Whereas on the first day of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the Edmonton Oilers were all about choosing the safest, surefire picks, the second day of the draft saw the Oilers wander into familiar territory, with picks from Finland and by drafting several sons of former Oilers players.
Friday saw the Oilers choose the consensus No. 1 pick in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, a skilled playmaking center from Burnaby who has been playing for the Red Deer Rebels, right in Edmonton's backyard.
Many favourably compare Nugent-Hopkins to Pavel Datsyuk, though personally I find that he has a bit of a Patrick Kane type of style.
Trending towards collecting solid two-way defensemen with potentials for physical growth and maturity, the Oilers went back to the well in Sweden, choosing black horse Oskar Klefbom.
Klefbom and his more-reknowned counterpart, Adam Larsson, have been sheltered on their respective SEL teams. Larsson recently started playing more minutes in the SEL Playoffs.
The first pick of the second day was Vancouver Giants defenseman David Musil.
The 6'3," 191-pound defenseman has offensive potential as well as a large frame to mature into. Even better is the fact that he was projected to go in the first round but ended up falling to the Oilers at 31st overall. David is the son of former Oiler and current employee Frantisek (Frank) Musil.
With their fourth-round pick (92nd overall), the Oilers drafted college power-play specialist Dillon Simpson out of North Dakota.
Dillon—son of former Oiler Craig Simpson—is probably well aware of his father's oft-repeated stat line: Craig "holds the distinction of being the last Oiler to score 50 goals in a season, reaching the milestone in 1987-88 when he scored 56 times."
A lot to live up to!
Taylor Chorney—as well as former Oilers Matt Greene and Robbie Bina—is also a former graduate of that hockey program in North Dakota.
The blood well was not the only pool from which the Oilers drew.
Latley, the Oilers have had a tendency to run with Scandinavian draft picks. Besides their collection of Swedish prospects, the Oilers have also been collecting a lot of young Finns.
Joining Teemu Hartikainen and Toni Rajala are two Finnish netminders—the first since Jussi Markkanen was drafted back in 2001.
In the third round (61st overall), the Oilers selected the top-ranked European goaltender in Samu Perhonen.
At 6'4" 172 lbs, Perhonen is a raw, but flashy goaltender who could be a steal, given some technical work on his positioning.
As you may already know, his name means "butterfly" in Finnish. He compares to another Oilers goaltender, Jeff Deslauriers.
With their last pick, the Oilers selected Frans Tuohimaa (182nd overall).
Tuohimaa has been playing in the junior levels of the league, but is dominating with a 2.14 GAA and a .931 SA—very technically sound.
Gritty winger Travis Ewanyk now holds the distinction of being the first Oil Kings player to be drafted by the Edmonton Oilers since the former returned to WHL contention.
Though Oilers picks such as Abney and Pelss have been relocated to the Oil Kings after being drafted, Ewanyk has already been developing under the Oilers' supervision for some time now. He was chosen in the third round, 74th overall.
In defenseman Martin Gernat, the Oilers acquired 6'5" and 187 lbs of raw talent.
Described as being a bit rough around the edges, Gernat compares to the Oilers' other Slovakian Martin, defensive prospect Martin Marincin. Their styles are similar, though Gernat is described as having a higher defensive ceiling, whereas Marincin is expected to peak higher with regards to offense.
Last but not least, the Oilers went with a relatively well-known international prospect in winger Tobias Reider, at 114th overall.
Reider has ridden shotgun on a couple of good lines already in his young career, showing an ability to adapt to a high-octane offense while still playing his own style. He has played alongside Gabriel Landeskog for the Kitchener Rangers, although Reider is perhaps more well known for his exploits back in his hometown.
For a while Reider played for the DEL's Landshut Cannibals alongside Tom Kuehnhackl, a Windsor Spitfire import who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 4th round in 2010.
Kuehnhackl's father is a national team coach and widely considered the best German ice hockey player of all time. (Olaf Kolzig and Jochen Hecht say hello.) As a result, some consider Kuehnhackl and Reider to be beneficiaries of this hockey tradition—and perhaps the best German hockey prospects since Christian Ehrhoff crossed the pond.
Overall, this draft displayed a lot of safe picks (Nugent-Hopkins), drafting in familiar territory (Klefbom, Perhonen, Tuohimaa, Gernat), trusting bloodlines (Musil, Simpson), and hockey-tradition picks (Ewanyk, Reider).
Although some of these picks are risky, down the line the Oilers may find that sticking to what you know is not so bad when you consider how risky the draft actually is.
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