Fredrik Pettersson-Wentzel - Oilers Draft Watch

When I was talking to Jimmy Hamrin about Viktor Svedberg, he told me that  "...if the Oilers should go for a Swede in this draft it should be the goalie Fredrik Pettersson-Wentzel.  He might be available for the 31st pick.  Sky´s the limit for that guy!"

I'm not a fan of drafting goalies early; neither is Scott.  In fact, I'm not a fan of drafting goalies at all, but Jimmy is razor-sharp when it comes to all things Hockey Sweden, so at the very least I've got to track down his recommendation.  Shortly after he made the recommendation to me, Jim Matheson, in his Edmonton Journal column, said  "The Oilers need goalie depth, so don't be surprised if they chase Swede Fredrik Pettersson-Wentzel, who dazzled -- 1.85 goals-against average, six shutouts -- in the Swedish First Division this season."

Pettersson-Wentzel is ranked second among European goalies by Central Scouting, and is expected to be drafted in the second round by most mock drafts.  I asked Jimmy for some background:

He was a big story in Sweden last season. He was the best goalie in the second-tier league in Sweden. His team, Almtuna, is a small team who had their best season ever. He was the biggest star on that team and he´s definitely Sweden's starting goalie in the World Junior Championships next season.

In 42 games last season, Pettersson-Wentzel posted a 1.85 goals against average, best in the league, and a .924 save percentage, good for fourth in the league.  Elite Prospects saysA skilled and technically trained goalie with good basic technique. No major weaknesses and good psyche. Physical strength and explosive style.

It makes sense that the Oilers are interested in adding goaltenders to the system - a quick check of the organization shows Bryan Pitton, Andrew Perugini, Aaron Sorochan, and Olivier Roy.  Of those, only Roy has a chance at an NHL career. The Oilers spent years "developing" Jeff Deslauriers and Devan Dubnyk, and both of their futures as NHL goaltenders are tenuous at best.  Of course, by "developing" I mean, ignoring, splitting playing time, not finding an adequate backup, not finding adequate coaching, shuttling and dumping on them both at various times over the last few years.

The cupboards are bare, so by traditional thinking it makes sense to restock at the draft.  But as Scott has shown, drafting goaltenders early is a risky gambit, and I've held that view for awhile now - Scott's study confirmed the feelings that I had towards goaltenders:

In my opinion, this free acquisition of young talent (especially Europeans but also NCAA and CHL free agents) ought to be the primary means of bringing in new goaltenders rather than expending resources in the draft.  If draft resources are used, the tactic of taking a "Flyer" late would be my preference.

There are four widely agreed-upon superior goaltending talents in the 2009-2010 draft:  Jack Campbell, Calvin Pickard, the Finn Sami Aittokallio, and Pettersson-Wentzel.  If the Oilers are determined to land one of these four kids, they should look to use their pick from Nashville acquired in the Grebeshkov trade (#48 overall) and even then, it might be a mistake, but it would be a lesser risk than using the #31 on a goaltender.

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