With the draft now 12 days away, I’m going to be talking about it a ton. And my Oilers stuff always goes over big. So I’m pretty pumped to do this piece quite frankly. Normally I try to write something entertaining to hook you with the opening paragraph. I have yet to do that. Some days I’m not witty. Or funny. This is one of those days.
The Oilers are in quite the position. They have a boat load of picks to play with, they have some cap space this summer, but have a lot more next summer when Nikitin, Purcell, Gordon and Scrivens all come off the books.
Everyone in Oiler land is looking for the home run trade this offseason. And hey, I would love that to happen. I see a lot of scenarios in which they could hit that home run. But for JUST picks, they probably aren’t going to get the right value, at least not in this draft.
This isn’t a game plan but I have a few ideas. One is that I love the thought of dealing for Cam Ward and frankly I believe he would cost Ben Scrivens. Saves the Canes 4 million on the cap, and 4.5 million in real dollars with Ward set to be paid 6.8 million this season. Ward is playing for a new contract, and has never played behind a good defensive squad so I’m a big believer in the guy…as long as he can stay healthy.
As for the backup, and with Ward’s injury history the Oilers would definitely need a solid backup, I like the idea of Kari Ramo for 3 years/9 million. I don’t know if you can get Ramo for that though. Cam Talbot is a polarizing guy for Oilers fans. I’m torn on him, but I don’t mind the idea of him if he’s splitting time with a proven guy like Ward. And if you’re not intrigued by him, read this:
That certainly intrigues me on Talbot, but I disagree that he’s worth the 16th or even 33rd pick because of the goaltending market being over saturated. Ben Scrivens who was almost in an identical situation last year in L.A. cost the Oilers a 3rd round pick, in division, in a weaker draft. I would pay pick 57, pick 79 and a future 3rd or 4th or something along those lines. But I’m not moving 16 or 33 for him, not in this draft.
We all know the D is the major problem for the Oilers. But do you see the D-man who would be available for JUST the 16th or 33rd pick? I don’t. Doesn’t mean there isn’t a good D-man I’m not thinking of, but I can’t think of it. I would toss a big offer at the Bruins for Dougie Hamilton in hopes that they would rather avoid him being offer sheeted and forced into dealing a guy like Chara or Lucic for pennies on the dollar. The 2016 1st, Martin Marincin and Justin Schultz. That’s a pretty good package compared to getting a 1st, 2nd and 3rd for Hamilton, and a team would likely prefer to overpay a Justin Schultz by 1 mil than overpay Hamilton by 2 or 3 mil. Add to this, Schultz would be MUCH more effective in Boston’s system and in the East.
You also might be able to fix things up simply through UFA and smart trades. Cody Franson, Andrej Sekera, Mike Green, and a guy who I wouldn’t be surprised to see Todd McLellan want brought in is Matt Irwin whom he had in San Jose. 2 of these 4 wouldn’t fix the Oilers problems on D, but they would be a very big improvement.
Then you have a guy like Dion Phaneuf who is intriguing. The Leafs would have to take back Nikitin’s deal and still maybe eat 1 mil a year on Phaneuf’s deal to make him worth something of value, but I would be interested.
Fans need to forget about Brent Seabrook. Baring him asking out of Chicago or telling the Hawks he is going to test free agency next summer, he isn’t going anywhere. Corey Crawford, Patrick Sharp, Bryan Bickell. That’s 15.9 mil of cap space by moving those 3 out. Even if you took on 2 mil coming back in all those trades you’re still saving nearly 10 mil in cap space which would be enough to get the Hawks cap situation under control. I think it’s more likely the Preds deal Shea Weber who is set to make 14 million this season, and the Preds needing a potential 1st line center and 1st round draft pick, not to mention even without Weber they are set in their top 4 with Jones, Josi, Ekholm and Ellis.
But Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan have a year here to figure this out. The roster with some minor tweaking just with the additions of McDavid and McLellan is going to be much improved. So there may not be a need to go nuts shipping out all the picks and prospects…yet.
So with that said, this is my Oilers mock draft which is tough to do because who knows where guys will go. But I tried to have them taking guys around where they’re ranked. I went WHL heavy in the end because I’m very bias.
1st pick – C Connor McDavid
16th pick – G Ilya Samsonov
This is just my opinion, but he has a chance to be a franchise goaltender and those are nearly impossible to come by these days. So if you walk out of this draft with 2 elite players, you do it. Watching clips, he really looks like a quicker version of Henrik Lundqvist. If you don’t take him at 16, he’s likely gone by 33.
