Oilers trade Klim Kostin and Yamo

Edmonton Oilers forward Klim Kostin (21) celebrates scoring the game winning goal. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Edmonton Oilers forward Klim Kostin (21) celebrates scoring the game winning goal. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2023 NHL draft just concluded, and the Oilers, being a team in win-now mode, only had three picks the entire draft, their own second-round pick, their own sixth-round pick, and their own seventh-round pick.

The draft was highlighted by picking right-shooting D-man Beau Akey from the Barrie Colts in the second round. The young man is a bit undersized for an NHL player (6 feet tall on the nose and only 173 lbs) but 18-year-olds will grow into their bodies, especially as their offseason fitness regimen evolves with input from their drafting club.

Akey just finished his second season of junior with the Colts, putting up 11-36-47 in 66 games for Barrie with 39 PIMs and a -4 to boot, adding a further 2-3-5 in 13 playoff games for the Colts. Those are some solid numbers for a player his age.

Akey was slated to go further up in the second round, possibly even as a lower portion of the first round, so the Oilers were delighted when he was still available at 56th overall, and we all know Ken Holland loves his defenceman in the draft because he prefers to build his teams from the blueline out.

Expect him to play out two more seasons in Barrie before starting his pro career with Bakersfield. I’m willing to bet by that time he’ll have put on some more muscle on that frame of his too.

In the sixth round, the Oilers took goalie Nathaniel Day, which truly is the epitome of a flyer pick as this is a goalie with size (6’2″ and 181 lbs) but a guy whose two seasons in junior have been unimpressive, both seasons with sv%s below .900 and GAAs just below 4.00. Those are terrible stats, especially for a prospect goalie.

In the seventh round, the Oilers took undersized right shooting center Matthew Copponi (5’11” and 167 lbs…..ouch), largely because he’s another player in the Kailer Yamamoto mould who just put up 14 goals and 29 points in 37 games, along with 30 PIMs and a +8 for his US College hockey team at Merrimack College. This will be a great pick if it works out.

The Oilers first-round pick went to Nashville (Mattias Ekholm trade at last season’s deadline), their third-round pick went to Arizona (Zack Kassian trade last offseason), their fourth-round pick went to Philadephia (Derick Brassard trade from two trade deadlines ago) while their fifth-round pick went to the Rangers in the aforementioned Jayden Grubbe trade.

In 2024 barring any more transactions, the Oilers will be going into that draft with their first, second, fifth, and two sixth-round picks (their own and Nashville’s [also the Mattias Ekholm trade]). Their third-round pick in that draft is also going to Arizona from the Kassian trade, the fourth-round pick is also going to Nashville from the Ekholm trade, and their seventh-round pick went to Montreal in the Brett Kulak trade.