I didn’t say Nurse and Klef have peaked. I didn’t say anything about making knee jerk reactions or paying “any price”. You either have serious problems with reading comprehension or are intentionally obtuse.

            Every single Oiler fan should know intimately that progression is not linear. The only thing young players like Nurse and Klefbom are consistent at is being inconsistent. So no Nurse and Klefbom haven’t “peaked” but they could certainly struggle next season.

            Which is why it’s dumb for either to be your plan A for next year. It might be 2 or 3 years before they are Edmonton’s best defensemen. Or maybe never. There is certainly no guarantee either will become a bona fide 1 D. Planning to rely on young players improving has been one of the biggest problems with the Oilers rebuild. You should learn from history, not repeat Bradley.

            Pay any price? We’re talking about flipping a draft pick plus a young player for a bona fide superstar. That is certainly a steep price, but it’s nowhere near “any price”. And the return would one of the best D in the world. You seem to struggle with that concept.

            I suspect Chiarelli didn’t make any major trades last season because he wanted to see what he had first hand. Hardly unusual or a head scratcher. At the deadline? Probably because it’s extremely hard to find trading partners for $6M players 3/4 of the way through the season when 2/3 of the league isn’t in a good position to trade. Again, this isn’t unusual.

            Chiarelli is more patient lol? Newsflash…if Chiarelli could have traded for OEL at the deadline he would have. You don’t seem to understand that Arz might not trade OEL no matter how badly Chiarelli would like to make a trade. Both teams have to say yes.

            You’re even dumber than you sound if you think Chiarelli’s plan this year was last place for a player who isn’t as good as Connor McDavid.

            And I agree, Nuge is in play for a D. Thanks Captain Obvious. So is Eberle. And it’s not because Chiarelli isn’t high on Nuge or Eberle. It’s simply a numbers game. IF the Oilers want to trade for a high caliber D they will need to offer something of considerably value in return. Nuge, Eberle and Yak would be the prime candidates only because McDavid, Hall and Draisaitl are better prospects.

            You see, if Chiarelli wasn’t high on Nuge he would have just traded him for some scrub at the deadline. That’s what you do with players you aren’t high on. You don’t hold onto them as trade bait for a top-pairing D lol.

  • D'oh-ilers

    I’m to the point where I don’t even care if the Oilers win the draft lottery. Just start not being terrible at hockey. Sooner, rather than later. That would be great. Thanks…

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    If the Oilers win Matthews I’d say draft him.

    We can run Duo’s of




    I’d be ok with trading Hall if that was the core of our top 6. Plus we’ll never have to worry about center depth. Mclellan did the same thing with Thornton, Pavelski, Marleau and Couture.

    I like Hall but he would get us a good d-man.

  • GK1980

    I don’t want top 5 picks anymore. More wins please. Watching the guy in TSN look disgusted when they did a mock draft having the oilers win, I don’t blame him. I’m sick of this krap. Austin may be good but I’m just sick of this losing.

    Chia better make some smart moves this summer that gets this team over the edge. My fandom with the oilers is becoming less and less every disgusting year.

  • The Whispererer

    Based on TV conversations during intermission on last Saturday’s televised game, Arizona GM is on record that he would definitely not trade OEL for the 1st pick.

    Besides OEL is another left shot. I would prefer Pietrangelo who might be available if St Louis can extend Shattenkirk.

    • Zarny

      Because there is no way Maloney is just posturing to get Matthews plus Klefbom or another D prospect for OEL…right?

      And you’re dreaming if you think StL will trade Pietrangelo to extend Shattenkirk. They will move Shattenkirk and Bouwmeester before trading Pietrangelo.

  • Wintoon

    I am so tired of hearing the MSM and other fan bases take pot shots at the Oilers that I would absolutely love to see the Oilers win the draft lottery once again.

    This might make guys like Hrudey and Kypreos blow a circuit. It would literally be that sweet. Here is hoping.

  • BobbyCanuck

    That is really a tough call, draft Mathews and trade whomever we can to get the D we need? This would be akin to rebuild 3.0 v45000000

    Or trade the pick to get the D we need? I would be leery of doing this as, our existing players have proven that they are simply the wrong mix, even if we fix the D, we still have issues in the top 6

    Figure it out Chia, and earn your salary!

  • Stew

    In November, I was lucky enough to see Austin Matthews play in Lugano Switzerland. Lugano was playing the ZSC Lions. Apart from the ridiculous yellow flame helmets that the Swiss league requires each team’s leading scorer to wear, Matthews looked quite good. He wasn’t hands down the best player on the ice (Damien Brunner was) but for a 17 year old he really saw the ice well. There is no doubt in my mind that he’s a top 6 forward in the league today. I’d compare him to a much quicker Tavares. He would look great in Oiler silks.

  • A-Mc

    As far as I’m concerned, our 1st round pick needs to be going into a trade for a D.

    Im so far removed from even entertaining the idea of adding another skilled forward to this team right now… The only way i can stomach it is if the new comer is the direct replacement of Eberle leaving for a D. If the new guy is bigger w/ scoring touch; even better.

  • That's My Point

    Canucks are on a 9 game losing streak; looks like they’ll finish 30th.

    Oilers will hopefully get a player who will be ready to play in the league in a couple of years.

    Oilers can’t just continue to win now, they have to stock up some draft picks for their future……….oh wait

    *patiently waits for July 1, free agency date*

  • jdh1089

    I hope the idea that if we get Matthews, Nuge will be expendable isn’t used. Well not immediately. He and his two way game is missed, and 3 such young centres would be a bad idea especially in the west, especially with Drai’s recent struggles and how unsure we are what we have with him.

  • CBK

    If the Oilers do end up with the 1st overall pick, you’d almost have to draft Matthews.

    The issue here is you’re adding more inexperience/youth to an already young inexperienced roster despite the elite talent Matthews would bring.

    RNH would almost for sure be gone, as would Eberle to adjust and make room for all the upcoming salary increases Drai, McD, Nurse… Matthews would most likely receive.

    This is the absolute definition of an embarrassment of riches (if it wasn’t already when we landed McDavid) if the Oilers got Auston Matthews.

  • Ivan Drago

    I was onside with trading our pick for a dman until the proprosed rules for expansion came out. Isnt it true if we kept our pick, he would not need to be protected due to lack of time in a pro league? Whereas
    if we trade the pick and keep, say Nuge or Ebs, then it would cost us a player on the protected list. That way we only need to protect the player we trade Nuge or Ebs for, not this this yrs draft pick. If we trade the pick for a player, then we would need to protected that player and Nuge or Ebs. Am I wrong on these rules?

    • RJ

      As far as I know they haven’t finalized the rules yet. But it would be roster players (4 forwards, 3 dmen, 1 goalie), and they can’t be on ELCs.

      If you drafted Laine as an example, then he’d be safe, McDavid would be safe Nurse would be safe, and they could protect another seven players.

      However…if you offered Hall/Nuge/Eberle and the #1, you could probably get a pretty darn good defenceman, since whoever they draft is going to be exempt from a future expansion draft.