On another publication I wrote that the Edmonton Oilers should consider drafting 6’7″ 240 lb defenceman Jamieson Oleksiak with the first round pick obtained in the Dustin Penner trade, now officially a heist considering the Kings early playoff exit. Another player Steve Tambellini should consider is goaltending prospect John Gibson of the United States National Development Program in Ann Arbour, Michigan.
Going into this draft, the Oilers lack a true #1 center within their system, as well as a #1 defenceman. This is where the debate of Nugent-Hopkins and Larsson takes precedent. But has anyone given thought as to who will be between the pipes when the team reaches its potential? Although Devan Dubnyk performed has performed admirably the past two seasons, the team still needs depth at the position. At last year’s draft in Los Angeles, the organization waited until the 5th round before selecting a goalie, Tyler Bunz of the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL.
Bunz and Olivier Roy, picked in the 5th round in 2009 out of the QMJHL, represent the only real prospects the Oilers have at the position; with Jeff Deslauriers seemingly on his way out of the organization after nine years. Roy is coming off a dissapointing season with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in which, after a solid regular season, managed zero wins and a 0.739 save percentage in the playoffs. The fact that Roy was unable to seize the starting goalie position at the 2010-11 World Juniors should be seen as a setback as well.
This season with the National Development Program, Gibson has performed well, managing a 0.926 save percentage, and his development is said to be on pace with Dall Star first round pick of 2010 Jack Campbell. Gibson, who is committed to Michigan State University in 2011, already has World U18 and U17 gold medals under his belt, including three overtime victories. He is big (over 200 lbs), athletic and said to have a calm demeanor in net.
The Oilers need make goaltending a priority at this year’s draft. With Jeff Delauriers on his way out, drafting the franchise’s future between the pipes would be a wise move, regardless of whether or not they have complete confidence in Devan Dubnyk. Unless your franchise is blessed with Martin Brodeur or Tim Thomas, there needs to be a succession plan in place.