Edmonton Oilers Drafted: Looking Back at 2011


Welcome to another edition of Edmonton Oilers 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. Today, we will look at  the struggles and ultimate failures of the 2011 Draft Class.

The NHL’s annual entry draft took place in beautiful Minnesota and featured three legit NHL offensive weapons at the top of the prospect heap; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (WHL; Red Deer), Gabriel Landeskog (OHL; Kitchener) and Jonathan Huberdeau (QMJHL; Saint John Sea Dogs). Each player brought a different level of skill, leadership and offensive ability. In junior, Nugent-Hopkins had an on-ice vision that put him far above his peers and in offensive production, Huberdeau was highly regarded as a top-line NHL offensive center. Landeskog, an outstanding two-way center and long serving captain of the Kitchener Rangers provided a long term option as a complete NHL forward.

The Oilers, however where struggling to find a true identity, maintain a  long term rebuilding plan and continually floundered when hitting the ice. Having recently selected Taylor Hall first overall in 2010 the Edmonton Oilers once again retained the first overall pick and with it selected current first line center, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

First Round – 1st Overall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Mar 21, 2015; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) celebrates his first period goal against the Philadelphia Flyers at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

When Nugent-Hopkins was playing in Red Deer I recall seeing several games while attending Red Deer College at the time and I can safely say that to this day, Nugent-Hopkins was the best player I have ever witnessed in junior hockey. His draft year with the Rebels, Nugent-Hopkins posted 106 points (31-75-106) in 69 games played and led the Canadian entry into the 2011 World Juniors Team to a gold medal. Nugent-Hopkins stepped right into the NHL and despite taking his first couple seasons to mature physically it is without a doubt that his skill and offensive ability has reserved his niche at the top of the current Oilers line up

19th Overall, Oscar Klefbom

During the 2010-2011 season, Klefbom was playing in the Swedish Elite league (SHL) for Farjestad BK. The feat alone is uncommon for a young man to manage to suit up for 33 games in a league dominated by grown men. Klefbom continued to climb the Draft rankings and poised himself as a strong and smooth skating two-way defenceman. While their were concerns at his defensive positioning, the amount of upside offensively and his superior skating ability in his peer group set him apart. The Oilers choose him with a pick they acquired when dealing Dustin Penner to the Los Angeles Kings.

Klefbom has stood out as one of the brightest spots on a weak Oilers defensive grouping last season and will continue to push for top four defenceman minutes. As he continues to develop as a solid NHL defenceman, the new coaching staff will have to give him every opportunity to become the top defenceman on a struggling blue-line.

Second Round – 31st Overall, David Musil

Apr 4, 2015; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers defensemen David Musil (87) makes his NHL debut against the Calgary Flames at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

David Musil spent his junior career with the Vancouver Giants (WHL) and was a solid defender for a weaker WHL team. Musil had a respectable state line through the majority of his WHL career, posting a line of 6 goals, 19 assists for 25 points in 62 games played in his draft year. While these aren’t as impressive as Klefbom or Nugent-Hopkins, Musil was billed as more of a stay-home and shut-down defender. Musil was also invited numerous times to the Czech Republic team for international play including the 2011 World Juniors.

His final ranking leading into the 2011 NHL entry draft put him 38th overall, however, there was a continuance of the Oilers regime through the rebuilding years in selecting players that in someway where already connected to the Oilers. Musil’s father, Frantisek Musil spent the last few seasons of his career playing for the Oilers in ’98-’01.

Musil continues to develop in the Oilers minor league system and is posed for a tight competition for one of the six spaces for defenders in the coming season in Bakersfield.

Third Round – 62nd Overall, Samu Perhonen

With the development of large and over-sized goalies becoming the norm in the modern NHL, the Oilers rolled the dice on 6’5″ goaltender Samu Perhonen. His physical attributes gave him a longer look than any other Finnish net minder. Due to the fact that no other country has generated more successful NHL caliber goaltenders than Finland, Oilers management drafted Perhonen with such a high pick. Internationally, Perhonen backstopped the Team Finland World Junior team and posted a respectable 3.52 GAA in 14 international games.

