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article imageOp-Ed: Edmonton Oilers lose draft lottery yet rewarded for ineptness

By Marcus Hondro     May 1, 2016 in Sports
They did not get the first overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft — thank heavens for small miracles — but the ineptness that is the Edmonton Oilers franchise was still rewarded Saturday. The Oilers wound up in fourth and will get a sure-fire stud.
NHL: Share the skill
The line-up of first overall and other high draft picks in the Oilers stable is as long as the number of years they've gone without making the playoffs (that would be 10 long seasons). Okay, half as long: Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid.
Four are first overall picks, one (Draisaitl) was the third overall. So it would surely have pained NHL brass had Edmonton come away with Auston Matthews, another franchise player, this time around.
One assumes the NHL would like to see high-talented, young skill players spread around, they certainly should. But if they do, the league has a funny way of showing it.
What about a rule that only allows two first overalls in five years, and should you get two first overalls you're shutout of the top five for a draft or two? After getting Hall and Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton could hardly have complained about that.
Maple Leafs win lottery
In yesterday's draft lottery it was the Toronto Maple Leafs in first, the Winnipeg Jets in second and the Columbus Blue Jackets in third that got the luckiest. Everyone knows the first three projected picks are American Matthews followed by FInns Patrick Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi.
So despite finishing second-from-last, the Oilers must deal with dropping all the way to fourth. Oh my! How will they manage moving forward? They could now pick one of the two top-ranked North American skaters, forwards Matthew Tkachuk and Pierre-Luc Dubois. Or they could trade down and select from a bevy of talented defenceman.
Tkachuk is of course the son of Keith (he of the 538 NHL goals). Matthew is currently leading the London Knights in the OHL playoffs, scoring at a goal a game pace. He's not just a goal scorer, point producer, but a major agitator that calls himself "a guy who's a winner" and promises whoever takes him they'll be getting the best player in the draft.
Dubois finished third in scoring in the QMJHL at 17 and, while more-often used at center, is comfortable playing all forward positions. He's big, strong, tough, he skates, he goes to the net and is one of the most relentless defensive forwards in the draft. A power-forward extraordinaire.
Canadian teams in draft
In other words, Edmonton fans will not suffer. How about other Canadian teams? As you can imagine Toronto Maple Leaf fans are celebrating (and salivating) at the thought of getting Matthews, Jets fans are doing the same after their team lucked out and moved up in the draft to second; they are only a few months away from cheering for the slick Patrick Laine.
Calgary (6th), Montreal (9th) and Ottawa (12th) had little chance of moving into the top three so they can't be said to be suffering to any great degree. But the Vancouver Canucks went from third down to fifth so their fan-base is lamenting their bad luck on social media as much as Leafs and Jets fans are celebrating their good luck.
Add the Canuck's poor luck to their management's colossal failure to get a high-draft pick, or anything, for UFA Dan Hamhuis at the trade deadline, and it's been a tough time for the Canuck Nation. At fifth they'll get a player but one, unlike those first three picks, that likely won't be ready for prime-time for a season or two.
Edmonton though, the team the NHL is building, is a big winner again, as they would seem to be year after year in the draft. When will they at last stop being participants in it and instead take part in the Stanley Cup playoffs? They have a better coach in Todd McLelland and better GM in Peter Chiarelli, so perhaps that day is not so far off.
But given what they've been given it should have been here already.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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