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Photo Credit: MARTIN BAZYL / Agence QMI

At 10: Noah Dobson

As is the case with the likes of blueliners Evan Bouchard and Quinn Hughes and right winger Oliver Wahlstrom, the Edmonton Oilers are going to have to see the cards fall their way to get the chance to select defenceman Noah Dobson of the Acadie-Bathurst Titans when they make the 10th selection at the NHL Entry Draft in Dallas.

Dobson, a six-foot-three, 180-pound right shot D-man who put up 17-52-69 in 67 games with the Titans during the regular season, did nothing but increase his stock in NHL scouting circles with his performance in the QMJHL playoffs and at the Memorial Cup. Scouting staffs around the league already thought well of the big kid from Summerside, PEI, then he upped his game in the post-season.

Dobson, Bouchard and Hughes make up a cluster of D-men considered to be the best available after consensus No. 1 pick Rasmus Dahlin. All three could be gone by the time the Oilers take the podium unless forwards like Joel Farabee or Barret Hayton, ranked below top forwards Andrei Svechnikov, Brady Tkachuk, Filip Zadina and Wahlstrom on most lists, vault into the top 10.

Here’s how Dobson stacks up in the rankings:

International Scouting Services (ISS): 8th
Craig Button of TSN: 8th
Central Scouting: 5th among NA skaters
McKeen’s Hockey: 10th
Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet: 7th
Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News: 9th

ABOUT DOBSON

Over at NHL.com in their latest mock draft, all three of their writers have Dobson going 5th overall to Arizona. At MyNHL.com, they’ve got him going 11th overall to the New York Islanders. There is no chance Dobson gets by the Oilers and it’s unlikely, but not impossible, that he’s there when Edmonton picks. Dobson’s playoff performance is fresh in the minds of many and that doesn’t help Edmonton’s chances.

Here’s what people are saying about Dobson:

  • “Very effective two-way defenseman with good puck distribution and a strong shot from the point on the power play. He is a point-producer with size who defends well and utilizes strong positioning and a good stick in the defensive zone.” – Central Scouting.
  • “The potential in the big puck-mover became even more apparent at the Memorial Cup, where Dobson soared. The sky is the limit with this kid.” – Kennedy, THN
  • “Pound for pound, there isn’t a better one-on-one defender in this draft than Dobson, who uses his quick feet and NHL-caliber smarts to smother opposing puck carriers. On offence, he’s more of a facilitator than an orchestrator, but he oozes potential in every area of the game and should be groomed to anchor a top pairing.” – Steve Kournianos, Sporting News

LOOKING AHEAD

At the NHL combine in Buffalo last week, Dobson was asked about the challenges of getting stronger in preparation for the NHL. At six-foot-three, Dobson has room to gain weight and strength. “It’s definitely an area of development for myself,” he said. “I think there’s no set number. I think just getting my body to a level where I’m able to compete against the older guys and the men and be able to battle in the corner. It’s obviously a big summer and I’m planning on putting some weight on and adding some strength, so come an NHL camp in September I’ll be ready.”

The Oilers would be thrilled to have the opportunity to add either Dobson or Bouchard to their blueline group because both fill a need (likewise Wahlstrom at right wing up front), but getting any one of them is a best-case scenario. Coming off the kind of post-season performance Dobson had, getting him is probably pie-in-the-sky stuff. We’ll see.

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RECENTLY BY ROBIN BROWNLEE  

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I’m expecting all the dmen to be gone that are in the top 10 by the time the Oilers walk up to the podium. It might be concidered off the board but Merkley would be the guy I take. He’s a little smaller than Dobson but still put up points in the high 60s the last 2 years.

    • IPeeOil

      I half agree…by the time Chia steps up, all of the dream scenarios will be just that. Pipe dreams. I don’t see how a 2-3 years away prospect does this team any good. It does, but it really doesn’t. With any luck Keith will have something brewing on the draft floor. THATS where Oil fans should be dreaming…what’s the best floor trade we can make??

