Edmonton Oilers 2015 Draft
The Edmonton Oilers 2015 draft will long be remembered for one thing — the day Connor McDavid donned the Edmonton sweater for the first time. With all the hullabaloo surrounding the prodigal young talent, we were half-expecting GM Peter Chiarelli to tell reporters: “We couldn’t believe he was still on the draft board when our turn came to pick.”
Lots of other things happened too.
The Oilers made a terrible trade, giving up two early draft picks for a left-shooting, mid-pairing defenseman when they could have drafted what they desperately need in a right-shooting, top-four defenseman with either pick. Then they made a good trade, giving up two mid-round draft picks for Cam Talbot, a very talented goalie who could be their starting netminder for several seasons to come.
The Oilers closed the draft on a high note with three solid picks of defensemen, Caleb Jones, Ethan Bear and John Marino.
Oilers Revised Top 5 Prospects
(Scale to 10: 10= Generational Talent, 9= Franchise Player, 8= All-Star, 7= NHL Regular, 6= Fringe NHL-er)
1. C Connor McDavid (10.0) McDavid is the first prospect I have given a 10.0 to since some kid named Sidney Crosby. But, if not him, then why even have 10.0 as an available rating? For the year 2371 AD when some kid with psychic abilities and the super-power to fly is draft eligible? I can’t wait that long, I’m giving it to McDavid.
2. C Leon Draisaitl (8.5) Draisaitl is a stud at center with Joe Thornton-like upside. However, with McDavid joining Nugent-Hopkins up the middle, there is a strong possibility Leon starts the 2015-16 season on the left wing, where he enjoyed great success in the WHL.
3. LD Darnell Nurse (8.0) The huge and physical shut-down defenseman the Oilers have long-coveted should be an integral part of the Oilers’ blueline next season. He also has good offensive upside and can skate — just a terrific prospect.
4. LD Griffin Reinhart (7.0) Reinhart brings size, mobility and depth to the Oilers blueline, and has very good upside as a mid-pairing defensive defenseman. He should slot in on the depth chart at LD behind Nurse and Klefbom.
5. RD Ethan Bear (7.0) I may hear it about my No. 5 prospect ranking and 7.0 prospect rating for Ethan Bear, just days after his selection in the 5th round of the NHL draft. I watched this kid a ton while scouting first-rounder Mathew Barzal in Seattle, and each shift I saw Bear I liked him more. He’s a team-first guy, a gamer, and plays with a heart the size of his namesake. He’s very solid in the defensive zone and also filled a point-role on the Thunderbirds No. 1 PP unit, resulting in a not-too-shabby 13 goals in his draft eligible season. Bear does all the little things coaches and teammates love out of a defenseman, and it is my firm conviction that he was an absolute steal for Edmonton with the 124th overall pick. I do not find the difference in upside between Bear and Reinhart, whom the Oilers just gave a #16 and #33 pick up for, to be very large at all.
The future is tremendously bright in Edmonton. McDavid and Draisaitl are set to join an elite forward core of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and Jordan Eberle. This team will score a crazy amount of goals in the future.
The addition of Talbot solidifies the Oilers’ perpetual revolving door in between the pipes. The defense is still a question going into next season, especially on the right side. It would not surprise us to see the Oilers make one final trade before the 2015-16 campaign in order to fill this need.
It is important to reiterate that, whether or not Oilers fans liked the Reinhart deal due to the value of the draft picks they gave up, they made an impressive haul in the 4th, 5th and 6th rounds with extremely projectable defensemen. Good draft picks in the late rounds were a rarity under the administrations of Kevin Lowe and Craig MacTavish, and kudos to new GM Peter Chiarelli for doing a much better job in this respect.