The Edmonton Oilers will select 14th overall tonight in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The expectation is that the club will select a forward, but the possibility of a goaltender remains as we sit roughly five hours from the start of this virtual event.
GM Ken Holland spoke to the media yesterday, and heavily hinted that his team will make the selection when they get on the clock tonight.
“I don’t see us moving up,” Holland said Monday. “I expect us to pick it.”
If the Oilers remain at 14, they’ll have plenty of quality options. Goaltender Yaroslav Askarov is projected to be a franchise goaltender, which the Oilers have not had arguably since Curtis Joseph left town. Askarov could be on the board at 14, but there are rumblings that he could go as early as 5th overall, when the Ottawa Senators make their second pick of the night.
If a skilled forward is selected, Seth Jarvis would be a sensational pick. Although a smaller player at 5’10” and 175 pounds, Jarvis is a right winger who possesses an excellent combination of speed and skill. Jarvis, who played in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks, scored 98 points (42 g, 56 a) in 58 games last season.
Finnish center Anton Lundell, who projects to be a strong two-way center, could be on the board as well. Skilled winger Jack Quinn, college forward Dylan Holloway and shutdown defenseman Kaiden Guhle could also be on the board and have drawn varying levels of interest from the club.
A Move Down?:
Could the Oilers drop down if Askarov, Jarvis and Quinn are gone? It’s possible. There have been rumblings that the Ottawa Senators, who pick 3rd, 5th and 28th overall, could be looking to move back up into the first half of the first round. They have the currency to do it, too.
Would you trade the 14th overall pick for the 28th overall pick and two second round picks? How about 14th for 28th, 33rd and a 2021 second round pick? Or, would Ottawa give you 28th, 51st and 58th overall to move up to 14th? It would give the Senators picks three, five, 14 and 33.
In that case, the Oilers could come away with a skilled forward like Jan Mysak 28th overall and prospects like RW Daniil Gushchin, RW Yevgeni Oksentyuk, LW Sean Farrell, C Jean-Luc Foudy or D William Villeneuve late in the second round.
The Boston Bruins are also making a push to trade for a first round pick. Only problem there, from Edmonton’s point of view, is that it would be a complete trade out of the round. The Bruins shipped their first rounder to Anaheim as part of the David Backes/Ondrej Kase trade in February.
Third Round Question:
The Oilers will have to make a decision on whether or not they keep their third round pick, 75th overall, or give it to the Calgary Flames. The Oilers have until the start of the third round tomorrow to make a decision on which pick to give the Flames. The expectation is they will surrender their 2021 third round pick.
In fact, that is what Holland told reporters on Monday. He admitted he is leaning towards using the pick instead of transferring it to complete the James Neal-for-Milan Lucic trade that happened last July.
Things have calmed down a little when it comes to the Oilers and the trade market. The belief is that the Oilers do have interest in Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson. The Lightning, in a cap crunch, are looking to move Johnson. He has trade protection, however, and likely will not waive to come to Edmonton.
The Oilers have prioritized a contract extension for F Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. It could get done as early as this week, according to sources. There were thoughts that the Oilers could move Nugent-Hopkins in the coming days if an extension wasn’t in the cards. I’d be surprised if that happens.
I do believe the Oilers have interest in bringing back forward Taylor Hall. We’ll see how realistic that is. Hall was certainly open to the idea back in November when the Oilers pursued him via trade.
Don’t expect a goalie to be traded to Edmonton in the next few days. Holland admitted on Monday that free agency is the more likely route to acquire a goaltender. The Oilers are monitoring the Jacob Markstrom situation, and will almost certainly poke around Braden Holtby, Thomas Greiss and Aaron Dell. I’m not sure the interest is mutual, but I’d be surprised if Holland didn’t at least reach out to Henrik Lundqvist.
Keep an eye on Kris Russell and Zack Kassian when it comes to trades in the next few days. Russell is harder to move now with the news that Oscar Klefbom is likely out for the 2020-21 season, but the $4,000,000 gained by moving him could open some things up for the Oilers.