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.
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.
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