Every year on NHL.com, Adam Kimelman, Mike Morreale and Steven Hoffner release mock drafts. In fact, they release several. They come out through the season and are an indication of how some experts think the draft will play out. The interesting thing about these mock drafts is that they take into account the needs of the teams who are selecting in a certain position. The final mock drafts are out for these three, and they all agree on who the Oilers will take first overall. Not surprisingly, it's that undersized center from Red Deer with the great hands and vision. But where they don't all agree is what the Oilers will do with LA's pick. Unless something changes, the Oilers will be selecting 19th overall. Here's a look at the three mock drafts from NHL.com.
Adam Kimelman's mock draft has the Oilers taking goaltender Christopher Gibson 19th overall. Gibson's team, the Chicoutimi Sageuneens, made the QMJHL playoffs despite finishing 13th in an 18 team league with a record of 27-29-12. Despite the obvious shortcomings of the team, Gibson led the league with a .920 save percentage and was second in the league with a 2.42 goals against average. He also had four shutouts, which was good for a tie for second in the league. Only Jacob DeSerres of the St. John Sea Dogs had a better GAA, and he played 7 fewer games and faced 350 fewer shots than Gibson. DeSerres was also playing on the best team in the league.
The Oilers took goaltender Tyler Bunz last year, who is tracking very well, and they also have Olivier Roy in the fold from the 2009 draft. Roy lost the starting job at this year's World Junior Championship, but he's still an interesting prospect in goal. Do the Oilers need another goaltender? Christopher Gibson is ranked at #2 among North American goaltenders in Central Scouting's final rankings, but goalies tend to drop in the draft. The Hockey News had Olivier Roy ranked 38th overall in 2009's Draft Preview and he fell almost 100 spots to the Oilers at 133rd overall in the 5th round. Good though Gibson may be, it's a bit of a stretch to suggest that the Oilers should burn the 19th pick on him when he could easily fall to them later in the draft if they wanted him. Steve Tambellini has tended to take a goalie each draft year, but always in the later rounds. Gibson would have had to really impress for that trend to break.
Hoffner and Morreale's mock drafts both have the Oilers taking defenseman Jamieson Oleksiak 19th overall. This pick is probably more realistic, especially if the Oilers do take Nugent-Hopkins first. Oleksiak is ranked 13th among North American skaters by Central Scouting, so he could drop to number 19. Oleksiak is ranked at 17th overall by The Hockey News, and at 6'7" and 244 pounds, it's hard to imagine that he'll drop too far in this draft. An unnamed scout is quoted in The Hockey News Draft Preview as saying that Oleksiak is a poor-man's Tyler Myers. While he may not have the same hockey sense as Myers, Oleksiak is the massive shut-down type of defenseman that the Oilers will need going forward. However, the team has already taken steps in that direction by acquiring Colten Tuebert and drafting Alex Plante. On the other hand, the number of busts among very large players is high, so adding as many as possible is important if a team is going to have one that develops properly.
Oleksiak currently plays for Northeastern University, where he amassed 4 goals and 9 assists for 13 points in 38 games. He also had 57 penalty minutes.
It seems about as certain that the Oilers will take Nugent-Hopkins first overall as it is that Winnipeg will get the Atlanta Thrashers at this point, and in that case the organization will probably want to take a defenseman if they aren't able to use LA's pick to move up. Oleksiak is a decent option at 19th, and his size alone is justification enough for a team that is mostly itty-bitty. However, that doesn't mean that Christopher Gibson wouldn't be a solid pick as well, and if the Oilers get the chance they wouldn't be out of line in drafting him.