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What will the Oilers do with their 2024 NHL Draft picks?

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Photo credit:Tyler Yaremchuk
Liam Horrobin
20 days ago
A new era of Edmonton Oilers scouting officially begins on tonight at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft.
Early in the year, the Oilers decided to move on from Tyler Wright after four seasons and bring in Rick Pracey, who had experience with the Colorado Avalanche and Philadelphia Flyers, as the new director of amateur scouting.
The NHL draft is the first chance to see what Pracey is all about in detail. The team has signed two prospects during his tenure. The first was Connor Unger from Brock University, who the team signed to an entry-level deal, followed by Marc Lajoie from the Edmonton Oil Kings, who signed an amateur tryout with the Bakersfield Condors. Both are Alberta boys who spent the remainder of the 2024 campaign with the Condors following the conclusion of their seasons.
While it has yet to translate to NHL success, the Oilers picked promising talents with their late-round selections over the last few years. Matvey Petrov (180th overall, 2021 draft) and Maximus Wanner (212th overall, 2021 draft) showed encouraging signs in their first year as pros. Additionally, Matt Copponi (216th overall, 2023 draft) had a strong year at Merrimack College and recently transferred to Boston University.
With the Oilers’ plan to compete for the Stanley Cup every year, it’s unlikely scouts will have a first-round pick to use, making hitting on later picks more important. Heading into the draft in Vegas this weekend, Edmonton’s first selection is 64th overall, followed by a pick in the fifth round, 160th overall, and then two in both the sixth, 183rd and 192nd overall, and seventh rounds, 196th overall and 218th overall.
Now that Pracey is around, it’s hard to predict exactly what the Oilers want with their picks. Of course, the plan is to pick the best player available; however, how do the scouts define “best available?” Let’s take a peek at what they could be looking for.

Mobile Defencemen

We all know by now that the game is changing, and you need to be quick, especially if you’re playing for the Edmonton Oilers. Philip Broberg stepped into the lineup this postseason and, despite his lack of experience, with his skating ability, was able to make plays like he’d been there before. In the last draft, the Oilers selected Beau Akey in the second round. Unfortunately, his season was disrupted due to injury; however, his skating is his biggest asset and why he could succeed in the NHL. The Oilers need to keep finding those players in the draft. It’s easier to find the hard-nosed bottom-pairing defencemen or the aging, experienced veteran, but having a player who can positively turn plays with his feet is something hard to come by.

Late-Round College Picks

Over the last nine years, Edmonton has had success drafting players going the NCAA route. Jon Marino started the trend in 2015, who never played for the Oilers but still had NHL success. Others, like Michael Kesselring and Vincent Desharnais, have played NHL games. At the same time, you also have Skyler Brind’Amour, Shane Lachance, and Matt Copponi, who look to have promising careers ahead of them. Selecting NCAA players gives you a longer runway for development because you don’t have to sign them as quickly as a CHL player. The Oilers have four picks in the final two rounds, so we shouldn’t be shocked to see at least a couple of NCAA players join the ranks.

Another Goaltender

Many teams draft a goaltender every year, and the Oilers have a history of doing that too. Over the last ten drafts, Edmonton has taken eight goalies, including Stuart Skinner, Olivier Rodrigue, and Ilya Konovalov. If they re-sign him, the Oilers will likely move on from Jack Campbell this summer, which leaves the door open in Bakersfield for Connor Unger or Ryan Fanti to play alongside Olivier Rodrigue next season. Behind them are Nathaniel Day and Samuel Jonsson, who are years away from being in the conversation. With goalies, you keep drafting until you hit on one. You would continue drafting defencemen or forwards with your late picks because you already have so many.

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