While being a high pick for a European goaltender, Perhonen never shown any interest to join the organization and adapt to the North American game. Similarly, the Oilers management group would not extend a contract offer his way and to this day Perhonen remains playing in the elite level tiers for Finnish team KalPa Kuopio.

74th Overall, Travis Ewanyk

Another home grown talent out of St. Albert, AB Ewanyk was a defensive minded center man for the Edmonton Oil Kings for all five seasons of his junior eligibility. While the Edmonton Oilers have the oppurtunity to view these juniors right in the very same rink the Ewanyk pick started a lengthy trend of drafting former Oil Kings players. Ewanyk was never an offensive superstar and played more of a two-way game. With the Oil Kings Ewanyk played frequently with Mitch Moroz (another Oilers draft pick) and became a formidable bottom six forward grouping.

Ewanyk would be signed to an entry-level deal and reported for his first pro season in 2013-14 for the Oklahoma City Oil Barons (AHL). After two seasons and plenty of penalty minutes racked up, Ewanyk was moved to the Ottawa Senators along with the Oilers fourth round draft pick in exchange for D Eric Gryba this past June.

Fourth Round – 92nd Overall, Dillon Simpson

Simpson is a terrific two-way defender with a decent shot and skating ability that played in the Oilers back yard with the Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) before committing to the University of North Dakota (WCHA/NCHC) in Division I NCAA hockey. With the Saints, Simpson was able to tally 41 points (12-29-41) in 58 games played. Due to NCAA eligibility restrictions the Oilers have only recently signed him and Simpson currently has only one full pro season under his belt. Look for him to challenge for the handful of spots on the Bakersfield blue line this coming fall.

114th Overall, Tobias Rieder

Nov 2, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals goalie Justin Peters (35) prepares to make a save on Arizona Coyotes forward Tobias Reider (8) in the first period at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Rieder is an undersized offensive forward that during his draft year played with the Kitchener Rangers in the OHL as an import. The Landshut, Germany native enjoyed the perks of playing alongside top pick Gabriel Landeskog and earned 49 points (23-26-49) in 65 games during his draft year. As a skilled offensive junior player, Reider went on to post 189 points in 177 games in his junior career and participated in international play with the German national team.

Before Reider even dressed for a single pro game, he was traded to the Arizona Coyotes organization for forward Kale Kessy. The Oilers lacked a definite physical force and filled the small, skilled forward for a predominant bottom six winger to add grit and truculence to the line up. This past season Reider earned himself a NHL roster spot with Arizona and posted a respectable 21 points (13-8-21) in 72 games played.

Fifth Round, Martin Gernat

Gernat played his entire junior career as an import with the Edmonton Oil Kings, learning the offensive style of defending in the North American styled game. With the Oil Kings he racked up 55 points (9-46-55) on a strong, offensively gifted Oil Kings team. However, his physical attributes have prevented him from making a significant jump to the pro level, at 6’5″ and 190 lbs soaking wet, he needs to mature into his adulthood before he can be an effective defender. Early in his pro career he had some trouble adapting the faster, stronger pro game and had some bouts with injuries.

This season, Gernat has the opportunity to compete for an AHL roster spot on the blueline however given his struggles in his first two years at the pro style game, look for Gernat to be assigned to the Oilers ECHL affliate to get him some quality pro-level minutes.

Sixth Round – No Oilers Draft Pick

Seventh Round 182nd overall, Frans Tuohimaa

Another large Finnish goalie selected by the Oilers that played in the SM-Liiga as a young man. This prospect in his draft year posted a respectable 2.65 GAA in 18 games played against grown men as a youngster. Tuohimaa would stay with in the Finnish elite league until making the jump to North America in 2013-14 and was succesful in his first pro game with OKC (AHL) with a 3-2 overtime victory. However, his succes was short lived and was loaned to HPK (SM-Liiga) and spent the season as a member of a struggling goaltender tandem.

This past season Tuohimaa competed with Richard Bachman and Laurent Brossoit of a roster spot with the Oil Barons but ultimately saw the bulk of his playing time with the ECHL Bakersfield Condors. The Condors struggled mightily this season and Tuohimaa’s number reflected the poor showing. After his two-year entry level contract expired this June it remains unlikely that the Oilers will attempt to resign him.

More from Oil On Whyte