Edmonton deals picks 33 and 57 to Montreal for pick 26
26th pick – D Jeremy Roy
He fits PERFECTLY with Nurse and Klefbom. Right handed shot, power play quarterback, highly intelligent, smooth skater (although he lacks the high end speed you desire out of a D-man only 6’0, 188). I don’t know if they would really need to trade up from 33 to get him, he’s ranked everywhere from 10th to 29th in rankings. But if they do then this proposal makes sense as the Habs would recoup their 2nd they dealt for Petry. If Roy is gone, take a chance on Oliver Kylington or maybe McDavid’s teammate Travis Dermott.
57th pick (2nd round) (should they keep it) – C Alexander Dergachyov
6’4, 200 pounds, is physical and can fly. When picking past a certain point I believe the best thing you can do is look for guys who have a special skill. Dergachyov has a few of them and the reason he might be available around this spot is because of the Russian factor, which hasn’t been any kind of issue for the Oilers with Yakimov and Slephyshev. He isn’t a natural scorer according to TSN’s scouting report, but with the skill set he does have he could be a steal.
79th pick (3rd round) – C/RW Denis Maulgin
Only 5’8, 163. So why take him? Skill baby. This kid is great skater, and he is an extremely intelligent player. So who does this remind you of? Maybe a kid playing in Southern Alberta? I wouldn’t be calling him Denny hockey just yet (by the way, stop calling him Johnny hockey people it’s a stolen nickname), but you can see similarities without a doubt.
86th pick (3rd round) – LW Erik Foley
5’11, 172. Hockey News has him 42nd, that’s far too high. But those who like this kid, LOVE this kid. Kirk Luedeke from Redline report who covers that region raves about this kid. Great speed, great shot, and works his ass off night in and night out. I believe that’s called compete level and the Oilers can use all of it they can get!
117th pick (4th round) – D Brendan Guhle
It’s a long shot that he ends up going this low, but if he did I would be all over him. 6’2, 185 pounds, lefty shot. He is an awesome skater and being in the shit show that was P.A. this season, I wonder if it held him back. So much potential with this kid, but of course he’s really raw which is why he is projected to go around the 100th pick.
124th pick (5th round) – LW Jesse Gabrielle
I really like what I read about this kid. Only 5’10, 205 pounds, and he doesn’t have a very pretty skating style. So why do I like him?? Balls. He is another Zac Rinaldo type or if he improves his skating maybe an Andrew Shaw. Just has that relentless tenacity on the ice, and I think he will end up willing himself into the NHL.
154th pick (6th round) – D Joe Gatenby
My boy. This is the kid I keep talking to my buddies about and have mentioned on here before. Does everything well, nothing special. Is only 6’0, 176 pounds. But he was the runner up for the WHL scholastic player of the year, and was voted the WHL’s hardest working player. Heard him interviewed on TSN 1260 a few weeks back and the kid is so sharp. To play D in the NHL you need to be able to process the game quickly and this is a kid who’ll be able to do that. He didn’t see much ice these first 2 seasons in Kelowna with such great D-men on the roster. Icing on this cake is that he’s a right handed shot. So with a great work ethic, high IQ and more opportunity next season I could see this kid taking a major leap and being considered one of the biggest steals of this draft when it is all said and done.
184th pick (7th round) – G Nick McBride
Another WHL kid to end the draft, and another tendy. But at this point in the draft I love taking goaltenders. A lot of things I like about this kid. 6’3, 180 pounds so he has the frame and just needs some time to fill out. He really has all the physical gifts to be a starter in the NHL someday. He moves great in goal, is quick with the pads, he had a REAL strong month of March going 5-1-0-1 with a .922 Sv%. Scholastic player of the year in the WHL, so I like that. I don’t think a high IQ is vital for a tendy, but it never hurts. Every flaw he has is fixable. And let’s not forget much like his teammate Guhle, P.A. was a shit show this season and it can’t be easy to perform at a peak level in that scenario.
These are just guys that I like around those spots. I don’t know these players AT ALL, which is why teams interview guys, dig into their past, and have access to medical records. But it gives you an idea and while I mainly point out the good qualities and not the bad, it is shaping up to be a crazy deep draft which is why I’m pretty hesitant to move picks, especially 16 and 33.
But needless to say that while all drafts are huge for organizations, this one is perhaps the biggest all time for the Oilers. Obviously a chunk of that is because they won the right to draft McDavid. But also, they have a ton of assets to play with and there will be a lot of players to be had both via draft and trade. The scenario’s are endless, and it is going to be a lot of fun for Oiler fans watching it all play out on the 26th and 27th.
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