      • Edmonton Eulers

        In 2-3 years McDavid and Draisaitl will still be in their prime. That will be the window to push for a cup. Cup contending teams need value contracts and players on their ELC to complement the core. If we trade the pick for a more established player, we’ll also be taking on more salary. There is some room to add players but the Oilers have to be careful in how they manage the cap.

        Not to mention I have more confidence in Keith making a good pick as opposed to Chia getting fair value in a trade.

    • Hitman77

      Merkley has undeniable offensive talent. Really dynamic RHD. The problems seem to be on the defensive side and maturity. I’d love to see him on the Oilers. I don’t think he’ll make it out of the first round.

    • dsanchez1973

      If you’re going to take Merkley (an idea I’m a big fan of), I think you trade down. Picking him at 10 would be irresponsible. However, it’s a big gamble – anyone from 10 on could take him, or he could be there in the second round.

      • a lg dubl dubl

        Would it be irresponsible to pick him at 10 knowing he’d be gone before #40 and the other dmen you wanted are gone? Defence and maturity will come, kids a gamer and would be great in 3 years from now. I’ve seen Merkely be placed anywhere from 15-32. I’m hoping we can get Dobson, but would be thrilled if PC called Merkley at 10.

        • crabman

          @a lg dubl dubl,

          I think if Merkley is next up on your draft board when you pick at 10 you stay true to your board and take him. I doubt that is where the Oilers rank him though. If the Oilers are high on him and think they could get him later I think they could trade back, get another pick or asset and still get Merkley in that 15-20 range. It is a risk of missing the player you want but taking Merkley at 10 has risk too.
          I remember the 2014 draft and Josh Ho-Sang fall all the way to 28. The verbal on him was great skill, possibly too 10-15, but poor character. He still has the same issue and I doubt many teams that pasted on him are broken up about it.
          Each kid is different and it’s hard to hold maturity issues against a 17 year old but as of today it is a concern. The skill is undeniable and if handled correctly Merkley could be a hell of a player I just don’t think there is much risk of him going before 20 and 10 is a reach.

        • dsanchez1973

          Picking Merkley would be a Chiarelli thing to do – home run move that costs too much which might work out. His record on such moves is not good. If we want Merkley, find a trade partner in the 20s.

    • crabman

      I think something that gets overlooked too often about Merkley and Boqvist is their age. A month older and they would be in next year’s draft. Opposed to Hughes who if was a month younger would have been in last year’s draft. Age matters at this point in development. Even 6 months can make a huge difference.

    • LAKID

      There are alot of RHD available if the Oiler’s are picking for position only. The Oiler’s can trade down or stand pat. Trading down could get you a player and your choice of Jet Woo/Bode Wilde/Merkley. I would be hoping for Jesperi Kotaniemi/Tkachuk/Wahlstrom (not going to happen) though at 10 if they fall. Either way the Oiler’s end up with a good prospect. I would give up Yamamoto and the 10 pick if it got you Kotaniemi/Tkachuk or Wahlstrom.

      • crabman

        @ LAKID,

        you had me until Yamamotto. I think it would be a pretty even deal but I have faith Yamamotto will be a top6 forward and #10should gove is a real shot at a top6 forward or the top4 RD we have been waiting what feels like forever to find.

  • OriginalPouzar

    Dobson would be a fantastic add to our prospect pool although any player we pick at 10 is going to be a great add.

    Lets not forget, 2 months ago, Dobson was generally ranked at the bottom of the tier, in behind each of Bouchard, Hughes and Boquist.

    There has been some recency bias as he’s played longer than than the likes of Boquist and Bouchard and that has helped him climb the rankings.

    Dobson moving up means that a guy like Boquist or Bouchard is falling down the list.

    With Kotkaniemi going on a ranking heater and likely to get picked in the top 10, a fine player is going to drop to the Oilers, potentially one that was ranked 4-5 generally about 2 months ago (Boquist).

    If they do draft Boquist, hopefully the organizations shows the required patience, he’s at least 2-3 years from the NHL but, if developed properly, could be the non-Dahlin peak of the draft.

