November 31-in-31: Edmonton Oilers

Jameson Ewasiuk

2020-11-12

The 31-in-31 Summer Series is an annual event here at DobberProspects! Things being what they are, we had to move it to November. Every day in November we will be bringing you a complete breakdown of a team’s draft, and insights into their off-season movements thus far. Following this up, the December 31-in-31 Series will dive into every team’s prospect depth charts with fantasy insights and implications for the upcoming seasons. Check back often, because we plan on filling your hockey withdrawal needs all fall/winter long. 

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Coming into the draft, Edmonton did not have picks in the second or fourth rounds, while also having the option to lose their third in either this year’s draft or next, as part of the Milan Lucic for James Neal trade. General Manager, Ken Holland, made the smart decision to keep their third-round pick this year, instead of the alternative, which would have had the Oilers waiting until the fifth round to make their first pick on day two.

Over the years, Edmonton has had a habit of not making the obvious picks, drafting size over talent, and generally thinking that they are smarter than everyone else. Obviously, you never know how a player will develop and turn out. However, you cannot be surprised when that second (or third) year draft-eligible Junior-A player, that you just selected (who was not even producing that well at 19, or 20-year-old), does not turn out. To give some perspective, the last time the Oilers drafted a forward outside of round-one that did actually develop into an NHL’er, was Jujhar Khaira in 2012, and even he struggles to stay in the lineup full-time. Tobias Rieder, drafted in the fourth round in 2011, would otherwise be the first “full-time” NHL player, but he left the organization before playing an NHL game.

A couple of interviews by the Oilers’ Director of Amateur Scouting, Tyler Wright, prior to draft day, foreshadowed the team’s draft quite well. In one interview he said, “We have to become harder to play against. You can’t have enough players who drag others into the fight”. Now, this was scary to hear from a director of amateur scouting, as it implies strength and physicality are key attributes that they look for in their draft picks. When in reality, talent should be the attribute that they want.  But, the team got both when they used their first-round selection on Dylan Holloway at 14. The pick received mixed reactions on social media, mainly because people tend to focus on stats alone. However, Holloway has the potential to be a total package power-forward that can skate and contribute at both ends of the ice. His 17 points in 35 games as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin does not exactly stand out. But, he has been a point producer at every level, was the CJHL and AJHL player of the year the season prior, and he recorded five goals and nine points in the final 10 games of last season. Not to mention the quality of his team, which had just 14 wins in 36 games and only one point-per-game player (Cole Caufield).

In Wright’s other interview, “It’s not just going up to the draft board thinking we’re going to be smarter than everybody and we’re going to make this pick”. Wright said, “It’s about maximizing your position”. Well, Edmonton did exactly that when they opted to trade their third-round (76th) in exchange for the 100th and 126th picks. At 100, they selected Carter Savoie, whose consensus ranking was 65th and the lowest public ranking was 84th. At 126th, they selected Tyler Tullio, whose consensus was 57th and lowest public ranking was 80th. They definitely maximized value with those two picks. Fun fact, this was the Oilers’ first draft since 1991 that they did not draft at least one defenseman.

Now with all that being said, here is a pick by pick breakdown of the Oilers’ 2020 selections.

Draft Recap

Round 1, 14th overall – Dylan Holloway, C/LW

Do me a favor, give the kid a chance before you continue to put this