As you all know, the next big event on the Oilers’ calendar is the 2012 NHL Entry Draft (June 22-23). Will Edmonton select Nail Yakupov or Ryan Murray? Will they trade the pick? Will a meteor hit the Consol Energy Center causing the draft to be cancelled? In 37 days, we will know the answers to these questions.
Here’s another question for you: if the Oilers had somehow kept every player they ever drafted (never making a trade or signing a free agent), would they be in the playoffs right now?
With that question in mind, I examined the list of Oilers draft picks. Like every NHL team, the Oilers have made some very smart picks (e.g., Esa Tikkanen–drafted 82nd in 1983) and some very bad picks (e.g., Jason Bonsignore–drafted 4th in 1994).
I jotted down the top current players the Oilers drafted and attempted to make the best lineup possible. After much deliberation (not really), here is my Oilers All-Draft Team.
Taylor Hall / Ryan Nugent-Hopkins / Jordan Eberle
Jason Chimera / Sam Gagner / Ales Hemsky
Ryan Smyth / Shawn Horcoff / Jason Arnott
Magnus Paajarvi / Jarrett Stoll / Kyle Brodziak
(1) This group of forwards is very solid. I’d be happy to replace Eric Belanger, Ben Eager, Ryan Jones, and Lennart Petrell with Chimera, Arnott, Stoll, and Brodziak.
(2) This group of defencemen is incredibly weak. And we thought the defence was bad this season? Obviously, the main reason why the Oilers are currently weak on defence is because of their drafting. Hopefully the recent draftees (Marincin, Klefbom, Musil, etc.) will produce better results.
(3) Drafting isn’t easy. Anyone can act like an expert on draft day. I remember Pierre McGuire being extremely negative about Montreal selecting Carey Price 5th overall in 2005. That pick doesn’t look too bad now.
(4) Would the Oilers All-Draft Team have made the playoffs this season? Highly doubtful. The All-Draft Team mirrors the current squad–except its strength is stronger and its weakness is weaker.
By the way, I wish the NHL would eliminate the unnecessary preliminary remarks before first round selections. “The Edmonton Oilers would like thank the city of Pittsburgh and the Penguins organization for their kind hospitality this weekend. The Oilers would also like to congratulate the [insert this year's Stanley Cup Champions] for their fine season. The Oilers would like to say hello to all our great fans at our draft party back in Edmonton. Blah, blah, blah.” JUST MAKE THE PICK!