Connor McDavid (Adam d'Oliveira Photography on McDavid head, Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images on Edmonton body, manipulated by Erika Vanderveer)
It didn’t seem that long ago the Oilers made the proud choice selecting Taylor Hall over Tyler Seguin with the first pick in the 2010 draft. Selecting first overall for a fourth time in six years is bound to pay huge dividends this time. Have you heard of Connor McDavid?
It didn’t seem that long ago the Oilers made the proud choice selecting Taylor Hall over Tyler Seguin with the first pick in the 2010 draft. That was supposed to be Edmonton’s first step forward after bottoming out in 2009-10. Hard to believe, then, that next season will be Hall’s sixth in the NHL, and the anchor is still caught among the seaweed. Selecting first overall for a fourth time in six years is bound to pay huge dividends this time. Have you heard of Connor McDavid?
Round 1, pick 1
Round 1, pick 16
Round 2, pick 33
Round 2, pick 57
Round 3, pick 79
Round 3, pick 86
Round 4, pick 117
Round 5, pick 124
Round 6, pick 154
Round 7, pick 184
In no particular order, the Oilers need more reliable goaltending, a good base of top-four defensemen and scoring depth in the middle six. But because few big-name players reach unrestricted free agency July 1, it’s improbable Edmonton can fill those needs in a single off-season. It’s a better bet the Oilers hire a coach who can push the right buttons and find a way to snap the losing culture.
The Oilers must become industry leaders when it comes to drafting and developing players. Loading up on draft picks is a start. Prior to Chicago’s revival, the Hawks made 85 picks in 59 rounds spanning seven drafts from 2000 to 2006. That’s 26 additional picks acquired through trades.
The Oilers don’t have a ton of cap space to work with and will have to be creative. The arrival of McDavid may lure quality free agents to join a band of young stars. Goalie Viktor Fasth will be gone, but a new No. 1 will want as much as or more than the $2.9-million cap hit Fasth had.
IN THE SYSTEM 2015-16:
You can write the name Darnell Nurse in ink on your lineup card. He has terrific credentials, but there’s a danger in expecting too much from a 20-year-old rookie defenseman. A spot will also be open for Leon Draisaitl – perhaps this time with some sheltered minutes.
DID YOU KNOW:
The Edmonton goalie with the most wins since the 2004-05 lockout isn’t Dwayne Roloson (78), Devan Dubnyk (61) or Nikolai Khabibulin (43). It’s Oklahoma City’s Laurent Brossoit. He had 98 wins over three seasons with the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings.