The 2014 NHL Draft is shaping up to be an interesting one. There is some high-end centre talent at the top of the draft, a big-time defenceman who’s the consensus first overall pick and there are some big and talented forward options outside of the top five.
Edmontonoilers.com called upon their team of experts to decipher what the first round might have in store when NHL general managers, scouts and teams gather in Philadelphia on June 27-28.
Making the picks will be host of Oilers TV Tom Gazzola, play-by-play man Jack Michaels, colour analyst Bob Stauffer and edmontonoilers.com lead writer Chris Wescott.
Each panelist agrees that defenceman Aaron Ekblad is the number one overall pick, regardless of who eventually holds the selection.
With the Oilers selecting third overall, the panelists have varying views as to which top centre prospect will be the pick but all agree the team will look for help down the middle.
Both Michaels and Stauffer agree that the big German Leon Draisaitl is the man for the Oilers. Gazzola sees the cerebral Sam Reinhart as a fit, while Wescott chooses the competitive Sam Bennett.
Draisaitl was a force for the Prince Albert Raiders this season, finishing with 105 points (38-67-105). His point production was tied with Kootenay’s Reinhart (36-69-105) for fourth best in the WHL.
Bennett finished his season with Kingston in the OHL with 91 points (35-55-91).
Past the Oilers selection at third overall, the team of experts has differing opinions as to how the remainder of the first round will fall.
Which edmontonoilers.com and Oilers TV expert has it down? Keep in mind that the participants aren’t exactly predicting what they believe will happen come draft day. It’s all about acting as GM and making picks as real-life managers might.