34
Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Draft Targets

The Oilers will have six picks in this weekend’s NHL Entry Draft. I decided to spend my Wednesday night in Dallas going through the draft rankings and identifying a couple of guys the Oilers should target with each pick.

Don’t feel bad for me though, it’s super humid in Dallas and Tombstone is on AMC. So let’s skin this smoke wagon and see what happens.

1st ROUND – 10th OVERALL

The Leftover (BPA)

I honestly think the Oilers will end up taking whichever one of the consensus top nine prospects ends up being left on the board at ten. You can eliminate Dahlin, Svechnikov, Zadina and Tkachuk from the group of nine. When the dust settles on the first nine picks on Friday night I’d bet money that one of Hughes, Dobson, Bouchard, Wahlstrom or Kotkaniemi will still be available. If this theory plays out then you take that player, no questions asked.

Ty Smith (D)

On Oilers Now early this week, Bob Green said that Ty Smith shoots left but he prefers him on the right side. I’d still be in the pro-Boqvist camp here but it’s getting to the point now where I’d be surprised if the Oilers passed on Smith to select the Swede.

Adam Boqvist (D)

I had one scout in the past week tell me that if Adam Boqvist goes in the top nine the Oilers will get a very good player at ten. Does this mean Boqvist isn’t a very good player? I was a little confused by the remark. Concussion issues have popped up this season and some people question his size even though he’s not that much smaller than Quinn Hughes.

2nd ROUND – 40th OVERALL

Calen Addison (D)

I know some of you would prefer to see Ryan Merkley in this spot but I’m not sure I want to use a 2nd round pick on a player that already comes with so much baggage.

Calen Addison put together an outstanding offensive season in Lethbridge. He finished with 67 points in 63 games but, like several young defensemen, could use some work in his own end. If the Oilers don’t use their 1st rounder on a d-man Addison would be an excellent consolation prize in the 2nd round.

Jonatan Berggren (C/RW)

He’s missing an H and has an extra G but I’m not going to hold that against him. He’s an extremely skilled forward with excellent offensive awareness and above average hockey sense. He’s a smallish forward but skates very well. I could see him going late in the first round but there’s still a chance he’s on the board at 40.

3rd ROUND – 71st OVERALL

Sampo Ranta (LW)

Why would you not want to draft a guy named Sampo? I believe he’d be the first Sampo in NHL history. Ranta scored 23 goals in the USHL this year, a significant increase over his rookie season in Sioux City. He has an NHL stride and shot but will still need time to develop. A boy named Sampo’s upside is a top-six forward.

Oskar Back (C)

Back is a big, hard-working centre who already has a good handle on the defensive side of the game. If he was a better skater he’d be a lock for the second round. Sounds like a poor man’s Mikko Koivu.

4th ROUND – 102nd OVERALL

This pick was traded for a backup goaltender that won’t even talk to the media on game days. ROTFLMAO.

5th ROUND – 133rd OVERALL

Samuel Bucek (LW)

Bucek is in his second year of eligibility. He was passed over in last years draft after putting up 33 points in the QMJHL. He returned to the USHL this season and took a big step offensively. Bucek had 44 points in 49 games with the Chicago Steel. He’s a big kid who scored a huge goal for Slovakia in their upset of the Americans in the World Juniors.

Anderson MacDonald (LW)

MacDonald has two QMJHL seasons under his belt and has scored 29 and 27 goals. He’s 6’2, already over 200 pounds and is described as a shooter. The numbers back that up with more goals than assists in both of his seasons in junior.

6th ROUND – 164th OVERALL

Jack Lagerstrom (D)

Lagerstrom shoots right, is 6’2 and is already almost 200 pounds. He put up very good numbers at Shattuck St. Mary’s this past season. Lagerstrom would be a project that you don’t have to worry about as he is headed to Penticton in the BCHL and then on to the NCAA where he has already committed to Cornell.

Carl Wassenius (LW/C)

Wassenius doesn’t have any international team experience but he’s been an offensive force everywhere else. Wassenius had 40 points in 34 games in the Swedish J20 league. He’s 6’2 and has been a point per game player each of the last three years working his way up junior ranks in Sweden. Would be a great value pick here. 

7th ROUND – 195th ROUND

Connor Dewar (C/W)

He’s under-sized and over-aged but in the 7th round, you can toss all of that out the window. Dewar scored 38 goals for the Silvertips this season. He was also outstanding during the teams run to the WHL Final. Dewar had 26 points in 22 games on Everett’s big line in the post-season.

Riley Hughes (RW)

Hughes is your typical long-term project. He just wrapped up terrific season of high school hockey and will now head to the USHL for a season. Hughes is committed to Northeastern University for the 2019-20 season. In the 7th round I think it’s almost ideal to draft a kid that you can give 4-5 years to develop before needing to sign him.

