Edmonton Oilers’ head of amateur scouting Stu Macgregor was glad to speak about the teams picks in rounds 2 through 7 of this past weekend’s NHL entry draft. MacGregor knew that this year’s draft class looked much different than last year’s but also knew that GM Steve Tambellini’s ambitions were to fill needs rather than draft a balanced set of players to add to the team’s depth.
The majority of players selected were power forwards with big bodies and even bigger heart, but it was the second round pick that seemed to have surprised hockey fans the most.
You have to think that an announcement is coming soon. After all, now is when the Oilers’ top prospects are descending upon Edmonton for the the team’s annual development camp. It would be quite the camp without a head coach though, now wouldn’t it?
The other thing of note for this camp has to be that former Oiler defenceman turned media, turned maybe coach Jason Strudwick will also be at the camp. Until they make an announcement, now is the time to start speculating.
Edmonton Oilers’ GM Steve Tambellini said Friday night that day two would be about addressing team needs, filling roster spots and indeed it was. After Oil King Henrik Samuelsson went late in the third round, the Oilers had to have another look at their lists and decide who they liked for the 32nd pick. Smart money was that it would be an Oil King, as the team might draft for familiarity and because the Oil Kings team had been so strong this year going all of the way to a Memorial Cup. That should mean that the members of the team should have a winning mentality and be the type of character guys that the Oilers have been talking at lengths about.
“It’s hard to pass up on offensive players” were the parting words that Oilers’ head of amateur scouting Stu MacGregor left me with. It seems he was sure that the Oilers would take Nail Yakupov the whole time as well. But I do admit that I wavered. A little. But not until the very end. The trouble is that GM Steve Tambellini holds his cards so incredibly close to his chest, it makes it difficult to be certain. You read between the lines a little too much, you search for answers in other places, and sometimes they’re not always right. What seems to be right, at this point in time is that the Oilers walked away from the first round with the best player available at this year’s NHL entry draft.
He’s not the most quotable player, but Nail Yakupov is certainly, without a doubt, the top player at this year’s NHL Entry Draft. Right up until the moment the Edmonton Oilers’ GM Steve Tambellini stepped up to the podium the speculation remained. The Oilers need help on defence, but Yakupov seemed too good to pass up on. And it turns out he was.
Taylor or Tyler, RNH or Larsson, Yakupov or Murray? The debate is familiar, but this year it takes on a far different feel. Throughout the season, Nail Yakupov the Russian Winger playing for the Sarnia Sting was the consensus top pick between the scouting lists, and so when the Oilers won the draft, he easily became the focus of conversation. Afterall, why would the Oilers jump from 2 to 1 and take anything but the best player available? It seems that the Oilers have a different idea of who the best player available is. Maybe.
One day before he steps up to the draft podium to make his announcement, Oilers’ GM Steve Tambellini is mum on what that decision is. But by looking at the past two drafts and by really listening to what Tambellini has to say, you can make a decision for yourself. For me, in a crowded hotel lobby in downtown Pittsburgh, Tambellini was saying the ‘pick is Yakupov, but I can’t just tell you that.’
It was close, but neither Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Jordan Eberle walked away from the annual NHL awards show in Las Vegas with an award. Both players placed second in voting for their respective awards; the Calder Trophy and the Lady Byng.What might be considered shocking is that 2 voters placed Nugent-Hopkins as 5th best, and 12 as 4th rookie of the year (as per Dan Tencer). Of course both players are happy just to be nominated, but surely it won’t be too long before players like Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins are awarded something.
In only a matter of days, it seems that the perceived Oiler pick has changed, once again. While the popular opinion had been that the Oilers were looking at taking winger Nail Yakupov with the first overall pick, that soon changed to defenceman Ryan Murray. But now, there are articles and discussions out there that the Oilers are actually coveting Oil King defenceman Griffin Reinhart as the top defenceman at this year’s draft.
It is interesting that Yakupov is the consensus top forward, and yet there is no consensus on the top defenceman and yet it is being speculated that the Oilers may take a defenceman. And when it comes to the coach, it looks like that announcement won’t happen until after the draft.
We’ve know it was coming, but we didn’t know it would take this long. Steve Tambellini made the trip to Sweden seemingly to sign Oscar Klefbom nearly two months ago, but it wasn’t until Tuesday afternoon that the deal was made official. Drafted 19th overall in the 2010 NHL entry draft Oscar Klefbom is now signed to a three year entry level contract with the Oilers and will count against next season’s (if it happens) list of 50 professional contracts.
But don’t get too excited yet Oil Country, Klefbom has another year on his contract with Färjestad of the Swedish Elite League and has always said that he intends to play out his contract.
About Oil Patch
Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.
You can subscribe to the RSS feed here
Follow on Twitter @lisamcritchie
Or contact directly email@example.com