For the first time in three years, the Edmonton Oilers will not have their pick of the litter and select first overall in the NHL Draft. On Monday, the Oilers were awarded the seventh pick in this year’s draft to be held June 30th in New Jersey. The Colorado Avalanche won the draft lottery, giving them the first pick. The Avalanche moved up one spot, having finished 29th this season. The Florida Panthers, who finished with the worst record this season, dropped down to the second spot. Portland Winterhawks defenceman Seth Jones is expected to be selected by the Avalanche with the first pick this June. Jones, a Denver product and son of former NBA player Popeye Jones, led the United States to a gold medal at the World Junior Championships in January and has the Winterhawks in the WHL final. The 6-foot-3, 208-pound, smooth-skating defenceman has all the tools to become a franchise player. The Oilers don’t stand a chance of getting him. Nor will they probably be able to get their hands on Nate MacKinnon of the Halifax Mooseheads, who had 32 goals and 75 points in 44 games this season and has added another 28 points in 12 playoff games. However, there’ll still be a handful of quality players available by the time it comes for new Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish to make his team’s selection. There is a good chance the Oilers may move the pick in order to get some immediate help for next season. But if they don’t like the offers received or simply decide to use the pick, there are options for the taking. Here’s a look at who might still be available for the Oilers by the time it comes for them to choose. email@example.com twitter.com/SUNdvandiest Valeri Nichushkin, Traktor Chelyabinsk, KHL Draft ranking: No. 5 6-foot-4, 196 pounds DOB: March 4, 1995 Local hockey fans may remember Nichushkin as the player who scored the overtime goal against Canada in the bronze medal game at the World Junior hockey championships in January. It was the only goal of the tournament for the 18-year-old, but it proved to be a big one, sending the Canadians and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins home empty handed. Nichushkin also took part in the recent under-18 world championships, scoring four goals and adding three assists in six games for Russia. A big body who has still yet to fill out, Nichushkin has the attributes to become a dominant power forward. He was called up by the KHL club in Chelyabinsk once the NHL lockout was settled and went on to score four goals in 18 regular-season games playing with men. He then added six goals and nine points in 25 playoff games as Traktor lost in the KHL final to Dynamo Moscow. Elias Lindholm, Brynas, Swedish Elite League Draft ranking: No. 6 Centre 5-foot-11, 181 pounds Dec 2, 1994 DOB: Dec. 2, 1994 Lindolm’s father Mikael had a cup of coffee with the Los Angeles Kings during the 1989-90 season playing 18 games. Elias is expected to play a few more NHL games than his dad, having spent part of the last two seasons playing against men in the Swedish Elite League. This year, Lindholm, 18, scored 11 goals and added 19 assists in 48 games with Brynas. He also scored two goals and added a pair of assists in six games at the World Junior championships in January as Sweden took the silver medal, losing to the United States in the final. A smaller centre, Lindolm is probably not the type of player the Oilers are looking for at the moment, having had issues with smaller, Swedish forwards in the past. Anybody know what Robert Nilsson an Linus Omark are up to? Sean Monahan, Ottawa, OHL Draft ranking: No. 7 Centre 6-foot-2, 186 pounds DOB: Oct 12, 1994 Sean Monahan was the best player this year on a bad Ottawa 67’s team that won only 14 games all season. Monahan was able to score 31 goals and collect 78 points in 58 games, yet still finished with a minus-18 rating. Monahan is a big, strong centre that the Oilers could use in their lineup and if he’s still around at the No. 7 position, they’ll probably take a good, long look at him. Monahan might not be able to make the jump to the NHL next season and may need another year of junior, which runs the risk of sending him back to a losing environment. The Oilers are trying to change the culture of their team by bringing in players who know how to win. The last time they drafted a good player from a really bad team in the first round, things didn’t work out as well as Marc-Antoine Pouliot is no longer around.
Variety of picks in the middle ground for Edmonton Oilers to consider at the NHL Entry Draft
Edmonton Sun | May 1