THE WRAP

As a look back on the targets I laid out for the Oilers I notice a lack of WHLers. It’s not a strong year for the WHL but the Oilers tend to look for kids from the west. Outside of obvious picks in the first round the organization hasn’t really hit a home run out of the WHL so maybe they look elsewhere this year.

ARTICLE BROUGHT TO YOU BY SPORTS EXCELLENCE

Founded in 1950, Sports Excellence Corporation represents over 150 family-owned independent hockey retailers across Canada and the United States. Our highly knowledgeable hockey specialists are available to assist all your equipment needs. Find your closest Sports Excellence retailer here!

  • DoubleOhhStoned

    yeah, i think this draft thing has been beat to death. You’re making predictions about players who might not ever step foot on NHL ice. People need more to do with their time.

  • Consultant

    Wonder about this rumor that they like Bokk. I could see their German scouts making a case for him and could understand, he sounds very talented…
    Could make things interesting. I see them hanging on for a certain player or two until their time to pick but perhaps if they don’t like what they see they move down a few spots to take Bokk while gaining a third rounder or something like that… I would be happy with Bokk plus an asset over Smith but that’s just me….

  • NewPants

    Oilers place Gryba on waivers to buy out. 🙁 why not just bury him in the who again? The oilers are more worried about saving 1/3 of his pay then having cap space.
    The Oilers aren’t a cap team like we all hope.

  • ed from edmonton

    A person has the same chances of winning the lottery as getting predictions like these anywhere close to reality. But I appreciate the effort put into this. I know the Oil have a couple of prospect goalies (Skinner and Wells), but I think they still take 1 goalie somewhere in the draft.

  • E-Mac

    The Blue Bullet Draft list tweeted by J Willis has Boqvist as the second best defenceman in this draft after Hughes (Dahlin in league of his own obviously). It uses a whole bunch of factors but manly points.

    Anyways, the facts are that Boqvist can flat out skate, shoots right, and his NHL equivalents check out. There is no doubt he’s going to be a really great player.

    The NHL combine has Boqvist listed at 5-11 1/2 and weighing 165.4 lbs. Given that he is only 17 he has plenty of time to fill out. He is actually taller than Hughes.

    The NHL now is about speed and skill so I hope we draft only those who can skate well and have put up points in there respected leagues.

    • ROILYDoGG$

      He’s a month from qualifying for the 2019 draft. He’s much younger than Bouchard and Dobson, Hughes. They are 2 years ahead physically and experience wise so bovqists potential is elite. However I wouldn’t take him unless my team had defence depth because he’s a long term Project or for rebuilding team, Van, Chicago, Phoenix and NYR are the ones I think might take him

  • Ryan Jones Is Still My Hero

    Really torn between Boqvist and Smith, I think that’s what the decision is going to boil down to at 10. Boqvist probably has a higher ceiling and fills a positional need, but he has huge bust potential and Smith is a safe bet to be a very good defenseman for a long time. If we can get Addison at 40, I think Gretzky will do backflips also. If Wahlstrom slips to us, that would be ideal, but I think that’s a stretch.

    • HockeyYoda

      Maybe? But I’m not sure if you’ve seen Merkley play recently at the world under 18‘s? But he did not look good. His best traits, which are his offensive skills, were not impressive enough to make up for what looked to me like some serious defensive issues. I thought there were a lot of guys that looked a lot better than him. He’s falling down the draft board quite a bit and I can see why. I mentioned on another post that Liam Foudy would be a steal for the Oilers second round pick. Apparently I’m not the only one that noticed his play, since then he has rocketed up the draft board 54 spots to be a late first-rounder now .

    • OilersGM

      Merkely won’t back check if his life depended on it, now does he become Rob Schremp or Matt Barzal. These guys also dropped in the draft because of attitude and one pan out one didn’t.
      I know Merkely is a D-men but that doesn’t change the attitude.

  • Carbonrod

    The first round after #2 is going to be wild. There will be a good player available at ten. Ideally I’d like Bouchard or Wahlstrom to fall into our laps, if somebody before us goes off the board, that could happen. Boqvist could be good, and seems to have a high ceiling. Smith will be a player too, but maybe trade down for him if we could pick up an extra asset.

    This draft is important for the team. I see us doing much better next season, with better health and goaltending, and we clearly need to stock our system and a high 1st and 2nd rounder is a great start. It will help this team stock its system and give us cheap, good players for the future.

  • Freddie the fog

    Trey Fix-Wolansky in rounds 5-7. An honourable mention in both Scott Wheeler and Corey Pronmans draft rankings. He was basically all the offence their was on a terrible Oil Kings squad

  • JayTee

    Based off your list, the following would be an epic haul:

    10: Boqvist/Wahlstrom/Smith
    40: Addison/McBain
    71: Ranta
    133: MacDonald
    164: Lagerstrom
    195: Hughes