For Edmonton Oilers fans, the 2017 draft is going to be a little different. Edmonton’s success in the standings means the team will land in the early to mid-20s, meaning guessing Edmonton’s pick in the first round is going to be a moving target. For our first prospect this year, I have chosen Cale Makar of the Brooks Bandits (AJHL). As was the case one year ago with BCHL players Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro of the Penticton Vees, this is a prospect playing in a Tier 2 league with top-end talent.

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2017 MOCKS

There is no guarantee Makar makes it to Edmonton’s draft position—in fact, early mocks have him going in the middle of the first round. Mike Morreale of has him going in the top half of the draft: 

14. Los Angeles Kings - Cale Makar, D, Brooks (AJHL)
Makar (5-11, 179), winner of the 2015-16 Alberta Junior Hockey League and 
Canadian Junior Hockey League Rookie of the Year, has continued his 
stellar play and development. He's a dynamic skater with quickness and 
elusiveness with or without the puck.

There is a long way to go before draft day, but Makar is drawing a lot of interest from NHL prospect followers. Adam Kimelman, also of, has him even higher:

10. Tampa Bay Lightning - Cale Makar, D, Brooks (AJHL)
The  right-shot defender (5-11, 179) has dominated the Alberta Junior Hockey
 League and was just as good when he stepped up a level to play for 
Canada at the 2016 World Junior A Challenge, with four goals and four 
assists in four games. Scouts have been impressed by his speed with and 
without the puck, which allows him to lead the rush then get back into 
the defensive zone if play turns the other way.


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Makar is an interesting player, because his size (5.10, 175) is the first thing you notice about him. In fact, it is a testament to his skills that he gets mentioned in the first round with his lack of NHL size. Makar is a brilliant skater, and he is an expert puck handler and passer.

The most impressive line about him came from a Bob McKenzie article about Makar a couple of weeks before Christmas. McKenzie heard from scouts who were following the young man at the World Junior A Challenge in Bonnyville, while the rest of the junior hockey world was paying attention to Canada’s national junior team selection camp for the 2017 World Junior Championship in Blainville, Quebec.

  • Scout one: “Makar should be in Blainville, not Bonnyville.” 

  • Scout two: “He should be there. He would be the Canadians’ best defenceman for the World Junior Championship.”
  • Source


Makar’s NHL equivalency (82gp, 17 points) does not imply he is going to be a brilliant puck mover on the McDavid power play, but the AJHL equivalency hasn’t seen many like Makar in the past. It is also worth comparing Makar’s NHLE with the of BCHL star Dante Fabbro (82gp, 16 points) one year ago.

Chances are Makar’s name gets called early and the Oilers never get a chance at the brilliant young defenseman. However, if he is still on the board, don’t be surprised if Peter Chiarelli calls his name at the 2017 draft.

  • polsy

    Perfect timing. Tonight’s a chance to go see him in person as his Bandits are in Spruce Grove playing the Saints tonight. We’ve had this night circled for a while.

    Saints feature an incredibly skilled Dman expected to go in the 2nd round as well- Mitchell. Going to be fun watching these two wheel around tonight.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    It just goes the show how incredibly deep the talent pool is in this country. Tier 2 leagues are producing first round, elite level prospects.

  • tkfisher

    This is the ultimate analytics vs. saw him good pick:

    If you told me to get excited about 5-11 179lb AJHL Dman with 17 NHLE points for his “offense” in the first round i’d say you’re crazy.

    If you’d told me “Canadas best Dman for the WJC” was also a draft eligible, offensive right hander; i’d be super pumped to have a chance at him.

    I haven’t seen him play, so I can’t say one way or the other, but the scouts and everyone else sure are high on the guy. Good for him.

  • Spoils

    in honor of lowetide (love you LT) I’m going to have one of those ohhh back in the day comments:

    I was living in Toronto at the time and a buddy of mine picked me up after a bleeder of a weekend. We drove the long grey roads down to the Joe to watch game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Great roadtrip, what a venue, whst huge pieces of pizza, and what a surprise to come away from the game thinking, “uhm… the Oilers are a better team than the Wings”

    And the day breaks 2017, birds chirping, Mozart echoing from a concert last night, and the Oilers fresh off sweeping the battle of Alberta make a heck of a statement heading into the break.

    Good times

  • 24% body fat

    oilersnation lets be serious here when it comes to aquiring duchene

    He is superior and has more value than any forward on the team except Drai and Connor.

    Nuge or Eberle doesnt get it done. If they trade Duchene they need a younger prospect. A Nuge packgage might get it done as they think with Mckinnon on line one, might not be making use of Duchene on line two. But we would need to probably add Benson, and they might need to add a b prospect or mid round pick.

    JP might get it done, buy Chia isnt doing that.

    Nurse plus Benson might get it done, but if you are trading Nurse or Klef it should be for a right defenseman and not a forward. As well as that would be too much cap up forward unless oilers move out one of nuge, or eberle and poo.

    Oilers are winning now. Lets be smarter with our trade scenarios so we dont come off stupid.

    You may think mine are stupid, and maybe colorado wouldnt want that. But the value is more fair than nuge or eberle straight up, and I say package, meaning ore may need to be added.

