The first round of the NHL Entry Draft goes tonight in Philadelphia, and while some still insist there will be a trade tonight between the Flyers and Oilers, the chatter is awfully quiet so far. Obviously, the Vancouver Canucks have made quite a stir today after trading Ryan Kesler to Anaheim and Jason Garrison to Tampa Bay, along with acquiring Nick Bonino and Derek Dorsett among the three deals made earlier.
While it’s still a good possibility that he Oilers may make a deal for Braydon Coburn, Oilers GM Craig Mactavish may get rebuffed by new Flyers GM Ron Hextall. It’s quite feasible the Oilers make few draft related moves and pick at number three. If that is the case, who should they pick. While Craig Button, Bob McKenzie and the ISS had to list someone at number one, there is little consensus as to who might actually go at the top spot.
Florida is still exploring trading the pick. They traded the number one pick twice before, so they may again. Assuming they pick first, it’s likely they pick Aaron Ekblad. They have good center depth, and none of the three available are close to a guy like Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby. They are excellent players, but may not be franchise centerpieces.
Obviously, the Oilers want Aaron Ekblad, and are hoping for a Seth Jones-esque fall down the draft order. He is likely to be off the board, though. Should he be chosen already, it’s down to four fellows: Sam Bennett, Sam Reinhart, Leon Draisaitl and Nick Ritchie.
Bennett is a fiery center with offensive skill. Reinhart is Ryan Nugent Hopkins 2.0. Draisaitl is big, but less physical. The Oilers interviwed Draisaitl on Thursday night, so interest remains high. Nick Ritchie? He is massive, can score and the Oilers don’t have a guy like that. If Draisaitl and Ekblad are gone after the Buffalo Sabres go to the podium, you might see Edmonton trade down to get him. It’s a risk, but Bennett and Reinhart are maybe too similar to existing players to make sense for the organization.
One thing is certain—the Calgary Flames will be drafting an excellent center tonight to complement Sean Monahan. Sigh. What do you think the Oilers should do? Sound off in our Draft Poll and let us know what you think!