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Photo Credit: Brian Liesse / Seattle Thunderbirds

Edmonton Oilers select (LW) Reid Schaefer with the 32nd overall pick

With the 32nd overall pick, the Edmonton Oilers used the last pick in the first round to select power forward, Reid Schaefer, from the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL.

After coming into the 2022 entry draft without much of an idea who the Edmonton Oilers were targeting with their first round pick, we finally got our answer when Tyler Wright stepped up to the podium and grabbed Reid Schaefer with the 32nd overall selection. Schaefer, a 6’3′ left-shot winger from the Seattle Thunderbirds, was a guy that Ken Holland and his staff clearly felt would be a quality pick for them at #32 after making a move to ship out Zack Kassian and slide down three spots to grab him. Known as a skilled finisher in the WHL, the 214-pound Schaefer is projected by some to be a scoring middle-six forward at the NHL level, which would be a welcomed addition to this team’s depth chart considering how shallow they are up front.

Schaefer, who turns 19 in September, will head back to Seattle for one more year of development before making the leap to the pros, and there’s little doubt in my mind that he will be a prospect to follow as he adds a much-needed dose of size and skill to a depth chart that needs it. The reportedly tenacious Schaefer scored at a 0.48 goals/game pace in the WHL this past season, and I will be eager to see if he can build upon that success and polish his skills as a shooter and playmaker. Despite being years away from helping out at the NHL level, my first impression on draft night is that the Oilers just brought in a big-bodied forward with some scoring touch and I think we can all agree that they need more of them in the system.

In 66 games played with the Thunderbirds, Schaefer registered 32 goals and 58 points to go along with 88 PIMs and a +29 rating. In 25 playoff games, Schaefer chipped in six goals and 15 assists.

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WHO IS REID SCHAEFER???

Now that we know Reid Schaefer is the newest Oiler, I dove into the Google machine to figure out exactly what we have here and how may help our hockey team down the line. Let the Internet be our guide.

“A late-bloomer that broke out this season, Schaefer was a major part of Seattle’s run to the WHL finals. He’s big, skates well for his size, and put up 32 goals in 66 games this season. He plays the game with strength but also has soft touch on the puck which has led him to rising up draft boards throughout the season.” – Chris Peters, DailyFaceoff

“Reid Schaefer of the Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) is a developing story in this year’s draft. A projected mid-round selection early in the year, he has size (6-foot-3, 214 pounds) and enough skill to score 32 goals in 66 WHL games. He gains net-front position easily and he hits hard and often. Like Gaucher, he’s more of a power forward but does present an intriguing option as a big disturber with goal-scoring ability.” – Lowetide, The Athletic

“Schaefer has certainly proven projections wrong during his NHL draft season. He opened the year with a ‘C’ rating from NHL Central Scouting, which is assigned to those considered candidates to be picked in the fourth round or later. He was No. 85 on the mid-season list of North American skaters, but after scoring 32 goals in 66 games he rocketed up to No. 31 in the final rankings.” -TSN director of scouting Craig Button has Schaefer at No. 20 on his final list of all prospects.

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“A late September birthday, Schaefer is one of the older players in the draft class. He should spend one more year in the WHL before moving up to the NHL. Players with his power forward style often take a little time to transition to the pro game as they play against men. As a result, the team that drafts Schaefer will need to be patient and prepared to see him in junior/AHL hockey for two to three years before he is ready for the NHL.

Schaefer improved his skating this season. If he can continue to do that and improve his playmaking, Schaefer could be a top-six winger in the NHL. If the offence doesn’t translate, Schaefer still has the size and skating ability to develop into a bottom-six player in the NHL. His game is reminiscent of Josh Anderson. This is a stylistic comparison only though and not one based on skill and ability.” -Last Word on Sports

WHERE HE WAS RANKED

SCHAEFER’S CAREER SO FAR

Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM +/- PGP G A Pts PIM
2019-20 Spruce Grove Saints AJHL 33 6 10 16 32 2 0 0 0 2
2019-20 Seattle Thunderbirds WHL 7 0 1 1 9 1
2020-21 Spruce Grove Saints AJHL 3 0 0 0 2
2020-21 Seattle Thunderbirds WHL 18 0 2 2 14 -4
2021-22 Seattle Thunderbirds WHL 66 32 26 58 88 29 25 6 15 21 32