Drafting Skills: Edmonton Oilers

Recent Draft History – Evaluating the first 3 rounds of the last 5 Drafts for each team. I’ve left out 2016, as it’s way too early to tell on 95% of the picks. Instead, this will be examining drafts from 2011 to 2015.

Edmonton Oilers

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (C) 1st overall – The Nuge finally played his first full year without being injured, and it was his least effective. He doesn’t look like the player that was expected when drafted 1st overall. He showed great promise early in his career, but has been passed over by multiple players on the depth chart for Edmonton. It’s not a bad pick, but it’s starting to trend that way when being compared to the likes of Mark Scheifele, Nikita Kucherov and others from this draft.

Round 1 – Oscar Klefbom (D) 19th overall – Traded Dustin Penner for this pick, Colton Tuebert and the 3rd rounder in 2012 used on Zharkov. Klefbom has become a fixture on the top pairing for Edmonton in recent years, and doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere anytime soon. He put up 12 goals and 38 points this year, which are better-than-expected numbers for the big defender. He’s turning into a great pick for the Oilers.

Round 2 – David Musil (D) 31st overall – Musil was claimed off of waivers by Dallas earlier this season, but has yet to make an impact at the NHL level, playing in only 4 career games. Those games came in 2014-2015, which seems far ago for young blueliner. This is shaping up to be another miss by the Oilers, as there were dozens of better players taken after Musil.

Round 3 – Samu Perhonen (G) 62nd overall – Another miss by Edmonton, as Perhonen is playing in Switzerland, and put up awful numbers this season before being cut by his team. Swing and miss again, a far too often theme for the Oilers.

Round 3 – Travis Ewanyk (C) 74th overall – Received this pick from Calgary for Steve Staois. He was then traded with a 4th round pick to Ottawa for Eric Gryba. Ewanyk played the majority of this season in the ECHL, so that will tell you what you need to know about him. Gryba meanwhile could barely crack the Oilers blueline most nights. It’s no wonder this team has been so awful for so many years.

Notes: Tobias Reider selected in the 4th round. Reider has blossomed into an NHL player, playing in over 200 games and approaching the 100 point mark. The problem? He was traded by Edmonton for Kale Kessy before ever playing a game. Kessey meanwhile played most of the year in the ECHL.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Nail Yakupov (RW) 1st overall – To be fair to Yakupov, I don’t think he stood a chance of being successful, and I blame the Oilers for ruining his potential. That being said, this was an awful pick by Edmonton. They needed help on the backend, and still managed to take a forward 1st overall, again. The 2012 has produced many good young defenders, and the Oilers had their pick of the litter with the 1st overall selection. They would have been better off trading down a few spots, and picking up another draft pick in the process, while actually addressing their needs. What a waste of a pick here at 1st overall, just awful.

Round 2 – Mitch Moroz (LW) 32nd overall – Moroz has yet to play an NHL game, and has since been traded for another prospect who has amounted to nothing. This was another bad pick by the Oilers, as they drafted a forward who was more known for his toughness than anything else. He has since lived up to the reputation, playing in only 41 AHL games this past year, putting up 9 points. Yikes.

Round 3 – Jujhar Khaira (C) 63rd overall – Khaira, another forward, has played in 25 NHL games, putting up 3 points. He only played in 10 games this year, and looks like he’ll be a bust. The Oilers passed another opportunity to draft a defender, and looks like they missed yet again.

Round 3 – Daniil Zharkov (LW) 91st overall – Another miss for Edmonton, as Zharkov hasn’t play an NHL game and played in only 6 KHL games this year, with zero points. At least an attempt at drafting a defender would be appreciated by fans I’m sure.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Danell Nurse (D) 7th overall – Oh look a defenseman! The Oilers finally made a pick to address their biggest need – defence! Nurse is exactly what the Oilers need, a strong defender who plays a mean game, and plays well defensively. He finally made the full-time jump two years ago, and has been a fixture for the Oilers in their top-4 since. He struggled with injuries this year, but played very well when in the lineup. He should be a top-4 D for the next few years, but I don’t believe he is a top-pairing player.

Round 2 – Marc-Olivier Roy (C) 56th overall – The Oilers traded their own 2nd round pick to the Kings for a group of picks that included the 3rd rounder used on Slepyshev. They then traded Andrew Cogliano to Anaheim for this pick. Cogliano has been one of the most consistent two-way players for Anaheim since the trade, as he hasn’t missed a regular season game since. Not sure what the Oilers were thinking with this move, as Cogliano plays very well defensively. Roy on the other hand, has yet to play an NHL game, and likely never will.

Round 3 – Bogdan Yakimov (C) 83rd overall – Yakimov has played in exactly 1 NHL game, and that was 3 years ago. He played 50 KHL games this year, scoring 11 points. That should pretty much tell you what you need to know. Another miss.

Round 3 – Anton Slepyshev (LW) 88th overall – Slepyshev has shown signs of high-end skill, but has never been able to grow them at the NHL level, with only 7 points in 52 games. He should have a shot at a full-time spot next year on the roster, so picking him this late is fairly good for the Oilers.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Leon Draisaitl (C) 3rd overall – Draisaitl is shaping up to be an elite centre, one that earns him his draft ranking. He exploded for 77 points in 82 games this year, and looked dominant in the playoffs, putting up 16 points in 13 games. Can he be the Malkin to the Pens version of Crosby in McDavid? I don’t see why not. This was a fantastic pick for the Oilers, which is a rarity in comparison to previous years.

Round 2 – Pick was traded to St. Louis for David Perron, while also giving up Magnus Paajarvi, and a 4th round pick in 2015. The Blues took Ivan Barabshev with this pick, who looks like he could be a great addition to their forward group going forward, while Paajarvi has been mediocre for the Blues, bouncing between the AHL and NHL.

Round 3 – Pick was traded to LA for Ben Scrivens. The pick turned into Dominic Turgeon, who hasn’t materialized into a promising prospect. Scrivens wasn’t the answer in goal for Edmonton, and was later shipped out for Zack Kassian – who is nothing more than a 4th line player at most.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Connor McDavid (C) 1st overall – I’m not going to spend much time on McDavid, he’s arguably the best player on the planet already, and if he’s not yet, he will be. This was likely the easiest pick anyone has made since Crosby was selected 1st overall.

Round 2 – Pick was traded in the package that brought in Griffin Reinhart. This pick ended up in Mitchell Stephens, who will likely have a good NHL career, while Reinhart likely won’t. That alone would be enough to make this a bad trade, but to make it worse was the other pick given up was a 2015 first rounder, which turned into Matthew Barzal. Barzal has incredible upside, and will surely be a top-6 forward in the NHL for many seasons.

Round 3 – Pick was traded to Anaheim with a 5th round pick for Viktor Fasth. The pick was used on Dennis Yan, who had a promising junior career and will make his pro debut next year. He has goal scoring potential, which every team covets. Fasth was also not the answer for Edmonton, who lasted just over a season in Edmonton before leaving the NHL altogether.

The Oilers have been… terrible. Other than the obvious choices, they’ve been awful at building a team through the draft. With this many high picks, they should be built like a contender. If it were not for McDavid, they wouldn’t be a playoff team. This could be the worst I’ve seen amongst any team I’ve looked through.

Sources: www.hockeydb.com ; http://www.prosportstransactions.com/hockey/DraftTrades/Years/index.htm

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