Draft Report Card: Quality Over Quantity

I declare the 2018 NHL Draft a success for Peter Chiarelli and his scouting staff. I think most of us were thinking the same thing as the Oilers flew into Dallas for the weekend. Most of you were nervous about a trade, possibly one-for-one, but confident in Chiarelli’s ability to navigate a draft.

Let’s take a look at the Oilers Draft Report Card. I’ve decided to go report card style to recap the draft in honour of my teacher wife who’s been working on report cards for three weeks. I’ve been telling her that her students are in Grade One, give them a smiley face sticker and move on, that doesn’t go over well.

Prospect: Evan Bouchard

Round of Selection: 1st Round – 10th overall

Prospect’s Position: Defense

Skills & Abilities:

– Evan has done a great job this season carrying his teammates on a nightly basis.
– Evan does a great job passing the puck to keep his teammates involved.
– Evan shoots the puck very hard.
– Evan is a leader on and off the ice.
– Evan is responsible at both ends of the ice.

Needs To Work On:

– Evan needs to work on his quickness. This won’t be a problem for him but improving it would certainly help him.

Oilers Summary:

By doing nothing at all Peter Chiarelli ended up getting the thing his team needed the most. The Oilers needed a right shot d-man with offensive upside more than a scoring winger and Bouchard’s closer to helping now than Dobson.

Bouchard has everything a player requires to develop into a top pairing right shot d-man who can play on your top power-play and on the penalty kill.

Overall Grade of Oilers Selection A

Prospect: Ryan McLeod

Round of Selection: 2nd Round – 40th overall

Prospect’s Position: Center

Skills & Abilities:

– Ryan is a better skater than the majority of his teammates.
– Ryan understands how to play the game in his own end of the ice.
– Ryan shows the ability to compete.
– Ryan reminds me a lot of his older brother Michael.
– Ryan has shown flexibility this year playing left wing at times.   

Needs To Work On:

  • Ryan needs to do a better job getting to the middle of the ice.
  • Ryan also needs to work on his consistency.

Oilers Summary:

Once again the Oilers had a player who was expected by many to go higher fall into their laps. Most drafting rankings and insiders expected McLeod to be a late first rounder.

He’s projected as a third line center/winger with the possibility of playing a bit higher in the line up at times. A versatile forward with size who skates the like the wind fits perfectly with where the Oilers are headed. His favourite player and namesake is Ryan Smyth so he should get bonus points.

Overall Grade of Oilers Selection B+

Prospect: Olivier Rodrigue

Round of Selection: 2nd Round – 62nd overall

Prospect’s Position: Goalie

Skills & Abilities:

– Olivier is a natural goalie.
– Olivier excels at positioning.
– Olivier does not shy away from challenging shooters.
– Olivier is very good at controlling his rebounds.
– Olivier’s dad has nothing but good things to say about him 😉   

Needs To Work On:

  • Olivier needs to get a little thicker
  • Olivier needs to work on playing the puck more often
  • Olivier needs to do a better job covering the top part of his net

Oilers Summary:

I have no issue with a team moving a 5th round pick to slide up from the 3rd round to the 2nd round. Unlike some other people I also have no problem with the Oilers drafting the son of their goaltending advisor. The bottom line is the Oilers moved up to select arguably the best goaltender in the draft.

After the draft Bob Green said when you have a chance to get the best goaltender in the draft you have to make a move on it. I agree.

Overall Grade of Oilers Selection B+

Prospect: Michael Kesselring

Round of Selection: 6th Round – 164th overall

Prospect’s Position: Defense

Skills & Abilities:

– Michael is much bigger than most of his teammates and uses his size well.
– Michael skates well for a player his size.
– Michael isn’t afraid to join the rush
– Michael stood out among his peers in High School hockey this year.
– Michael can make things work on the power-play   

Needs To Work On:

  • Michael could play with a little more grit.
  • Michael, like most big kids, could work on his stride a bit.

Oilers Summary:

Using a 6th round pick on a 6’4 right shot d-man is never a bad idea. I spoke with a USHL source shortly after the selection was made and he told me Kesselring is a long-term project but could become a player.

I said earlier this week that using your 6th and 7th round picks on players who need to develop for three or four years is a good strategy. Kesselring recently uncommitted from Merrimack College and will spend the upcoming season in the USHL. He will spend one year in the USHL and then likely three more in college before you really have to worry about him.

