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Edmonton Will Look To WHL Blueliners For The 2012 Draft

Photo by leafschik1967 via <a href="">Wikimedia Commons</a>, creative commons license.
Photo by leafschik1967 via Wikimedia Commons, creative commons license.

The Oilers need defensive help, both on the big club and throughout the organization.  The only surefire NHL regular in the system is Jeff Petry and he's already passed all but three guys (Tom Gilbert, Ryan Whitney and Ladislav Smid) on the NHL depth chart.  The rest of the prospect pool consists of some underachievers, some overachievers, some uneven development curves and some interesting stories, but none of them are locks to make the bigs.

Odds are that the Oilers are going to draft a defender in the first round and odds are that defender will come from the WHL.  6 of the top 10 and 8 of the top 15 2012 eligible prospects are defensemen.  4 of those top 6 and 5 of the top 8 are currently playing in the WHL.  It won't be a surprise to hear the Oilers call Ryan Murray, Mathew Dumba, Morgan Rielly, Griffin Reinhart, or Derrick Pouliot in the first round in June.

Through a bit of serendipity, our favorite NHL Draft resource, The Scouting Report, published an early-season review of those five players by their WHL scout Daniel Lizee:

Top 5 Draft Eligible Defensemen from the Dub - The Scouting Report
Almost a quarter of the way into the season, here’s an update as to how 5 of the most touted NHL Draft eligible defensemen have been fairing.

Lizee makes the case for Morgan Rielly:

Coming into the season there was probably a gap between Rielly and the likes of Dumba and Murray, but that gap is closing rapidly with Rielly’s strong play.

Around the league

Springing Malik: The Pain Game 2011/12 - Part One
No great surprise to see the Penguins again lead the way, though I've still got no idea who they've been missing. Their CHIP figure so far is a full $1m ahead of the highest figure at the same point last year, for comparison.

Oh, Roy MacGregor, how do you remain employed? - Arctic Ice Hockey
Roy MacGregor and Bill James are the same age, so it's really inexcusable for MacGregor to be producing the kind of tripe that hit the Globe and Mail this morning (and the crap he wrote roughly a year ago when I last paid attention to him.)

I declare thumb war - Bitter Leaf Fan
Never before has a scoop been less important. Never before has source mattered less.

Bruins 2011 Draft Watch: Final post: the Scott Bradley factor
Thanks for reading- it was a fun two-year ride with the 2010 and 2011 Bruins Draft Watch and perhaps there will be an NHL Draft Watch at some point in the future.

Todd McLellan internalizes our statistical lessons - Arctic Ice Hockey
Now you know and I know that penalty-kill percentage in the early part of the season is basically meaningless, but does anyone else know that? Well, Todd McLellan does.

Coming Down the Pipe!: Etem and Smile
Heading into tonight's game against the Everett Silvertips, Etem has lit the lamp 21 times. That's after just 15 games, in case you were wondering.

He shoots, scores vs. childhood cancer - San Antonio Express-News
At the rosary, Yonkman was stunned to see Yadira clutching photos of him. And next to her in the casket was a hockey-puck bobblehead doll of him. "That was pretty intense," Yonkman said. "I was trying to keep it together, but it was hard. I had no idea I had that big of an impact on her."

Oilers-related Items

Teubert & Omark? The Unintentional PR Stunt - Neal Livingston
I’m not necessarily one to give too much credence to NHL general managers when it comes to good publicity. However, the unintentional PR stunt that is going down right this very moment amongst Barons/Oilers players is quite satisfying.

NHL Power Rankings: Stars Illuminate Western Conference -
Nikolai Khabibulin's .964 save percentage has the Oilers on top of the Northwest Division. Tom Renney is using Shawn Horcoff to protect Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' minutes and the resulting matchups create some weird numbers. Edmonton's top line of Smyth-Horcoff-Hemsky is one of the best in the league right now.

Matching Lines -
The Colorado and Montreal games though…yikes. Both of those teams ran what looks to be a third line against the Horcoff line, which went 11-7 in chances. The RNH line got attacked by the other team’s better lines and went 3-9 in scoring chances.

Splitting Up Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook - Driving Play
Outside of Patrick Kane's impressive move to the middle, perhaps the biggest story in Chicago's impressive 7-2-2 start has been Joel Quenneville's decision to split up Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. The natural reaction to a coaching move so major is curiosity - why would the Blackhawks decide to split up one of the game's best pairs?