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2019 NHL Draft Preview: Peyton Krebs

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Krebs suffered an achilles injury leading up to this year’s draft, but will that scare Edmonton away?

(To see the previous edition of CopperNBlue’s 2019 draft preview click here)

The countdown is down to single digits as the 2019 NHL Draft is only 9 days away.

This draft, like most, holds a lot of intrigue for the Edmonton Oilers as they hold the #8 pick. In previous installments of the 2019 draft preview I covered prospects Vasili Podkolzin and Philip Broberg.

Podkolzin presents a high-risk-high-reward player on the wings while Broberg would add to the ever-growing cabinet of D-prospects that the Oilers have been stockpiling.

In this edition I will be talking about a prospect that differs from both of those players: Peyton Krebs

Who Is Peyton Krebs?

Krebs is a 5 foot 11 and 181lb centerman who has spent his junior career in the WHL playing for the Winnipeg Ice. He is coming off his most productive season in which he scored 68pts in 64 games. Unfortunately, due to a lack of quality teammates, Krebs has never had a taste of postseason hockey in the WHL in his 2 seasons spent with Winnipeg.

Peyton Krebs is described as an incredibly smart player with tremendous skating and plamymaking ability. His biggest on-ice strength seems to be his ability to move the puck and get himself in positions to make an impact.

Krebs is very much a playmaker with the puck rather than a pure scorer. His vision is elite and he has a knack at finding gaps and teammates in areas that most players could not.

Despite being below-average in size, Krebs is very good at handling physical play from players bigger than him and tends to return the favour quite frequently. To add to that, he also more than capable at being an anchor on the offensive cycle.

When it comes to his shot, his bread an butter is his wrist shot, which is described as hard and accurate.

Krebs does have areas to improve upon. Obviously, he will need to bulk up in order to continue to be effective below the hashmarks in the NHL. There is also a need for him to develop more of a shoot-first mentality in order for him to really take advantage of his shot. As expected from a young centerman, there is also improvements that could be made on face-offs.

Draft-Day Projection

The case of Peyton Krebs is yet another example of a player that has risen in the draft rankings as the year went on.

To begin the 2018/19 season Krebs was universally seen as a player that would go during the middle 10 picks of the 1st round. Draft analysts had him ranked as high as #9 (Consentino) and as low as #17 (Button).

However, with the draft quickly approaching this month, Krebs draft stock has risen as well. In the latest rankings Peyton Krebs is now seen as a player who could definitely get chosen in the top 10, commonly being pegged in the 8-10 range.

Sadly, that is not where the ball stops for Krebs. His draft ranking could take a major hit due to an achilles injury sustained shortly after most of these final rankings were put out.

The injury occurred during offseason training and Krebs underwent successful surgery to repair the achilles. Krebs is expected to make a full recovery but the injury could cause some teams to pass on the centerman.

Does Edmonton Make Sense?

Peyton Krebs is certainly an appealing option for the Oilers if they are looking to add to their forward prospect group.

While the need for help on the wings is certainly an issue for the team, you can’t have enough good young centermen.

The thing that is most appealing about Krebs is his ability to create chances on a team where he does not have a lot of help. Unlike other prospects in the top 10, like Caufield and Cozens, Peyton Krebs has had to anchor his team without help from superstar teammates. This tells us that Krebs’ skillset is a direct result of his own skill and not the product of playing with better players.

Furthermore, when Krebs did play with other skilled players he showed tremendously. The best example of this was at this past year’s CHL Top Prospects Game where he put up 2pts and took home the second star of the game.

You could make the case that Edmonton is in the market for a sniper rather than a playmaker but, in all honesty, a skilled player will find ways to score playmaker or not.

The recent injury does complicate things as it adds a level of uncertainty to Krebs’ long-term health. An achilles injury is not a small injury by any means and the Oilers would be right to be a little weary, after-all this is a club that has had to deal with it’s fair share of injuries with top prospects.

The good news about this is that Krebs will most likely not be expected to recover and jump into the NHL immediately. It’s my belief that he will need another year in the WHL to grow into an NHL-sized frame and to further develop the shortcomings in his game.

I do think Peyton Krebs is a very good option for the Oilers at the #8 spot and I could envision a midseason WHL trade involving Krebs moving to a better junior team.

Conclusion

There isn’t much else to say about Peyton Krebs other than the fact that he is a very smart playmaking centerman who is trending to eventually become a top 6 forward in the NHL down the line.

He has risen in the draft rankings in recent months and there is a reasonable shot that the Oilers pick him up with their first round pick.

The achilles injury puts a cloud of doubt on his long-term health but, if you ask most draft analysts, it shouldn’t be enough to cause Krebs to slide too far from his 8-10 range.

Out of the 3 players that I have previewed in this series I think Peyton Krebs makes the most sense for the Oilers at #8.