Kukla's Korner

Oil Patch

Coaching and Pick Indecision

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.


Could Griffin Reinhart go sooner than anyone has expected, in the top 3

Both Kevin Lowe, president of hockey operations, and Steve Tabellini, Oilers’ GM have stated on Jason Gregor of the Team 1260’s show that it would take a significant offer in order for them to consider moving the first overall pick. And you have to keep in mind that the team was not offered anything significant enough to move the first overall pick in either Taylor Hall or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ years. So why would a deal suddenly come through this year? That’s right, chances of the pick moving hands has to be extremely small.

But still, there must be conversations for this to be such a recurring and constant topic.

When it comes to who the Oilers’ will pick, despite the speculation of other players, you have to think that Yakupov still has the slight edge. Yakupov has been the leading prospect throughout most if not all of the past hockey season, and from all accounts he had a very good showing at both the NHL combine and the tour through Edmonton. And so, he is still the most likely pick for the Oilers.

Of course there are surprises in life, and even in hockey. Such as the surprise that the Oilers have yet to select a new head coach.

By delaying the decision the hope is that the Oilers are taking the time to select the best candidate and make sure that they have left no stone unturned. But with most of the major trade deals happening around the draft weekend, it might hurt the team more than help by waiting to make the coaching selection.

While it is extremely important to UFAs and ultimately all players where the team plays, their travel schedule, the teammates and even the salary, it’s also very important that the player be able to work with the head coach. By delaying a selection, it may further hurt the Oilers’ chances of landing UFAs or players who have the final say on which teams they will go to. That even includes defenceman Justin Schultz who every team would like to have.

If the Oilers can get through the draft weekend and make their coaching selection before July 1st, that would be the best scenario, especially since we don’t know what the holdup is. By all accounts the decision is down to Brent Sutter and Ralph Kreuger both of whom come with their own risks and benefits. And the fact that the decision has not been made, makes it that much more difficult to speculate who the front runner is.

The best part of all of this has to be that we won’t be kept waiting much longer. Six days from now, we will know at least who the Oilers have decided to take with the first overall pick.

Filed in: Edmonton Oilers, | Oil Patch | Permalink


Be the first to comment.

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.


Notify me of follow-up comments?


Most Recent Blog Posts

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 lisa.mcritchie@gmail.com