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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – What to do at the NHL Entry Draft?

Another Monday is here and that means it’s time to learn waste company time again! The mailbag is the perfect time to soak up some of that sweet, sweet hockey knowledge or argue with us in the comments section. If you’d like to get in on this segment and ask a question, you can email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. I need questions for next week so please send them to me. Have a good week, everybody.

1) Jordan asks – This is the first year in a long time that our first selection will be in the 20’s of the first round (22 to be specific). What do you think is the Oiler’s weakest position to draft for (forward, defence, goalie) this year and why? Would it hurt for the Oilers to trade down and draft the best possible goalie?

Lowetide:

I think either wing could use some help. Of course they could draft a centre and use him on the wing eventually. Trading down is a strong option in my opinion.

Jason Gregor:

The Oilers’ biggest need is a skilled forward. Their scoring depth is very shallow outside of their current NHL roster. I could see them trading down, simply to get another pick, because they only have one in the first 82 picks, but I wouldn’t do it for the sole purpose of taking a goalie. Goalies are extremely difficult to project, especially at 18 years old.

Robin Brownlee:

Take the best player available with the pick. Tie-breakers go to right-shot wingers and D-men.

Chris the Intern:

I don’t mind the idea of drafting down, as it supposed to be a poor draft year all together. After experiencing the struggles through the last few years, I’ve realized you can never have enough right-handed defencemen. I would aim for those types of players, as well as maybe a goaltender.

Cam Lewis: Take the best player available. This was case with high picks and it’s still the case in the late first. If you have a good prospect that doesn’t fit in your team for some reason, you move them and fill another hole. Besides, it’s difficult to have a team that’s so loaded and deep that there isn’t room for another good player at a given position. In regards to trading down, it isn’t a terrible idea since the Oilers don’t have a second round pick and they badly need to fill their prospect pool.

Baggedmilk:

The Oilers drafted Eberle with the 22nd overall pick so there’s a chance there’s a decent player there. The Oilers are lacking with skilled forwards comign down the pipe so I can see them looking for that. I would also like to see the possibility of Chiarelli moving the pick to load up for this last year of Connor’s ELC.

Apr 1, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) skates during warmup against the Anaheim Ducks at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

2) Alex asks – With this year’s draft being called a weaker class? Do you think there’s a chance that Chiarelli would move the pick to bolster the lineup for the last years of Connor McDavid’s ELC?

Lowetide:

I think they have enough holes that using the pick is probably a better plan. Edmonton has some cap room to fill in at the NHL level, so I suspect using the picks is the best plan. If PC could grab a young player in his entry-level deal, that would be a good idea, but it may not be there for them.

Jason Gregor:

Oilers have very little organizational depth and the Penguins, Kings and Hawks have proved you can win long after your best player’s first contract. If I move the pick it would have to be for a player who is 22 or younger.

Robin Brownlee:

There’s always a chance. What do you get for a pick in the 20s in a weak draft? A package including that pick might get you something noteworthy.

Chris the Intern:

Out of any prior years, this is the year that we’d trade the pick. It wouldn’t surprise me to see it involved in a package deal with Eberle and a defencemen to bring in somebody with SKILLZ.

Cam Lewis: Based on what we saw the trade deadline this year, it doesn’t seem like Chiarelli is in a big rush to sell the farm to win now. It seems that he has a long-term plan and doesn’t view McDavid and Draisaitl likely costing $18 million combined as a massive roadblock that needs to be hurdled before it’s too late. Trading picks to win next year is a bad idea. As we all mentioned in the first question, the Oilers are going to need to draft well in order to plug the team with cheap, young talent for years to come like we’ve seen in Chicago.

Baggedmilk:

I just said it above that I wouldn’t mind seeing Chiarelli move the pick. He’s already said that he probably wouldn’t move it, but we’ll see how things actually go. It’s not like Peter Chiarelli shows his cards and I wouldn’t expect him to here either.

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

3) Jeremy asks – If the current roster was to stay the same going into next season, which Oiler players would be your picks for making a big step forward in development and those who would regress significantly?

Lowetide:

Well, I think Connor McDavid is a good bet. I do think Jordan Eberle will recover, Nuge too, but that’s not quite the same as a big step forward. I’ll guess Jesse Puljujarvi and Anton Slepyshev up front and Darnell Nurse on defense.

Jason Gregor:

I’d say Caggiula takes a big step offensively. I’d say Maroon, only because he almost doubled his previous high in goals. He could still have a solid season and score 20, but that would still be seven fewer than this year.

Robin Brownlee:

Jesse Puljujarvi will get every chance to make a splash this season. I think he will. I don’t think anybody will regress significantly.

Chris the Intern:

GAH! Do I say Eberle?? I want to! But I’m not sure if it could happen or not. I think Lucic will have a better year next year as I believe in the first year after signing a big contract with a new team always sucks. I think Draisaitl, Klefbom, Benning, and Larsson are only going to keep getting better.

Cam Lewis: I think Oscar Klefbom will take a big step into stardom next season. With Sekera injured, Klefbom is going to be given a major role as the top guy on the blueline. He’s had a full year playing with his partner Adam Larsson, and with that increased comfort will come an even bigger year for Klefbom. His underlying numbers suggest he was a borderline elite D last year, but I figure he’ll really break out as Edmonton’s third stud behind McDavid and Draisaitl.

