Nail Yakupov was simply the guy Edmonton HAD to take with the first overall pick. He was unanimously ranked number one in all the ratings and the Oilers did not pass up the future start.
The Russian born winger dishes out passes that make him look like Claude Giroux and plays at a 1.5 point per game pace stocking up about even totals in goals and assists (always favoring assists). During his rookie season with Sarnia, he became the fifth rookie in 15-years to earn 100 points (he finished with 101).
He has great speed, soft hands and exceptional vision, which leads to him setting up plenty of scoring chances. He is a play-making left-winger that always seems to be on the right spot of the ice.
He has great patience with the puck going hand-in-hand with his ability to maintain control for extended periods of time. His talent isn’t even the thing that shocked scouts the most; it is his composure and poise that made them unable to look away.
The Oilers weren’t done stocking up on wingers. Looking at their draft sheet you’d have to imagine a tropical storm was heading towards Edmonton and wingers were nonperishables. There was a method to their madness however as the draft etched further into day two, the wingers got bigger and bigger.
Mitchell Moroz was the Oilers’ second round pick. He has never put up stellar offensive numbers, but his 131 penalty minutes lead the Edmonton Oil Kings and his strong second half helped Edmonton take the WHL championship.
The hometown product tallied eight points during the Oil Kings’ playoff run acting as a power forward in their high octane offense. He is a tough, gritty player who will make sure no one touches Yakupov. At only 18-years-old, he has a lot of time to mature but unless he can improve his skating and stay out of his own head, he is going to be wasting away in the sin bin.
The Oilers used their third round pick to draft a left-winger known for his dedication and work ethic. Jujhar Khaira improved both his goal totals and assists by nearly 20 each during the 2011-12 season. His second year success playing for Prince George in the BCHL was credited to being on the team’s first line with Paul Dejersey who led the league in scoring.
Whether it was Dejersey who drew the scouts or Khaira, they left the building muttering sweet nothings about the Surrey native. As a result he was the only BCHL player invited to the NHL combine.
He is strong on the puck, using his large frame to protect it and can dominate along the boards. His slap shot has a quick release and his awareness on at both ends of the ice rarely leaves him out of position.
As he grows older, he should look to improve his speed while at Michigan Tech. Set to enroll this fall, it will be interesting to see how effective he is because he won’t have the significant size advantage playing in the NCAA that he did in the BCHL.
With Edmonton’s second pick of the third round, Steve Tambellini decided to stick to the trend and selected Daniil Zharkov. His 6’3”athletic build makes him the tallest winger selected by the oil crew in this year’s draft. He racked up 23 goals for Belleville (OHL) and posted five points for Russia’s U-18 team.
He is an offensive minded winger who uses his size to drive wide and isn’t afraid to take the puck hard to the net. He is a smart player, who isn’t going to rack up penalty minutes, but his defense is lacking and he tends to be very inconsistent.
Zharkov’s laser shot makes it no surprise he has excelled on the power play, but at times he looks lost on the ice, unaware of where to set up. He needs to learn how to play in the neutral and defensive zones, but has the hands and shot to be a pure goal scorer.
The Oilers next two picks were defensemen (Erik Gustafsson and Joey Laleggia) before finishing the draft the way they started, drafting a winger.
John Mccarron has the size to be in the NHL, but his ability isn’t quite there. He had 19-points in his freshman season at Cornell and scored in each of the team’s final two games of the season. Much like Moroz, the Oilers saw this big body’s potential by the way Mccarron finished the 2012 season, not the way he started.
After Yakupov, Edmonton picked a lot of guys who are similar in size but play the game as polar opposites. While Moroz is a bruiser, Khaira has soft hands and sets up as many scoring chances as he puts home. Zharkov is a one-way offensive machine, which is complimented by Mccarron’s hardnosed defensive style of play. These players play the game so much differently, but at the end of the day no matter how they get there, they like to crash the net and clean up rebounds.