With the NHL Entry Draft roughly three weeks away, fans of the Edmonton Oilers appear to be split on who the club should grab with the third overall selection. In a perfect world they would love to have Aaron Ekblad fall into their lap but the chances of the Barrie Colts defenceman still being around appear to be slim and none. Meaning the time for Craig MacTavish to step up and be bold has arrived.
Edmonton - June 5, 2014 - With the NHL Entry Draft roughly three weeks away, fans of the Edmonton Oilers appear to be split on who the club should grab with the third overall selection.
In a perfect world they would love to have Aaron Ekblad fall into their lap but the chances of the Barrie Colts defenceman still being around appear to be slim and none.
The organization has clearly set their sights on Prince Albert Raiders centre Leon Draisaitl as option number two and while some feel drafting the big German centre would be a mistake, in my mind, it is a moot point.
With Ekblad likely being off the table, the real question should be whether or not Craig MacTavish will step up and move the pick in hopes of improving his club in the hear and now.
It’s no secret that the Oilers shopped their number seven pick in 2013 but ultimately found no takers and had to “settle” on Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds blueiner Darnell Nurse. With a plethora of upcoming defencemen already in the system and almost all of their young talent upfront currently in the National Hockey League, one has to think MacT will try even harder to move his first rounder in Philadelphia on the 27th of June.
Could adding one of Draisaitl, Sam Bennett or Sam Reinhart help this club over the long haul? Probably but the chances of any of those players having an impact at the NHL level, especially on a roster like this one, would be expecting far too much. Planning for tomorrow is great but this team needs to improve quickly...not three or four years down the road.
The fans have grown tired of all the losing and being told to be patient. This organization can ill afford to continue to go down the same path and not expect to hear it from their fans and the rest of the hockey world. At some point, you have to actually try and improve your roster and not simply “collect first overall picks” as Ron Hextall so bluntly and correctly accused this franchise of doing during his introduction as the Flyers new general manager. The status quo can no longer be an acceptable option.
If MacTavish could parlay the third overall pick and a little something else into a player that could plug a major hole in this lineup, preferably down the middle or on the backend, he would be nuts to not jump at the opportunity. While last year’s draft may have been deeper, the Oilers did not have a top three pick at their disposal to dangle.
They do this time around and you can bet there will be interest from more than a few organizations. Last year was all about “bold moves” but we have yet to see any actually come to fruition and the clock is ticking. Taylor Hall will turn twenty-three next November and be entering his fifth year in the NHL without ever having played anything resembling a meaningful game. That can’t be allowed to continue and it is up to Craig MacTavish to make sure it doesn’t.
Rob Soria is the Edmonton Oilers' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. Rob was born and raised in Edmonton and is the author of the Edmonton Oilers blog - OilDrop.ca. He has been a dedicated follower of the game and its history for years but his focus remains on his hometown Edmonton Oilers. If you have questions or wish to contact Rob, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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