Predicting the Top 5 Players on the Edmonton Oilers' Draft Board

Adam BowenContributor IIIMay 2, 2013

Predicting the Top 5 Players on the Edmonton Oilers' Draft Board

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    The Edmonton Oilers find themselves in unfamiliar territory. For the first time in four years, the team isn’t selecting the first overall pick in the NHL entry draft.

    Assuming that Edmonton doesn't trade their pick this year, the team will have to rely on their scouting staff more heavily as it is harder to gauge talent after names such as Seth Jones and Jonathan Drouin are off the board.

    There is plenty of opportunity for the Oilers to fill a current void on the roster with the pick. With some diligence and proper scouting, this team could still draft a very talented player seventh overall.

    Here is a prediction of the top five players on the Edmonton Oilers’ draft board.

Wishful Thinking: Aleksander Barkov, C

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    While the Oilers certainly need defense, the team also needs a big-bodied center iceman who not only brings size but skill to the lineup.

    In 53 games playing in his native Finland for Tappara, Barkov registered 21 goals and 27 assists for a total of 48 points and was an impressive plus-18.

    It is almost certain that Barkov will be gone before the Oilers are on the clock at with the seventh pick. However, if for some reason he does fall to Edmonton, Barkov would be a nice addition.

5. Curtis Lazar, C/RW

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    Curtis Lazar is a long shot to be drafted by the Oilers. Seventh overall may be a bit too early for the team to take him.

    However, if the Oilers were to trade down and Lazar was still available, the team would almost certainly give the Oil Kings standout a look.

    Oilers upper management should know all about what Lazar can bring to a team, seeing as he plays in Edmonton. At 6’0” and 193 pounds, Lazar brings a nice blend of size and skill to the ice. 

4. Rasmus Ristolainen, D

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    The Oilers already have their power-play quarterback in Justin Schultz. However, if they could land a player like Rasmus Ristolainen to develop and play alongside Schultz, the team could have quite the formidable top-line defensive pairing for years to come.

    Though Ristolainen has yet to play a game in North America, he has been competing against men in the Finnish Elite League, which should help along his progression to the NHL.

    Ristolainen is a big, physical defenseman who knows how to throw his body around but can also chip in offensively from time to time.

    He may be a year or two away from making an NHL team, but if the Oilers were to select the big Finnish defenseman, he could blossom into the shutdown defenseman that the Oilers severely lack. 

3. Sean Monahan, C

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    The Oilers certainly do not need any more talented forwards, but Sean Monahan could be the perfect addition to the team.

    While the former Ottawa 67’s standout may lack a bit of foot speed and the skating abilities that players like Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov possess, the 6’2” center has demonstrated the ability to control games with his on-ice vision as well as his defensive zone play.

    It’s no secret that the Oilers need defense, but Monahan would be an excellent addition to the team should he be available when they are selecting.  

2. Darnell Nurse, D

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    Darnell Nurse is the second ranked defenseman behind Seth Jones in the NHL’s final draft rankings and could be exactly what the Edmonton Oilers need.

    At 6’3” and 189 pounds, Nurse could stand to put on a little weight. Regardless, the nephew of former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb already has such an amazing skill set that it would be hard to pass him over.

    Nurse has had an outstanding season for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL, registering 41 points in 68 games and was a huge part of their success this season both offensively and defensively.

    He may need a bit of improvement, but his offensive skills are there, as is his toughness and willingness to play the body. Nurse is also the type of player to never back down from a fight, which is a big part of what the Oilers are missing at the moment.

1. Nikita Zadorov, D

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    Drafting a defenseman is always a bit of a patience game, unless you’re drafting the consensus No. 1 overall pick Seth Jones. However, at 22 years old, Nikita Zadorov may be closer to cracking an NHL roster and because of this fact he should be high up on the Oilers draft board.

    As soon as Zadorov makes an NHL club he will bring an instant presence. Standing at 6’5” and 230 pounds, Zadorov plays the game with a certain nastiness that is lacking in Edmonton.

    The International Scouting Service (ISS) has Zadorov listed as the seventh player in their latest top-30 poll for the 2013 draft. If he is still available, the Oilers would do well to draft him and could have a potential franchise defenseman on their hands should his game continue to improve.