We are nearly there!
In less than 24 hours the Edmonton Oilers will be preparing to step up onto the draft stage in Vancouver to select at pick #8.
Throughout this series of draft previews we have covered a vast variety of players that could be on Edmonton’s radar and now we are preparing for one last player.
We’ve covered everyone from the unlikely Philip Broberg and a misunderstood Vasili Podkolzin to American superkid Matthew Boldy and Canadian skaters Peyton Krebs and Dylan Cozens. To cap it off we’re going to go over one last American skater who could very well be the top guy on Ken Holland’s draft list: Trevor Zegras
Who Is Trevor Zegras:
Trevor Zegras is a 6-foot 169lb centermen who spent last season playing for the United States Development Program where he put up 87pts in 60gp.
As is usual in these previews I am using the great Corey Pronman from The Athletic as my source for information on Zegras, to read his overview in its entirety simply click here.
Trevor Zegras is first and foremost a playmaker. He is an elite level passer and is on the highlight reel on a nightly basis. His ability to find his teammates in areas that absolutely nobody would think of is unrivalled in this draft class, at times it seems as though he legitimately has eyes on the back of his head.
This is a testament of how smart Zegras is with the puck. Pronman uses the word improvisation quite a bit when describing his playmaking ability because thats just what Zegras is doing. Once he surveys the situation he improvises what he believes is the best possible way to move the puck—and most of the time he is right.
It goes without saying that Zegras is definitely an elite level passer because of these qualities and, as a result, his puck skills are also off the charts. Some scouts that Pronman have talked think he could have the best hands in the draft class.
Skating-wise Zegras finds himself between being a very good skater and an average skater. His strengths are seen to come more from his edgework than game-breaking speed which makes him an elusive player.
Physically there isn’t too much to say about Zegras’ game. He does have the capacity to lay a punishing hit on an attacking opponent. There are times where he has lost control of his emotions but, for the most part, that isn’t a concern in his game.
Lastly, there comes the big question mark of how well Zegras can produce. Of course he did put up 87pts last season but that was riding shotgun with Jack Hughes. Pronman mentions that his production is more comparable with the likes of Joel Farabee and Sonny Milano, both of which were leaned on more heavily on their junior teams. One would think Zegras would put up more points playing with guys like Hughes and Cole Caufield.
Overall, Trevor Zegras is one of the most skilled players in the draft and could wind up as being the premier play-maker of the 2019 draft class. His vision and IQ on the ice is bar none and he will certainly be cooking up some pretty plays in the NHL. However, there is concern that his production in with the USDP is a smokecreen created by playing with very talented teammates.
Draft Day Projection
Zegras won’t have to wait for his name to be called tomorrow night as he is seen a top 10 talent, but that wasn’t always the case during the course of last season.
It seems like only Pronman had a good grip on Zegras as more recent rankings have Zegras going in that 5-10 range.
There is definitely a possibility that Trevor Zegras will drop a spot or two to Edmonton.
Does Edmonton Make Sense?
There is a lot to like about Trevor Zegras.
His play-making skill and ability to get by defenders makes him an attractive fit for not only the Edmonton Oilers, but all the teams in front of the Oilers.
With the Oilers being so weak on the wings it would be nice to add a players of Zegras’ calibre to their forward prospect group. Being a natural center he might have to be converted to the wing but, like all other centers in this range, this is nothing we didn’t already know.
Perhaps he could slot in beside McDavid and Draisaitl in a few years and put his play-making abilities to the test by setting up Edmonton’s two superstars.
He won’t be in the NHL this season, however, as he has already committed to Boston University next season. This won’t be a problem for Ken Holland’s Oilers as the more time to develop the better.
His shortcomings are valid and there is a serious question at whether or not he can produce at a high level in the National Hockey League. Again, he did have help from Jack Hughes and Cole Caufield that he won’t necessarily receive when he first breaks into the pros.
Zegras is definitely a wait-and-see type of guy that could wind up being a risky pick, but his skillset sets him apart from others in this range and that could pay off big-time for the Oilers if they decide to take him at #8.
Trevor Zegras definitely makes sense for Edmonton.
There is no doubt that Trevor Zegras has the skillset to eventually develop into an elite level playmaker at the NHL level.
His vision and passing ability is incredibly impressive and you can bet that teams are going to be tempted to take him inside the top 5.
We will see where he goes tomorrow.
Stay tuned to Copper and Blue for wall-to-wall coverage on all your draft news tomorrow and Saturday....there might be a mock draft coming out tomorrow morning...