Ranking the Best Options for the Edmonton Oilers' 1st-Round Pick in 2014 NHL D
That being said, the Oilers still hold the third overall selection and should be able to add a significant piece to their roster.
The 2014 draft may not have a player who is the consensus top pick but does feature at least four players who could, theoretically, be selected first, meaning the Oilers are almost certain to get an excellent player at third.
Depending on who the Florida Panthers select first and the Buffalo Sabres take second, the Oilers will have their choice of the top end players, but must use the pick to help fill a void on the current roster.
Ranking for the potential picks is based on organizational need and current players on the Edmonton Oilers roster.
Here is a look at the ranks for the best options for the Edmonton Oilers’ first-round pick in the 2014 NHL draft.
5. Sam Reinhart
The International Scouting Service (ISS) may have Sam Reinhart ranked as the top eligible player in the 2014 draft, but in terms of need for the Edmonton Oilers, Reinhart ranks fifth, due to organizational need and the type of player that Reinhart is.
The current Oilers team is already built with smaller, offensively gifted forwards, and while Reinhart may be the best player available when the Oilers are up to draft at third, he is not a need on this current team.
Reinhart possess a similar skill set as Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and while Reinhart is able to play center (which is a big need for the Oilers), his size and lack of physicality land him fifth on this list.
The Oilers would be lucky to get Reinhart with the third pick, but would then have to consider trading one of Eberle, Gagner or Yakupov to try and find either a large center ice player or top-pairing defenseman.
4. Sam Bennett
Sam Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs is another player who has been mentioned as a potential first-overall selection and could be a very nice addition to the Oilers should he be available when it’s Edmonton’s turn to select.
Bennett is a gifted scorer and playmaker who plays a scrappy game, even though he is listed at a mere 6’0” and 178 pounds. Bennett managed to register an impressive 91 points this season with the Frontenacs but it is his 118 penalty minutes that highlight the fact that though he may be a smaller player, he isn’t afraid to get into the dirty areas of the ice.
Bennett can play center or left wing, which is a plus, and with Taylor Hall firmly entrenched as the Oilers’ top left wing for the future, the Oilers would almost certainly try Bennett out as the second-line center.
Like Reinhart, Bennett offers a skill set quite similar to players already currently on the Oilers roster and because of this fact, and his perceived lack of size, drops him down the rankings as far as need for an Edmonton club looking to make significant improvements next season.
3. Michael Dal Colle
The Edmonton Oilers have an abundance of top-end forwards but lack size to go along with all of that skill. Enter Michael Dal Colle.
The rugged winger for the Oshawa Generals is listed at 6’2” and 175 pounds, and utilizes his size and skill as a true two-way forward.
He places an emphasis on being responsible in his own end, something that has been lacking with the Oilers forwards this season.
Team defense has been a point of contention, and with Dal Colle, the Oilers would get a talented winger (who registered 87 points for Oshawa this season) who can play physically and grind the tough areas, as well as contribute offensively.
If the Oilers believe that Dal Colle can play center, he may be the name called when the Oilers step up to the podium and make their 2014 draft selection.
2. Leon Draisaitl
Leon Draisaitl is a player that satisfies two glaring organizational deficiencies, and because of this factor, could be the player chosen by the Oilers in June.
Large, gifted centers are extremely hard to come by in the NHL, and Draisaitl fits the bill nicely.
At 6’1” and 208 pounds, Draisaitl would almost certainly slot into the second line center role, should he be selected by the Oilers and crack the NHL roster next season.
Draisaitl may not be overtly physical or a fast skater, but his on-ice vision and playmaking abilities allow him composure on the ice that is hard to come by.
1. Aaron Ekblad
Aaron Ekblad may be the most NHL-ready prospect in the 2014 entry draft, and would be the player that would satisfy an organizational deficiency the best for the Edmonton Oilers.
The Oilers need help on the blue line, and Ekblad is a big, strong defender with savvy puck-handling skills and a rugged edge when necessary.
It will be a long shot that Ekblad will be available when the Oilers select at third, but if he should slip for whatever reason, he is exactly what the Oilers need.
Ekblad not only has the ability to be a shutdown defender, a strong penalty killer and a player who can log significant ice time, he has the ability to contribute offensively, as demonstrated by his 53 points registered with Barrie this season.
Craig MacTavish may be content with whatever of the top-four prospects is available when they select at third, but MacTavish may consider trading up to select Ekblad and make a big step towards solidifying the Oilers’ defensive woes.