BUFFALO, NY - The 2019 NHL Draft is less than a month away and the Oilers management team have their work cut out for them.
The Orange & Blue own six draft picks in the upcoming draft, including the eighth-overall selection as well as the 38th-overall pick. Barring any trades, the club will also call a player's name with the 85th (in a pick acquired from the New York Islanders), 100th, 162nd and 193rd selections.
With all his experience mining prospective National Hockey League talent, Oilers Director of Player Personnel Bob Green is no stranger to the NHL Scouting Combine and detailed the upcoming weekend for his group.
"The primary goal is to come and get to know these kids face-to-face," Green said Friday morning. "We watched them play for seven months and know what they are as players now, and are trying to get to know them as people."
There is no on-ice component involved in the perennial event, so management teams get to know the young NHL hopefuls through off-ice fitness testing and interviews. The scouts have worked diligently to understand what type of hockey players the young individuals are but now are able to get a sense of their overall athleticism and personality.
Video: COMBINE | Bob Green on the Combine
"You ask them some questions about some things you saw during the course of the season and get their reactions," Green explained. "You kind of get a read on what their answers are and how they react to certain questions. But really, it's just to put a face to the player you've been watching and really try to get comfortable with them."
Days at the Combine are long for members of the Oilers staff. With over 100 prospects invited, there's no shortage of players to speak with.
"We're talking to around 85 kids this week, which is a lot," Green said. "I think it's important, especially with the later round picks that you talk to these guys and get to know them as well.
"There are groups of kids that we know are going to be gathered around our pick at eight and there's another group of kids that we feel are going to be close to 38. When those kids come into the room, we may dig in a little bit harder knowing that those are critical picks for us."
With so many faces to greet and meet in such a short amount of time, often, management teams will buck the conventional interview Q's in favour of a curveball as a way to get to know the prospect better.
Green was asked whether that would be the case this year.
"The odd one," he said, laughing.
"I think they probably all see the same questions coming. But we don't ask them anything too silly."