With the No. 56 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the Edmonton Oilers could select… Lukas Dragicevic
Photo credit:Chris Mast
3 months ago
The Oilers could use some defence prospects.
In terms of which defenceman are in the system, Philip Broberg is the cream of the crop, but he is set to graduate this season if all goes according to plan.
In 2022, they drafted left-shot defenceman Nikita Yevseyev from the KHL, who scored five goals and seven points in 48 games as an 18-year-old. In 2021, they drafted Luca Munzenberger with their third-round pick, another left-handed shot defenceman who plays for the University of Vermont. That wasn’t the only defenceman the Oilers selected in 2021, as they picked Maximus Wanner with their seventh-round pick. The right-shot defenceman was suspended towards the end of the 2022-23 Western Hockey League season.
Philip Kemp (right-handed) and Markus Niemeläinen (left-handed) are Edmonton’s two most developed defencemen who aren’t in the NHL. Both players were drafted in 2017 and spent the 2022-23 season with the American Hockey League Bakersfield Condors. They also acquired Cam Dineen, a young defenceman with some NHL experience, in a deal with Arizona at the trade deadline.
Today’s prospect, Lukas Dragicevic, could potentially help their back-end in a few years.
Date of Birth: April 25, 2005
Weight: 194 lbs
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The 18-year-old plays in the Western Hockey League with the Tri-City Americans and had a breakout year in the 2022-23 season. Prior to this past season, he had six goals and 32 points in 68 games, with all points coming in the 2021-22 season.
He drastically improved with Tri-City this past season, scoring 15 goals and 75 points in 68 games. He also upped his plus/minus from -24 to -2. His 75 points were the fourth highest amongst WHL defencemen in the 2022-23 season, behind Stanislav Svozil, Olen Zellweger, and Ben Zloty. Dragicevic had four assists in the six playoff games Tri-City played.
Dragicevic may not be available when the Oilers pick 56th overall, as he ranks anywhere from 20th overall (McKeen’s Hockey) to 59th overall (DobberProspects). According to Elite Prospects, his consolidated ranking from numerous sites has him as the 31st-best prospect. The Sports Network’s Craig Button has him ranked 55th on his list, so there’s still a chance he falls to where Edmonton picks.
The 18-year-old’s best attribute is his passing. He is excellent at finding a breakout pass, often hitting his teammates who are skating at full speed. When he reaches the offensive zone, play often runs through him, so he has the power play quarterback future in his game.
He’s also a strong skater, with quick speed and agility to quickly change direction. It’s worth noting that his skating mechanics could do with work according to The Hockey Writers’ scouting report, but plays with plenty of confidence.
Dragicevic also plays a lot of minutes. He played in all of Tri-City’s 74 games, along with a top prospect game and the u-18 tournament, where he played 32:20 minutes in the Bronze Medal Game.
There are some issues with his game. Like most offensive defencemen, he is a risk taker which can lead to odd-man rushes for the opposing team. Sometimes his passing is also risky, as he tries to force the final pass that ends up being intercepted.
With all that being said, Dragicevic is an intriguing defenceman that has plenty of high-risk, high-reward. It’s worth noting that he only started playing defence full-time in his draft year. It’s possible he won’t be available when the Oilers pick 56th overall, but he could very well be the best player available if he isn’t picked before Edmonton is up to the podium.
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Previously in this series…
- With the No. 56 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the Edmonton Oilers could select… Felix Unger Sörum?
- With the No. 56 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the Edmonton Oilers could select… Caden Price?
- With the No. 56 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the Edmonton Oilers could select… Hunter Brzustewicz?
- With the No. 56 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the Edmonton Oilers could select… Scott Ratzlaff?
- With the No. 56 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the Edmonton Oilers could select… Carey Terrance?
- With the No. 56 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the Edmonton Oilers could select… Luca Cagnoni?
- With the No. 56 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the Edmonton Oilers could select… Jacob Fowler?
- With the No. 56 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the Edmonton Oilers could select… Alex Čiernik?
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