It has been done. Auston Matthews to the Toronto Maple Leafs is but a formality now. I think this is going to be way better for the NHL and for fans of the Oilers. Toronto needs a player like this and perhaps all the Stamkos to T.O. talk can subside. All the OEL for the 1st overall pick rumors can go away and we can start to focus on something else for a change.
What won’t stop is every time the Oilers miss the playoffs there’ll be the chatter about changing the rules if they win the 1st overall pick again… That will be with the team until they stop holding drafts.
I don’t hate the Toronto Maple Leafs. I’ve always liked them and having a young superstar to build their team around is going to make watching the Leafs and the Oilers that much more fun. Add to that William Nylander and Mitch Marner and they’re forward corps. is almost as good as the Oilers’ forwards. But they’re already denying the most obvious tank job since Buffalo last year and that’s a joke. Seriously. You might say the Oilers tanked to get some of their top picks but the sad reality is, the were just that bad…
I do not like the Calgary Flames or Vancouver Canucks and to see them bounced out of favourable lottery spots was a delight. I cheered against them both when they made the Cup finals most recently and I mean check out this pic of Brian Burke at the moment he realized his team was out of the running for the top three lottery picks and Kevin Cheveldayoff’s Jets jumped past him.
I was pretty shocked that Winnipeg jumped up though. Didn’t see that coming but they’ll get their Selanne 2.0 now. Whether that is Patrick Laine or Jesse Puljujarvi, who knows? Columbus at no.3 is just happy to be there. The “scraps” that Toronto and Winnipeg leave them will be better than anything else any other team is bound to pick in June.
But we move on to the Oilers. They dropped from no.2 to no.4 and that is possibly the best thing that could’ve happened to them. The players, the coaching, management, ownership and most importantly, the fans can now shine their attention on a different scenario.
When I refer to the trusty charts over at mynhldraft.com and check out who the consensus is at no.4 I find that it’s a battle between Matthew Tkachuk, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Jakon Chychrun.
Tkachuk has the bloodlines and the privilege of developing within the London Knights organization. Personally I like that he’s got a reputation for being a bit of a prick on the ice and Lordy is that an attribute the team is missing. Chiarelli had Marchand in Boston and surely he’d love to have a similar type of player. My only reservations is that sometimes when these little guys play bigger than they are they can turn out to be bit-role players and it’s not like Tkachuk is tiny. He’s 6’1″ and nearly 200lbs but there’s always that concern lurking around in the background.
Pierre-Luc Dubois is seemingly the guy that would fit the bill for the Oilers. He put up 99 points in 60-odd games this year and standing at 6’2″ and over 200lbs, he doesn’t have far to grow physically. He can play both centre and left wing and he’s got a reputation for being “old-fashioned” in his play sometimes. Craig Button’s Dubois comparison to Jamie Benn is compelling. I’ve also heard Ryan Smyth comparisons, so that would make fans in the YEG happy. He’s a late riser in the rankings and Dave Gordon from The Oilers Rig said that was a concern to him. For me, if Dubois spent another year in the QMJHL for Cape Breton and developed a bit more, I’d be happy with that. No need to rush kids into the ‘Chel…
Jakob Chychrun is a man of may opinions. He’s one of, if not, the best skaters in the entire draft and there’s a reason people have been keeping an eye on him since he was 15. Maybe that’s why the defenseman has gone from competing with Auston Matthews for the no.1 spot overall to nearly dropping out of the top ten due to the good performances from Olli Juolevi and Mikhail Sergachev and his poor performances at the Prospects game and his non-performance at the World Juniors. Too much coverage.
There are too many questions that come with Chychrun at this point that make me comfortable with the Oilers picking him here. I’d prefer the Finn, Olli Juolevi, if I had to choose. We have more of an idea with Juolevi and he’d be eligible to go to Bakersfield if the Oilers did select him because he’s a Euro. The same way Julius Honka graduated from the WHL to the AHL the year after he was drafted by Dallas.
Lastly, there’s one more option I’d prefer the team to explore to great extent. The trade option. There are going to be teams that want one of the three players above. I reckon Boston or Arizona would love to get their hands on Tkachuk. Undoubtedly the Habs would jump at a chance to draft Juolevi or Dubois. How much would Toronto offer the Oilers for their 4th overall pick and the chance to draft another one of the Hunter’s boys?
This is not a pick the Oilers should be using to trade outright for an NHL-ready player though. The havoc that will cause when the expansion draft comes could be a bit too much. They need to use this opportunity to re-stock the shelves in the prospect cupboard.
So how far would you be willing to move down in the draft? Are there enough prospects in the 2nd and 3rd rounds that you think will pan out? I suppose it’s an unknown until it’s a known but having a few more bullets in the chamber within the first three rounds appeals to me at this point in the Oilers development path.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @beerleagueheroe!