Oilers draft review

By Guy Flaming

Edmonton Draft Review


went into the draft weekend armed with eleven picks and had their sights set on
one of the three top-rated defensemen available.  In order to get the opportunity to select one of the
blueliners that they coveted, the Oilers would have to make a trade to move up
in the pecking order.  They were

tried to move up but we didn’t get that accomplished, but given that small
disappointment we’re certainly happy with the way things turned out,” said
Oilers Assistant GM Scott Howson.

way it worked out was that, in the end, the Oilers added a twelfth pick to their
wallets by trading down five positions with the New Jersey Devils. 
The move was a bit risky but to drop from the 17th pick to the
22nd did not prevent Edmonton from choosing the player they would
have had they not made the trade.

their first overall selection, the Oilers took Marc-Antoine Pouliot of
the Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL).  The 6-1, 188 lb centerman was the lone bright spot for
Rimouski this year, a team who had a dreadful season overall.

traded all of our veterans,” commented Pouliot, “After the mid-season we
only won twice, It was difficult for me to play well and to have motivation.”

The budding star from Quebec
City was pleased that Edmonton picked him and not really that surprised.

“The Edmonton Oilers are
one of my favorite teams, to play for a Canadian team is just awesome,” said
the newest Oiler, “They met me twice, and I thought they were interested
in me.  When they picked me, it was

the second round the Oilers selected a youngster named Colin McDonald. 
Edmonton likes what their scouts had to say about the high school winger.

a guy that our scouts were extremely high on,” said Howson. “They’d
watched him play in the New England Junior League. 
He was a bit of a late bloomer and was under the radar screen a little
bit but he had a strong second half.”

the extra second round pick they acquired from New Jersey, Edmonton took hulking
winger Jean-Francois Jacques.  The
big winger is well known for his physical play but has deceptive speed for a
skater with his size.  The 6-4, 217
lbs winger played for Baie Comeau of the QMJHL last season.

Edmonton chose Misha Joukov with their third round pick (72nd
overall) it was on a bit of a hunch.

a Russian playing in Sweden so he wasn’t eligible to play in any of the
tournaments over there in Sweden or Russia,” informed Howson. “He played in
the elite league, his father’s a coach in Sweden and that’s why he’s
there.  He’s a big strong guy that
skates very well so we thought that, perhaps, he may be a little bit of a
sleeper and we decided to step up and take him in the third round.”

fifth pick was used on a player who made draft eligibility by just three days. 
Zack Stortini, the Captain of the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL,
became Oiler property with the 94th overall selection.  Character, leadership and heart are the three words most
often used to describe Stortini.  Considering
the winger also notched 222 PIM, ‘scary’ might also be a fitting adjective.

The next four picks by the
Oilers were all for forwards. 


(147th), a 6
winger who played junior in Sweden is expected to spend the next few years in
his homeland.


played in Michigan in the NAHL last season and was selected in the fifth round
(154th) by the Oilers.  The
6-3 winger has good height and his 219 lbs fills his frame nicely. 
This was another selection the Oilers made to improve their forward size. 

third Swedish league player the Oilers selected was Dragan Umicevic (184th)
in the 6th round.  The
6-0, 191 lbs winger played for


(214th) is a native Northern Albertan who played last season with the
Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL.  The
6-1 191 lbs center hails from St. Paul, AB, a community approximately two hours
NE of Edmonton.

a defenceman that the Oilers auditioned at their main training camp last fall as
a free agent, was the first defenseman chosen by Edmonton. 
The 215th pick will likely be in training camp again this year
as contract negotiations near completion.

eleventh Edmonton pick was a defender from the Czech Republic named Josef
.  At 6-1 and only 176
lbs, Hrabal relies on his offensive upside much more than on any physical play. 
Indications are that Hrabal is a good passer but that he needs to work on
his skating.  Josef played for
Vsetin Jr. in the Czech Republic.

12th and final draft choice was Troy Bodie, a winger from the
WHL champion Kelowna Rockets.  Bodie
is a towering 6-4 but has not hit the 200 lbs plateau, a goal he should be able
to achieve in the near future.