The Oilers are all set for the offseason now. Their season is over, the playoffs have begun without them, and the question marks surrounding where their 1st round pick will fall have been answered.
The Oilers, sans Tambellini’s lucky tie, failed to win the NHL Draft lottery and will be drafting exactly where they should be: 7th. This pick is still positioned nicely inside the top 10 and in a deep draft that means the Oilers could still draft an impact player. It also means that the pick has some notable value on the trade market, so if the opportunity arises MacT could potentially make a trade that benefits the team without sacrificing a major roster player.
Picks of Draft Days Past
Just for fun I figured I would go back and list players who were chosen in the 7th spot in the past just to see what kinds of players were still available in those years.
2012- Matt Dumba: There was lots of hype for this kid before the Draft but he really tailed off
2011- Mark Scheifele: Or more commonly remembered as “Not Sean Couturier”
2010- Jeff Skinner: Shifty Goal Scorer
2009- Nazem Kadri: Took a while but he found his way (with LOTS of luck)
2008- Colin Wilson: 19 points in 25 games this year
2007- Jakub Voracek: 18th in NHL scoring for 2013
2006- Kyle Okposo: 24 goals in 2011-2012
2005- Jack Skille: Bust playing for Florida now
2004- Rostislav Olesz: Bust AHL forward
2003- Ryan Suter: Could win the Norris for 2013
2002- Joffrey Lupul: Better than a Point per Game last two seasons
So there is a Decade’s worth of 7th overall picks. 2 outright busts, 1 maybe in Dumba but its too early to tell. Only 2 defenseman but one is now possibly going to win the Norris (albeit after he reached the age of Free Agency).
Bob McKenzie provided his season’s end Draft rankings at the Draft Lottery show. These rankings are a composite sketch of where the Head Scouts he polled have the best draft eligible players ranked. Obviously each team has them ranked a little differently and things are subject to change as the CHL Championships wear on.
He has them:
1) Seth Jones
2) Nate Mackinnon
3) Jonathan Drouin
4) Aleksander Barkov
5) Valeri Nichushkin
6) Elias Lindholm
7) Sean Monahan
8) Rasmus Ristolainen
9) Nikita Zadarov
10) Hunter Shinkaruk
I bolded the two names above because they fall where the Oilers ought to be drafting and they represent, each one, an organizational need.
Sean Monahan is a big Centre (6’2″ 186lbs) who put up 78 points in 58 games. Obviously he isnt the offensive dynamo the Oilers are used to drafting in the 1st round, but he would represent the size they are looking for down the middle. He is a standout because of his size, athleticism, and the ability to make room for himself. Some out there are even suggesting that he could play in the NHL next year, which would be quite the accomplishment.
Rasmus Ristolainen is a big mobile defender with a big shot. At 6’3″ already and 207lbs he has a man’s body as a teenager. Bob Mackenzie thought enough about his shot to mention it as a plus in the Draft rankings and his skating has been called effortless. He already plays in a mens league and could very well be the 2nd Defenseman taken in the draft after Seth Jones.
I think, as an Oilers fan, one of these two would be a fine addition to the squad.
The Other Option
The Oilers dont have to select anybody with that pick at all. The new GM wants to make a bold move, and certainly trading a top 10 pick would qualify as a bold move. I dont like looking into the trades that involve these picks because quite often its the one left with the pick that laughs last but if the Oilers want players NOW and not in 2-4 years then thats the obvious play. The Oilers also have a sore spot from trading down in the Parise draft that makes me uneasy about the possibility of moving that pick for a lower one.
That said, its a viable option. The Oilers have three 1st Overall picks and a need to get bigger and better on Defense. Ristolainen might be that guy they want back there but it could take him a long time to get there. Monahan might be the guy they want down the middle, but he will be another Green rookie.