The 2021 National Hockey League Draft took place virtually July 23-24.
The Edmonton Oilers had six picks this year: 22nd overall (Xavier Bourgault), 90th overall (Luca Münzenberger), 116th overall (Jake Chiasson), 180th overall (Matvey Petrov), 186th overall (Shane Lachance) and 212th overall (Max Wanner).
Get all content from and leading up to the event including skater rankings, articles, prospect profiles, commentary from the Oilers scouting staff and more.
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Video: OILERS TODAY | 2021 Draft Recap 07.24.21
DAY 2 WRITTEN
DAY 2 VIDEO
DAY 1 WRITTEN
DAY 1 VIDEO
ALL DRAFT WRITTEN
Video: DRAFT | Tyler Wright 07.23.21
Oilers Director of Amateur Scouting Tyler Wright on where the Hockey Ops Department is at ahead of the Draft:
"Just from an organizational standpoint, we finished our pro meetings and the shift goes back to the amateur side. We've done preliminary meetings via Zoom without the opportunity to meet in person because we're talking with people that live in Russia, Finland, Sweden and some in the U.S. We've done the majority of it, I would say 99 percent of our area list with our individual guys through Zoom. But it's been a challenging year for the industry because of the lack of games being played. Ontario, for that matter, didn't play any games. But we're all in the same boat as an industry throughout the National Hockey League."
Wright on how the Oilers staff have created their 'list' of potential prospects:
"We got to come up with our list through being able to do videos on underage players. Some young men have gone on to play in various other leagues throughout Europe. So, a lot of video and a lot of interaction with other people.
"We're just trying to be as diligent as we can to shape the list out but it's a continuing process. We're going to continue to meet as a group. We've got no 2nd (round selection) and we got no 3rd, so we're targeting that first-round pick guy with some Zoom calls that Ken can come on with some potential names there at 19."
Wright on the difficulty in amateur scouting during the 2020-21 season:
"Challenging. You're trying to move around certain places that are playing in the middle of a pandemic where travel is kind of frowned upon. I've been able to do some of that (travel) since the end of January, cautiously and optimistically, while still respecting the health authorities and trying to do a job at the same time. It was definitely challenging but 31 other teams are in the same boat. We had a lot of good communication, a lot of dialogue, a lot of video and a lot of talk. Just trying to come up with ideas and scenarios that help us get to where we need to get to make the best-educated decision that we need come July 23 and 24."
Wright on how skaters were scouted:
"The Under-18 World Championship was a big draw, obviously, for our industry because it was allowing scouts to come in and allowing International teams to come in under the protocols. That was big because we were able to go down and get some live viewings of some kids that we haven't.
"The one good thing with us is that a lot of the higher-end kids, meaning the first-round people and second-round guys, you are familiar with to a certain extent because they have been on the scene as underage players, and we do underage reports on these young men. You try to project where they are at, what progression have they made in the weight room, what progression have they made on the ice - if they played. Every organization is different and we're just ciphering through all the players and making sure that we get our list pretty tight."
Video: DRAFT | Ken Holland 07.22.21
Wright on the areas of emphasis during the season:
"Your emphasis and your priority are to make sure that you get to see those players live that are playing and do your due diligence. If you don't get to see them live, as I'm seeing with some area guys (scouts), we're getting them to do some video and maybe a little bit more crossing over.
"It would be a priority to see them live but I don't think it's a priority that they go ahead of other players just because they're playing and you're using it against these other kids that didn't get the opportunity just because of geographical reasons. I'm not sure where the industry is going to go with that but we're trying to keep that even-keel and not really - I don't want to use the word 'punish' - but push a kid down on the list just because of the fact that he didn't play. I think there might be some really good value still out there but we got to make sure that we know the players."
Wright on how his staff kept tabs on certain prospects:
"There's no interview process, no in-person interviews, no physical testing going on and there are protocols set throughout the National Hockey League. It is challenging. It's basically talking to coaches, it's talking to agents, it's talking to a lot of people you have relationships with throughout the industry to help steer you in the right direction. Trying to gather as much information and ultimately, credible information.
"It's definitely an unknown a little bit. Last year, we did a virtual Draft but we also had eight months or nine months of mid-term live meetings. We had a lot of things in place where this year, it's completely different. It's going to be a challenging year but we need to be right on our picks and we need to have the right people in place that we think can help the Edmonton Oilers in the future."
Wright on whether the past season affected the development of Draft-eligible prospects:
"I think it affects them both physically and I think it affects them mentally. They worked their whole life to put themselves in a position. This is a happy, happy time for a kid going into the Draft; for his family and the player. Every young man that is going into this Draft has had to sacrifice, families have had to sacrifice both financially and opportunity in leaving home and doing all that to put them in this place. It is challenging and you do feel for them. At the end of the day, I would really like to say to these young men that this doesn't make or define you as a player.
"They're young kids, they're young men. Everybody is different in where they are physically and mentally. A lot of kids have to get stronger and a lot still have a lot of growing up to do. There is the time where they could have utilized this time to their advantage, as far as being physically ready if you're not playing.
"I've talked to some of the kids that we drafted last year and Ty Tullio, just to come up with a name, he was an Ontario kid that went over to Slovakia and played. He was trying to stay on top of things as far as working out, getting stronger and working on foot speed. That was a challenge.
"But at the end, the message is: concentrate on becoming a good player. It's our job to, as a scout and as an organization, go out and find these players, whether you're playing right now or not. If that means you go through the Draft or get taken later in the rounds, everybody wants to be as high as you possibly can go, but this doesn't define you as a player or as a person.
"This is just the starting process and the first-round pick might get a couple of more interviews but everybody that we're picking hits a criterion for us and now it's our responsibility to make sure we give them all the resources to be able to exploit that. To become a better, physically and mentally, player and get them ready for the Edmonton Oilers."