    • crabman

      @OriganlPouzar,

      Very great point.
      The days after the draft lottery there were plenty of people upset we fell out of the top 9 and kept mis-qouting McKenzie and saying there was a big drop off after 9. I said it then, that it wasn’t as much a drop in talent as it was a drop in which player his 10 scouts polled thought would go after the top 9. It seems like that top 9 has turned into a top10 and someone in the top5-8 at the draft lottery will be available at 10. I would go as far as to say I think in is a top 1-4 and then 5-15 are all quality players that in 5 years anyone of them could be the best out of that group.

      If the Oilers do take Boqvist I also hope they slow play him. He struggled to get into the ice in the SHL when called up, I read he was getting 3-4 minutes a game so of course he didn’t score. But as an undersized player that needs to work on defence he can’t be rushed and the fact he is one of the youngest players in the draft will work in the Oilers favour if they slow play him. If he debuts in 3 years he will be 20. Just like Puljujarvi will just be 20 this year his 3rd pro season.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    I would absolutely love Dobson to be drafted by Edmonton. However, as many have pointed out, his performance in the memorial cup did nothing but raise his stock and make him a coveted pickup for any of the teams ahead of Edmonton. If he does drop, Edmonton should waste no time in drafting him, but I think he’s gone. Take Boqvist and be patient. Adam is still a good pick regardless and he could easily help us down the line.

    But it would be awesome to nab Dobson

  • crabman

    @Brownlee,

    I don’t agree with your statement,
    “Dobson, Bouchard and Hughes make up a cluster of D-men considered to be the best available after consensus No. 1 pick Rasmus Dahlin”

    That is what Button is saying but even some the draft rankings you list in this article have Boqvist as a higher ranked prospect than all or some of Dobson, Bouchard and Hughes.
    Pronman has Boqvist higher than both Dobson and Bouchard. And until McKenzie’s final list comes out he has Boqvist ranked higher than Dobson and Hughes. I know these are all just the opinions of various scouts and scouting services but it shows there is far from a definitive next best group of defenders after Dahlin.

  • crabman

    This question is for everyone, can anyone please post a link to an article or interview talking about Adam Boqvist’s injury and concussion problems? It was mentioned numerous times in yesterday’s comment section by numerous people. I asked for this information yesterday but I may have gotten into the conversation too late for a response. I have looked myself but haven’t been able to find the information myself. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Dr Dragon

      He had wrist and concussion issues last year. When your that young and small and already have a history of injuries its not a good sign that’s why he might slip down the draft

      • crabman

        @Dr Dragon,

        I have read “injury and concussion issues” in the comments but have yet find anything about it online. I am hoping someone can provide a link to this information so I can read and learn more about it. I’m not calling people liars or saying the comments aren’t accurate but I like to see the information from a reputable source, not just 2nd hand in a blogs comment section, before I consider it gospel.
        If anyone could provide a link or tell me where to find this information I would be very thankful.

  • HockeyYoda

    Haven’t commented in a couple years, but I wanted to go on the record to say that a steal for the oilers 2nd rd pick would be Liam Foudy. He’s ranked around 40-60. Watching the under 18’s this year, Foudy stood out as the fastest player on the ice every game I watched. He also had good hands and offensive hockey sense. Stood out way more than Veleno who looked like an average skater at best. Foudy also has serious pedigree as his dad played CFL and his mom won a silver medal in Olympics. Google him. You’ll like what you see.

    • Dr Dragon

      He’s a guy im definately looking out for with that 2nd round pick we have. He’ll be the man next year in London since they traded all there older guys away. Jonatan Berggren would be a perfect fit too. Gonna be a very intriguing draft this year cant wait

    • IRONman

      Don’t be surprised when D fall. The forwards will get picked up after Dahlin. There is no consensus on D after Dahlin. Plus D take 4 years to develop. It’s going to be interesting

      • crabman

        @IRONman,

        I just finished reading Pronman’s explanations for his draft rankings and he consistently says if the skills are too close to call he gives the edge to forwards simply because there is a higher chance of bust with defencemen at the top of the draft than there is forward. Add that to the fact forwards are often closer to NHL ready I could see some of the D fall a few spots but the way Dobson has been climbing I doubt he would fall to 10. Boqvist, and Bouchard sure. 1 or both of them will be available at 10.