Day one of the NHL Entry Draft and what lies ahead for the Edmonton Oilers

Mothers cried, fathers smiled, and lives changed forever.

31 young men found themselves drafted in the first round of the NHL Entry draft and now today, another 186 will hear their names called; a life long goal for every player.

The New Jersey Devils kicked things off by selecting unanimous C Jack Hughes first overall, while the New York Rangers took Finnish star F Kappo Kakko second overall.

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From there, things got interesting.

C Kirby Dach was a bit of a surprise pick to the Chicago Blackhawks at third overall, landing D Bowen Byram into the laps of the Colorado Avalanche at fourth overall.

Tyson Barrie’s name has once again, as it always seems to do at this time of year, popped up in trade rumours. I think with Byram going to Colorado to join Cale Makar on the backend, Barrie could be shipped out as soon as today.

Vancouver has seemed to be linked to him, so it will be interesting to see what comes of that.

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But to more important things, like the Oilers drafting D Philip Broberg 8th overall.

I’m of the mind that you need to have a very good defence to make a deep push in the playoffs, and those words were echoed by Oilers GM Ken Holland last night.

“You know, those teams that go for long playoff run, set up good defense, deep defense, big defense, and we’re going to build a good deep, big defense,” he told reporters after the draft.

There were plenty of forward options for Edmonton at 8, but I’m okay with them having stuck to their guns and got the man they really wanted.

By all accounts, Broberg is projecting to be a very solid top-four, two-way defenceman who has offensive upside with his elite skating. His skating is so good, that The Athletic’s Corey Pronman said his skating is “right up there with Jack Hughes as the best pure skater in this draft class” adding “for 6-foot-3, Broberg is a truly special skater and it’s why he has a lot of NHL teams excited about his potential.”

His ability to turn offence into defence is going to be a great asset for an Edmonton club who has struggled mightily to have rearguards who could do that.

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As we look ahead into the second through seventh rounds of the draft, Edmonton holds the 38th pick with a load of good talent left.

I’d like to see Edmonton take a forward with their 38th pick — preferably Arthur Kaliyev or Bobby Brink.

Both are high-scoring wingers who put up some big numbers in their respective leagues. Kaliyev scored 51 goals and 51 assists in 67 OHL games, while Brink racked up 35 goals and 33 assists in 43 games.

I think either player could very easily be considered a steal and doubly so considering both were ranked as first-round prospects.

I suspect the trade market might pick up a little bit in the coming days. There was lots of talk of Friday being very busy on the trade front, but those all seemed to fizzle out. One could imagine it being due to an unclear cap situation the NHL needs to fix.

None the less, Holland spoke about his desire to sign/acquire a goaltender, pick up some cheap forwards, but most notably, his desire to get a top-six forward.

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Edmonton is going to be in tough given they have the seventh-least amount of room to work with. Cory Perry’s name has been thrown around a lot, and I think he would make sense on a deal in the $2-million range.

Their desire to acquire a top-six player will be hindered by their lack of cap space.

Jason Gregor reported Friday teams were calling on Kris Russell, who I would trade for a mid-round pick in a heartbeat. I also wonder if talks pick up on Milan Lucic today.

None the less, buckle up because I think it’s going to be an interesting week.

On Twitter: @zjlaing

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  • TruthHurts98

    Fill up the leftorium when the offensive depth is as barren as the Sahara desert. Fans will have to be super patient for this rebuild. Is Holland going to draft a forward in the 2nd round or go for more LD? Will the Oilers make the playoffs in 2 years? Maybe 3 or 4? I don’t see fans being that patient let alone Connor. Ole Kenny is going to have to work some magic in the trade market.

  • Spydyr

    Drafting Broberg should give the Oilers a impressive defensive unit for the next decade or so. I have no issue with that at all. It is much easier picking up wingers then top defenceman.

    • Ken Holland

      We now have C and D depth for the next decade.

      Klefbom Larsson
      Nurse Bouchard
      Broberg Jones
      Samurokov Bear

      By the time our big mobile puck moving defenseman are ready to make an impact Sekera, Russell, and Benning will be gone (12 mil in cap space). Lucic will be gone by than as well.

      This sets us up really nicely moving forward. Hardest thing to acquire is elite Centermans and Defenseman – we have built a stable of both.

    • 3 Little Birds

      Odd how many are so angry they can’t see an actual long term plan being put into place. I think it was a great pick, and agree, wingers can be found, big fast D-men…not so much!

  • ed from edmonton

    Very promising that teams are asking about Russel, if the Oil can dump his salary or a portion of it and open up a spot for Jones that would be a big help.

    • Spydyr

      I would not trade JP for a second round pick at this point. I would let him play the season in Europe. He should have played over there his first two seasons post draft.

      I would guess the Oilers will take some forwards in the second and third round.

      • Ass Eatn Szn 69

        yup, he didnt want to go the the AHL when it was needed, now that option isnt there, best case scenario is he playes in europe at his request not the oilers,

  • toprightcorner

    I wouldn’t trade Russel for a mid round pick and I doubt another team would trade for Russell without sending a bit if cap back.

    EDM doesn’t currently have a replacement for Russell unless they are they going of moving Nurse to the right side, where I thought no he would struggle.

    Russell is a character player thatany teams would live for the playoffs who is a very good #5, can step up to #4 if injuries happen and can play both sides. Russell should easily bring back a 3rd line winger that scores 12-16 goals or even a 3C who is slightly over paid.

    Russell should not be thought of as a salary dump as it will be tough to replace him at the same price as UFAs of equal talent will be over paid for too much term and other teams are not trading you an upgrade at a value.

    • RJ

      I read comments like this and I wonder whose agenda you’re pushing.

      The one time the Oilers fluked off a perfectly healthy season where no one missed any time, they made the playoffs. But that was once out of 13 seasons, and fans like you fight to keep the same line-up.

      The cap is lower than expected. I don’t see him bringing back anything better than a third.

  • RJ

    The difference in reaction between Detroit (Seider) and the Oilers (Broberg) is very telling.

    The Red Wing reaction was Yzerman made a bold move, but since they are awesome at drafting and have awesome Euro scouting, fans expect it will go well.

    Picking Broberg means KH is an idiot to listen to Oilers scouts, not that dissimilar to Chia listening to Oilers scouts to claim the immortal Griffin Reinhart. There were so many paid lackeys in the media selling Reinhart as a top 2 defenceman, and at minimum top-4. Then there was so much media support for JP, and the usage. It wasn’t until there was writing on the wall before the media did a sell job.

    If Broberg turns out to be much better than Nurse or Klefbom in 2-3 years, then this was a great pick. If Broberg is blocked on the left side because the Oilers have so many LHD now and in the pipeline, then Keith Gretzky and his team should be fired, and more jerseys will fly.

    • Oilman99

      Having a big mobile defence that spends a minimum amount of time in their own zone cannot be underestimated, look no farther than the performance of the Blue’s defence this spring. Holland knows what he’s doing.

  • Spydyr

    The Nashville Predators have traded D PK Subban to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for Steven Santini, Jeremy Davies, a 2019 2nd and a 2020 2nd Round Pick.

  • Oilman99

    Colorado won’t think about moving Barrie until Byram is ready to be an impact player, they are too close to being able to make a serious run at the cup to make unneeded trades.