Edmonton Oilers Drafted: Looking Back at 2008


Mar 16, 2015; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner (51) keeps a close eye on Edmonton Oilers right winger Jordan Eberle (14) in the second period at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Chris LaFrance-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to training camp opening up for the the upcoming season I wanted to take a look back at the prospects selected by the Edmonton Oilers organization in a segment I wanted to entitle “Drafted”. This will be a look back at the highly touted prospects selected by the organization and a look into a when did they leave the Oilers and where are they now. I would mainly like to focus on drafts that still have current Oilers roster players to shed some light on how the Oilers acquired each respective player.

Drafted: 2008 Entry Draft Review

The 2008 NHL entry draft was held in Ottawa at the Scotia-bank Place, top prospect and scoring phenom Steven Stamkos and blue chip defender Drew Doughty headlined the prospect pool leading into draft day. Other NHL present-day notables included Erik Karlsson, Zach Bogosian, Tyler Myers and Alex Pietrangelo dominated a defenceman rich draft. The Edmonton Oilers had finished a disappointing campaign, finishing 12th in the western conference. We had seen the signing of Dustin Penner via an offer sheet and the Edmonton Oilers original 13th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry draft saw was moved to Los Angeles as part of a previous deal.

With the 22nd overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry draft the Edmonton Oilers selected star winger Jordan Eberle to fulfill a scoring winger need that they had previously attempted to fill. Eberle was considered an elite level winger in the Western Hockey League (WHL) posting 75 points in 70 games in his draft eligible season. Eberle opened the 2007-08 campaign ranked 7th in WHL North American skaters by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau and continued to flourish on a weak Regina Pats team. Eberle would also take claim to the Four Broncos Memorial Award for Outstanding Player in the WHL.

After selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the first round, Eberle was returned to major junior for another campaign for maturation and seasoning. In the 208-2009 WHL season Eberle would emerge as a dominant, skilled offensive forward posting 74 points in 61 games. In 2009, Eberle was named to the 2009 World Junior team where he played key roles in the top six for a talent rich Canadian team. He also contributed to one of the greatest World Junior moments in Canadian history scoring two goals and a shootout goal to defeat Russia 6-5, having scored the game tying goal with only 5.4 seconds.

Eberle now has over 350 games in the NHL, all with the Edmonton Oilers. As primarily on he Oilers top forward line for the past five seasons, Eberle plays with a high amount of skill and scoring talent. His abilities to stick handle and use his speed and offensive instincts Eberle has posted a respectable 284 points in 356 games. here is our article on his projections for next season with the Oilers: Players in Review: Jordan Eberle. His first goal was pretty slick as well.

Rounds 2/3

The Edmonton Oilers did not have a second or a third rounder. The second round pick (ironically, Justin Schultz) was sent to Anaheim for Dustin Penner due to the offer sheet signing debacle. The third round pick in this year was sent to the New York Islanders as part of the trade sending Denis Grebeshkov to the New York Islanders for Marc-Andre Bergeron.

Rounds 4-7

4th Round, 103rd Overall – Johan Motin. A big Swedish defenceman that was signed to a NHL entry level deal and came over to play with the Springfield Falcons and Oklahoma City Oil Barons in their inaugural season. He had the potential to play the role of a physical defenceman but never played with enough consistency and confidence to earn a second contract. He did play one NHL game but transferred to the Swedish Elite league (SHL) and has been playing with Obero HK for the past five seasons.

5th Round, 133rd Overall – Philippe Cornet. An offensively gifted major junior player that posted 77 points in two seasons on two teams in the Quebec Major Junior League. However, his professional career has been marred by trying to find a niche and consistency at the next level. After playing three seasons with the Oil Barons, Cornet struggled to find the same level of offensive success, posting 23, 37, 33 points respectively in three seasons. Cornet continues to jump around in the minor leagues having last played with the Hersey Bears (AHL) posting 22 points in 55 games.

Photo: Teemu Hartikainen struggled to implement his big, physical frame to remain a force in Edmonton. (courtesy of Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)

6th Round, 163rd Overall – Teemu Hartikainen. Likely the only prospect outside of Jordan Eberle from this draft class that had a significant chance to become an everyday NHL player in North America. Hartikainen was a big Finnish winger that won outstanding rookie achievements in the SM-Liiga (Highest level of pro hockey in Finland). The Oilers Management team saw Hartikainen as a role player in the bottom six of the Oilers and allowed him opportunities to crack the fourth line numerous times. As a powerful physical force that played with grit he was a perfect fit for a bottom six role on the Oilers squad but sub-par skating and hockey sense prevented him from becoming an everyday NHLer. One memory that is significant of Hartikainen is that he always found a way to be hit, generating fan support for the opposite team.

7th Round, 193rd Overall – Jordan Bendfeld. A defenceman from the Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL). Of note, he was originally drafted in 2006 by the Phoenix Coyotes and was not signed and re-entered the draft in 2008. Bendfeld would be signed to a entry-level deal but spent most of the duration of that contract with the Stockton Thunder (East Coast Hockey League). After his contract expired in 2011 Bendfeld has not be signed by another pro hockey team.

While only Jordan Eberle remains with the Oilers organization, there was a significant contribution from Hartikainen as a sixth round selection. In today’s NHL it is important to have draft picks develop and grow with the organization over time. NHL teams are lucky to have any players in Rounds 4-7 contribute to their NHL roster.