The 2010 Edmonton Oilers draft class is somewhat of an enigma. Aside from Taylor Hall, who was and has been an obvious lock for NHL success, the rest who followed have remained question marks for the Oilers. Many of the picks experienced setbacks related to injury, inconsistent performance, or otherwise.
However, after the conclusion of the 2014-15 season, it looked as though some key pieces from this draft have turned a corner. For example, Tyler Pitlick continued to show why the Oilers selected him at 31st overall, looking every bit the NHL player in multiple appearances for the big club. Left-winger Curtis Hamilton found his stride in Oklahoma City, putting up respectable offensive numbers and remaining healthy for the large majority of the season.
The 2010 draft pool also comes with some unique stories, such as Brandon Davidson who has beaten cancer and managed to come back stronger and more impressive than ever in his 2014-15 season. Of course, there is the tragic story of Kristians Pelss, who lost his life after a tragic incident in his home country of Latvia in summer 2013.
1st Round (1st overall): Taylor Hall, LW, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Status: NHL Player
NHL Games Played: 299
The first in what would be a series of three consecutive first-overall draft selections, Taylor Hall was the name the Edmonton Oilers called on June 25th, 2010 after a contentious debate in the media and elsewhere, questioning whether it would be Hall or Tyler Seguin that was chosen. In the end, the Oilers selected the young winger from the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL, after he racked up an impressive 106 points in 57 games in his draft year.
Thus far, Taylor Hall has checked all the boxes on the Oilers’ requirements list. A sizeable winger with unbelievable speed, Hall has been a perennial success story, even though the club as a whole has struggled mightily since 2010. Hall has consistently played at a point-per-game pace or more, earning 50 points in the 45-game shortened 2012-13 season and a career-high 80 points in 75 games in 2013-14. Injury trouble stunted his offensive numbers through 2014-15, but there’s no question that the Oilers’ selection at number one in 2010 has paid off.
2nd Round (31st overall): Tyler Pitlick, C, Minnesota State Mankato (NCAA)
NHL Games Played: 27
Since making his professional debut in 2011-12, Tyler Pitlick has experienced success at both the AHL and NHL level, but unfortunately, has also been plagued with injury. A big, strong forward with a hard shot and good footspeed to complement, Pitlick plays a heavy game that unfortunately, seems to lead to extended stays on the injured-reserve list.
Pitlick is a restricted free agent this summer but, after recovering from a lacerated spleen, the forward made a strong case for another contract as he came up big for the Oilers on a number of occasions late in the 2014-15 season and received a qualifying offer. Pitlick’s continued success will hinge on his ability to stay healthy, but he has more than proven that he has the tools necessary to be a competitor at the NHL level.
Watch this 2010 NHL Draft Look Back video featuring Oilers’ draft picks Taylor Hall and Tyler Pitlick.
23-year-old Martin Marincin’s development curve had, up until recently, seemed almost too good to be true. After finishing up a strong junior career with the Prince George Cougars and later the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League, Marincin joined the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL and seemed to adjust seamlessly to the professional game – something that doesn’t always come easily, especially for young defensemen. Marincin proved to be a strong puck-mover with great on-ice vision and played his way into a regular role with the big club for the majority of the 2013-14 season.
Unfortunately, Marincin took a bit of a step back in 2014-15, starting the season with the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL after failing to make the Edmonton Oilers’ roster out of training camp. While a bit surprising given his consistency and reliability the year prior, it’s neither alarming nor unheard of for a young defensive prospect to need a bit more time to refine his game and in the specific case of Marincin, find a bit more intensity and physicality to bring to every shift.
With a new management team in place, Marincin’s position was less assured than ever. His rights were traded to Toronto as part of a series of deals that netted the Oilers a more experienced, more aggressive player in Eric Gryba.
Left-wing prospect and pending restricted free agent Curtis Hamilton is coming off his strongest professional season to date with the Oklahoma City Barons, including an NHL debut with the Oilers in early April. Hamilton is a big body on the ice, who combines strong hockey sense and a good two-way game to make himself a valuable asset on the wing.
Despite breaking his collarbone in his draft year, Hamilton was selected in the second round, following up two strong seasons with the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL in the years prior. Hamilton was sidelined by multiple injuries throughout his entry-level contract, but the Edmonton Oilers extended the Kelowna, BC native a one-year deal in July 2014. The 6’3, 225 pound winger had a successful 2014-15 season with the Barons, spending the majority of his time on the top line, playing heavy minutes and spending time on both the power play and the penalty kill.
Unlike Pitlick, Hamilton did not receive a qualifying offer and will become a free agent. The Oilers continue to revamp the franchise, and Peter Chiarelli is not saddled with any loyalty to prospects from the wandering years.
3rd Round (61st overall): Ryan Martindale, C, Ottawa 67s (OHL)
Status: Prospect (Florida Panthers)
NHL Games Played: 0
After a successful junior career in the OHL, centerman Ryan Martindale made his professional debut in 2011-12 with the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL, before earning some time in Oklahoma City in December. His professional career continued to meander, with an ill-timed knee injury in early 2012-13 and the added players from the NHL lockout keeping him out of the lineup in OKC. He continued to put up pedestrian numbers, shuttling between the AHL and ECHL, before being traded to the Florida Panthers along with Derek Nesbitt in January 2014. The Oilers acquired Steve Pinnizzotto and Jack Combs in return. Martindale signed a two-way, one year deal with the Panthers in July 2014.