a·cu·men [ak-yuh-muhn] noun: keen insight; shrewdness

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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

04/26/11 18.0 The Best of the Rest

Now that we've looked at some possibilities of how the Oilers could use the Los Angeles Kings' pick to move up at the draft, it's time to have a look at some of the players that might be available and of interest to the Oilers at number 19 overall. The Kings being eliminated on Monday by San Jose means that the pick the Oilers receive will be no worse than 19th. For the sake of argument let's assume that's where it will be. What if the Oilers don't trade up?

The Oilers would probably like to select a defenseman with the 19th pick if they use the 1st pick on a center and the opposite would probably be true if they take a defenseman 1st. Because we don't know who the Oilers will pick first, the following list is comprised of both centers and defenseman that might still be around at 19th overall. Also, in the latter half of the draft it's especially important to take the best player available, which means it would be alright to take two centers or two defensemen if that's what the scouts deem is best. There are two wingers on this list as well.

Scott Mayfield: D 6'4", 197 lbs, 52 games played in USHL, 7-9-16, 159 pim, minus-18

Perhaps the poor man's Duncan Siemens in this draft, Mayfield is a big, nasty defenseman with a good first pass. His skillset may be a bit overlapped by players already in the Oilers' system like Alex Plante and Colten Teubert, but you can never really have too many of these guys kicking around. He's the type of player that could easily go inside the top 20, or could fall to somewhere in round 2. He was #24 among North Americans in Central Scouting's final rankings, which is why he is on this list. His intention is apparently to take the college route and play for the University of Denver next year.

Zack Phillips: C, 6'1", 178 lbs, 67 games in QMJHL (St. John), 38-57-95, 16 pim, plus-48

A talented player on a very talented St. John team, Phillips is sharing time on the Sea Dogs' top line with Jonathan Huberdeau. He currently has 17 points in 11 playoff games with a plus-7 rating. Phillips took 969 draws during the regular season and won 435 of them, for a modest 45% success rate. In the playoffs he's been slightly better, winning 49% of 197 draws taken. Phillips is ranked at #15 among North Americans by Central Scouting, but there are several Europeans who could potentially go ahead of him, pushing him back to 19 or later.

Mark Scheifele: C, 6'2", 182 lbs, 66 games played in OHL (Barrie), 22-53-75, 35 pim, minus-22

2010-11 was Scheifele's first season in the OHL, which means that he will be a bit of a project forward for the team that takes him. He has good size and a good set of hands and is an adept playmaker, as evidenced by his 53 assists. He's ranked 16th among North Americans by Central Scouting.

Matt Puempel: LW, 6'0, 196 lbs, 55 games played in OHL (Peterborough), 34-35-69, 49 pim, minus-33

After putting up 64 points in 59 games (1.08 ppg) as an OHL rookie, he managed just a 5 point improvement this year with 69 points in 55 games (1.25 ppg). These aren't massive numbers by any stretch of the imagination, and any hopes that Puempel might break out offensively as a sophomore were never quite fulfilled. It's been said about him that he has good puck control and isn't afraid to do the dirty work in the corners. Will probably need more time in the OHL. He's ranked at #28 by Central Scouting.

David Musil: D, 6'3", 198 lbs, 62 games played in WHL (Vancouver), 6-19-25, 83 pim, even

A strong possibility for the 19th overall pick, Musil is a very big body who can skate well and possesses a good pass. His father Frank is a scout for the Oilers who played 797 NHL games of his own, including 69 for Edmonton. He's not an overly physical player despite his size, but he isn't afraid of physicality either. Musil's point production is down this year from 32 points in 2009-10 to the 25 he had this year, but if he's still available when Steve Tambellini goes back to the podium, don't be surprised if his name gets called. He's ranked #38 in North America by Central Scouting, so if he slips to #31 overall the Oilers might snag him there.

Boone Jenner: C, 6'1", 204 lbs, 63 games played in OHL (Oshawa), 25-41-66, 57 pim, plus-10

A young man who models his game after Jarome Iginla, Jenner is another big body (noticing a trend here?). The Oilers have an organizational mandate to get bigger, and Jenner definitely fits the bill. He has good offensive tools but he's not a prolific scorer, though he did manage better than a point per game this season. His Oshawa Generals ran into Ryan Strome's Niagra Ice Dogs in the playoffs and were eliminated, but Jenner managed 12 points in the 10 playoff games (7-5-12). Ranked 18th in North America by Central Scouting, Jenner is another player who could potentially slip to the early second round.

Tomas Jurco: RW, 6'2", 187 lbs, 60 games played in QMJHL (St. John), 31-25-56, 17 pim, plus-46

Another trend that's forming is the quality of prospects on this year's St. John Sea Dogs - Huberdeau is not alone. Jurco is a wizard with the puck and isn't afraid to use his size to score. He's a shootout afficianado, and he's very difficult to move from the front of the net. These may seem like contradictions (see: Dustin Penner in shootouts), but he has combined size and puck skills. Jurco has also posted 14 points in St. John's 11 playoff games (5-9-14). This player may be a bit more of a long shot, but he will probably go some time late in the first round. Central Scouting has him ranked 20th in North America.


Of course, there are many other players who could happen to go 19th overall, and without the lists of every NHL team there's no way to know how they rank these players. Dylan McIlrath was set to go late in the first round last year before the Rangers selected him 10th overall. Tyler Pitlick was projected by The Hockey News to be a late first round pick and ended up slipping to #31 (much to the Oilers' delight). The above names are just some of the players that the Oilers might be interested in.

Musil seems like a good bet to be picked by the Oilers at some point in the draft because at least one of their scouts is extremely familiar with him, but much will depend on Stu McGregor and what Tambellini deems that the team needs.

None of these players look like they could step right into the NHL next year - not that that matters, as Tambellini has said - so if the Oilers are picking 19th, don't get too excited for a new game-breaker at training camp. Still, that 19th pick would help to add depth to an organization that's still in dire need of it. The injuries to the parent club have exposed the inability to make callups who can have a real impact at the NHL level, so continuing to add depth is paramount; especially as the crops of high-end youth step up to the Oilers full time. The Oilers are improving on that front with the likes of Hartikainen and Omark, but when those players make the NHL it will be even more important to have depth talent trailing behind.

Some of that talent could be had at 19th in this year's entry draft.

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