Just like successful young teams such as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks before them, the Edmonton Oilers have officially bottomed out. They have been slowly going downhill since their magical run to the cup finals in 2006, and have finally landed in a position to get the first overall pick in the upcoming draft. There’s a chance they may slip to the number two slot, but they can’t go wrong with either of the top two prospects. The aforementioned teams have managed to go from the very bottom to the very top, specifically the Penguins who won the cup last year, and the Capitals who have already secured the Presidents trophy. The Blackhawks have won their first division title in 17 years. Last years draft lottery winners, the New York Islanders, and still struggling, but will likely have another high pick to add to their growing contingent of young players. The Tampa Bay Lightning got the first overall pick two years ago in Steve Stamkos, and he’s now tied with Alex Ovechkin for second in goals scored in the NHL. Yes, winning the draft lottery is often the first step toward success as a franchise. And while it’s hard to judge how good a player will be until they actually become acclimated to the NHL, it’s safe to say the two kids on top of this years draft will have some kind of NHL impact. And while the Oilers are mum on which player they are most keen, they have the fortune of being able to watch both players go head to head in the OHL playoffs.
Taylor Hall and his Windsor Spitfires are facing off against Tyler Seguin and his Plymouth Whalers in the conference semi-finals. Hall and the Spitfires won the Memorial Cup last year. So far, Windsor leads the series 3 games to nothing, and has dominated the Whalers in pretty much every facet of the game. And more significant, Hall has dominated Sequin. He has more points and a better plus/minus, and is one game away from eliminating Seguin and the Whalers from the playoffs. One playoff series, however, shouldn’t be the only determining factor. Hall has more playoff experience than Seguin, and arguably has a better supporting cast. But one thing that is for certain; Hall is an explosive, impact player, and has showed that throughout the playoffs this year. The Oilers don’t have much time left time to decide, but no doubt are enjoying a classic showdown including one of their future stars.
The Oilers continue to step forward in their young development with the signing of Linus Omark to an entry level deal that guarantees his spot in either the AHL or NHL next season. While Omark was selected in the forth round in 2007, his status skyrocketed thanks to this eye-popping shoot-out goal last year.[editor’s note: video removed from source]