Overall Grade of Oilers Selection: B

Prospect: Patrik Siikanen

Round of Selection: 7th Round – 195th overall

Prospect’s Position: Forward

Skills & Abilities:

– Patrik is a big kid with a good work ethic
– Patrik was really liked by the Oilers European scouts
– Patrik is more of a goal scorer than a playmaker
– Patrik will play in the men’s league next year
– Patrik is Finnish, I like Finnish players.

Needs To Work On:

  • Honestly, I have no idea what he needs to work on. I can’t lie to you.
  • Baggedmilk found a few things from some Finnish blogs that he needs to work on his skating. Apparently, he’s not the fleetest of foot and his overall mobility will need some upgrades.

Oilers Summary:

I couldn’t find much on this player outside of what Bob Green had to say when he spoke with the media after the draft. He told us that Siikanen is a big kid who works hard and that their European scouts really liked him.

He started this year in Jr. B in Finland but spent most of the season playing in the Jr. A. Green expects him to play for the big club in Espoo. Once again this is a player you don’t have to worry about for a while as he develops playing pro in Europe.

Overall Grade of Oilers Selection: B





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Previously by Dustin Nielson:

    • camdog

      In Edmonton we trade hockey players because they spend too much time chasing ladies. In Calgary they trade players because they spend too much time reading books at the museum.

      • CMG30

        Of course Carolina won the trade. Not only did they get the best player they got throw ins as well. Calgary traded a player for someone they hope will turn into the player they just traded away ?. In the process they made their top paring defense worse which will be fun for us since they already had their hands full with McDavid, now they don’t have a chance! But hey, at least their locker room can all go drink at the bar together now.

        • Big Nuggets

          Good trade for Calgary. Hanifin will be great for a long time and Ferland, although a beauty, has probably peaked.

          Hamilton was the best player last season and maybe will be this next season, but playing with Gio makes anybody look good. LD behind Gio was a weakness for Calgary and Hanifin gives them great LD depth and the heir apparent to the aging Gio.

          That Swede forward will probably outscore Ferly every season from here on out.

  • Bouchard maybe the most NHL ready D-man we have drafted since I can remember. This where we value from Larrson in mentoring young d-men. Bouchard is a rookie and peaks and valleys are a certain we as a fan base have to remember both. This was a good draft and we got a player we needed let’s get positive.

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    While I’m still geeking out about Bouchard I forget WE HAVE TRENT YAWNEY AS AN ASSISTANT COACH! Bouchard is going to be a STUD and I can’t wait to Trent to work his magic with Evan.

  • mroiler

    Question: What do you have to do to get an “A”?

    This draft was much better than expected. We got 3 high quality prospects that fit strategic needs that no one expected. There is isn’t a bad pick in the bunch and the use of the 5th to get the best North American goalie prospect in the draft was an excellent move. The odds a 5th rounders nets you anything is very low.

    Don’t be bashful. Give full credit when it’s due. No one pulls a punch when the Oiler management makes a mistake, it’s only fair to give full praise when it is due.

    p.s. – Loved your live streaming on Facebook. Good job.

    • Daryl Katz

      Oiler fans just don’t do that though. they seem to want to endlessly harp on the Hall and Barzal trades and never give Chia credit for the good things he can do like his ability at the draft and the Talbot trade that he won big time.

      • CMG30

        Sorry Daryl, but the number of fans who still side with Chirelli on the trades is way to high. No one should be sticking their heads in the sand and pretending that the big trades Chirelli has made are not the reason this club has moved backwards.

  • A few years ago the Oilers had one of the most promising RH defense prospects in the entire league that was able to quarterback powerplays, shoot through traffic, and generate offense.

    I watched every one of his AHL games when he played along Hall, Nuge, and Eberle, where he was the best player of the four. He was a leader on the ice, telling players where to go and what to do. He led the AHL scoring by leaps and bounds to the point where, when he left the league as the NHL lockout ended, it took over 20 games (iirc) before another AHL player would catch up.

    Yes, I’m talking about Justin Schultz.

    The problem wasn’t him, it was the Oilers, and the sooner we recognize that, the sooner we can avoid making the same mistakes here. And it wasn’t about increased AHL development time. He graduated that with flying colors. Whereas Hall and Eberle would cheat for offense thinking they were going to tear up that league.

    With better mentorship (Larsson, Sekera, Nurse), more depth so he doesn’t need to play the top pairing, and a defensive specialist in Yawney, I think things will be better this time around.

    I hope so.

    • camdog

      Well said. That said our forwards continue to lack the veteran presence to support our defenceman. This has been a theme of the Oilers post Cup run, as was evident this past season.