The Edmonton Oilers’ Draft Plan
Photo credit:Tyler Yaremchuk
13 days ago
After falling to the Vegas Golden Knights in round two of the Stanley Cup playoffs, it is now time for the Edmonton Oilers to turn their focus to the offseason.
Ken Holland has big decisions to make with the current roster with the Evan Bouchard contract being his largest task. There are always decisions to make in the team’s top six along with more on the blueline. Outside of the Oilers’ roster changes, the NHL draft comes before the league’s free agency period opens.
The Oilers won’t have a 1st round pick in the upcoming draft. Holland opted to move that pick in the Mattias Ekholm trade, along with Tyson Barrie, Reid Schaefer (1st round pick from 2022) and a 2023 3rd round pick.
The 2023 draft is the first time since 2006 that Edmonton won’t have a 1st rounder. That year, they traded the pick to the Minnesota Wild for goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who helped them win the Western Conference and advance to the Stanley Cup finals. That trade didn’t stay in Minnesota for long after they moved it to the Los Angeles Kings for Pavol Demitra. Edmonton’s first pick rolled around in the second round where they took Jeff Petry at 45th overall.
For this draft, they are in a similar situation with their first pick coming with 56. Along with a 2nd-round pick, Edmonton has a 5th, 6th, and 7th-round pick in their pocket.
The organization’s prospect cupboards are fairly stocked.
Even after moving Schaefer at the deadline, the forward prospect pool has Dylan Holloway (2020 1st round pick), Xavier Bourgault (2021 1st round pick), and Raphael Lavoie (2019 2nd round pick). The team has drafted well outside of the first two rounds in recent memory too with Carter Savoie (2020 4th round pick), Tyler Tullio (2020 5th round pick) and Matvey Petrov (2021 6th round pick) all coming in the later rounds.
|Left Wing||Centre||Right Wing|
|Patrik Puistola||Dylan Holloway||Raphael Lavoie|
|Matvey Petrov||Xavier Bourgault||Tyler Tullio|
|Carter Savoie||Noah Philp||Jake Chiasson|
|Maxim Berezkin||James Hamblin|
|Jeremias Lindewall||Carl Berglund|
|Shane Lachance||Maxim Denezhkin|
The depth is quite there for the franchise on the defensive side. Philip Broberg is still the team’s best prospect on the blueline, but after him, it dries up. The next highest-drafted player is Markus Niemelainen (2017 3rd round pick) and he isn’t close to the level of Broberg.
Goaltending isn’t much of an issue for the team either, after signing Ryan Fanti as a college free agent and drafting Samuel Jonsson last year.
|Left Defence||Goaltenders||Right Defence|
|Philip Broberg||Olivier Rodrigue||Phil Kemp|
|Cam Dineen||Ryan Fanti||Max Wanner|
|Markus Niemelainen||Samuel Jonsson|
Priority #1 – RH Defenceman
The Oilers need to address the weakness on the right side of the blue line. Throughout the organization, they have five right-handed defencemen and no true top-tier prospect. It might be worth the Oilers drafting more than once in this position.
Priority #2 – LH Defenceman
The trend here is that the Oilers blueline organizationally isn’t good enough. Outside of Philip Broberg, the next high end left shot isn’t there for the team. The jury is still out on Luca Munzenberger and the unknown surrounds Nikita Yevseyev (2022 6th round pick). If they aren’t taking a right shot then they need to find more lefties.
Priority #3 – Right Wing
Once Raphael Lavoie gets elevated to the NHL, the right wing will be thin in the prospect pool, much like it is on the NHL team. The draft gives the Oilers a chance to add more to this position, and with only four picks in the draft, it would be worth taking a shot late in the draft here.
Within those four picks, the Oilers can afford to not draft a centreman and even a goaltender. Of course, if a top player falls to you then you take him, but the primary goal for this team should be to add more depth to the blueline and the wings.
As a build-up to the draft, we shall look into some possible options for the Oilers starting on Friday with Caden Price from the Kelowna Rockets.
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