30 in 30 Edmonton Oilers

Peter Harling


Edmonton Oilers logo

For the Oilers, the best move they made was simply not making a move at all. For days, weeks and months there were rumours swirling around a potential trade for a RHD, and there was good reason to believe the Oilers may have been willing to part with the fourth overall selection.


Despite the constant chatter on the NHL draft floor leading up to the third overall selection between Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli, Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalanen and Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving, no deal was made.


As we all know ever to well now, the Blue Jackets made the decision to select Pierre-Luc Dubois, which in turn gave the Oilers the opportunity  to select Jesse Puljujarvi – the player everyone and their mother expected to be drafted by fellow Finn Kekalanen.

puljujarvi draft


The opportunity to draft Puljujarvi comes at a time when the Oilers were clearly in a position to make a trade. With him standing at 6’3 and over 200 lbs, he fits right into the mold of what Chiarelli seems to be getting at and at the same time, he is drawing comparisons to another Finn Teemu Selanne.


He is an offensive monster, with a great ability to get up and down the ice controlling the speed of play with his skating. He has a knack for the net, and oozes the high end offensive zone ability that will make him a superstar scorer in the NHL. 


All in all, it’s fair to say that Puljujarvi has the ability to be an absolute staple on the Oilers top line in the future. He could very well be the Jari Kurri to Connor McDavid.

Not bad, not bad.


In the second round, the Oilers selected LW Tyler Benson from the Vancouver Giants. The rugged winger is an Edmonton native, and stands at 5-11, 197 lbs.

Tyler Benson

Benson plays a sound, reliable two-way game and has a hard shot to go along with some soft hands. He is a player that is built for the professional game and his ability to play a solid game in both ends of the rinks makes him a solid draft choice for the Oilers. His draft stock plummeted after injuries derailed his draft season.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">…Tyler Benson looked rusty-no surprise has played 2 games since the New Year.<br>Tough to compare 26 year-old Scott Allen vs Benson (18)</p>&mdash; Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) <a href="https://twitter.com/Bob_Stauffer/status/750881612741513217">July 7, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

Benson has the ability to one day be a top nine forward for the Oilers.


The Oilers used their three third round draft choices all on defencemen. 6-4, 198 lb Markus Neimelainen was selected from Saginaw (OHL), 6-2, 200 lb Matthew Cairns was selected from Georgetown (OJHL) and 6-3, 209 lb Filip Berglund from Skelleftea in Sweden.

Niemelainen is an all situations; two-way defenceman that needs to spend some time working on his footwork. His big frame suggests that he still has room to grow and could very well sit in the 220 range by the time he nears any NHL action.


Like with the defenceman selected before him, Cairns is a two-way defenceman who impacts the game in all three zones. He is a highly intelligent defender, and has a knack for putting points on the board.


Despite his size, Berglund isn’t an overly physical player. Outside of that, he is an offensive weapon with a strong shot and a strong ability to move the puck up the ice. His foot speed is a concern but sometimes that can come with time.


The Oilers had no fourth round selection, but rather two fifth round picks using them on G Dylan Wells and LW Graham McPhee.


Wells is a moderately sized goaltender (6-2, 197 lbs) who put up some rather underwhelming numbers in the OHL with the Peterborough Petes. Despite that, he tracks the puck very well and is a calm goaltender showing little panic or distress. He is very much a project at this point in time.


McPhee, the son of soon-to-be Las Vegas GM George McPhee, Standing at 6-0, 173 lbs he is the smallest player drafted by the Oilers this year. Although he has a small frame, he plays with more size than he shows. Offensively, he protects the puck well and isn’t shy about driving the net as a shoot-first player.


In the sixth round, the Oilers selected Aapeli Rasanen from the Finnish Junior league. At 6-0, 196 lbs, the right handed shot center is a high-IQ player who projects to potentially be a bottom-six, or replacement level player. He has a pass first mentality who uses that high IQ to set up teammates. Like Benson, Rasanen has a big fall in draft stock this year.


The Oilers used their seventh round selection on 6-5, 207 lb defenceman Vincent Desharnais out of the NCAA. He isn’t known for having a real jump to his game, and it is clear he is simply a long-term project at this point.


After the draft, the Oilers made the aforementioned move sending Taylor Hall to New Jersey for Adam Larsson. The deal stings, because it isn’t true market value for a player of Taylor Hall’s stature.


None the less, what’s done is done and it will be interesting to see how Larsson fits into the Oilers system moving forward. He is on an extremely reasonable salary at just $4.2 million per year.

The Oilers were able to open up some cap space in the Hall-Larsson trade and used that space to sign one of the free agency big fish in Milan Lucic. Lucic will step in and fill the hole left by Hall on the Left wing in the Oilers top six. If Hall can keep up with McDavid and play on his left side, his fantasy value could be at an all-time high.


Drake Caggiula

Just last week, the Oilers finished their rookie development camp in Jasper, Alta. where rookies had a chance to showcase their worth. One of the highlights from this year’s camp was NCAA signee Drake Caggiula from the North Dakota squad that won the national title. The development camp will certainly give him a glimpse as to what the pro-style of game is and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see him get time in the NHL this year.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Some thoughts from Jasper and Billy Moores Cup:<br>Drake Caggiula was the best forward IMO. Quick, creative and assertive…</p>&mdash; Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) <a href="https://twitter.com/Bob_Stauffer/status/750880984480948225">July 7, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

The Oilers used this development camp to sign Ethan Bear to his Entry Level Contract. The former fifth round selection had a phenomenal season with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL nearly scoring a point per game. As a right shot, he is one of the few rightie defenceman in the Oilers system. This makes him an important piece to the Oilers, and I can’t wait to see how long it takes for him to be in the NHL.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Oilers?src=hash">#Oilers</a> Sr. Dir. of Player Development Rick Carierre &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/TomGazzola">@TomGazzola</a> talk Orientation Camp on location at <a href="https://twitter.com/SportChek">@Sportchek</a>.<a href="https://t.co/DNzAuxTLLh">https://t.co/DNzAuxTLLh</a></p>&mdash; Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) <a href="https://twitter.com/EdmontonOilers/status/745003875858427904">June 20, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

This year, there were 36 players that were involved in their rookie development camp ran by assistant coaches Jay Woodcroft, Ian Hebers and Jim Johnson. Todd McLellan was also at the game, but rather chipped in from off the ice. The full roster list for development camp can be found here.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Drake Caggiula, Josh Melnick &amp; Tomas Soustal scored beauty shootout goals tonight! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BillyMooresCup?src=hash">#BillyMooresCup</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OilersCamp?src=hash">#OilersCamp</a><a href="https://t.co/jz9UgN6CpD">https://t.co/jz9UgN6CpD</a></p>&mdash; Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) <a href="https://twitter.com/EdmontonOilers/status/750907445220823042">July 7, 2016</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

Every year these camps allow for invaluable time with young prospects who one day hope to crack an NHL roster. Jesse Puljujarvi was in attendance, but didn’t participate in the camp as he is recovering from a knee injury.

Zach Laing


Name Fantasy Upside NHL Certainty
Topi Rönni 6.5 6.5
Martin Pospisil 5.0 8.5
Hunter Brzustewicz 7.5 8.5
Marshall Rifai 4.0 6.0
Oskari Salminen 3.0 3.0
Arnaud Durandeau 5.5 4.0
Tyce Thompson 5.5 5.5
Beck Malenstyn 2.5 5.5
Hendrix Lapierre 7.5 9.0
Ivan Miroshnichenko 8.5 9.0