It’s too bad, really. I, along with I’m sure all of you, thought these days were behind us. Here we are again, however, breaking down the potential top ten picks of the upcoming entry draft during the month of December. The Oilers appear out of the playoff race and look listless as they head back out to the east coast.
As you get ready for tonight’s matchup against Montreal, it is time to take a look at the happier times (we hope) ahead in the future. Another important piece of the McDavid-cluster will be added this June via the entry draft. By the looks of it, it will be another top-ten piece.
Let’s take a look at the top ten prospects in the upcoming entry draft.
1. D Rasmus Dahlin (Frolunda, SHL):
Expect to see the hashtag #FallinForDahlin a lot on my Twitter feed from January on if I ever go back to that website. Dahlin is a slick skating defender who is going to be ready for the NHL next season. He’s the player I’m most excited to see during the World Juniors and upcoming Olympic games. He appears to be the next defensive star.
As a right-shot defender, Dahlin would be a perfect get for the Oilers in the draft, although I doubt Edmonton gets lucky enough to take the Swedish defender. He can move the puck with aplomb and has tremendous offensive ability. Again, he’s a star in the making.
2. RW Andrei Svechnikov (Barrie, OHL):
Ironically, many thought Edmonton would take Svechnikov’s brother Evgeny with the 16th pick in the 2015 draft before they traded it to the Islanders in the Griffin Reinhart trade. Now, Edmonton could get a hold of arguably the better of the two brothers.
Svechnikov is a natural fit for the Oilers because he’s a right winger and he is a big boy. At 6’2” and 186 pounds, Svechnikov would absolutely be an appealing option to Peter Chiarelli should he still be GM of the team on draft day. This is a player that appears NHL ready from day one, and who is a natural goal scorer.
So far, Svechnikov has 10-4-14 in ten games for the Colts. He’s missed a decent chunk of action with a hand injury.
3. RW Filip Zadina (Halifax, QMJHL):
The 6’1”, 192 pound forward has come to North America from his native Czech Republic and adjusted quite well to life in the Q. Zadina has registered 23-21-44 in 30 games this season and is the best player from the Q in this entry draft. He’s willing to go to the hard areas to generate offense, and that should appeal to this Oiler team.
Future Considerations calls Zadina “A dangerous goal scorer in the making” while Corey Pronman called him “One of the most dynamic players in the draft.” His skating has also been complimented by scouts during the pre-draft process.
4. LW Brady Tkachuk (Boston University, NCAA):
With the possibility of Patrick Maroon getting dealt at the deadline and with Milan Lucic being completely ineffective, the Oilers desperately need help on left wing. Tyler Benson is a good prospect, but Brady Tkachuk is a better prospect and boy, would he help make the Battle of Alberta that much more interesting.
Tkachuk plays a game awfully similar to his brother and will be an effective pest at the NHL level who can post offense. Edmonton likely regrets not taking Matthew in 2016. If they get a chance to take his carbon copy in 2018, I’m wiling to bet they’ll jump at the opportunity.
5. D Adam Boqvist (Brynas Jr.)
Another dynamic offensive defender, Boqvist is considered a step down from Dahlin because of some faults in his defensive game. Offensively, however, Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino believes he is right in the same neighborhood as Dahlin. Future Considerations called him a “confident, puck-moving blueliner who skates well and has agile feet” when they looked at him back in July. Boqvist is a right-shot defender.
6. D Quinn Hughes (Michigan, NCAA):
This time a left-shot defender, Hughes is currently playing his freshman season at Michigan and has gone 1-9-10 in 14 contests. Corey Pronman calls him a “offensive dynamo from the blueline” and adds that “his skating is off-the-charts good.”
Hughes isn’t very big, only 5’9” and 168 pounds, but he is a quick player and a crafty play maker according to scouts. He shoots the puck a ton and is alert in the offensive zone. That said, I don’t see him as a fit on a Peter Chiarelli team based off size and skill-set.
7. RW Oliver Wahlstrom (USNTDP, USHL):
The American-born winger is 6’1” and 198 pounds and does have the ability to play center. He’s a shoot first player and already has the size and speed to play in the NHL. Pronman had the following to say about Wahlstrom this past summer: “I see a winger with pro size, good speed and great skill. While he’s more of a shooter than a playmaker, he can make high-level feeds.”
8. D Noah Dobson (Acadie-Bathurst, QMJHL):
Defenders have really made their presence felt in the top-ten, haven’t they? Dobson has been the player who has seen the biggest rise since the start of the season, and he has done so on the back of strong offensive play. As of this writing, Dobson has 3-25-28 in 30 games and shows no signs of slowing down.
He’s got NHL size too, standing in at 6’3” and 176 pounds. Dobson is a right-shot defender who can distribute the puck and who has the ability to shoot as well. He’s a true offensive defender with size, and you just know that will appeal to the Oilers in a big way.
9. LW Joel Farabee (USNTDP, USHL):
Another American-born forward, Farabee is more of a playmaker than he is a scorer. He’s a smaller player at 5’11”, but he’s got speed to burn and does a good job of avoiding contact with a high hockey IQ and the aforementioned speed. Farabee has 12-12-24 in 23 games this season and is reportedly committed to play at Boston University next season.
10. C Rasmus Kupari (Karpat, Finnish Liiga):
The 6’1” center has bounced around to a few teams this season, but has posted 3-1-4 in 19 games in Finland’s top league this season. Kupari has a dynamic skill-set and speed to burn, which makes him a very appealing option in today’s NHL. Kupari possesses a strong shot and is going to have the potential to be a real goal scorer at the NHL level.