Oilers 2010 draft review

By Jason Flammia

The 2010 NHL entry draft was billed as a turning point for the Edmonton Oilers. Although the Oilers possessed the top overall pick for the first time in franchise history, the organization’s success would not be judged on who they would select first overall, but how they would draft in the remaining rounds.

In the end, the Oilers would draft 11 players, comprising of seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender. With only their final two draft picks measuring less than 6’1, there was a clear emphasis on drafting prospects with size and skill.

Taylor Hall, LW – Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
1st round, 1st overall
6’1, 190 lbs

The most dynamic goal scorer in the CHL last season, Hall is the type of player a franchise can build around. During the 2009-10 season, the dynamic winger scored 40 goals and 66 assists for 106 points in 57 games. In 19 playoff games, Hall netted 17 goals and 18 assists for 35 points on route to his second consecutive Memorial Cup championship and playoff MVP award. In three seasons skating with the Windsor Spitfires, Hall posted a stunning 123 goals and 157 assists in 183 games. He was also plus-115.

With strong skating ability, good hockey sense, elite level scoring capability, and a proven champion, Hall provides the Oilers with a solid building block for their forthcoming youth movement. He was the best player available and deserving of the first overall selection. Expect him to make the NHL straight out of training camp and have an immediate impact on an Oilers team starved for star power.

Tyler Pitlick
, C – Minnesota State University-Mankato (NCAA)
2nd round, 31st overall
6’2, 194lbs

Tyler Pitlick was seen as a late-first round pick, so the Oilers were quite happy that the big, playmaking centerman fell into the 2nd round. Pitlick plays solid in his own end and is able to produce offensively. He scored 11 goals and 19 points in 38 games during his NCAA rookie season, and has developed a reputation for having a strong and accurate snap shot. The year before, during his senior year at Centennial High school in Minnesota, Pitlick led the entire conference in scoring with 64 points in 25 games.

The 18-year-old is projected to become a 2nd line player, but will head to the Medicine Hat Tigers next season to continue developing his game.

Martin Marincin
, D – Slovakia U20 (Slovakia)
2nd round, 46th overall
6’4, 187lbs

The Oilers trade 2007 first round draft pick (21st overall) Riley Nash to the Carolina Hurricanes for the 46th overall pick, which they used to select Martin Marincin.

Marincin could develop into a hard-nosed shut-down defenseman for the Oilers in a couple of years. He plays with a mean edge and, coupled with his excellent skating ability and smart hockey senses, will add depth to the Oilers’ defensive system. In 35 games with the Slovak U20 team, Marincin posted two goals, four assists, and 71 penalty minutes.

This season, Marincin served as the captain for Slovakia‘s U-18 WJC squad as well. He was taken first overall by the Prince George Cougars in the CHL’s 2010 Import Draft, and has stated he wants to play the forthcoming season in North America.

It remains to be seen weather he’ll play for the Cougars or for the Oilers’ AHL team.

Curtis Hamilton, LW – Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
2nd round, 48th overall
6’2, 209lbs

Hamilton is a big, powerful forward who has good hands and strong skating ability. The 18-year-old could have been ranked higher going into the draft, but was hampered by injuries throughout the season.

In 26 games this past season he registered 16 points, but in the previous year he scored 48 points in 58 games. Hamilton is known for never taking a shift off and as a guy who is hard to play against. His great hockey sense allows him to be a great compliment with many different types of players, from skilled set-up men to energy-type players. He also excels on penalty-killing units, making him a great utility player who is projected to be a 3rd line NHLer.

Ryan Martindale, C – Ottawa 67s (OHL)
3rd round, 61st overall
6’3, 183lbs

The selection of Martindale in the 3rd round proved the Oilers’ desire to place an emphasis on big, strong skilled players. Martindale is the type of player that can play five-on-five, PK or PP, and is strong in the face-dot. He also has a lot of skill and offensive upside, scoring 19 goals and 41 assists for 60 points in 61 games last season.

