With several players on their list already taken the Oilers scouting staff felt the long term needs of the organization was to acquire a pure goal scorer or a reliable defenseman. Interestingly enough the first three rounds turned out almost exactly as planned. They did not get the goalie they coveted but all in all I felt it was a productive first day in adding dimensions to the farm system. The first three rounds went quickly for the Edmonton Oilers and the players selected are as follows.
1st Round 13th Overall
Ales Hemsky RW Sh: Right 6-0/170 Born: August13/1983
Not all the scouts agree with each other on the assessment of this Czech winger who played in the offensive minded QMJHL but no one deny his skills. At this pick it is exactly one the main needs the Oilers were trying to address, a scoring winger in the Miro Satan mold who can break open games on occasion.
He arguably one of this draft’s most electrifying players with the puck and one of the only reason he was not taken higher is his unwillingness to play in traffic so to speak. Not particularly muscular by any means but that seemed to be of little concern to the Oilers brass since they were looking for pure skill over brawn. Because of the teams current depth of young gritty forwards in the system it was apparently felt that this selection was necessary.
For the most part Ales will provide that elusive swift skating goal scorer whom can make opposing defenseman look foolish. Also noting are his amazing puck skills in the handling and passing department and his eye hand coordination is beyond belief. As always the Oilers must pick someone with excellent skating ability regardless of the situation. He may find that playing for the Oilers will be different from any thing he has experienced before, they will push him to be responsible in all three zones and do the little things consistently right.
2nd Round 43rd overall
Doug Lynch D Sh: Left 6-3/205 Born: April 4/1983
Adding another defensive defenseman never hurts you especially one you enjoys punishing violators in front of the net. For a stay at home type is does handle the transition game effectively which is a trait always looked for in Oilers defenseman. The most attractive feature in this young man is his low panic point and will often use a simple play instead of getting cute. Is a willing to stick up for teammates when needed and has strong leadership abilities, which become more apparent in intense close games. However he does not have good foot speed overall but he plays such a responsible positioning game that it allows him that luxury. Potentially a number 4 defenseman who can log a lot of ice time and anchor the penalty kill.
2nd Round 52nd overall
Ed Caron C/LW Sh: Left 6-2/214 Born: April 30/1982
The verdict is will be not out on this player for 2-3 years on if he will be a player or not be he definitely has the potential to be a second line power forward. He dominated against 17 year olds in prep school so it will be interesting to see how he adjusts to college hockey. In his favor is quick hands and size and can be very difficult to move out front net once he has staked his claim.
Has patience with the puck and will not panic and can put the puck into scoring an area to get scoring chances. Is known to have a good work ethic and that is trait the Oilers are always looking for.
3rd Round 84th overall
Kenny Smith D Sh: Right 6-2/209 Born: December 31/1981
What Edmonton really needed was another guy named Smith and if he can play like Jason they have a real keeper. He seems to like playing a simple game taking very little risks. Has shown good hockey sense and reacts quickly to developing plays in his own zone. Loves to play an aggressive game and will dish out a hit every time some touches the puck or lingers in front of the net. Will stay in school for at least 2 more years before they consider moving him to the AHL.
Overall I felt it was a good day for the Oilers organization and they filled a couple spots in their farm system. The pick that will make this whole day successful for Edmonton will be Ales Hemsky so if the Ottawa scouts are correct he could develop into another Martin Havlat.
So it remains to be seen how things turn out in 5 years for these prospects and in some respects the Oilers future could ride on their young shoulders.