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2014 NHL Draft: 5 Perfect Fits for Edmonton Oilers

Adam BowenContributor IIIJanuary 31, 2014

2014 NHL Draft: 5 Perfect Fits for Edmonton Oilers

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Barring a drastic improvement on the ice, the Edmonton Oilers will once again find themselves in lottery contention at the 2014 NHL draft.

    Should the Oilers decide to hang onto their possibly lucrative draft pick, there are a few candidates who could potentially fill some of the major holes on the roster.

    While some hockey pundits have claimed that 2014 is a “down year” in regard to high-end talent or standouts, the draft will always feature potential franchise players.

    Edmonton will most likely end the season as one of the bottom three teams in the league and will have one of the best chances at receiving the first overall pick once again.

    However if things don’t quite pan out that way, here are five perfect fits for the Edmonton Oilers.

No. 5: Jake Virtanen

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    The Edmonton Oilers do not need another talented winger to add to their ranks, but with Jake Virtanen, they would add a player who provides a different set of skills than the men currently on the roster.

    He is a big, physical winger who has phenomenal skating and the skill set to be a dynamic scoring power forward at the NHL level.

    The Oilers' top six forwards lack a physicality to their game, and Virtanen not only has the skating ability and hockey sense to play alongside Taylor Hall or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, he could provide the physical protection for those skilled players.

    If the Oilers trade Nail Yakupov or Jordan Eberle, Virtanen could easily step into that position and contribute early on in his career.

No. 4: Leon Draisaitl

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    Based on his combination of on-ice skill and size, Leon Draisaitl is the type of big-bodied center who is highly coveted at the NHL level.

    The Edmonton Oilers are quite thin down the center and also lack any serious size in their top forward units. The addition of Draisaitl would go a long way toward remedying these problems.

    He has proved that he can score at the junior level, and his skating abilities are above average for a player of his size.

    While he may not be able to crack the roster next year, Draisaitl could be an excellent addition for years to come.

No. 3: Sam Bennett

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    Like Leon Draisaitl, Sam Bennett is another big center who utilizes both size and skill to make his presence known on the ice. Unlike Draisaitl, however, he has an edge and plays more of a physical game at the center ice position.

    He has also demonstrated the ability to perform in big situations during his tenure in Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League.

    The Oilers desperately need a big center, and with Bennett’s scoring ability and size, he is as close to a can’t-miss prospect as the 2014 class may have.

No. 2: Sam Reinhart

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    Sam Reinhart may be the most dynamic forward available in the 2014 draft, and if he is available when Edmonton is selecting, he could be an Oiler next season.

    He has demonstrated that rare ability to “see” the game of hockey at a rate that not many other players or prospects do, often utilizing his hockey intelligence and positioning to capitalize on scoring opportunities.

    At 6’1” and 185 pounds, he may not be the biggest center iceman available in the draft, but he possesses perhaps the best upside of any of the forward prospects.

    Should the Oilers select him, a second-line unit anchored by Reinhart would add another weapon to an already potent Oilers offensive attack.

No. 1: Aaron Ekblad

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    Aaron Ekblad is exactly what the Oilers need. He is the type of defenseman who projects to play 25 minutes per night and match up against top opposition.

    While defensemen typically take a longer time to develop than forwards, he could step into the NHL next season and have an impact for whichever club is lucky enough to select the Barrie Colts standout.

    If the Oilers select him, he would immediately upgrade a lackluster defensive corps. When you combine him with the potential of Oscar Klefbom and/or Darnell Nurse pressing for an NHL spot next season, the blue line in Edmonton would look stronger that it has in a long time.

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