To conclude my draft series, the following is list of a number of players I'd be pushing for the Oilers to pick. Last year's version of this list included names like Henri Jokiharju (CHI), Kole Lind (VAN), Kirill Maksimov (EDM) and Benjamin Jones (VGK).
2nd round targets:
Aside from my aforementioned targets in Hillis and Olofsson, a few other names I like include:
C, Ty Dellandrea, 6'0 183lbs - Fits my every criteria; volume shooter, late birthday, upward trending, great scoring numbers and is a hard worker. While he's likely to go in the late 1st round, he's a guy I'd have no problem trading up for if he falls close enough. He's my Trocheck/Severson/Jokiharju pick of this draft. Comparable:
RD, Calen Addison, 5'10 179lbs - Elite offensive skillset in a stockier frame; while his skating is shy of Merkley's, it's still a strength in his game. Great passer, strong shooting arsenal and excels on the rush. Comparable:
RW, Jonathan Berggren, 5'10 181lbs - Yet again, a late birthday, steady riser in this years draft, he really made the most of the U18s. Fast, dogged forechecker with energy to spare and the skill needed to finish plays. Comparable:
3rd round targets and beyond:
Aside from the aforementioned Keane and Axelsson, a few other names I like include:
LW, Johnny Gruden, 6'0 170lbs - A favourite of a bunch of the internet statisticians, his primary points/60 rate at both 5-on-5 and on the PP is top-of-the-draft-class good. He's also an excellent defensive player- for a winger, at least. He lacks strength and isn't the fastest skater, but his first step quickness makes up for that. A very hard working skilled winger with a flaw or two is precisely what this team needs to look for. Honestly wouldn't be opposed to grabbing him in the 2nd round! Comparable:
LW/C, Cole Fonstad, 5'10 178lbs - Quick and small skilled forward. Darts around the ice with strong skating and agility creating offense using his great passing skills. Pays attention to the defensive side of the game, but lacks elite skill at either end of the ice. Comparable:
LW/C, Blade Jenkins, 6'1 201lbs - A hard working, net-driver with strong offensive instincts and a penchant for playing hard on the boards. Has a heavy shot and good offensive instincts (despite his numbers) but lacks consistency in his own end and his skating is only average. But, his name is BLADE (frank)ing JENKINS- who gives a damn about anything else? Comparable:
C, Tristen Nielsen, 5'10 181lbs - A hard working forward with exceptional underlying numbers- including shot generation, primary points/60 and even strength production. Absurdly fun player to watch as he's one of those "never quit" types who skates miles and miles and never stops trying. Combine that with strong skating ability and above average skill-level and you have a winning combination in my eyes. However, he IS lacking consistent finishing ability despite his penchant for finding open space. Comparable:
LD, Declan Chisholm, 6'1 185lbs - I'm not 100% deadset on this guy as his numbers aren't particularly outstanding but something about the way he plays is just interesting to me. He's an excellent skater going forward, backward or laterally and has strong defensive instincts. A great mind for the game, good stickwork, great gap control, effective at angling opposing players out of the play; he's got the whole toolkit defensively and he doesn't shy away from attacking, either. I wish I could quantify my feeling on this guy but I think his playing in Peterborough kinda hurt his numbers (stuck behind Timms and with limited scoring ability to play with). Comparable:
A few other names worth briefly mentioning as players I'd be happy with the Oilers drafting include Linus Nyman, Niklas Nordgren, Mathias Laferriere and Connor Corcoran.
There you have it! My list of potential draft steals that I'm hoping for the Oilers (and expecting the Golden Knights) to take! If by some miracle of trading down in JUST the right way the Oilers could come away from this draft with Bokk (mid-1st), Dellandrea (late-1st), Addison (2nd), Gruden (3rd), Nielsen (4th) and Chisholm (5th) then I might actually reach spontaneous climax