On Thursday (July 7), the Edmonton Oilers selected Seattle Thunderbirds forward Reid Schaefer with the 32nd overall pick in Round 1 of the 2022 NHL Draft at Montreal’s Bell Centre.
Edmonton acquired the No. 32 selection from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for forward Zack Kassian along with the No. 29 pick in this year’s draft, a second-round pick in 2024, and a third-round pick in 2025.
The 18-year-old Schaefer notched 32 goals and 26 assists while posting a plus-29 rating in 66 games for the Thunderbirds. He added 21 points in 25 postseason games, helping Seattle reach the Western Hockey League (WHL) Championship Final where the T-Birds were defeated by the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Schaefer stands 6-foot-3, weighs 213 pounds, and shoots left. Here are five more things to know about Edmonton’s first-round selection:
Schaefer Takes After Anderson and Tuch
In a recent interview with TSN, Schaefer named Josh Anderson of the Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres right wing Alex Tuch when asked about NHL players that serve as role models for the power forward’s game.
“They are both two-way power forwards, who play with grit but also have offensive upside and have sneaky hands in tight and have that scoring touch,” Schaefer said.
The 6-foot-3 Anderson has scored at least 17 times in five of the last six seasons and totalled 101 goals over 388 career regular season games, which projects to 20-plus goals over a full schedule. Tuch has 73 goals in 305 career games, which gives him an 82-game average of 20 goals. He’s added 19 goals in 66 postseason outings, all with the Vegas Golden Knights.
Schaefer is Used to Waiting Around
Schaefer, who appeared on pre-draft lists leading up to the draft ranked anywhere from 21st to 102nd, had to wait to the very end of the first round before Oilers’ director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright called his name from the draft stage.
The experience of waiting around is not new for Schaefer, who was selected in the eighth round ,164th overall, of the Western Hockey League Bantam Draft in 2018. Twelve of his teammates from Okanagan Hockey Academy Edmonton Prep had been drafted before the Thunderbirds finally picked Schaefer.
Schaefer Has Got Pro Pedigree
Schaefer was selected in the NHL Draft six rounds higher than his father, Jeremy, who was picked 177th overall by the Boston Bruins in 1994. A left wing who filled the enforcer role, Jeremy spent five seasons with three teams in the WHL before embarking on a brief pro career in the ECHL, where he played two seasons for the Roanoke Express, racking up 435 penalty minutes, as well as 24 points in 101 games.
Schaefer is a True Oilers Fan
Growing up just outside of Edmonton in Spruce Grove, the hometown of Oilers legend and Hockey Hall-of-Fame goaltender Grant Fuhr, Schaefer owned all the gear that he’ll now be getting for free.
“I had the Oilers jerseys around the house when I was younger, and just growing up as an Oilers fan, watching their playoff runs, it’s very exciting, so I’m very pumped,” Schaefer said during his post-draft media availability.
Schaefer said his favourite Oiler when he was a kid was Shawn Horcoff, the current Detroit Red Wings assistant general manager who played in Edmonton from 2000-01 to 2012-13. He also named potential future teammates Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid as his favourite current Oilers.
Schaefer is on Team Canada’s Radar
Schaefer has been invited to Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team Summer Camp, which takes place at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary July 23-27.
Players will begin the competition for a spot on Canada’s roster at the 2023 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, scheduled to be held from December 26, 2022, through January 5, 2023, in Halifax, N.S. and Moncton, N.B. Edmonton’s first-round pick from the 2021 NHL Draft, forward Xavier Bourgault, is a member of Canada’s roster for the 2022 World Juniors.
But before the Hockey Canada camp at the end of the month, Schaefer will attend Oilers development camp next week. In a twist of fate for the kid from Spruce Grove, his last junior game before being drafted (Seattle’s loss to the Oil Kings in Game 6 of the WHL Championship series last month) came at Rogers Place. Now he’ll be back at the same place for his first pro action since draft day, as he begins his journey to the NHL.
Brian is an Edmonton-based sports writer and broadcaster. His experience includes working as a sports reporter for the Edmonton Sun, where he covered the Edmonton Oil Kings 2013-14 Memorial Cup championship season.