With exactly a month to go until the NHL Entry Draft, Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli is still weighing his options with the No. 4 overall pick.
While using the selection to draft a young blueliner or possibly stay the course and take London Knights sniper Matthew Tkachuk, Chiarelli said on Monday that his plan is to win now, because “we owe it to the fans to get better in a relatively short period of time.”
That once again raises the question, will Chiarelli move the pick to add an established top-four defenceman? It’s looking more like that will be the scenario that plays out heading into the draft.
“Would I look to move it? We want to win. I took the job in Edmonton to win, so as I said earlier, we’ll look at all options,” Chiarelli told Sportsnet’s Damien Cox during his stop at the Memorial Cup to watch action between the Brandon Wheat Kings and London Knights. “There’s some pretty good players that are going to be available at four but we may look to move down and still use a pick to get an asset as part of a larger deal.”
Chiarelli will be faced with a tough decision if the No. 4 pick can’t be moved. Tkachuk is the consensus fourth pick on many NHL draft rankings, but that won’t do the Oilers much good. Chiarelli was asked about Tkachuk’s Knights teammate Olli Juolevi — an all-around defenceman who has seen his stock rise since helping Finland capture gold at the 2016 World Junior Hockey Championships.
“He had the terrific world junior, real good, played very well, (and) complimented some really high-end offensive players there,” Chiarelli added. “Very efficient play, we’re looking at him very closely, he’s very smart, you have to be a very smart, cerebral type of defenceman to succeed in the NHL, he’s got that.”
“(Tkachuk)’s a pretty good player so we’re looking at him too.”
The NHL Entry Draft will be held June 24-25 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo.
Hall Growing into Complete Player
Oilers star winger and 2010 No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall captured his second straight gold medal on Sunday after Canada defeated Finland 2-0 at the IIHF World Hockey Championships in Russia.
While the 2015 tournament was more of a learning experience for the 24-year old, this time around Hall was leaned on during crucial moments in the championships — notably in the last minute of the gold medal game when coach Bill Peters had the Oilers star on the ice to seal the deal for Canada.
“I was playing centre too, so it was a bit stressful,” Hall told TSN’s Ryan Rishaug following the game. “Those are moments you want to be out there for. These are my playoffs right now, so playing in those situations is what makes you a better player.”
Talbot Shares Video of Gold Medal Victory Celebration with Fans
Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot attached a GoPro to his body to document Canada’s World Hockey Championship celebrations and shared the experience on social media following the gold medal victory.
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) May 22, 2016
Talbot was absolutely stellar in the championships, recording a tournament-leading four shutouts — including a goose egg against the Finns in the final — to help Canada win the gold medal.
Talbot’s performance quells any concerns the 28-year old can be the No. 1 goalie for the Oilers heading forward.