Rss

This morning, the NHL’s central scouting department released their final rankings for the 2020 NHL Draft and while we have no idea where the Oilers will pick, I wanted to break things down anyway.

One of the nice things about this season before everything went to hell was the fact that I had literally no idea what was going on with the NHL Draft. Outside of Alex Lafreniere, I had no idea which prospects were expected to go where, how their seasons were going, or even that they existed at all because our boys were actually in the playoff hunt. Well, now that the NHL season is on pause with no real answer as to when things will come back again, we’ve got the time to look at some of these top prospects to try and figure out if there’s a guy that might fit our needs. And yeah, I know full well that we have no idea when the Oilers will be making a selection at the upcoming draft but that doesn’t mean we can’t toss out a few guesses anyway.

NORTH AMERICAN SKATERS

RANK PLAYER NATION POSITION TEAM LEAGUE
1 Alex LaFreniere Canada LW Rimouski QMJHL
2 Quinton Byfield Canada C Sudbury OHL
3 Jamie Drysdale Canada D Eerie OHL
4 Jake Sanderson USA D USA U-18 NTDP
5 Cole Perfetti Canada C Saginaw OHL
6 Marco Rossi Austria C Ottawa OHL
7 Jack Quinn Canada RW Ottawa OHL
8 Kaiden Guhle Canada D Prince Albert WHL
9 Braden Schneider Canada D Brandon WHL
10 Dawson Mercer Canada C Chicoutimi QMJHL

Looking at the North American side of the ledger, the first thing I notice is all kinds of forwards that would undoubtedly help the Oilers’ depth chart provided they’d be able to snag one. With so many centremen potentially available in this group, the likelihood of picking up someone with a little bit of versatility in terms of where they play would likely go a long way for helping to add some skill up front.

INTERNATIONAL SKATERS

RANK PLAYER NATION POSITION TEAM LEAGUE
1 Tim Stuetzle Germany LW Mannheim Germany
2 Alexander Holtz Sweden RW Djurgarden Sweden
3 Anton Lundell Finland C HIFK Finland
4 Lucas Raymond Sweden LW Frolunda Sweden
5 Rodion Amirov Russia LW UFA Russia
6 Helge Grans Sweden D Malmo Jr. Sweden-Jr
7 JJ Peterka Germany RW Munchen Germany
8 Topy Niemela Finland D Karpat Finland
9 Noel Gunler Sweden RW Lulea Sweden
10 Roni Hirvonen Finland C Assat Finland

Like the North American list, the international top-10 is dominated by forwards, which, again, would benefit the Oilers provided that they’re able to grab someone. Another thing that sticks out to me is how many of these kids are already playing against men in their country’s top league, and how that might give them a boost when it’s time to make the jump over to North America.

THE WRAP…

Even though the Oilers aren’t going to be able to pick up any of the top guys, one thing I noticed was how many forwards are going to be available in the proposed top-20. Right now, Edmonton is in desperate need of skilled forwards on their depth chart and with 14 of the players listed in those positions, you’d have to think that there’s a reasonable chance of grabbing someone that fills the need. Last year, Ken Holland’s first choice as Oilers’ GM was Philip Broberg and I wonder if he’ll be looking at the other side of the coin in his second go around.

It goes without saying that there are plenty of unanswered questions remaining when it comes to this year’s Draft — we don’t even know when or how the 2020 version will be held — but since this is generally considered to be a stronger class, the Oilers should have the opportunity to pick up a valuable piece even in the bottom third of the first round. I mean, Kailer Yamamoto was drafted at 22nd overall back in 2017 and he’s turned into the straw the stirs the drink on the Oilers’ second line so it’ll be excited to find out which new toy will be added to the chest whenever the annual prospect fishing derby actually takes place.

And now that we’ve seen the best 10 prospects from North American and overseas as ranked by the NHL, all we have left to do is figure out who these guys are and who might benefit the Oilers most. Gord knows we’ve got the time.

What do you think, Nation? Any preference yet? Have you even been paying attention?