The former dynasty of the 1980’s has had a decade of not being able to win anything other than draft lotteries. With current former first overall draft picks from previous drafts on the roster such as Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov, Edmonton struck oil again winning their fourth draft lottery in six years.
No draft lottery since 2005 was more significant than the 2015 draft as the Oilers won the right to select generational talent Connor McDavid.
Despite the Oilers selecting in the top ten of the entry draft for the past seven years in a row and cherry picking elite talent in the first round, their late round drafting has failed to produce much of a supporting cast with little to no players remaining with the club that have had much, if any of an impact.
With a new management regime at the helm that does not consist of throwback alumni from the golden days, but rather experienced hockey minds, the future is slowly beginning show promise.
1. Connor McDavid: Centre – 6’1” / 195 lbs
Drafted: First overall in 2015 draft by the Oilers.
“McDavid, regarded as the top draft prospect since Sidney Crosby, has game-changing potential. He was third in the Ontario Hockey League in the regular season with 120 points despite playing 47 games. He’s been even better in the OHL playoffs; he had 11 points in a four-game sweep of London and leads all players in goals and points.” – Mike Morreale of NHL.com
2. Darnell Nurse: Defence – 6’4” / 205 lbs
Drafted: Seventh overall in the first round 2013 draft by the Oilers.
Nurse is a strong two-way defenseman with good size and mobility. Plays a very solid game, good positioning and rarely makes any mistakes. Enjoys playing physical – Elite Prospects
3.Griffin Reinhart: Defence – 6’4” / 217 lbs
Drafted: Fourth overall in the first round of the 2012 draft by the Islanders.
Acquired: Trade from New York Islanders in 2015
Skating is the most commonly cited issue with his play, and it is a concern. I’d say Reinhart fits the “skates well for a big man” label; he’s a long way from being a slug but start him flat-footed in the neutral zone against Carl Hagelin or Jason Chimera and bad things are going to happen…Hockey sense gets mentioned a lot by the people who like the player, including Oilers’ executive Bob Green, and with good reason. Reinhart’s defensive zone positioning is quite strong; it was funny watching him in his second career NHL game with his head on a swivel directing defensive zone traffic for the Islanders. He just knows where to be…At his best, Reinhart makes a good first pass, keeps the play alive in the offensive zone and has a heavy shot. His first night in the league he took the puck in the defensive zone, saw Carolina making a change, and made a two-line pass that led directly to an Islanders’ goal. – Jonathan Willis Edmonton Journal
4. Iiro Pakarinen: Right Wing – 6’1” / 215 lbs
Drafted: 184th overall in the seventh round of the 2011 draft by the Panthers.
Acquired: Signed as a free agent
Pakarinen plays like a demon in tight spots, and his stick handling ability and skating agility compares favorably to any of the top young players in Finland. Rather than focus on artistic playmaking, however, Pakarinen prefers the physical elements of the game. Offensively, he does have a hard, accurate shot which suggests he could be a dangerous sniper. While his physical style explains his pedestrian offensive numbers, that abrasiveness has gained him both attention and notoriety from scouts. As coaches and scouts will tell you, it’s easier to tone down a player who is too aggressive than it is to try and instill competitiveness.” – Hockey’s Future
5. Bogdan Yakimov: Centre – 6’5” / 232 lbs
Drafted: 83rd overall in the third round of the 2013 draft by the Oilers
Yakimov is a huge, powerful young player who is a monster on the ice. He has strong hockey sense and good positional play, which makes up for his sub-par skating skills. Despite a lack of foot speed he has impressive hands and good offensive skills. After spending two seasons playing at the men’s level as a teenager in Russia, Yakimov’s game is a bit more mature than most 20-year-olds, though he will likely need time to adapt to the smaller rinks and tighter checking in North America. – Hockeys Future
6. Anton Slepyshev: Left Wing – 6’2” / 194 lbs
Drafted: 88th overall in the third round of the 2013 draft by the Oilers.
Slepyshev is a talented offensive player. He loves to shoot and has a very good array of shots. His wrist shot and snap shot both are hard, accurate, and feature a quick release. Slepyshev has very good hands, and is able to dangle around defencemen. He’s not afraid to drive the net and generated chances in close with his quick hands. He is a hard worker engaging in and winning numerous puck battles along the boards, and is willing to take abuse in front of the net. Slepyshev could however use some work on his playmaking.”– Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports
7. Laurent Brossoit: Goalie – 6’3” / 202 lbs
Drafted: 164th overall in the 6th round of the 2011 draft by the Flames.
Acquired: Trade with Calgary in 2013
At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, he is blessed with ample size and strength .. he owns good quickness and above-average agility in addition to a quick glove hand .. while he understands his body needs to get in front of the puck, he will sacrifice another part of the net in order to take away the likeliest shot option ..rebound control has been a work in progress .. has quickly worked his way into Edmonton’s goaltending picture .. NHL backup potential. – McKeens Hockey
8. Jujhar Khaira: Left Wing – 6’3” / 214 lbs
Drafted: 63rd overall in the third round of the 2012 draft
Khaira is a large forward who dominated in Junior A hockey with his size and work ethic. Still a work in progress when it comes to his foot speed, he has the drive and determination to make it in the pro game. Despite his prototypical power forward size he has struggled to score with consistency at the pro level; playing more of an energy and checking role to this point. – Hockeys Future
9. Anders Nilsson: Goalie – 6’5” / 227 lbs
Drafted: 62nd overall in the third round of the 2009 draft by the Islanders.
Acquired: Trade with Chicago Blackhawks in 2015
A huge goaltender that is technically skilled. Nilsson has good hockey smarts plays with calmness and has good mental strength. Challenges the shooters and has been very consistent during his career, rarely having bad games. Furthermore, he is athletic and quite agile. – Elite Prospects
10. Ethan Bear: Defence – 5-11 / 200 lbs
Drafted: 124th overall in the fifth round of the 2015 draft by the Oilers
Excellent defensive defenseman who has an aggressive stick, blocks tons of shots, handles one on ones, strips away pucks and refuses to any room in his zone. Clears the front. Will relieve pressure by carrying the puck out of his zone. Excels on the pK and is a key component to his team’s success there. His offensive side needs work and he probably needs to be more confident enough with shooting the puck. – Draftsite
Recent Roster Graduates
Leon Draisaitl, Nail Yakupov, Oscar Klefbom, Martin Marincin, Tyler Pitlick.
Players under 25 years old and with less than 25 career NHL games played qualify as a prospect for purpose of this list.
Written by Peter Harling, who can be found on twitter @pharling