I'm not sure about the rest of you, but personally I couldn't sleep last night. I always have trouble sleeping on Oilers Day Eve. Fans of other teams don't get to celebrate the wonders that is Oilers Day, and unfortunately have to spend their day planning out Playoff parties, spending their hard earned money on tickets, and deciding whether they are going to go to a bar, someone's house, or one of the events around the city to watch a game.
That is a huge amount of stress and luckily Bob Nicholson and the Oilers organization have found a way to give fans a thrill without all of the stress involved in watching a well fought playoff series. Did any of you see Bob Nicholson speak yesterday? The Oilers won't have to deal with those kinds of stresses for a loooooong time.
Thus we get back to the wonderful day at hand, Oilers Day, known by other fanbases as the NHL Draft Lottery. Currently the Edmonton Oilers, who finished 25th overall this season have a 20.4% chance of drafting in the top 3, and a 6.5% chance at drafting 1st overall. "Sean," you might say..."a 6.5% chance doesn't seem like great odds to win at something." That doesn't matter my imaginary friend, for it is Oilers Day.
There are two players that stand well above the rest in this years NHL Draft; Jack Hughes, the smaller dynamic centre of the USHL and Kaapo Kakko, the offensive Finnish force in the SM-liiga. Both young men are well above the rest of the pack and are the most NHL ready prospects to jump right in for the 2019/2020 season.
Here is what Cam Robinson of Dobber Prospects had to say about Jack Hughes:
"Hughes brings dynamic acceleration, top-end speed, edgework, puck skills… I can keep going but you get the idea."
and Kaapo Kakko:
"Top-line forward with upside to be a franchise player. Known as a winger but is also capable of playing down the middle. More of a playmaker but also very good at finishing plays. Excellent hands, vision and puck-protection skills, and has a great shot as well"
Early in the year, Jack Hughes was the clear cut #1 overall pick but now the conversation has shifted with both of these players being discussed. Personally I think Kakko will be a better fit with the Oilers. To compare, Patrik Laine had 17 goals, 16 assists in the SM-liiga in his draft season; Kakko has 22 goals and 16 assists. He is a dynamic winger who also is being discussed as a potential centre as well.
There is less consensus after these two players in regards to the #3 spot. There is Vasili Podkolzin, a big skilled winger, Kirby Dach, a playmaking centre, and Dylan Cozens, another centreman. None of these players carry the same hype as the first two picks, but all are strong candidates for the #3 spot.
Should something strange in the cosmos occur, and Edmonton does not win one of the top three picks, there are still some notable names in the top 10. Matthew Boldy, the 187lb winger from the US Under 18, another college boy and centre in Trevor Zegras, and another centre from the Kootenay Ice in Peyton Krebs. It is definitely a centres draft this year.
Once the cards are drawn tonight, we will have plenty of time to look at where the Edmonton Oilers are drafting and start to create our own mock drafts and prospect breakdowns. It is the most exciting time of the year. Aren't you all glad we are discussing this rather than some silly playoff match-ups?