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COMBINE: Best player available or drafting based on need?

It's the age-old question: to draft the best player available or select a position of need? Oilers Director of Player Personnel Bob Green weighs in

by Paul Gazzola /

BUFFALO, NY - It's a line repeated so often that it may as well be Shakespearean.

To take the best player available or draft a player based on a team's positional need? That is the question.

For some, it's black and white and there is no debate. To others, there are exceptions.

So, what say you, Oilers Director of Player Personnel Bob Green?

"You always take the best player available," Green told Friday morning in Buffalo, N.Y. from the 2019 NHL Scouting Combine. "It's really tough to pass up on a guy that's going to be a really good player just to fill a need somewhere else."

Although Green's opinion is definitive - best player available - the former Edmonton Oil Kings General Manager articulated when that mindset could alter.

Video: COMBINE | Bob Green on the Combine

"As you get through the draft, you kind of look at everything and it may change," he said. "If two kids are fairly close, then maybe you look at the positional need as a tie-breaker, so to speak."

Even with new President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Ken Holland at the helm, the mantra has remained the same for the Oilers organization. But with Holland's fresh perspective, there has been new information unearthed, which has only benefited the management brass.

"Traditionally at the Draft, we talked about the best player available and that's pretty similar for all groups," Green said. "He's come in and he's seen the (US) National Development Team play a lot. He's given his opinions and thrown some information into the conversation, too, which has helped and always does. The more you get, the better off you are. It's been good that way.

"But in the traditional Draft process of taking the best player available, there's no change there."

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