There's a little less than a month to go before the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. As an Oilers fan, you're probably aware of how the entry draft goes by now. Select the best player (it's been a forward for five of the last six years), insert player into lineup, and see if that player can become a dominant force. Then, when the rest of the team doesn't get fixed, you lament this fact around late November. You then coast into the final five months of the season wondering what would have happened if the team brought along that right shot defenceman, or what might have happened if the team could ever figure out how the power play works.
The Oilers are scheduled to pick fourth overall this year, and while nothing's set in stone, there's a pretty good chance that if the Oilers were to keep the pick that they'd select forward Matthew Tkachuk of the London Knights. And if they do end up selecting fourth, Tkachuk seems to be quite the prize.
Oh, he's dreamy. Listed as 6'1" and 194 lbs, it's hard not to be reminded of his father Keith Tkachuk with his in-your-face style of play. It's near impossible to not like what Tkachuk is made of; he's a physical forward who can score. And if the Oilers take him fourth overall, they'll very likely get a fantastic prospect who is likely to contribute in more ways than one at the NHL level.
The thought of the Oilers landing one of the better prospects in the draft that isn't named Matthews or Laine is tantalizing. But through the beauty of technology, roughly 29 other teams were able to see what we saw last week. That's an exciting thought, because there still tends to be some very foolish GMs in the League.
Anyone who's followed the Oilers in recent years is fully aware that this team is in dire need of some solid right handed defenders. Preferably good ones, yes, I'm aware that I'm being somewhat picky. I'm not sure if they have eyes for Tyson Barrie in Colorado (great if true) or if they've got an angle in on Justin Faulk (also great if true). Maybe they've got feelers in St. Louis for Kevin Shattenkirk.
Maybe that trade never surfaces, and they end up picking fourth overall. That's not the end of the world either.
But, the team has an opportunity here to do something profound. If they move this pick, and they move it just right, they could patch up one of the biggest headaches that this team has had over the majority of the last decade.
So with that, and to use a wildly overused term in Oil Country, be bold, and come out of the deal with something tangible and worthwhile. Short of trading a current high-end roster player, this will be the best chance that the Oilers have to get better, and to get better fast. Heck, who knows? Maybe the team gets a solid RHD, he signs a long term deal, and the Oilers have some stability on the back end. Let's not get carried away.
The Oilers need a top defenceman, and if they're to acquire one in the next month, the fourth overall pick has got to be the vehicle.