Edmonton Oilers 2017 NHL Draft preview – Sportsnet.ca

With their first draft pick at No. 22, this is the deepest the Edmonton Oilers have chosen since taking Jordan Eberle 22nd in 2008. With no second-round pick or expansion draft issues, it is likely Edmonton retains its first-round choice. Moving one of two third-rounders to help an Eberle trade occur is more likely for a team that lacks organizational depth of skilled forwards.

With Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in the NHL, the Oilers wish to follow the Pittsburgh model of drafting cheap, dependable players in support roles.

2017 draft picks
82 (from STL)
126 (from VAN)

Top 3 prospects currently in the system

Jesse Puljujarvi, RW – The six-foot-four Finn just turned 19 and, pending Eberle’s status, could benefit from some more time in the AHL.

Tyler Benson, C — One more year of junior eligibility. Injuries limited him to just 30 and 33 games respectively last two seasons. Tons of skill, but terrible luck staying healthy.

Ethan Bear, D – A 70-point defenceman in Seattle (WHL) last season, turns pro this year. Can he make the next step?

Two players who may be available in Round 1

Kristian Vesalainen — If he’s still there at 22 Edmonton would be thrilled. At 6-3, 203 pounds, the big Finnish left-winger playing for Frolunda in Sweden similar to Jesse Puljujarvi. He has good wheels, great size and a heavy shot — all of which means he could be off the board well before the Oilers’ turn to draft arrives.

Kailer Yamamoto — A Johnny Gaudreau prototype, Yamamoto had 42 goals and 99 points for WHL Spokane, his hometown team. He’s really tiny at 5-8, 153 pounds. But so is Gaudreau, and the new game has opened the door to someone Yamamoto’s size — providing the speed and skill is there.

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