On the gold standard for NHL roster construction, the Edmonton Oilers, & the vast gulf between the two

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But the focus here is primarily on the on-ice product. Two major pipelines of talent, one being the draft-&-develop model of players who have only played for the one team in their NHL careers, the other being outside talent acquired by trade or the open market.

The NHL Draft is the most important reservoir of players, significant enough to be split into two sections: first-round picks in their own category, Rounds 2-7 in another. Call them the call the “Friday” and “Saturday” groups. Let’s start at the top:

TBL: There are Stamkos and Hedman, hard-won prizes from another era when Tampa was the dregs of the league. Surprisingly, only one first-rounder remains from the subsequent Yzerman-BriseBois decade, that being star netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy. One forward, one defender, one goalie (designated here in red, blue and green font, respectively).

Tampa’s choice to make a hard target of Vasilevskiy to solve their goaltending position for the long term turned out brilliantly. Could the Oilers make a similar choice this draft to target another highly-ranked Russian ‘tender, Yaroslav Askarov? Maybe so, if the highly-decorated stopper makes it down to #14 overall. The Lightning example is an object lesson that such a strategy can work.

EDM: Six first-rounders remain with the Oilers, shown here in order of their draft number putting the two first-overalls at the top of the pile and gradually lower picks thereafter. Back-to-back home runs with the selections of Draisaitl and McDavid in consecutive years, a nice answer for the Stamkos-Hedman duo. A couple more top-ten picks, though not as many as one might expect from a team that drafted in the top 10 eleven times in the last thirteen drafts. The Oilers did OK with their (rare) selections in the back half of the first round, though nobody with the impact of Vasilevskiy.



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