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

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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.

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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.   

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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

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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:

  • Drivefastfinishlast

    Chiarelli needs to get rid of Kelfbom. He is always injured. Only played one season healthy.
    Klefbom for Faulk ???
    Bouchard won’t be NHL ready for a few years.
    McLeod looks like he stops pucks with his face.
    The goalie is re-united with his Dad(typical Oiler move)
    The last 2 are hidden gems ???
    Oilers 97% chance of missing playoffs if nothing is done in the off-season.

  • Serious Gord

    “Most of you were … confident in Chiarelli’s ability to navigate a draft.”

    I think it false. Most commenters in this site were fearful and had no confidence in chia.

    And in the case of the first two picks they fell into his lap – players much higher ranked that fit oil needs were available. A chipmunk could have made those picks.

    And I am greatly bothered by the continued nepotism culture – trading up for it no less.

  • Kepler62c

    Honestly, Chia, Green, and Gretzky know what they are doing at a draft. Since 2015 the organization has looked smart and all the drafts have “good arrows”.

    Bad trades aside, if this season works out I think there are some guys in management that will be here for a long time to come.

  • toprightcorner

    What the Oilers need to do now is have the Oil Kings trade for Bouchard and McLeod so the Oilers can really monitor their development and have their own skating and skills coaches work with them regularly.

    That’s how you take advantage of owning a Junior team and having the NHL GM do the hiring

  • Brad12

    Good picks today by Chiarelli, but, in addition to Hall, Eberle, Barzal, and Lucic, he has also failed with respect to the two most important positions on a team : coach and goalie

    • daryl

      Yah not sure about Todd he doesn’t react to what is goi on on the ice and he hasn’t used Jesse well punishing him for misstaks the a 19 year old would make in order to get better and taking away his ice time last year after we were out of the playoffs it would have bee a great time to up his minutes but didn’t and this is a very valuable asset. He even could be destroying his confidence.

    • CMG30

      I also think he’s a great bet who could make the roster, but I don’t want to count on it. He may be the ‘most’ NHL ready, but if he needs time that’s OK too.