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Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Combine and the Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers spent the first decade of this century misfiring in the first round, while grabbing true value in later rounds. As baffling as the first rounders (Alexei Mikhnov, Jesse Niinimaki, Marc Pouliot, Alex Plante) were in the 2000 through 2009 period, later picks (Jarret Stoll, Matt Greene, Kyle Brodziak, Jeff Petry) had substantial impact.

Since 2010, Edmonton has been business in the front (Hall, Nuge, Klefbom, Nurse, Draisaitl, McDavid, Puljujarvi) but very little party in the back (unsigned Tobias Rieder the shining diamond) after the first 30 picks.

With no second or third-round picks in 2014 and 2015, the Oilers badly need to find value (forwards!) at the 2017 draft. For fans, one of the ways to follow along with the scouts is to pay attention to the NHL combine list. The Oilers grab a high percentage (historically) of their picks from the NHL combine invites.

2010 Oilers draft

  • Taylor Hall selected #1, ranked #1 (attended combine)
  • Tyler Pitlick selected #31, ranked #25 (attended combine)
  • Martin Marincin selected #56, ranked #71 (attended combine)
  • Curtis Hamilton selected #48, ranked 57 (attended combine)
  • Ryan Martindale selected #61, ranked 58 (attended combine)
  • Tyler Bunz selected #121, not ranked (attended combine)
  • Brandon Davidson selected #162, not ranked (attended combine)

2011 Oilers draft

  • Ryan Nugent Hopkins selected #1, ranked #1 (attended combine)
  • Oscar Klefbom selected #19, ranked #21 (attended combine)
  • David Musil selected #31, ranked #41 (attended combine)
  • Samu Perhonen selected #62, ranked #51 (attended combine)
  • Travis Ewanyk selected #74, ranked HM (attended combine)
  • Tobias Rieder selected #114, unranked (attended combine)

2012 Oilers draft

  • Nail Yakupov selected #1, ranked #1 (attended combine)
  • Mitchell Moroz selected #32, ranked #56 (attended combine)
  • Jujhar Khaira selected #63, not ranked (attended combine)
  • Daniil Zharkov selected #91, ranked #47 (attended combine)

2013 Oilers draft

  • Darnell Nurse selected #7, ranked #9 (attended combine)
  • Marco Roy selected #56, ranked #59 (attended combine)
  • Bogdan Yakimov selected #83 not ranked (attended combine)
  • Jackson Houck, selected #94 not ranked (attended combine)

2014 Oilers draft

  • Leon Draisaitl selected #3, ranked #4 (attended combine)

2015 Oilers draft

  • Connor McDavid selected #1, ranked #1 (attended combine)
  • Caleb Jones selected #117, ranked #130 ISS (attended combine)
  • Ethan Bear selected #124, ranked #78 ISS (attended combine)
  • John Marino selected #154, ranked #95 ISS (attended combine)

2016 Oilers draft

  • Jesse Puljujarvi selected #4, ranked #3 (attended combine)
  • Tyler Benson selected #32, ranked #39 (attended combine)
  • Markus Niemelainen selected #63, ranked #38 (attended combine)
  • Matt Cairns selected #84, NR (attended combine)
  • Dylan Wells selected #123, NR (attended combine)
  • Graham McPhee selected #149, NR (attended combine)

As you can see, the Oilers pay attention to the combine invitees and the special access. Six players who attended last year’s combine were chosen by Edmonton and the historical trend suggest that is a good place to look when discussing future Oilers. In the coming days, we’ll find out the 100 (or so) names invited to the 2017 combine. Several will be Oilers on the Sunday night of draft weekend. Pretty sure..