Thoughts going into the NHL Entry Draft

My two cents on how I think Alberta’s two teams, the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, should approach draft day.

BY ZACHARY CORMIER

Lacombe Express

Gotta love draft week. It’s like Christmas for sports reporters. Seven days after the Stanley Cup final where there are no pesky hockey games to get in the way of pointless speculation about who’s going to pick who.

With six of the seven Canadian NHL teams picking in the top 10 at the NHL Entry Draft on Friday, (and the Ottawa Senators picking 12th) my Twitter feed has been filled to bursting with breakdowns and analysis of which prospect each team will pick or whether they’ll even keep their pick at all.

So with that in mind, I’d like to give my two cents on how I think Alberta’s two teams, the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames, should approach draft day.

Hey, I never said I was above the pointless speculation.

Let’s start with the Flames, who have the sixth overall pick this year.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Calgary’s biggest need right now is goaltending. With Kari Ramo, Jonas Hiller and Joni Ortio all gone this off season, the Flames are without a starting goalie and a reliable backup, not an ideal situation.

But somewhat overshadowed by Calgary’s need for a back stopper more reliable than a Shooter Tutor is their desperate need for size on the wing.

At present, the Flames have some of the most highly skilled young players in the NHL with Sam Bennett, Sean Monahan and, of course, Johnny Gaudreau.

That’s all well and good, but the biggest of those three players is Monahan at 6’3”, 195 lbs. When you put them up against a player like, say, Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks, who weighs in at 6’4”, 221 lbs., you’re gonna have a bad time.

Luckily, there are a couple of good options for Calgary in this year’s draft. Alexander Nylander comes to mind as a skilled forward, but he’s pretty small. Then there’s Pierre-Luc Dubois, the likely fifth overall pick. He would be a great fit on the Flames but it’s unlikely that the Vancouver Canucks, who hold the fifth overall, will pass on him.

That leaves Matthew Tkachuck of the London Knights (6’2”, 188 lbs.), whose outstanding performance at the MasterCard Memorial Cup this year all but guaranteed that he’d go fourth overall and the presumptive third overall pick in Jesse Puljujärvi who, at this point, will be heading to Columbus.

So the way forward for the Flames is pretty clear they need to trade up if they want to maximize the highest draft pick they’ve had in recent years.

Now for the Oilers, who hold the fourth overall pick trade it and get some defensive help.

This is the only way forward for Edmonton, who have been great offensively thanks to four first overall picks in the last five years but who have been, to put it charitably, not that great on defense.

If Edmonton wants a veteran defender, they’ll likely be able to find one by trading down out of the top 10. They can then use the later draft pick to select one of the phenomenal young defenders that are available later in the first round like Olli Juolevi of the Knights or Jake Bean from the Calgary Hitmen.

The NHL Entry Draft takes place this Friday in Buffalo, New York with the Toronto Maple Leafs picking first overall.

zcormier@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

Lacombe Generals clip Eagles’ wings in 6-2 victory

Lacombe looking to continue to roll against Innisfail next week

‘Hey Doreen!’ becomes the latest mural in Lacombe

Digitally created mural features Nanton Street in 1949

Lacombe’s Cow Patti Theatre is back

Dinner theatre returns for 22nd season

WATCH: Robotics Mentor gives prestigious personal award to LCHS

Warren Kreway won the Woody Flowers Award for mentorship last May

Ponoka County fire crews handle second baler fire in 12 hours

Fire crews handled a baler fire just west of Gull Lake

WATCH: Robotics Mentor gives prestigious personal award to LCHS

Warren Kreway won the Woody Flowers Award for mentorship last May

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Pot sales down by nearly 70% on Day 2 of legalization in B.C.

Several products on BC Cannabis Store are still sold out

Colourfully named cannabis products appeal to youth, Tory health critic says

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says the Liberal government needs to do more to ensure cannabis products available online are not enticing to young people

B.C. high school teacher faces sexual assault charges

A Mt. Boucherie teacher has been charged with child luring, sexual exploitation and sexual assault.

Fashion Fridays: You can never have enough shoes

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Migrants, police mass in town on Guatemala-Mexico border

Many of the more than 2,000 Hondurans in a migrant caravan trying to wend its way to the United States left spontaneously with little more than the clothes on their backs and what they could quickly throw into backpacks.

Trump: ‘Severe’ consequences if Saudis murdered Khashoggi

Pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak on Wednesday said it had obtained audio recordings of the alleged killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Most Read