Our blogger roundtable participants were unanimous in believing that it will take a miracle for the Oilers to finish outside of the NHL Draft Lottery. Many Oiler fans are already in the mindset of a full rebuild, believing it best to finish at the bottom of the league one more time in order to get another top pick and use "The Pittsburgh Model" to redirect the fortunes of the franchise.
If everyone is in agreement, it's never too early to start checking on the possibilities. The early 2011 draft lists are out, the first mock draft is also out (Oilers finish 27th!) and after the jump I've compiled the combined top 15 from three different sources, Bob McKenzie's top 15, International Scouting Services' top 30 and The Scouring Report's preliminary top 15.
Combining the lists of the three sites gives us twenty-one names, and but for a few exceptions, the three sources are in general agreement as to the rankings.
*This table is sortable, simply click on the column header to sort.
|Sean Couturier||1||1||3||Centre||Drummondville Voltigeurs||QMJHL|
|Adam Larsson||2||1||1||Defence||Skellefteå AIK||Elitserien|
|Ryan Nugent-Hopkins||6||3||2||Centre||Red Deer Rebels||WHL|
|Victor Rask||3||6||10||Centre||Leksands IF||J20 SuperElit|
|Brandon Saad||7||4||5||Left Wing||Saginaw Spirit||OHL|
|Gabriel Landeskog||11||4||6||Left Wing||Kitchener Rangers||OHL|
|David Musil||4||4||Defence||Vancouver Giants||WHL|
|Seth Ambroz||5||10||9||Right Wing||Omaha Lancers||USHL|
|Matt Puempel||12||7||7||Left Wing||Peterborough Petes||OHL|
|Ryan Murphy||8||15||8||Defence||Kitchener Rangers||OHL|
|Vladislav Namestnikov||9||11||12||Centre||Khimik Voskresensk||KHL|
|Duncan Siemens||10||12||11||Defence||Saskatoon Blades||WHL|
|Boone Jenner||16||15||15||Centre||Oshawa Generals||OHL|
|Adam Clendening||21||9||Defence||US National||USHL|
|Shane McColgan||15||14||Right Wing||Kelowna Rockets||WHL|
|Dougie Hamilton||8||Defence||Niagara Ice Dogs||OHL|
|Brett Ritchie||12||Right Wing||Sarnia Sting||OHL|
|Lucas Lessio||13||Left Wing||Oshawa Generals||OHL|
|Nick Shore||13||Right Wing||US National||USHL|
|Tomas Jurco||14||Right Wing||Saint John Sea Dogs||QMJHL|
|Scott Harrington||14||Defence||London Knights||OHL|
The top talent is heavily weighted from the OHL, with nine of the twenty-one players coming from "The O". More bad news for the QMJHL, as the USHL now has more top-ranked talent with three players on the combined list, compared to just two from "The Q".
Some quick thoughts on the initial list:
- Couturier and Larsson are the consensus top two and it's likely to stay that way unless an out-of-nowhere talent like Tyler Seguin charges up behind them.
- That out-of-nowhere talent just might be Brandon Saad. Saad's rise from AAA to the NAHL to the OHL has been dramatic, and should he put up an enormous year for Saginaw, he must be this year's Seguin.
- McKenzie overlooks Musil completely while the other two sites have him pegged as a lottery pick.
- On the other hand, McKenzie is the only one with Dougie Hamilton on his list, and he's number eight.
- Copper & Blue favorite Gabriel Landeskog is a top pick on two lists, but ISS has him outside of the top ten. It may be because he was held off of Sweden's WJC team last year, ISS has no explanation of their rankings.
- One really interesting name on the list is Ryan Murphy. Early reports compare him to another small defenseman full of offensive wizardry, Windsor's Ryan Ellis.
With so few defensemen at the top of the list, a team looking for a top-pairing defenseman (hint hint) in this draft is going to have to finish at the very bottom of the league to guarantee themselves a chance. By all accounts, the Oilers might just do that.