At certain times during his OHL career, Martindale has taken over games and looked dominant against his opponent, while going unnoticed the next night. If he can find consistency in his game, Martindale possess all the size, skill and ability needed to become an NHLer. The 18-year-old will spend some more time in the OHL, and could challenge as a depth forward for the Oilers in a couple of years.

Jeremie Blain, D – Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL)
4th round, 91st overall
6’2, 190lbs

Blain is a smooth skating defenseman who reads the game well. With a powerful shot and accurate passing ability, the strongest aspect of his game is his offensive potential, where he scored 34 points in 68 games. In five playoff games, he scored two goals and two assists for four points. Blain is a tough character too, registering 72 penalty minutes last season and two fights.

He competes hard every shift and brings a certain edge and grit to his game. That tough mentality combined with his offensive ability gives Blain an appealing package of skills.

Tyler Bunz, G – Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
5th round, 121st overall
6’1, 196lbs

Goaltender Tyler Bunz has produced decent numbers while playing for the Tigers, and steadily improved his game with each passing season. His 31 regular season wins placed fifth in the WHL last season, and he played a huge role in the Tigers’ first round playoff win over the Kootney Ice. In 57 games, Bunz posted a 31-19-5 record, a 2.91 goals against average, and two shutouts.

As a tall goaltender, he is able to cover a lot of net with his strong positional play and manages to get his body in front of pucks.

The 18-year-old will challenge Oliver Roy in the near future as they compete for ranking with the Oilers’ depth chart.

Brandon Davidson, D – Regina Pats (WHL)
6th round, 162nd overall
6’1, 190lbs

Davidson is yet another big, aggressive player drafted by the Oilers in the 2010 draft. He possesses great passing abilities and can put up points from the backend, scoring one goal and 33 assists in 59 games for the Pats last season. He is particularly strong at making long outlet passes from his own end and hitting forwards in full stride, allowing his team to develop a good transitional game when he’s on the ice.

The 18-year-old thrives on the physical aspect of the game, laying punishing hits on opponents and occasionally dropping the gloves. He is also steady in his own end.

Drew Czerwonka, LW-Kootenay Ice (WHL)
7th round, 166th overall
6’2, 189lbs

Like Davidson, Drew Czerwonka plays a tough, hard-nosed brand of hockey. Czerwonka has the reputation of a pugilist, dropping the gloves 10 times over the 2009-10 season.

While there is no denying Czerwonka’s toughness and grit, he’ll need to improve his strength, skating and hockey sense in order to crack an NHL line-up. During the 2009-10 season, he scored four goals and nine assists for 13 points and added 106 PIM in 54 games, so he doesn’t bring much of an offensive upside.

Kristians Pelss, F- Dinamo-Juniors Riga (Finland)
7th round, 181st overall
5’11, 179lbs

Hailing from Lativa, Kristians Pelss is only the second Latvian-born player to be drafted by the Oilers. A small, skilled forward with natural offensive talent, Pelss posted nine points while playing with Dinamo-Juniors Riga.

He caught the eyes of the Oilers organization during the U-18 WJC, where he scored two goals and one assist in six games.

The 17-year-old was drafted 19th overall by Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL in the CHL’s import draft.

Kellen Jones, F – Vernon Vipers (BCHL)
7th round, 202nd overall
5’9, 164lbs

Kellen has displayed some offensive potential, scoring 12 goals and adding 41 assists in 41 games last year, while leading the Vipers to back-to-back BCHL championships. The year before, he posted 15 goals and 37 assists in 51 games. The 19-year-old played in all situations for the Vipers as well.

Drafted as an overage player, he’ll be turning 20 years old in August and will be playing in the NCAA next season. He doesn’t posses ideal size for the NHL level, but the Oilers’ scouts were keen on his competitiveness, consistency and leadership qualities.