Using Bob McKenzie’s List to Identify Draft Targets for the Oilers

Anyone who follows the NHL Draft closely knows how accurate Bob McKenzie’s final draft ranking is. It makes sense considering this isn’t McKenzie’s personal opinion as much as it’s a collection of information he gets from a group of scouts that he talks to on a regular basis. It’s deadly accurate.

Now that his final list is out, we can use it to identify some potential targets for the Oilers once the draft finally happens. The only issue is that we really don’t know where the team will be drafting. If they lose out to Chicago and get lucky in the draft lottery, which they’re known to do, they could sneak their way into the top ten. If they get hot and win a few rounds, they will find themselves picking late in the first round.

That means there are plenty of possibilities for who the Oilers could potentially select in the opening round. What I’m going to do is highlight a few players in every range of the Draft that I think would be great fits with the Oilers.

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As I said earlier, if the Oilers lose to the Blackhawks, they could be picking anywhere from 8-14th overall. Here are some names that I like in that range of McKenzie’s list:

ALEXANDER HOLTZ – LW/RW – DJURGARDENS (SHL): He’s already playing in the SHL, so he could actually be pretty close to NHL ready. I’ve read up on him and lots of draft analysts love his shot and goal-scoring ability. He’s listed as being able to play both wings which is a huge plus. Imagine if the Oilers found an elite goal scorer to play next to Connor McDavid for the next ten seasons? Seems like a good fit. BOB’S RANK: 9

YAROSLAV ASKAROV – G – ST. PETERSBURG (VHL): Craig Button says that Askarov is a franchise goaltender along the lines of Carey Price and Andrei Vasilevsky. That’s some serious praise. The Oilers have a pretty solid group of young forwards already at the NHL level and they also have a pretty exciting group of defensemen working their way through the system but where they are seriously lacking a blue-chip prospect is between the pipes. If they lose out early and get a chance to select Askarov, I think it’s a risk worth taking. Getting a stud goaltender would be huge for the organization. BOB’S RANK: 11

Deeper Blue

If the Oilers manage to advance past the play-in round but don’t make it to the Conference Finals, then they will be picking in the late teens or early 20’s. Here are some players to keep an eye on:

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SETH JARVIS – C – PORTLAND (WHL): This guy is a goal-scoring machine and while McKenzie has him ranked near the bottom third of the first round, he admitted that a team could jump and take Jarvis much earlier. If he’s there, the Oilers are getting a player who knows how to find the back of the net. He scored 42 goals in just 58 games this past season in the WHL. Usually when a player scores that much they get labelled as being one dimensional but that’s not the case with Jarvis, he has a pretty solid all-around game. BOB’S RANK: 18

JACOB PERREAULT – RW – SARNIA (OHL): He’s another player who knows how to score goals and possesses a very lethal shot. Some reports I read questioned his consistency a little bit but you can’t deny that he has some serious talent and when he’s going hard, he’s hard to stop. His 39-31-70 stat line this season is evidence of that. BOB’S RANK: 21

CONNOR ZARY – C – KAMLOOPS (WHL): His game might not have a lot of flair, but from what I’ve read, he’s a very well rounded player. Don’t mistake not having flair for not having skill though. He still scored 38 goals this season. In case you haven’t noticed, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Oilers finding a goal-scoring forward in this year’s draft. BOB’S RANK: 22

The Beginner’s Guide to the 2020-21 Edmonton Oilers: the defence

We would all love to see the Oilers go on a long playoff run when the league gets going again and if they do, then they will be picking later in the first round. There are still some players that really interest me in this part of the first round.

NOEL GUNLER – RW – LULEA (SHL): While McKenzie has him pegged as a late first-rounder, I’ve seen some rankings that have him going in the first half of the opening draft. Consistency and his defensive game are two popular concerns. He does have a very good shot and has the ability to find open space on the ice to use his shot. He’s listed at 6’2, so you have to like his size as well. Another big, goal-scoring winger that should be available when Edmonton picks. BOB’S RANK: 28 

JAKE NEIGHBOURS – LW – EDMONTON (WHL): I’m putting Neighbours in here because I know there will be a lot of questions about him considering he’s been playing in Rogers Place for the last few seasons. He’s an intense guy who seems to play better when the stakes are highest. He only scored 23 goals this season with the Oil Kings, so his numbers aren’t as sexy as some other players that could go in the first round but I think he has enough skill to be a middle-six forward in the NHL. BOB’B RANK: 31

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JAN MYSAK – C/LW – HAMILTON (OHL): He spent a portion of the season in the Czech league before coming to the OHL. He played 22 games with the Bulldogs and scored 15 goals in that time. That’s an insane pace. He skates really well, can score goals, and when you look at what he does well, it’s easy to envision him sliding into the Oilers top-six in a few years. BOB’S RANK: 34

If you want to read McKenzie’s full rankings, they are available HERE