Entering the 2017 NHL draft, the Edmonton Oilers held eight picks. They ended up only drafting seven players due to trading the 82nd pick and the 126th pick for the 78th overall selection. As expected, the Oilers went heavy on forwards and light on the backend. They ended up selecting four forwards, two defensemen, and one goalie.
Kailer Yamamoto: 1st round, 22nd overall
Peter Chiarelli is known for taking his big-bodied players, but with Yamamoto still on the board he decided to go with skill over size. Yamamoto played in the WHL with the Spokane Chiefs, where he put up 42 goals and 57 assists for 99 points. Yamamoto made the Ivan Hlinka squad for Team USA, where he played outstanding, posting four goals and seven points in four games played.
Standing at 5’8 and weighing in at 146 pounds, Yamamoto was the smallest player in the draft, but what he doesn’t have in size he makes up for it in skill. The first thing you’ll notice other than his size is that his skating is elite and he’s easily one of the best skaters coming out of the draft. Not only is he fast but he is very agile as well as he uses his edges very well to get away from his opponents. Kailer isn’t scared of physical play but he’s very good at avoiding checks and often plays bigger than his 5’8 frame. Yamamoto has a very high hockey IQ and his vision is elite, he can make a lot happen out of nothing. If there is a knock on Kailer it’s that his shot needs some work. Yamamoto has the potential to be the future first line winger lining up beside Connor McDavid.
Stuart Skinner: 3rd round, 78th overall
Entering the third round of the draft, Edmonton had two selections. They held pick number 82 and pick number 84, but Peter Chiarelli decided to trade the 82nd overall pick and the 126th overall pick for the 78th overall selection. With that pick, the Oilers decided to select Edmonton- native, Stuart Skinner. Skinner was the starting goalie for the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL, starting 60 games, and posting a 3.26 goals against average and a .905% save percentage. He also played for Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka where he played to a 2.82 goals against average and a .860 save percentage. Skinner was recently invited to Team Canada’s World Junior camp.
Skinner is a big bodied goalie, standing at 6’4” and weighing 207 pounds. For his size, he is very athletic, and that is probably the strongest part of his game. He likes to come out to the top of his crease and challenge shooters. Skinner needs to work on a few things if he wants to play in the NHL some day because while is blocker side is strong, he needs to do some work on his glove side. The young goaltender had some troubles this year with his angles, but If Skinner puts in the work he can be an NHL goalie in the next four to six years.
Dmitri Samorukov: 3rd round, 84th overall
Samorukov went 2nd overall a season ago in the 2016 CHL Import draft to the Guelph Storm. In his first year of playing on North-American ice, Samorukov played in 67 games managing to put up four goals and 16 assists. Samorukov also played for Team Russia at the Ivan Hlinka, playing in five games he managed to tally two assists.
The Russian blueliner stands at 6’2” and weighs around 180 pounds. Samorukov will need to gain some weight if he wants to be an effective defender at the next level, but he has the tools to be a very strong two-way defenseman with offensive upsideas he skates very well for a defender of his size. One thing you will notice is that he has a cannon of a shot that he can get through traffic to the net, which is very important in the modern-day NHL. He reads the play very well in the offensive zone, knowing when to jump into the play and when to skate back. Samorukov makes a good first pass and is not scared to join the rush. One thing he needs to work on is his physical play in the defensive zone.
Ostap Safin: 4th round, 115th overall
Ostap Safin spent most of this year playing with HC Sparta Praha’s U-20 team, where he posted six goals and 12 assists in only 24 games. Safin also suited up for the Czech national team at the Ivan Hlinka where he played four games recording three goals and one assist. In the 2017 CHL Import draft, Safin got selected 53rd overall to the Saint John Seadogs, who he is expected to come over and play for this season.
Safin is a big-bodied winger standing at 6’5” and weighing 198 pounds, but he is an excellent skater. His foot speed is incredible for a guy of his size, and he also uses his edges very well. One thing Safin excels at is working in tight areas and his release allows him to get quick shots off while a defender is on him. The young winger loves to throw the body around but he also uses his frame effectively when he has the puck. Safin also has great vision and can make a crisp pass possessing the skill set to go in the first two rounds of the draft but due to consistency concerns he dropped to the fourth.
Kirill Maksimov: 5th round, 146th overall
Maksimov started the year with the Saginaw Spirit playing 37 games only putting up six goals and 10 assists. After struggling offensively, Maksimov got traded to the Niagra Icedogs where he found his game. In 29 games, he put up 15 goals and seven assists and in four playoff games he managed to score four goals.
Maksimov is a shooter, and he loves to score goals. He is also a very good passer with decent vision, and knows when to shoot and when to pass most of the time. He also isn’t afraid to go to the dirty areas and get some garbage goals and has a great set of hands and can deflect a lot of pucks going to the net. Consistency is a concern for Maksimov and one thing he will need to improve on is his skating. It’s not a liability in his game, he just needs to work on it if he wants to go to the next level.
Skyler Brind’Amour: 6th round, 177th overall
Skyler is the son of long time NHLer, Rod Brind’Amour. This year Skyler spent his time with the US National development program but, he will be leaving them next year to join the Chilliwack Chiefs of the BCHL. Skyler is also committed to Michigan State University where he will be begin in the 2019-20 season.
Skyler is 6’2” but only weighs around 170 pounds, so he will need to continue to gain some weight. Like his father, Skyler is a two-way forward that plays a checking role. He is a very smart hockey player in his own end, and always makes the simple hockey play. While Brind’Amour is safe in his own zone, he will need to work on his offensive game if he wants to crack an NHL roster.
Philip Kemp: 7th round, 208th overall
Kemp spent this year with the US National Development Team and was named the assistant captain of the national U-18 team where he put up two assists in the seven games he played. He also helped them to a gold medal at the tournament. Kemp will be joining Yale University in the upcoming 2017-2018 season.
Kemp is a two-way defenseman, with more defensive upside than offensive. However, if the opportunity presents itself, Kemp will jump into the play and open himself up for a pass cross ice. The Connecticut native is 6’3” and weighs around 200 pounds. For his size, Kemp is a good skater, has the ability to make crisp breakout passes and has a hard shot that gets through to the net. He has the potential to be a good complimentary defenseman for a more offensive minded partner.
Overall, I believe the Oilers drafted very well. They loaded up on what they needed, which was forward depth. The only part I don’t agree with is trading up to draft Stuart Skinner. The Oilers have good prospect depth at the goalie position with names like Nick Ellis, Laurent Brissoit and Dylan Wells. But, if Skinner can find consistency in his game he will play in the NHL one day.
Thanks for taking the time to read my draft review for the Edmonton Oilers! If you have any questions about this article or Oiler prospects in general, tweet me @SpencerPomoty15.
The Oilers development ended on July 5th. All the prospects that attended can be seen here: https://nhl.bamcontent.com/images/assets/binary/290221840/binary-file/file.pdf