After months of speculation, predicting, prognosticating and blind guessing, the Edmonton Oilers have made their historic first overall selection, and that pick is none other than Taylor Hall. The Windsor Spitfires winger scored 40 goals and 106 points in the OHL last season, and won a second consecutive Memorial Cup MVP award as his team secured the championship for the second year in a row. Although Plymouth Whalers center Tyler Seguin was ranked as the number one prospect by Central Scouting, it seemed the Oilers had already made up their mind. Former head coach and Oiler executive Pat Quinn said after the draft, “it would be pretty hard not to pick him”. GM Steve Tambellini said of his selection “he’s such an imposing young man. I don’t think I’ve ever met a more focused, competitive athlete. He was the best player on a good team for a long time.”
Hall is a winner. He has experience in big games, and delivers when the pressure is on. At the moment, the Oilers roster is void of talent, and adding a player like Hall will bring excitement to the team and to the playoff hungry fans. Obviously, Edmonton has a long way to go, and have a lot of rebuilding to go through before they can sniff the playoffs again, but the selection of Hall was a gutsy move, choosing the flashier skill set as appose to the potential number one center. Hall is honored to be the number one pick, as well as a member of a team with a rich history such as the Oilers. After his selection, Hall said “I feel honored with all the players that have gone No. 1. When I came into this year, that was one of my goals, was to go No. 1. In saying that, there’s still a lot of work to do out here”.
The Oilers continued their drafting process by choosing Minnesota State center Tyler Pitlick at the number 31 spot. Edmonton traded prospect Riley Nash to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for the 46th pick in the draft with which they selected Solvakian defensman Martin Marincin. They used the 48th pick to take Saskatoon winger Curtis Hamilton. In the 3rd round, Edmonton chose Ottawa 67’s centerman Ryan Martindale, and used their 4th round pick to take defenseman Jeremie Blain from the QMJHL. The Oilers used their 5th round pick to select their first goalie of the draft, taking Medicine Hat netminder Tyler Bunz. Edmonton had two 6th round picks, and selected Regina Pat’s defenseman Brandon Davidson 162th overall and Kootenay winger Drew Czerwonka 166th overall. With their first pick in the 7th round, the Oilers selected Latvian forward Kristians Pelss, and their final pick of the draft was used on forward Kellen Jones from the BCHL. In all, the Oilers picked a total of 11 prospects, a day well done for this Edmonton team hoping to begin building their way back in contention. And securing a player with the talent level of Taylor Hall is a good way to start.