By Sean Patrick Ryan
With the Edmonton Oilers eliminated from the play-in round, the focus now shifts to the draft (I don’t want to talk about what happened).
We now know where the Oilers will select, sort of. Edmonton will likely pick #14 overall unless the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Phase 2 lottery then Edmonton would pick #15. Of course, the Oilers also have a chance at 1st overall but at this point, do they really deserve it?
If you’re interested in a full Top 31 list you can find mine here, you can also find my good buddy @19Simon19 list here. The general consensus Top 9 players to be drafted first are in no particular order: Lafreniere, Byfield, Stutzle, Drysdale, Rossi, Holtz, Raymond, Sanderson, and Perfetti. It’s also likely that either Anton Lundell (despite my ranking on him) or another defenceman (due to need) will go in the Top 13. Which means….
I’m fully confident at this point that Edmonton’s list will consist of 5 players:
- G Yaroslav Askarov
- F Jack Quinn
- F Seth Jarvis
- F Rodion Amirov
- F Dawson Mercer
I excluded Jan Mysak (who I have ranked as the 10th best prospect in the draft) mainly because most experts have him ranked considerably lower. Whoever drafts him will get a steal. However, if Edmonton wants to gamble or even trade down a bit and draft Mysak, I’d support it fully.
Dylan Holloway & Kaiden Guhle will also be under consideration at #14 but should not be the choice in my opinion.
Your next Edmonton Oiler is….
Ranked #14 in my Top 31 List
I’m not going to pretend I’m some sort of goalie expert because I am not. I do know Askarov has been highly touted for awhile now, every since he completely shut down a stacked USA team in the U18’s last spring. In fact, he has been outstanding on the International stage minus the most recent World Junior Championship where he struggled a bit.
Askarov is a hybrid goalie with good size, impressive athleticism and is technically sound. He has a real quick glove and shows great anticipation. But, that’s about it in terms of my analysis. I’m sure you can google “Askarov scouting report” if you want more a detailed breakdown.
Outlook: There were only about 6 or 7 netminders in the NHL drafted in the 1st round, that were ranked in the Top 40 in games played this past season. That means, there have many more busts than hits over the years. Especially ones who shined in International tournaments. So for me, there is always risk involved in drafting a goalie in the 1st round. But, Askarov appears to be the real deal and if he lives up to his potential, he should be staple in net for a franchise for many years. I doubt he is still around at #14 but if he is, can you blame the Oilers for drafting him?
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Quinn is a late 2001 birthdate who has really blossomed into a legit goal scoring threat this season. He’s much quicker and stronger than last season and appeared to play with great confidence. His shot and release are elite. He has such soft hands around the net too. He scores off the rush, off-balanced, and can stickhandle thru traffic. Quite often you will see him blow by defenders with his speed. His edgework is also terrific which allows him to execute some nasty dekes. Probably an underrated playmaker too since he is a shoot first type player. Overall, Quinn just has great offensive instincts and is a constant threat on almost every shift.
As far as the rest of his game goes, Quinn is pretty much solid in every area with no glaring weaknesses. He shows good effort in all 3 zones and battles hard for the puck. He shows a good hockey IQ and has a lot of experience on the PK which adds to his versatility.
I also want to point out that Jack Quinn scored an insane 34 even strength goals. It’s important to note too that he did not play with Marco Rossi 5 on 5 either. That’s what makes his numbers so impressive. He drove the play on the 2nd line which made Ottawa such an offensive threat.
Outlook: Stylistically, Quinn reminds me an awful lot of Kyle Connor. He likes to score, he knows how to score, and he scores a lot. He should be a bonafide NHL’er one day soon. Just a slight bit leery that he’s one of the oldest prospects in this draft and played on such a strong OHL team. Otherwise, he’d be even higher. There’s no denying the offensive skill-set which should translate well to the NHL. He’d be the perfect compliment to Connor McDavid in my view.
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Jarvis is an absolute workhorse and very talented playmaker. He processes the game quickly even at high speeds. He’s such a terrific skater who doesn’t break stride even with the puck. Loves to take the puck hard to the net off the rush. He plays with a ton of energy and pace it’s really tough for defenders to handle. Great hands in tight. Displays great vision and poise with the puck. Dynamic offensive threat but also versatile capable of playing multiple roles.
Outlook: Stylistically, Jarvis reminds me so much of Kailer Yamamoto as a prospect. In fact, they both had 42 goals, 98 and 99 points respectively in their draft years (7 more GP for Yamo). Jarvis is bigger & probably a bit faster which is why he is ranked this high. I was even tempted to rank him higher quite honesty but it’s such a deep group at the top I couldn’t. He needs to get stronger as most kid’s his age do, but he’s a gamer who brings it every single night. Should be a high impact player in the NHL. Definitely a lot of Matt Barzal in his game too hence the high ranking.
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Amirov is smart, fast, skilled, and owns a high work ethic. In other words, he’s my kind of player. His hockey IQ is quite often mentioned as one of his best qualities, but he’s also a beast with the puck. He’s solid in all 3 zones and plays a very consistent, all-round game. In terms of puck protection, I think @hckyprospects on Twitter said it best: “You have to kill him to get the puck off of him”. I personally love his work ethic and tenacity. He always impressed me internationally with his decision making, and watching him play in the MHL & KHL, he always found ways to make an impact. Highly skilled player with very quick set of hands. Equally dangerous as a scorer or playmaker.
Outlook: I ranked Amirov behind Lucas Raymond because he’s almost 6 months older, and doesn’t quite have the elite qualities that Raymond has. But, his overall game might translate better. So smart, so reliable, so versatile. Amirov is a complete player in my mind who is tenacious on the puck, and competes hard every shift. I definitely think he is underrated by many due to the leagues he plays in. Very polished with no real weaknesses, Amirov looks like a bonafide future NHL’er. Almost reminds me of a lighter version of Andrei Svechnikov.
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Dawson Mercer is another one of my favourite prospects. He has a non-stop motor, great hockey IQ, is an excellent skater, and a very solid 2-way playmaker. He’s not quite as dynamic as Jarvis but very similar in that he brings a ton of speed & skill to the table. Another late 2001 birthdate, he and Jack Quinn are neck and neck for me but I gave the slight edge to Quinn just because of his goal scoring production. But make no mistake, Mercer is an extremely talented kid with a lot of elite qualities himself. He can stickhandle in a phone booth and no one works harder than him on the ice. He also has great vision and will sacrifice his body to make a play. One of the most well-rounded players in the Top 15.
Outlook: Jonathan Huberdeau was known as a terrific stickhandler and passer who scored a pile of goals in is draft year, and Dawson Mercer reminds me so much of him. In fact, Mercer was pretty much on pace with Huberdeau for awhile until he got hurt and then ultimately traded. Whether Mercer is able to reach that potential at the NHL level remains to be seen. But, he should have a bright future thanks to his natural skill-set, skating ability & work ethic. Mercer is pretty much a coach’s dream as a player. For Oilers fans, think Ryan Smyth but better stickhandling.
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So there’s your Top 5 likely candidates to be the next Edmonton Oiler. What are you thoughts? Who do you like?
Feel free to comment via Twitter @TheOilKnight