The Oilers didn’t win the draft lottery. Hell is freezing over!
We’ve talked about it before, but now that we know exactly where the Oilers will be picking come draft day in June, it’s time to bring it up again. What should the Oilers do with the 10th overall pick?
Bob McKenzie went on Dustin Nielsen’s show the other day to talk about the draft. McKenzie suggested that this is a “Top Nine” draft in which there’s a bit of a fall off after the top nine prospects. That’s kind of unfortunate given the fact the Oilers slid down from ninth to 10th, but it isn’t the end of the world. Somebody before the Oilers is bound to go off the board and Edmonton will more than likely end up with one of those players in the McKenzie’s suggested top nine. That is, of course, if they decide to keep the pick.
That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. What should Edmonton do with their pick? Should they use it and grab a player at 10th overall? Or should they use it in a trade to acquire a player who can help the team immediately? There’s certainly an argument for both sides. The Oilers need cheap, entry-level talent coming through their system, but there’s also a lot of pressure to have a rebound season after 2017-18’s disaster.
Trade the pick
I think the biggest argument in favour of Edmonton trading their draft pick would be their recent success, or, well, lack of success in drafting and developing prospects.
The last time the Oilers selected 10th overall was in 2009. They picked Magnus Paajarvi who, despite boasting an incredible amount of talent, never figured it out at the NHL level. He’s carved out a decent career as a depth player, but he’s far from the player anyone expected him to become.
More recently, the Oilers picked Darnell Nurse seventh overall, which is pretty much in the same range as 10th in which you’re getting a very high-upside prospect but it isn’t a sure thing. Nurse, finally, in his fifth post-draft year, seems to have found his stride as a good NHL player.
Jesse Puljujarvi, selected fourth overall in 2016, has struggled adapting to the North American game and Edmonton’s development of the young Finn has been far from admirable. Kailer Yamamoto, selected 22nd overall in 2017, looks like a steal at this point. We’re a few years away from assessing either pick, but what we can say right now is that it’s completely unreasonable to expect the 2018 10th overall pick to step in and help the team in 2018-19. It might even be a bit much to expect that player to help the team in 2019-20.
The Oilers badly need help in a couple of different areas. They need a puck-moving defenceman who can produce offence and they need a high-quality scoring winger. Off the top of my head, I can think of two players who fit those needs — Justin Faulk and Mike Hoffman. The Canes might not be ready to move Faulk for a draft pick, but the Sens, given the disaster that was the Matt Duchene trade, might be willing to pull the trigger on a deal. I’m not saying trade the pick straight up for either of those players, but those are who come to mind when thinking about what the Oilers need right now.
Keep the pick
There are a couple of obvious arguments when it comes to keeping the pick and just selecting a player at 10th overall.
The biggest is the fact the Oilers need cheap talent on entry-level contracts coming through the system. For all of the high picks, the Oilers have had the past decade, their farm system is shockingly empty. Puljujarvi is still a prospect, Yamamoto is another one, but beyond that? Ostap Safin and Kirill Maksimov each had nice seasons, Tyler Benson is also intriguing but made of glass.
Regardless, there aren’t many names that seem poised to help out the team very soon. Adding a guy at 10th overall this June would certainly help that.
The top three of the draft, Rasmus Dahlin, Andrei Svechnikov, and Filip Zadina are pretty obvious. After that, you have righty defenders Evan Bouchard, Adam Boqvist, and Noah Dobson, all of whom would be a welcomed addition to the Oilers’ system. There’s also small-but-incredibly-skilled puck moving defenceman Quinn Hughes, rugged winger Brady Tkachuk, and the highly-killed Oliver Wahlstrom from the USNDTP. It’s hard to say who will fall to Edmonton at 10, but there are a lot of intriguing names.
My other qualm with trading the pick would be Peter Chiarelli’s trading record. He pretty frequently ends up on the wrong side of trades and him shopping the 10th overall pick after a horrendous season when he’s in the hot seat is a recipe for disaster.
What say you, Nation? Should the Oilers keep their pick or should they trade it?
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