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Draft Diaries: That’s a wrap from Nashville

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Tyler Yaremchuk
7 months ago
I ended my last piece by saying, “Talk to you tomorrow, when we should have some Oilers-related action”.
Well, Ken Holland did not make us wait very long before pulling the trigger on a trade that sent Kailer Yamamoto and pending RFA Klim Kostin to the Detroit Red Wings for everyone’s favourite trade return: future considerations.
When asked if there was anything to these “future considerations,” Ken Holland looked at the assembled media in Nashville and simply smiled. There’s nothing there.
This move was all about flexibility for the Oilers. Moving out Yamamoto’s $3.1 million cap hit means the Oilers now have $8.8 million in cap space with eight forwards, six defensemen, and two goalies on the roster.
If Bouchard and McLeod combine for around $5 million, then Holland will have $3.1 million to sign three forwards. That would mean the Oilers are running a 21-man roster next season.
You can start to see why they really didn’t have enough money to resign Klim Kostin. He reportedly wants a salary closer to $2 million than $1 million and Edmonton just has no wiggle room.
I really liked Kostin. Obviously, he was a fan favourite and he brought an edge to the team’s bottom six that just wasn’t there at the start of the year. Despite limited minutes he chipped in a good amount of offense and he scored a handful of big goals in the playoffs.
This isn’t a crushing loss on a hockey level, smart organizations can replace these kinds of players, but personally, I’m sad to see ‘Klim Shady’ leave after just one year in the organization. It seemed like Holland had found a real diamond in the rough.

THE DRAFT PICKS

The Oilers finally got a chance to make a selection at the 2023 NHL Draft. With the 56th overall pick, they chose Beau Akey
First off, a hell of a name. Secondly, and more importantly, it seems like a hell of a pick. He told us after the pick that he “definitely felt like he was going to throw up” while he was sitting in the stands. The nerves were real.
Don’t take my word for it though, here’s what Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis had to say about him:
“While most eyes have been on Brandt Clarke in Barrie this year, it’s hard to ignore Akey jumping up 30 points this year. He does an excellent job of rushing the puck down the ice from his own zone and he panic-passes the puck far less these days.”
The team had an organizational need for a right-shot defenseman and while I’m not a huge fan of drafting for need, when you can add a quality piece in an area where you’re thin, you do it.
In the sixth round, the Oilers took a goalie: Nathaniel Day from the Flint Firebirds of the OHL. 
His numbers this season were not very good. He had a 3.91 GAA in the regular season and a .874 save percentage. 
The Oilers have a decent amount of goalies in their system so I’m not sure if I love this pick. I feel like they could have taken a shot at a forward here. Small potatoes though, it is a sixth-round pick after all.
Since I’m in Nashville, it’s a good chance to remind people that Predators legend Pekka Rinne was an eighth-round pick. You never know what you’re going to get with goalies.
In the seventh round, the Oilers scooped up Matt Copponi. Here’s what Ellis had to say about him:
“Copponi, a third-year eligible prospect, has had a solid sophomore season with Merrimack, becoming one of the team’s most vital scoring forces behind New York Islanders prospect Alex Jefferies. Copponi had a hot run to end the season but was seemingly shut out in the final against BU on Saturday. Still, Copponi is consistently effective and highly competitive, giving it everything he has every shift. Copponi is projected to go in the later rounds of the NHL Draft, but given he’s still early in his college career, he could be a decent long-term project.”

PRESENTED BY BETWAY

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Feb 25, 2023; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Boston Bruins forward Taylor Hall (71) skates with the puck the Vancouver Canucks during the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
I really like what the Chicago Blackhawks got up to this weekend. A nice move for Taylor Hall, a trade to grab Corey Perry’s rights, and they basically bought a second-round pick by acquiring Josh Bailey from the Islanders and immediately buying him out. That’s called utilizing your cap space.
I was surprised that Alex DeBrincat didn’t get moved. I thought there was going to be a lot of activity this week but I think the flat cap is just suffocating teams that are in contender mode. Everyone wants to improve, but it’s just becoming too difficult with almost every competitive team being right up against the cap.
I want to wrap up with this: I always feel for the kids who are sitting there in the arena at the end of round seven.
The final few rounds are very drawn out and quite frankly boring to be in the arena. I couldn’t imagine sitting through that whole process and not hearing your name called.
At the same time, if you’re not a lock to go in the top 150, why go? It’s always wild to me to watch some kids and their families walk out of the stands at the end of the draft. Every year there are more than a few. Why not just have a draft party at your home?
That’s a wrap on my coverage of 2023 NHL Draft. My second time being at the event for Oilersnation and Daily Faceoff. It’s become one of my favourite weeks of the year. The entire league is here, the cities are buzzing, and there are always big rumblings happening behind the scenes. A great time was had. Next up: free agent frenzy.

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