Drafting High Again Won’t Help Oilers

With the Oilers’ season slipping away, all signs are pointing to another high draft pick. Will adding Nail Yakupov, Mathew Dumba or Filip Forsberg be the key to steering the Oilers back to respectability?

Sadly, the answer is no. The perpetually rebuilding teams of recent years like the Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Islanders and Atlanta Thrashers had an ample stockpile of high draft picks, only to struggle to somewhere below mediocrity year after year. Just like those teams, the Oilers have a number of players who were considered elite at the junior level, the kind of player you would want to build a team around, yet for whatever reason this young talent has not been able to come together as a competitive unit at the NHL level.

The Oilers have a staggering eight players who were selected in the top ten of the NHL Entry Draft. Players drafted this high, with today’s extensive scouting, are considered by most around the league sure bets to make a team better and turn them into a winner. This illustrious list of Oilers taken early in the draft are:

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins: 1st overall in 2011

Taylor Hall: 1st overall in 2010

Cam Barker: 3rd overall in 2004

Sam Gagner: 6th overall in 2007

Ryan Smyth – 6th overall in 1994

Ryan Whitney: 8th overall in 2002

Ladislav Smid: 9th overall in 2004

Magnus Paajarvi: 10th overall in 2009

When nearly half of a team’s roster is drawn from the highest regarded players in the world within their cohort and they still can’t win, one has to question how much benefit adding another talented player to this mix will have. Most coaches and GM’s around the league would salivate over the potential of having so much talent to work with, yet the right results continue evade the Oilers. They are a frustrating team to watch, not because they lose a lot of hockey games, but because of how many quality players they have on their roster that are capable of being the core of a hugely successful team.

If coach Tom Renney can’t get more results out of this group soon, expect the organization to find someone who can. GM Steve Tambellini can’t be happy with how foolish he is being made to look by his team night in and night out.

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One Response to “Drafting High Again Won’t Help Oilers”

  1. cliff neill
    December 20, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    Unlike the Islanders (my team unfortunately) I really believe the Oilers are on the right track. Ownership group and management team are light years ahead of that joke on LI. RNH, Eberle and Hall have all proven to be the real deal. Isles have been an absolute abomination these past 2 decades while us fans have been on a death march to oblivion in 2015. The NHL should have taken control and found respectable, competent ownership years ago. These past 20+ years have been torture.