    Lets go with a block buster to start the day

    Duchene, Barrie, Iginla,


    Nuge, Klefbom, Pouliot, Reinhart

    ???? is that fair for Colorado?

    Nuge younger than Duchene, Not sure if Barrie has a good relationship with them anymor, Reinhart for Iggy, is fair and pouliout provides them with a player whos contract isnt too long and is capable during a retool

  • 24% body fat

    Whens “how good is Cal Foote” coming LT?

    Clearly the player oilers need.

    Big, can score, skating is fine, Right handed defenseman, and hopefully the nastiness of his dad

    • cvstone

      EXACTLY! Skating isn’t the best compared to other D of this draft but still is an excellent piece we need. Imagine 6’3 Calle foot on the right side and 6’6 Markus Niemeläinen on the left as a pairing

  • Glass

    I love these posts. I can’t see us finishing below 20th with the way things are going now… so I kind of doubt any of the awesome RHD will be available by then.

    You would think that RHC’s will be getting scouted closely. Either use the kid as a 3RHC or convert to 2RW long-term behind Puljujarvi I’m guessing.

  • cvstone

    Actually if we’re talking making a mid-late 1st round pick, we should all be hoping and praying that Calle Foote falls to the Oilers. He’s a Chiraelli type player, big frame, aggressive like Adam Larsson, RIGHT SHOT, only knack is skating. Watched him whenever Kelowna comes into town and he is very poised. Son of Adam Foote too.

    • tkfisher

      I don’t know if you sold me on Foote. Highly touted first round D, son of an NHL’er with poise and some skating issues. I think we acquired that player last year at the cost of 16 OV and a high second round pick. I believe he’s playing in the AHL and people are a little upset still.

      With the way the game is going i’m not overly optimistic with any defense who has skating issues, or questionable puck moving abilities at the draft.

      Obviously you don’t want a blue line made up of sub 6 foot rear guards but you also don’t want to draft Derrian Hatcher. Back in the day it was fine but those sorts of players can no longer make up for skating deficiencies with a clutch, grab, or stick. I’d exercise extreme caution picking that sort in the first round and see them as a boom or bust pick outside of the top 30 personally.

      • cvstone

        Yeah that’s definitely fair, he does have some degree of Reinhartness to him in terms of foot speed, but for me the potential reward outweighs potential risk. Look at Draisaitl though, in his draft year he wasn’t known for his foot speed and now three years later he’s developed some wheels.

    • @Hallsy4

      Last time was 2009, Dylan Olsen of the Camrose Kodiaks was drafted by Chicago 28th overall. Before that, in 2008, Boston drafted Joe Colborne from the Camrose Kodiaks at 16 overall I believe. The AJHL is just as good or better than the BCHL. The BCHL gets more exposure as there’s generally a lot more American imports playing in BC than Alberta, which results in more scholarships to Div 1 american Schools. Another reason for more exposure is that BCHL has more cities with teams in vacation like settings, so scouts (selfishly, and mistakenly) watch BCHL players more, as they can visit somewhere nice and go golfing etc after watching games. It’s not right, but it makes sense, Scouts for Div 1 Universities and Pro scouts would rather go to Vernon/Penticton/Salmon Arm/Naniamo/Victoria etc to watch hockey over places like Brooks Alberta of Ft. Mac. It’s a big mistake and laziness or selfishness on behalf of a lot of Scouts and their teams, as it doesn’t result in the best possible picks for their team. The Oilers old scouting staff has been very guilty of this in the past, drafting numerous BCHL players from places like Vernon. They should have been fired 10 years earlier than they were.

  • I’m actually more excited for this draft, maybe than any other outside of McDavid.

    Reason being it’s been years of drafting BPA. But now the team has to actually Scout, plan, and find some good players deeper in the order. They can draft for need, and stock the cupboards with some more talented blue chippers, rather than rushing those guys into the line up.

    If the Oilers are turning a corner and becoming a contender, this draft marks the beginning of trying to stay a contender. Drafting and developing is a huge part of the success model for Chicago, Pens, and previously the Wings. As guys get too expensive to keep, Chi will need a steady steam of developed prospects to step into those roles on value contracts.

    I would be happy if they found another Klefbom caliber player in the first round. Preferably on the right side.

  • @Hallsy4

    I’d be inclined to stay away from Makar in the first round. His birthday is in October, so he’s actually 18, which is a lot older than many of the draft eligible players I believe (almost a year, I think?….. LT can you shed some light on this?). With 10 goals for Brooks this year, that’s not enough to have me take him in the first round…. it’s very hard to compare between major Junior and AJHL, but I think a guy like Ethan Bear would have more than 10 goals in the AJHL, and he was not taken in the 1st round. Maybe with a late first rounder, but I’d feel more comfortable in later rounds, where he probably won’t be available. I’ll pass on him, although scouting reports do sound good.

  • Anton CP

    This is the draft for role players and that is perfect for the Oilers. Prospects can finally have chances to perfect their game by spending extra time down in junior or minor without being pushed into the game.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    I personally would like to see the Oilers take Makar, or Henri Jokiharju, both RD if I’m not mistaken and offensive minded? Just what we could use. ☺