The Edmonton Oilers are in a favorable position heading into the 2014 draft. Currently holding the third overall selection, the Edmonton Oilers will be able to draft a player that should be able to fill a need on the roster in the near future.
The Oilers have some major needs on their current roster: a second line center and at least two solid defenders to help a young core of defenders ease into the NHL.
The Oilers have done a great job of assembling defensive prospects, with players like Darnell Nurse, Martin Marincin, Oscar Klefbom and Dylan Simpson in the Oilers system, so they should not necessarily be looking to add another defender into the system.
Edmonton could also end up trading away the third pick for a ready NHL player, but assuming the Oilers hang onto the pick, here are the two biggest needs for the Edmonton Oilers in the 2014 draft.
A Second Line Center
For all of the talented forwards on the Edmonton Oilers, the team is relatively thin when it comes to center icemen.
Sam Gagner currently fills the role as the Oilers second-line center, but questions surround his future in Edmonton.
Assuming that Aaron Ekblad, the uber-talented defender from the Barrie Colts is off the board when the Oilers select at third, Edmonton could very well select Leon Draisaitl, the 6’1”, 209-pound center from the Prince Albert Raiders.
While Draisaitl will likely need a year in Oklahoma or back in major junior—to prepare for the rigors of the NHL, he is the big-bodied center iceman that the Oilers so desperately need.
The Oilers need to find someone who can play with talented forwards such as Nail Yakupov and David Perron to give the team a formidable second scoring line, and Draisaitl has the size and offensive abilities to fit the bill.
Secondary Forward Prospects
The Edmonton Oilers have had some can’t-miss prospects over the last five NHL drafts—picking in the top 10 will do that for a franchise—but after their first-round selections, the talent has really dropped off.
Aside from a player like Anton Lander, the Oilers have struggled to add secondary prospects into their farm systems and thus have struggled to develop players internally that can eventually step into the NHL.
Because Edmonton has graduated so many of their draft picks automatically into the NHL, the farm system is quite thin in regards to forwards.
Signing Bogdan Yakimov will go a long way to helping this prospect pool, but other than the burly Russian and perhaps Mitch Moroz or Marco Roy, the Oilers do not appear to have any forwards that are likely to make any kind of impact at the NHL level.
The Oilers will need to address this at the 2014 draft by selecting players with value with their later picks.
This will be extremely tough considering the Oilers no longer hold a second-round pick (traded for David Perron) or a third-round pick (traded for Ben Scrivens), so the Oilers scouting staff will need to find gems in the later rounds of the draft.