Team Recaps: Edmonton Oilers
Steve Kournianos | 11/12/2020 | Nashville | [hupso]
Ken Holland’s second draft as Oilers’ GM focused on the forward ranks, as Edmonton went an entire class without nabbing at least one goalie and defenseman for the first time in franchise history. Of course, it makes complete sense for several reasons, beginning with the fact that they drafted premier defense prospects in the top 10 in both 2018 (Evan Bouchard) and 2019 (Philip Broberg). Although it’s possible they would have drafted netminder Yaroslav Askarov with the 14th pick had he not gone to Nashville at 11, Holland and his scouts made the right call by loading up on wingers who sure know how to finish. First-rounder Dylan Holloway (pictured) may be another two or three years away, but he’s an absolute pain to play against and has proven to be a perfect compliment to finesse types. The only real question is whether Holloway will be groomed as a center now that Kings’ prospect Alex Turcotte has moved on from Wisconsin.
Physical sniper Carter Savoie is the purest finisher of the bunch, and abrasive winger Ty Tullio was gifted to them in Round 5. Another solid selection in the fifth round was Russian two-way winger Maxim Beryozkin, who was on Loko’s top line most of last season with Oilers’ 2019 seventh-rounder Maxim Denezhkin. Edmonton closed out their 2020 draft with a pair of Swedes — triple-overage center Filip Engaras who plays at the University of New Hampshire and soft-mitted right wing Jeremias Lindewall. This group may not seem sexy on paper, but each player in one way or another has proven to make life miserable for opponents — both on and off the puck.
Dylan Holloway, Center/Wing (14th overall)
There seems to be some sort of directive coming from Holland to make the Oilers a bigger, stronger team; one that will be as intimidating off the puck as on it. If so, then Holloway will not only meet his demands, but also look good in the process. You rarely see a true power forward look smooth while playing the part, and Holloway’s impressive skating and multi-directional mobility should quickly dispel any notion that he’s a “grinder” or “checker”. Now that Turcotte’s moved on, expect Holloway to center sniper-superior Cole Caufield on Wisconsin’s top line. Just try to remember that he can play the wing as well.
Carter Savoie, Right Wing (100th overall)
Savoie is a crafty goal scorer who can also serve as a playmaker from the wing. He is a gifted stickhandler and always seemed to slip into openings near the goal by keeping his feet moving and executing set plays off the cycle. Consistency and adapting to the rigors of the NCHC are two things he’ll need to establish quickly if he wants to secure a top-six role on a loaded Denver squad, so Oilers’ fans should prepare for a potential bumpy ride at the beginning of his freshman season. He was ranked 99th on our final list so you won’t hear a peep out of me with stuff pertaining to better targets who the Oilers passed over — Savoie has tendencies and habits that should make him a fan favorite, at least while he’s still in college.
Ty Tullio, Right Wing (126th overall)
Promoting Tullio as a potential late first-round pick seemed completely normal to me once he established himself as a key figure on Oshawa’s top line alongside 2019 first-rounder Phil Tomasino. He plays physical, gets under opponents skin, and is a pretty good skater. But most important was the confidence he showed with the puck while sharing the same ice with the Generals’ established forwards. The knee-jerk reaction may have been to consider Tullio’s impressive numbers (66 points in 62 games) as the benefit of having premier linemates, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth — Tullio is a low-maintenance threat who can create chances on his own.
Maksim Beryozkin, Left Wing (138th overall)
This big-bodied forward didn’t waste any time establishing himself as not only one of the top players for a deep Loko Yaroslavl squad, but also as one of the MHL’s top scorers. Beryozkin, much like his aforementioned center Denezhkin, wore many hats for his contending club and it would not have been out of the ordinary to see him used in successive shifts or logging over 20 minutes a game. Granted, it’s been quite a long time since the Oilers’ attack featured a Russian winger of any type, let alone one from a European league. But I fully support the idea of drafting junior linemates into the same organization.
Filip Engaras, Center (169th overall)
This pick was one I did not expect since Engaras was a rare triple-overager from Europe playing college hockey in the U.S. He was not ranked in any of my lists after his first year of eligibility, and in 2017 I had him somewhere in the 300’s because I viewed him as nothing more than a depth player and penalty killer for Skelleftea. Nonetheless, Engaras for New Hampshire certainly was a line driver and all-situations center, although his time on the top line was limited. He eventually settled in as a middle-six center and served on both the power play and penalty killing units. A deeper look into his game revealed several noteworthy qualities; specifically his decision making and poise under pressure in the defensive zone. Although he is capable of making plays and delivering precision passes under duress, Engaras always seemed to be a desired target for his defensemen when they couldn’t shake a heavy forecheck. He’s a hunched skater but his stride is long and he can be difficult to knock off the puck as he changes directions several times in one possession.
Jeremias Lindewall, Right Wing (200th overall)
A long and lanky winger with impressive stickhandling ability, Lindewall spent most of last season as MODO J20’s third-line wing and didn’t see an uptick in usage until late in the Top-10 portion of the schedule, which was an absolute disaster for his team but allowed Lindewall the opportunity to showcase his skills in a lot of garbage time. He and smaller 2002-born playmaker Isak Noren eventually got a bump in minutes because their line was clicking with more consistency than the bigger names, and to Lindewall’s credit he never seemed to lag in play despite so many crooked numbers on the scoreboard. Quite honestly, this looks like a Coronavirus pick, as both Lindewall and MODO are off to hot starts in 2020-21. Considering he was picked in the 200’s, Lindewall could be a diamond in the rough who just needed a chance to play more minutes.