The Edmonton Oilers have 2016’s fourth overall draft pick. The team, however, should not make that pick. Instead, GM Peter Chiarelli and his team should trade their first round pick for an established NHL defenseman.
Time and time again the Oilers have had top picks in the first round, and only once in recent memory have the Oilers drafted a defensemen: Darnell Nurse (7th overall, 2013). In fact, only once in the last five years has a defenseman been NHL ready coming out of the draft. That was Aaron Ekblad (1st overall, 2014). Moreover, none of the three top defensive prospects in the draft – Chychrun, Juolevi, Sergachev – are NHL ready. The Oilers have top offensive talents and it is time to get a great defender now, and not in three years.
With all the offensive talent in Edmonton, the team does not need a Matthew Tkachuk or a Pierre-Luc Dubois. Jordan Eberle has been about a consistent 25-goal man since his sophomore season. In the shortened 2012-2013 season he scored only 16, but that is pace for 27 goals through 82 games.
Taylor Hall is second in scoring for his draft year, with 328 points through 381 games, and Hall is only behind Tyler Seguin with 355 points. The Edmonton club also has two top centers in Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. The Oilers have a tremendously talented group of forwards, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has not even been mentioned yet; Nugent-Hopkins is another strong center with good defensive awareness.
The Oilers have four promising defenseman in Griffin Reinhart, Brandon Davidson, Darnell Nurse, and Oscar Klefbom. However, the Oilers need to bring in experienced, but not faded, defensemen to help teach their young players. The Oilers would like love a player like Niklas Hjalmarsson or John Carlsson; both players are skilled defensemen who could help the Oilers’ younger players develop.
In today’s NHL it is very difficult to execute trades, but the Oilers have more than enough valuable assets to be able to make a reasonable trade. With the fourth overall pick and one of the teams’ top forwards potentially on the move, Chiarelli should be able to secure a strong defenseman for next season.