What Should The Edmonton Oilers Do With The 16th Overall Pick?


For the first time since the 2011 NHL Draft, when they took Ryan Nugent-Hopkins first overall and Oscar Klefbom 19th overall, the Edmonton Oilers yet again hold dual first round picks in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. The 1st and 16th selection.

The 2015 NHL Draft, which will be held in Sunrise, Florida on June 26th is an offseason event of utmost importance for the Edmonton Oilers. Not only do the Oilers possess their 4th first overall pick in 6 seasons, but they also have another first round pick that is significantly high.

The 16th overall selection that the Oilers acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the David Perron trade holds tremendous value. If Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli does indeed opt to use the pick, he will be getting a blue chip, quality prospect added to the pipeline. If Chiarelli goes to the trade route, adding the 16th overall selection to a trade proposal increases value, which could land a top pairing rear guard the Oilers desperately need.

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Trading The Pick

The sound of a repetitive broken record continues to play in the ears of loyal Edmonton Oiler fans in regards to the teams gapping holes on the blue line. It is as clear as a spotless window that the Oilers lack a true number 1 defensemen. There is hope that top defensive prospect Darnell Nurse can fill the void in the future. I believe he certainly can but it will take some time for that to materialize. Until it happens, the Oilers need to take matters into their own hands and address the massive deficiencies on defense.

It is possible that GM Peter Chiarelli trades the 16th overall selection in order to acquire immediate help. A top pairing defensemen would almost certainly have to be involved. Putting together a deal for someone along the lines of San Jose Sharks’ Brent Burns or Marc Edouard Vlasic would be ideal. The idea of landing Chicago Blackhawks Brent Seabrook is becoming more unrealistic as the days progress. The Hawks face complicated cap issues, but they will not offload one of their most valuable defensemen for the sake of clearing cap space or getting what they can before Seabrook potentially hits free agency in 2016. Not a chance. The Blackhawks have options to consider. They have aging 33 year old Patrick Sharp (6.5 million), Bryan Bickell (4 million) and Kris Versteeg (4.7 million) to ship off before even entertaining the notion of giving up a quality defensemen like Brent Seabrook. The Hawks will clear cap space necessary to resign him.

Brent Burns and Marc Edouard Vlasic are intriguing suggestions as trade targets. The San Jose Sharks are in somewhat of a transitional “retooling” mode and will be looking for younger, promising players to replace aging veterans like Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. Sharks GM Doug Wilson can wager that Vlasic and Burns’ trade value is at an all time high and the return for one of them could be substantial. It is fair to suggest that Wilson could entertain offers for one of his two top defensemen if the price is right. Promising 2013 first round defensemen Mirco Mueller is the future of the Sharks blue line which makes it more affordable for Wilson to part with either Burns or Vlasic if he can get the return he wants. Oilers head Coach Todd McLellan also has a history with Burns and Vlasic in San Jose which could make for an important connection. There is no doubt that Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli should at least inquire about a deal with the Sharks. A starting point on a deal will have to include the 16th overall selection.

Keeping The Pick

A highly likely scenario for the Edmonton Oilers is that they use their 16th overall pick. If this comes to pass, the player that should be called to the podium when the Oilers pick is MHL Russian goaltender, Ilya Samsonov. He is the top ranked goaltender in the draft according to TSN’s Director of Scouting and astute hockey mind Craig Button. Button has Samsonov ranked 14th overall. It is likely that he drops down a few spots which makes it very realistic for the Oilers to nab him at 16th. Button projects Samsonov as a future number 1 goaltender in the NHL and compares him to the likes of Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Edmonton Oilers lack depth at the goaltending position. They have one blue chip prospect in Laurent Brossoit stashed in a cupboard nearly bone dry of young goaltenders. If Samsonov  is available at 16th, the Oilers need to take him. This move will provide the Oilers with an even brighter future in goal and create intriguing options to consider down the road. Draft the best goaltender available.

Peter Chiarelli will be in an advantageous position heading into the draft come June 26. He has a wide variety of options to consider. As a result of former Oilers GM Craig Mactavish stockpiling draft picks within rounds 1 to 3, Chiarelli has valuable, tradable assets to flash in front of cap strapped teams faces. It is evident that Chiarelli and the Oilers will be dealing from a position of strength. If the Oilers decide to draft at 16th, they will be getting yet another quality prospect to add to the depth of the organization. They have already scored big in winning the draft lottery, however it is the moves that Peter Chiarelli makes after the first overall selection that will determine how successful the Edmonton Oilers will be at the draft this offseason.