Oilers win First Overall Pick...Again


Can Scott Howson catch a break?

For the third consecutive year, and beating out heavily favoured Columbus, the Edmonton Oilers have won the first overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft.

At least they’re good at something.

GM Steve Tambellini (how he still has a job is beyond me) couldn’t wipe the smile off his face on the TSN set.

So now the question becomes, what will the Oilers do with the pick?

There are an array of differing options.

They could keep the pick and draft  Russian forward Nail Yakupov, who by all estimations is the consensus number one pick. Or, they could take the other Russian, Mikhail Grigorenko, who at 6’3” is bigger and plays center, as opposed to wing like Yakupov. Both have the ability to score at will. But is that what the Oilers really need?

Looking at the team from an outsiders perspective, it would seem blatantly apparent that forwards is the last thing this team needs at the moment. With Taylor Hal, Ryan Nugent Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Ales Hemsky, Sam Gagner, Linus Omark, etc. up front, the need for another skilled forward just doesn’t seem to be on their NEEDS list.

What about the back end?

Currently the Oilers have respectable guys like Ladislav Smid, Ryan Whitney, and Nick Schultz. Jeff Petry made great strides this year and a lot was expected out of Taylor Fedun but his season ended in training camp when he broke his femur racing for a puck. There’s also Colton Teubert who got a taste of NHL action this year.  In the prospect pool the Oilers have Oscar Klefbom, Martin Marincin, David Musil – all of whom are expected to play at the NHL level in the next 2-3 years.  

In net, they have Devan Dubnyk, who took the reins by season’s end and ended with respectable numbers given he plays for a 29th ranked team. 2.67 GAA and .914 SV % and 2 shutouts in 47 games.

The question on everyone’s mind is, is he the answer?  He is a RFA on July 1st. So what do they do?

Why not dump Dubnyk? Then use that number one pick to trade for that bona-fide number one goaltender – like a Jonathan Bernier or a Cory Schneider?  Solidifying the goaltending position, along with the defence should be the Oilers biggest concerns. Goal scoring is not a problem in oil country once that three headed monster gets going.

Another option would be to trade the pick, possibly to a team in the top 5 that feels they really desperately need a Yakupov on their team – like a Toronto or a Montreal. The return could probably net them another 2nd round pick, as well as the team’s first rounder, if they played it right. They could then select a defenceman like Ryan Murray or Matthew Dumba.  Players that might fit in better with the master plan for Edmonton.  

Then again, Steve Tambellini has made some bone-headed moves in the past (Signing Hemsky to two more years at $5million per comes to mind) so you never know.

I just truthfully don’t think there is room for a guy like Yakupov on that team, and that the team would be better served to shore up their defensive ranks or better yet solidify arguably the most important position in hockey – the goaltender.

That’s at least my immediate thinking and all this coming from a die-hard Flames fan .

What do you think?


Follow me on the Twitter using the Google box on the Internet machine: @TCLNewman


NickSymon's picture

I agree, I think they would be dumb to a) pick Yakupov and b) not trade down to gain assets where their needs are.

I like that you mention the Leafs, a team I hadn't thought of till now but I think could be a great move by both teams. If I were the Oilers I would offer the #1 pick for the 5th pick and Luke Schenn. It's a steep price with Schenn still a young 22 but with his name already in rumors and his recent struggles, maybe a new home would be best (weird to say after just four seasons). The Oilers would probably have to throw another draft pick or prospect in the deal but they have the options to do it. The Leafs would then get that star they've been looking for since Sundin retired. Yakupov obviously has a long ways to go to get to Sundin status but that excitement of the 1st pick and Yakupov's potential is what starving Leafs and their fans could need.

The Oilers would then have Schenn to add to their top 6 and draft another much needed defenseman with the 5th pick.

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

You have to realize that the Oilers and Brian Burke don't really get along. Just ask Dustin Penner lol

NickSymon's picture

oh right I forgot about Flap Jacks, good point. Desperate times call for desperate measures? haha

George Prax's picture

I loved the look on Tambellini's face when he won. He's going to troll wit this for sure.

Derrick Newman's picture

Yeah the no love between Burke and Lowe/Tambellini is evident but if a deal is there to be made and Murke has the chance to get that first overall pick I think he jumps on it. This is Burkes last year to make it happen with the Leafs and if he doesnt do it, he could be on the way out.

George Prax's picture
Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

LOL i knew something like that would be made