The Edmonton Oilers wrapped up the 2021 NHL Entry Draft with three late selections on Saturday afternoon. The club selected Matvey Petrov 180th overall, Shane Lachance 186th overall and Max Wanner 212th overall. Petrov and Lachance are wingers, while Wanner is a defenseman.
Edmonton’s selection at 180th overall is a good roll of the dice. Petrov, a Russian forward, was seen by some scouts as a late second round pick. To get him in the 6th round is expectational value for the club, even if he never pans out.
Selected first-overall in the 2020 CHL Import Draft by the North Bay Battalion, Petrov is an extremely skilled offensive player. He led his MHL (Russian junior) team Krylia Sovetov in both goals with 22 and shots with 212. This is a goal scorer who isn’t afraid to fire the puck on net, which makes him a good fit with the premier playmakers that the Oilers NHL roster has.
Petrov has solid size at 6’2″, but doesn’t always engage physically. Rather, Petrov prefers to try and find space in the offensive zone, being more of a shifty player.
The skills that Petrov possesses can’t be taught. He’s a gifted offensive player with the ability to both distribute the puck and score with a strong, lethal shot.
There will need to be improvements in areas like ‘compete’ and in the physical aspect of his game, but that should come with maturity.
Considering where he was selected, this is a solid risk by Tyler Wright and his staff of scouts. Considering the solid arrows that the six forwards selected last year have shown, Wright and his scouts have earned the benefit of the doubt.
Another forward six picks later, Lachance will continue his development this fall at Boston University. This past season, in the wild world that was junior hockey in the COVID-19 pandemic, Lachance played with the Boston Junior Bruins of the USPHL’s NCDC conference.
Lachance was a highly touted addition to the defending champion Bruins, playing his first game for them in October against the Northern Cyclones. That afternoon, the bump in scouts inside the building was quite apparent. The Oilers, no surprise, were one of the team’s in the building.
Lachance stands at 6’4″ and 195 pounds, and he isn’t afraid to use his big frame. In my viewings of the player, I thought it took him a little time to get going and to get comfortable in a new league. Once he did, however, Lachance was dominant at times in a very good junior league.
Unfortunately for Lachance, just as he started to get comfortable the games stopped. The USPHL picked up and moved it’s season to Tampa Bay, and Lachance impressed in the bubble. I had the chance to both broadcast and watch a number of his games, and I came away impressed with him.
He’s a good two-way forward who brings a consistent work ethic to the rink each and every night. His hockey IQ is quite high too, and Lachance always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. He’s not the fastest player, but his size and physicality made him noticeable each and every game I had the chance to watch.
The offensive numbers were not there for Lachance, but take that with a grain of salt. The Bruins, always an elite team, didn’t have the usual abundance of finishers that they routinely employ. A large number of impact players from the 2018-19 and 2019-20 teams had aged out, and there was constant turnover on the roster for a good portion of the 2020-21 season.
The league’s quality of competition also shot through the roof in 2020-21, as numerous players on OHL, USHL and European rosters joined the league. In my five years calling USPHL games, I can say unquestionably that this was the most talent the league has seen.
Lachance is far from a sure thing, his skating could be an issue when it comes time to turn pro. All that being said, this is a big and smart player who does all of the little things that you would want.
The Oilers concluded their portion of the draft with another defenseman, this time calling the name of 6’3″ WHL rearguard Max Wanner. Wanner appeared in 17 WHL games with the Moose Jaw Warriors this past season, scoring four points (4 a).
Offense isn’t the name of the game for Wanner, he’s more of a shutdown defenseman but is described as a solid skater. He’s played just 22 WHL games in his career, however, so not much is known about him just yet.
The hope is that Wanner, in a normal 2021-22 season, will get a big role with the Warriors and will take a step in his development.