Dylan Wells was drafted on June 24th 2016 by the Edmonton Oilers in the 5th round, 123rd overall. During the draft day review I did back in late June, I mentioned Wells being a goaltender, an area where the Oilers have lacked organizational wise.
Wells joins a list of Oilers recently drafted in the later rounds who play in net. The list includes Zachary Nagelvoort, Miroslav Svoboda and Keven Bouchard in the last few years of the draft. However, the list of drafted goalies has not been impressive. Bouchard was not even retained as his draft rights expired; he struggled mightily in the QMJHL and was bounced between three teams. Nagelvoort plays in the NCAA for the Michigan Wolverines, but has actually regressed since his freshman year with the blue and yellow. Svoboda actually posted a 0.924 save percentage at one point last season, but it was not in exactly the highest prestige of leagues.
So what does that leave for Dylan Wells? Will he buck the trend?
So…Just Who Is Dylan Wells?
Dylan Wells is a goaltender for the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League. According to this awesome write up by Joseph Aleong of The Hockey Writers, Wells was a highly touted OHL prospect as he was drafted 21st overall by the Petes in 2014.
However, that has not exactly materialized. Wells struggled in his two years since his OHL draft. While he won gold in the Ivan Hlinka Tournament, Wells has not been able to keep a stable hold on the job. Standing at 6’2 183 pounds, Wells is not a small goalie by any means.
It’s definitely disappointing that Wells has not been able to post a save percentage above .900 with a good Peterborough Petes team.
Here’s a scouting report from Aleong’s post:
- Good size
- Quick glove hand
- Lower body strength
Under Construction (Improvements to Make):
- Consistent play
- Rebound control
- Prone to soft goals
What Can We Expect?
I was harsh on the Oilers draft pick of Dylan Wells. He posted very mediocre numbers on a good OHL hockey team. What we can expect however, is a player who desperately needs to be the starting goalie in Peterborough for the 2016-17 season.
Out of all the prospects taken in this draft, I think Wells has the most pressure to succeed this season to buck the recent trend of Oilers’ goaltenders picks. The depth chart at the time being is stacked against him with Cam Talbot as the starter, Jonas Gustavsson as the backup in the NHL. In the AHL, you have Laurent Brossoit as the starter with Eetu Laurikainen and Nick Ellis competing for the backup spot.
That’s good for Wells because, like defencemen, goalies can take awhile to develop properly. Even though time might be on his side, he really needs a good solid draft +1 season in his books. Otherwise, he might look like a write off very quick à la Keven Bouchard.
Will He Be An Oiler Long Term?
I guess he could be in the Oilers system for awhile. It helps that he’s a goaltender but the Oilers draft history since 2010 has been absolutely brutal when it comes to goalies. From the 2010 draft, Olivier Roy and Tyler Bunz combined for 1 NHL game played. In 2011, the Oilers drafted two Finnish goalies (Samu Perhonen and Frans Tuohimaa) who have never played in the NHL.
I get the draft is a crapshoot in the later rounds, but something has to give when it comes to goaltenders. Some teams are seemingly able to develop goalies like nothing (here’s looking at you Nashville) but the Oilers could use a guy like Wells to pan out.
Wells will be given plenty of time to develop. However, the young man needs a killer season for the Petes this upcoming year. Out of the draft picks chosen, I feel that Wells is one of the longest shots. However, there is some bright spots: some young goaltender posted some bad numbers back in 2013, one year after his draft. He only ended up winning a Stanley Cup.