I wrote last week about the possibility of trading up or down at the draft. That’s still a possibility, but, for now, the Oilers have the No. 10 overall pick on Friday. Anything could happen between now and the moment Peter Chiarelli steps up to the podium, but let’s operate under the assumption that the Oilers stick to the No. 10 spot.
Prior to this week, everything said about this draft was in regards to a clear top pick in Rasmus Dahlin, two clear second and third picks in Andrei Svechnikov and Filip Zadina, and then a jumble of six good players that made up a top nine before a pretty significant drop off at No. 10. But, given Bob McKenzie’s final draft rankings that were released on Monday, you can pretty much throw that out the window.
Now it appears that there’s a No. 1 and a No. 2 — Dahlin and Svechnikov — and a jumble behind them. Zadina is no longer clearly the No. 3 and Finnish centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi has surged into the top five, putting a wrench in the clear top nine that had been talked about for months. What that indicates is that somebody from that aforementioned top nine is pretty much sure to fall to Edmonton at No. 10.
That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. If selecting at No. 10, do you aim to pick for a position or need or do you go with the best player available? Given the nature of this draft, there’s a very good chance that a top player could slide all the way down to Edmonton at No. 10 creating a bit of a conundrum for them as to whether they select a player that fits a specific need.
For example, what if late-riser Kotkaniemi, a skilled centre, slides to No. 10? The Oilers badly need a righty defenceman or a bigger winger, but Kotkaniemi would be a steal at that spot. Same goes for Quinn Hughes, a smaller, left-shot defenceman who profiles to potentially be an elite offensive defenceman. The Oilers are loaded on the left side, but can you decline selecting a player with Hughes’ skill set? Would you let either of those two slide to select Adam Boqvist, who’s currently ranked at No. 10 and fills the needs of right-handed defenceman?
Personally, I don’t find it to be a difficult decision at all. Trust the scouts and pick who they have as the best player available on their list. Obviously, the Oilers aren’t getting Dahlin or Svechnikov, but, after that, it’s really anybody’s guess. The team is strong in one area, and that’s down the middle with Connor McDavid, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl, and Ryan Strome as centre options. Otherwise? Is there really an area on this roster in which the Oilers are so loaded that they can decline adding a really good player?
What say you, Nation? If the Oilers stick at No. 10, should they simply wait it out and pick whoever the best player is that falls into their lap? Or should they be going into this draft with a specific player with a specific skill set mind?
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