The third round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft garnered some very nice defensive prospects for the Edmonton Oilers.
#63 – Markus Niemelainen (D) Saginaw (OHL)
#84 – Matthew Cairns (D), Georgetown (OJHL)
#91 – Filip Berglund (D), Skelleftea (SHL)
I love that the Oilers decided to address an organizational need here but I’d have loved for them to grab a goalie here or address some skill at forward. Surprised David Quenneville wasn’t selected because Matt Cairns is completely off the map. I expect them to touch on the forwards and at least one goalie in the 5th round as the don’t have a 4th round pick.
The Oilers first pick in the third round had them take Markus Niemelainen. The towering Finn is a left-shooting defender that plays the right side.
Bob Stauffer pegged him as a late first rounder and he wasn’t the only pundit that had Niemelainen ranked in or near the 1st round. The Oilers might feel as if they’ve gotten another player who could’ve been a 1st round player.
Team: Saginaw Spirit(OHL)
Height:6’6″ Weight: 205 lbs.
Stats: 65 games 1 goal, 26 assists, 27 points, -23
“Niemelainen’s calling card is his defensive game, but his developing offensive skills go largely unnoticed playing for a rebuilding squad in Saginaw. While he still doesn’t post eye-popping numbers, Niemelainen is very low-risk in his style of play and can be counted on in any situation. He is very good at making the first pass out of his own zone, and can stretch the ice with a long pass. In the offensive zone, he has a booming shot that is a weapon on the power play as well as at even strength. He isn’t one to carry the puck and quarterback the play, but he is no slouch offensively and is quite good at handling the puck.” – Joseph Aleong, The Hockey Writers
The Oilers second pick in the third round seen them take Matthew Cairns, a defenceman out of the Ontario Junior Hockey league. I’ll be honest, this one is WAAAAY off the radar. From what I can gather he’s a more offensive defenceman putting up 9 goals and 24 assists in 46 games for the Georgetown Raiders. He’s slated to go to Cornel in 2017, so he’s got one more year playing for Georgetown.
He was also coached by former Oiler Paul Coffey. Not sure if you know him or not.
“The Ontario Jr. A League doesn’t produce a ton of NHL draft picks these days, but there’s always a couple good reps – such as Jake Walman or Jake Evans, in recent years. Cairns will be a flagbearer in 2016 thanks to his big frame (he’s 6-foot-2, 190 already) and great skating ability from the back end. His Raiders are in the league final and Cairns is tied for tops among OJHL defensemen with 14 points through 17 games.” – Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News
The Oilers picked a right-handed overage Swedish defender Filip Berglund with their third pick in the 3rd round. He comes out of the Skelleftea hockey club in Sweden. I had the Oilers taking him in my extensive mock draft earlier in the week.
BIRTHPLACE: Skellefteå, SWE
HEIGHT: 190 cm / 6’3″
WEIGHT: 95 kg / 209 lbs
STATS: 43gp 19g 22a 41pts 6PIM 8+/-
“A big and strong two-way defenseman with good hockey sense and passing ability. Valuable on the man advantage with a strong release and good puck control. Not a speedster and should use his large frame to his advantage.” (EP 2016)