The Edmonton Oilers selected Reid Schaefer with the 32nd overall selection in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft following a trade with the Arizona Coyotes that saw the Oil sending away Zack Kassian. As the last pick in the first round that year, the Oilers went with a player that they knew needed some more experience before making the jump to pro and Schaefer, 19, is just that player. At 6-foot-3, 214 pounds, Schaefer plays a physical game and is considered a Power Forward. If he’s going to be compared to anyone on the Oilers roster right now, the closest he can compare to is Klim Kostin as they are both big, but can put the puck in the net.
Schaefer plays on a stacked Seattle Thunderbirds team in the WHL this season, where he is one of eight players that average over a point per game. Through 23 games this season, Schaefer has 15 goals and 12 assists for 27 points, good enough for eighth on the T-Birds in scoring. As a bigger body, Schaefer has a skating ability that is uncommon for players his size. He has a smooth stride and a great shot, all while being able to remain sound in his own zone. Schaefer earned the opportunity to represent Canada at the World Junior Championships recently, and won gold while playing seven games and adding an assist.
The Oilers know Schaefer is a year or so away from being ready to try and crack their roster, but he could be a nice fit in the bottom six for years to come. A big body that can score is what the Oilers hoped they’d get in Jesse Puljujarvi, but haven’t yet. I see more potential in Schaefer, as his work ethic night in and night out is unmatched, and he stands out on a team full of NHL prospects that got selected before him in the draft. While he only got a few shifts a game during the World Juniors, he was still able to play his role and do what he could to contribute, which is all the Oilers will eventually ask of him.