Friday night was the most important night for Edmonton Oilers fans since Game Seven of the 2006 Stanley Cup finals, a game that the Edmonton Oilers lost.
Friday night the Oilers would pick 1st overall, for the first time in team history. The choice? Taylor Hall, dynamic sniper from the OHL. While Friday night was important, everyone knew what was going to happen. Saturday was a different story. The Oilers entered the day with two second round picks and ended up with three after a trade with Carolina. The Oilers draft would be made or broken by what they did Saturday afternoon, not Friday night in LA.
The reason why Saturday would make the Oilers draft was that everyone knew the Oilers would get an impact guy with the first overall pick. Taylor Hall is that guy. Had the Oilers been able to get another first round pick, things might be different, but Tambellini got rejected a few times while trying to deal. Here I will list every draft pick that the Oilers made on Saturday, and give a small insight into each player, starting with No. 31.
No. 31 overall pick: Tyler Pitlick, who is the lucky Oiler in the picture, was picked No. 31 overall. Pitlick was seen by the Oilers and by many guys on the TSN and NHL Network broadcast as a first round pick. Pitlick will be going to the WHL next season, and is seen as a guy who could become a good two-way second line center in Edmonton one day.
Pitlick also isn't a small kid either, which is good news for the Oilers. Not only can Pitlick play well in his own zone, but he has a lot of skill and can make the perfect pass or put the puck in the net himself.
Pitlick is going to be an Oiler one day. It might take him 3-4 years to make it, but when he does I fully expect some teams to look back and wonder why they passed this kid up. I think Pitlick is a steal for the Oilers, and Steve Tambellini and Kevin Lowe seem to agree with me.
After making the pick of Tyler Pitlick, Tambellini and Lowe headed right to the phone, looking to move up and make another pick in the second round. They were going to be up again at 48 thanks to a deadline deal with Nashville, but they wanted to add another pick.
Enter the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes are another rebuilding team like Edmonton. Unlike Edmonton, the Hurricanes don't have prospects like Jordan Eberle, Magnus Svensson and Linus Omark. They have guys like Eric Staal, Zach Boychuck and a few more good forwards already in the NHL. The Canes were in need of a prospect who would one day be a good second or third line center for them, who could play defense, play PK and score some goals when needed.
They always liked Riley Nash, and they made an offer to the Oilers. The trade would be the No. 46 overall pick going to Edmonton in exchange for prospect Riley Nash. It's the exact type of trade I mentioned that the Oilers would look for when I wrote about Nash a few weeks back.
At 46, the Oilers had to add some defenders to the mix. After picking up two forwards, the Oilers made the call on a defender. With the No. 46 overall pick, the Oilers selected defender Martin Marincin from Slovakia. Marincin was the top ranked Euro defender heading into the draft, and has said he wants to play in North America this coming season.
The guys on NHL Network said that they believe Marincin will be the shut-down defender the Oilers are looking for two to three years down the road. Marincin is 6' 4" and likes to hit. He has a very smart hockey sense as well according to scouts and is a guy the Oil have had their sights on. Marcinin's game is built on a package of size, strength, skill and swift skating ability, but the most important thing about him is that he is seen as the big, mean, stay-at-home defender the Oilers need so badly.
The Oilers would like to see Martin play in the AHL next season, but they are not sure yet if that will happen. Martin will be in North America next season. If it is AHL or CHL has yet to be seen.
The Oilers went up again at 48, this time picking another forward, Cutris Hamilton. Hamilton battled lots of injuries last season, but was able to put up points in his time before getting hurt. Curtis is seen as a guy who could be a good NHL power-forward one day, because of two things: his size and the way he plays the game.
Hamilton is another big forward, and he does have some skills. He probably would have been an earlier pick had it not been for the injuries he had this past season. Hamilton, like most of the Oilers draft picks, is still two to three years away from making it to the NHL. I expect to see him as an Oiler one day however.
The Oilers would lead of the third round, and they took Ryan Martindale with the No. 61 pick in the draft. Ryan is yet another big forward that the Oilers add to their prospect pool. Ryan isn't a guy that is going to score you 20-30 goals per season, but he is rather the type of guy that will play the tough third line minutes, play PK, add some energy to the lineup and most importantly, he is more than willing to throw hits.
Ryan is a few years away from even being talked about for making the team, but expect him to be in Oklahoma City within the next three seasons. Ryan could be a guy we see in Edmonton playing the role of third line, physical role player, something every team needs.
The Oil sat out the rest of the third round and went up again in the fourth round, taking defender Jeremie Blain. Blain is once again a bigger player. (I know most people are tired of me saying that, but its an area of concern in Edmonton. The lack of size is killing them.)
The thing about Blain that makes him different from second round pick Martin Marincin is that he is not going to be that shut-down guy the Oilers are looking for. Blain has a very good shot and has offensive ability, putting up a lot of points this past season. Another player who is a few years away, Blain could end up being a Tom Gilbert one day. Gilbert was a fourth round pick in 2002 by Colorado. Blain, like Gilbert, has some real good offensive potential, but is kinda shaky in his own zone from time to time. Blain has some developing to do, but also has some potential.
Now comes the part of the blog where I don't have a ton of info on the draft picks. So I will make it very short and sweet! At No. 121 overall, the Oilers went goalie, picking Alberta boy Tyler Bunz. One thing that I know about Bunz is that he is a taller kid and had some good stats this past season for the Medicine Hat Tigers. Bunz is 6'1'' 198 lbs and posted a 2.91 GAA this past season. Bunz has gotten better each season he has played with the Tigers and will compete with Oilver Roy down the road to see who is higher on the Oilers depth charts.
At No. 162 the Oilers went defense again, picking Brandon Davidson. Davidson is 6' and is 194 lbs. Davidson is one of those players who is not afraid to drop the gloves and will one day be a fourth line grinder on a pro team, AHL or NHL. Davidson will be a guy called on to drop the gloves once and a while. This past season for the Regina Pats, Davidson played in 59 games, scoring just one goal, and adding 33 assists with 37 PIM's and he led the team with a +15.
At No. 166 the Oil picked Drew Czerwonka, a forward who again is not afraid to drop the gloves. Drew is mainly a tough guy with not a ton of skill, but he can fight and stand up for teammates.
At No. 181 the Oilers picked forward Kristian Pelss from Latvia. I found nothing on this kid and had never heard of him. I have no info on him. Sorry about that. I'm not sure we will ever see him, though.
Finally the Oilers trade a 2011 sixth round pick to the Leafs for the No. 202 overall pick, and they took Kellen Jones, who played in the BCHL last season. He ended up with nearly PPG numbers last season, and will be attending Quinnipiac this fall.
The Oilers failed to make any huge trades on either day of the draft, but Tambellini said there were talks between the Oilers and other teams, and the he expects some trades to happen this week leading up to free agent frenzy on July 1st.
I will be back in a few days with a blog on what I think the Oilers need on July 1st, and will have an update on any rumors going around involving the Oil. It should get interesting again starting Monday, with buyouts and trades possible again. It should be interesting Oilers fans! Hope you all enjoyed the 2010 NHL entry draft!