Baggedmilk:

I think Drake Caggiula is up for a big step forward. I think he got better and better as the year went on and I could see him taking a step next year. I like the way he plays for a smaller guy.

4) Tammy asks – I’d like to know what the panel thinks about the Stanley Cup final so far? Any surprises?

Lowetide:

I have been disappointed with the games so far. At the time of this writing, we are two games into things and it has yet to be entertaining. Surprises include Nashville’s goalie.

Jason Gregor:

It amazes me how little respect Malkin gets. Two eastern scouts told me Malkin is the one who often drives the Penguins and gets them going, even more so than Crosby, and even though he leads the playoff scoring race people seem to talk about many others for the Conn Smythe over him.

Robin Brownlee:

It’s been very entertaining in stretches. Surprised Pekka Rinne has had as many ups and downs in performance.

Chris the Intern:

I’m happy to see all the other fan bases have to struggle through bad officiating as well. OF COURSE there’s a controversial offside call in the cup final. OF COURSE! I’m waiting for more of those types cause I love the drama.

Cam Lewis: It’s been good hockey. It kind of reeks of a series where the home team will win every game.

Baggedmilk:

I think it’s surprising that the Preds weren’t able to get a save when it mattered from Pekke Rinne over the first couple games. They could be up three-zip right now.

5) Harold asks – Rumours are popping again that Washington could move on from Alex Ovechkin after another second round exit. Do you think it’s fair that he gets so much of the blame as it seems like many of his teammates also underperformed?

Lowetide:

It is unfair in a way, but he’s the face of the team and they can’t seem to get past Pittsburgh. Until that happens, or they trade him, Ovie (one of my favourite players) is a lightning rod.

Jason Gregor:

I doubt the Caps trade him. He has been their franchise player for a decade and because they’ve never made it to the third round he will face scrutiny. Some years it was warranted, and others it wasn’t. He’s played great some years and they’ve lost. The Capitals simply can’t beat the Penguins. I wonder how much of it is mental for the Washington players, including Ovechkin.

Robin Brownlee:

He’s the marquee man on a team that hasn’t won anything yet. Is it fair? No, but it comes with the territory.

Chris the Intern:

No, it’s not fair. Unfortunately, that’s how sports work. If your team does poorly, the blame is always going to fall on your top player. He’s the one that supposed to put the team on his back and carry them through the tough times.

Cam Lewis: It’s an easy and predictable narrative to follow. We tend to fall in love with romanticized stories about how somebody stepped up and rallied the troops and took over the game but that seldom happens in the modern league. Today’s NHL is so systematically oriented that for one player, a winger like Ovechkin for example, to will the team to a win is a bit ridiculous. A lot of players weren’t that good. Maybe it’s a culture thing. If it is, it starts from the top of the organization and isn’t just because of one player with a big personality. The Penguins are also really, really good. Maybe we should focus more on how they won rather than how Washington lost.

Baggedmilk:

Hockey is a team game and blaming one player for getting bumped is crazy. The Caps has a bunch of players underperform during the playoffs and it wasn’t just Ovechkin. He just seems to be the only one taking the heat.

    • Spydyr

      I agree with you and don’t really see it happening but if it did? I would say another comparable player coming back. Along the lines of last summers PK/Weber trade. The Caps window is still open and I cannot seeing them taking anything in the trade unless it provides immediate help to their team.

    • Spydyr

      They have to have some value (entry level) contracts if they want to take a run at a few Cups.Keeping the pick or trading it for a couple second rounders is a no brainer.

      • Bubba Train

        I don’t think its a no brainer at all. Due to expansion draft, this first round pick has double the value it normally would. For a team trying to turn a soon to be lost asset into something, this pick is the currency they are looking for. Way greater chance of success turning that pick into an NHL top 4 dman than any other year. After expansion, fire sale is over, picks go back to regular value. Opportunity is knocking, some GM’s will come out big winners.

      • jultz=2cups?

        Totally agree. Definitely use this pick or trade down. I’d use next years first rounder to add to the team at the trade deadline if they are in contention. And boy did I ever lol at baggedmilks answer to blaming one player…. jultz anybody?? Lol nuff said!!

  • GreatScott222

    “We should trade the pick and get the best available goalie, because we have no depth behind Talbot, Broissoit, Ellis, Svoboda, and Wells. If the oilers drafting has told us anything (small, skilled wingers until I want to puke) you can never have to many prospects at the least valued positions. Yes, this was a sarcastic post.

  • Bagged Almond Milk

    I know this isn’t a popular opinion around here, but I do question not taking Debrinkat over Benson last draft…… To me, Benson hasn’t shown enough to warrant a selection over a perrenial 50-60 goal scorer in the OHL….. Between that pick, and the Griffin trade, the skilled depth would have actually been looking good…

  • Oiler Al

    I am always impressed with the young guys Penguins develop [Sheary -Rust-Guentzel -Rowney] players that are impact performers out of the gate.Is there a void in Oiloers scouting and development departments? Seems we always chase super stars only.PS: Look at Pens defense, leading in the Cup final with a rag – tag defense.

  • Jaxon

    Step up: Nurse. With Sekera gone, he may be looked upon to really prove himself as a top 4 D on the left side. I think he just might be able to handle it. Regression: Well, I’d say Maroon is the best candidate as he had such a mammoth season and he may not end up on McDavid’s wing next year.