Sometimes the best move is no move at all, and that certainly was the case for the Oilers when Jesse Puljujarvi dropped into their laps at fourth overall. The strapping Finnish winger was considered one of the Big Three going into the event, so when Dubois went to Columbus, there was no hesitation on who they should take despite the obvious need on defence. Edmonton chose hometown boy Tyler Benson at the start of the second round…a pick that two years ago would have been considered an absolute steal. Injuries and the realization that his skating and skill aren’t as elite as once thought resulted in a draft drop.
|1||4||3||Jesse Puljujarvi||RW||FIN||6-4/205||Karpat Oulu (Fin)|
|2||32||43||Tyler Benson||LW||CAN||6-0/200||Vancouver (WHL)|
|3||63||48||Markus Niemelainen||D||FIN||6-4/200||Saginaw (OHL)|
|3||84||100||Matthew Cairns||D||CAN||6-2/200||Georgetown (OJHL)|
|3||91||NR||Filip Berglund||D||SWE||6-3/200||Skelleftea (Swe)|
|5||123||72||Dylan Wells||G||CAN||6-1/185||Peterborough (OHL)|
|5||149||NR||Graham McPhee||LW||USA||5-11/175||NTDP (USA)|
|6||153||93||Aapeli Rasanen||C||FIN||6-0/195||Tappara (Fin)|
|7||183||NR||Vincent Desharnais||D||CAN||6-6/210||Providence (HE)|
Markus Niemelainen was another prospect once considered a possible top 30 pick whose mediocre season resulted in his availability with the 63rd pick. Matthew Cairns was a steady 6-2 defender who caught scouts’ attention with his solid performance at the WJAC, and Filip Berglund’s offensive breakthrough and promotion to the SHL made the 1997-born puckmoving defenceman a more desirable commodity this time around.
Dylan Wells underperformed this past season, yet the size/skill package still makes him one of the better long-term goalie prospects. Aapeli Rasanen lacks elite skating and puck skills, however his smarts and competitiveness were on full display during his standout U-18 performance.
Grade – A: The Puljujarvi pick alone made it a successful draft…adding six picks that made McKeen’s top 100 indicated that they also added solid prospect depth.