The Edmonton Oilers have a major problem on defence and will be looking to address their deficiencies in the offseason this summer. It’s going to cost major assets – anything from Jordan Eberle to the 4th overall pick to even Taylor Hall.
Toronto, Wpg, CBJ very unlikely to consider trading their top 3 draft picks. Edmonton's pick, 4th overall is definitely in play.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 1, 2016
The main goal is to find somebody who shoots right – a task that sounds much more difficult than you’d imagine. There is only one unrestricted free agent D-man who also shoots right scored more than 30 points (pro-rated to 82 games). That player is Jason Demers, a player that the Oilers should definitely target but a player that dozens of teams will be clamouring for.
Tyson Barrie, Sami Vatanen, Jared Spurgeon….the potential trade list is also quite small and the Oilers might have to overpay to land the right fit.
If you look at other teams with top right-handed D-men, there is a common trend. Drew Doughty, Alex Pietrangelo, Justin Faulk, John Klingberg, Kris Letang, Shea Weber….all drafted by their original teams.
For the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, general manager Peter Chiarelli should consider following suit and drafting a right-handed D-man for the future to stock the cupboards. He already drafted Ethan Bear out of Seattle last year and Bear lit up the WHL with 65 points, helping his team advanced to the WHL finals. For a 5th round pick, the value was incredible.
If you look at the list of Edmonton’s defensive prospects, only Bear and John Marino shoot right from the blueline. Who are the right-handed D-men who could turn into top pairing D-men for the Oilers? Let’s have a look.
First Two Rounds
Charlie McAvoy – Boston University (NCAA) – McAvoy is a smart defender who plays with an edge. He made a solid impression at the World Juniors, isn’t weak defensively and can move the puck. McAvoy might be available if the Oilers trade down from 4th overall.
Dante Fabbro – Penticton Vees (BCHL) – An excellent passer who is reliable in his own zone. He made great stretch passes and solid little offensive plays at the U18s for Team Canada. Fabbro might be available if the Oilers trade down from 4th overall.
Frederic Allard – Chicoutimi Sagueneens (QMJHL) – Allard led Chicoutimi in points from the blueline with 59 and ran one of the more interesting powerplay set-ups in junior. He’s relatively decent in his own zone but he struggled a bit in the playoffs. He might be available at 32nd overall for Edmonton.
Possible Early Steals
Luke Green – Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) – A smooth skater and passer with great offensive instincts. Green slowed down in the playoffs, so the Oilers might be able to get him in round three.
Andrew Peeke – Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) – A big D-man (6 foot 3) who can skate. Used a strong point shot to lead the Gamblers on the powerplay. A strong round 3 target if he lasts.
Jordan Sambrook – Erie Otters (OHL) – A jack-of-all-trades type of D-man who plays PK or 2nd unit powerplay. He’s already 6 foot 2 and a smooth skater. A strong round 3 target.
Adam Fox – USA U-18 (USHL) – The highest D-man on the list who is shorter than 6 feet. Lethal offensively at the U-18s and a great skater. Committed to Harvard. A third round target for the Oilers with the Panthers/Penguins picks.
Filip Hronek – HK Hradec Kralove (Czech) – Hronek needs to get stronger but he has some great offensive and defensive tools. Played in a men’s league and also had two assists at the World Juniors. A third round target for the Oilers with the Panthers/Penguins acquired selections.
Jake Ryczek – Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL) – Undersized and defensive issues abound, but Ryczek is incredibly creative offensively and a shifty skater. A 5th or 6th round target for the Oilers.
David Quenneville – Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) – I watched him at the U18s and the best way to describe him is “Jonathan Drouin if you played him at the point all game long.” Great shot. Dangerous power play weapon. Might go in the 4th round or he might drop a little due to his small size.
Jacob Cederholm, Matt Barberis, Filip Berglund, William Pethrus
If the Oilers draft even one of these D-men, it could pay massive dividends down the road. For now, fans will keep dreaming of an improved blueline as soon as Rogers Place opens in September.