The Athletic’s mock 2023 NHL draft has the Oilers selecting a goalie with their first pick
By Cam Lewis6 months ago
This summer’s draft will be the first time that the Edmonton Oilers don’t have a selection in the first round since all the way back in 2006.
That year, general manager Kevin Lowe traded the team’s top pick to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for goaltender Dwayne Roloson and he helped the Oilers reach the Stanley Cup Final. Edmonton’s first-round pick in this year’s draft was moved back in February to the Nashville Predators as part of the package that landed the Oilers veteran defenceman Mattias Ekholm.
The Oilers are scheduled to make their first selection at No. 56 overall in the second round. Who might they pick? The draft is a crap shoot by that point in time so it’s anybody’s guess, but The Athletic suggested in their first mock draft of the year that the Oilers will select goaltender Adam Gajan with their top pick.
“Gajan is the most athletic goalie in the draft and was named top goalie at the world juniors. He provides a potential goalie of the future in Edmonton.” – Corey Pronman
Gajan is a 6-foot-3 goaltender born and raised in Slovakia who made the journey overseas to play in North America last season. He split the 2022-23 campaign between the USHL and the NAHL, posting a .906 save percentage in six games with the Green Bay Gamblers and a .917 save percentage in 34 games with the Chippewa Steel. Gajan also put up a sparkling .936 save percentage over four games for Slovakia at this year’s World Juniors in Nova Scotia.
The Oilers have selected just one goaltender in their previous three drafts, Samuel Jonsson at No. 158 overall in 2022. They selected Stuart Skinner at No. 78 overall in 2017, traded up to take Olivier Rodrigue at No. 62 overall in 2018, and drafted Ilya Konovalov at No. 85 overall in 2019. Konovalov had his contract terminated so he could return to the KHL and the Oilers signed NCAA free-agent goaltender Ryan Fanti last spring.
What say you, Nation? Should the Oilers select a goaltender with their top pick in this year’s draft?
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