As was stated in the first of this series of draft blogs, I'll be operating under this template (though it seems as though it might have shifted a tad the last few days):
Depending on who you ask, there's about a 10 player "top-tier" that generally goes as follows:
Zadina, Tkachuk and Dobson #3-5
Hughes, Wahlstrom, Bouchard, Boqvist and Kotkaniemi #6-10
Assuming there are no crazy, off-the-board picks, one of these players WILL fall to Edmonton at #10. Each of my scenarios will be built off my belief that one of Boqvist or Bouchard will fall to #10.
In this scenario, I'll envision a situation where Evan Bouchard falls to us... and we pass on him! *gasps and indignant scoffs resonate*
My reasoning for not being enthralled with Bouchard is as follows:
- I believe his production is driven higher due to the minutes he played
- In my viewings of him (5 games), his play has come across as lax, disinterested and often times just plain dumb
- His skating isn't of the quality that I'd need to draft a Dman this high and
- He's an early birthday
As much as it pains me because he fills virtually every statistical prerequisite that I normally look for in a player, I don't believe in Bouchard.
I'd also like to state that I wouldn't have anything against drafting a guy like Smith here. I think he's an exceptional skater, a heady defender, great stickwork to make up for his smaller frame and offensive ability that helped him be a part of what was maybe the best five-man unit in the WHL last year. That having been said, this blog will involve making a bit of a reach but one I believe will be well worth it once the dust settles.
Scenario #2: Drafting a Forward at #10
#10 - RW, Dominik Bokk, 6'1 179lbs
Yeah, this guy is a big-time reach at 10 by most standards but, gods be damned, I need him in the fold! He's literally everything this team needs on the wing with Draisaitl: elite hands, 1-on-1 skills, a strong shooting arsenal and quality skating ability that, when combined, create a formidable threat that would drive offense from the wing. He's got a projectable frame that will have time to fill out a bit after another year or two in the SHL and AHL. His weaknesses are his weak defensive play and his lanky frame lacking the power to consistently win board battles. However, these are two things that are easily rectifiable by a pro coaching staff.
As with Boqvist, this is a match made in heaven for the Oilers' needs on the wing. Bokk would have an easier transition to the pro game being centered by either Draisaitl or McDavid and him being German is just a cherry on top!
Stylistic Comparable: David Pastrnak
#40 - C, Jacob Olofsson, 6'2 192lbs
While I prefer the idea of drafting forward then Dman then forward and so on, Olofsson presents an interesting enough package to make me go against my typical strategy- despite some impressive D in this range (Addison and Tychonik). A surface-level analysis will have you think "isn't this just Anton Lander 2.0" and you wouldn't be completely wrong. He's a steady, two-way forward with no evident holes in his game playing and producing against men on the same team Lander did. His only weakness as noted by most scouts is that his skating is just average (Lander's was deficient).
So why pick him? Because I think this team needs a talented C in the system and I think if you make Lander 2" taller and a step faster that you have the perfect 3C behind two guys like McDavid and Draisaitl.
Stylistic Comparable: Anton Lander
#71 -RD, Axel Andersson, 6'0 181lbs
Might as well keep the Swedish flavour going strong, right? This pick is just in range for when I start making boom-or-bust picks and Andersson is just that. A Dman with solid skating, strong offensive instincts and a booming shot from the point, Andersson possesses the right attributes to build into a successful career. His weaknesses are his lack of strength (noticing a common theme?) and that he tends to make mistakes as a result of his offensively-aggressive play. Definitely a project pick but he's got time to develop in Sweden before having to come over.
While I'm by no means confident he'll be a homerun, his numbers compare favourably in a number of capacities to a few Dmen that have found success in the NHL. His balls-out attacking style is really what attracted my attention and is one I think can really thrive given the right circumstances.
Stylistic Comparable: Erik Gustafsson (ex-Oiler draft pick; current Blackhawk)
My next blog will be covering some other names that I'd like to see the Oilers target in the later rounds!