In a development that must give a lot of mediocrity-haters a case of bitter beer face, the Edmonton Oilers won the 2012 draft lottery. That allowed the NHL’s second worst team to get the top pick, which really isn’t that bad – but getting the No. 1 choice three years in a row is.
Still, there’s nothing that the disapproving masses can do other than gripe on Twitter. As fun as that might be, the more intriguing questions revolve around what the Oilers should do next.
Should they even keep the pick?
When asked what he’ll do with the No. 1 pick shortly after the Oilers were announced as winners, GM Steve Tambellini was noncommittal about whether he would use it or trade the selection for a more immediate bit of help. Considering Edmonton’s lack of recent results, it wouldn’t be that crazy to imagine Tambellini moving the pick to improve the present at some expense to the future – especially if his job is in some danger.
One can imagine all sorts of scenarios. Edmonton might take advantage of a solid overall draft by swapping a little quality for quantity. Then again, maybe they could offer the spurned Columbus Blue Jackets the No. 1 choice as part of a package for that Rick Nash fella we keep hearing about.
To start things off, let us know if the Oilers should even keep the No. 1 choice.
(Note: it’s technically possible that Edmonton could trade for a roster player and picks, but just consider those choices the “focal point” of a deal.)
Who should they draft?
OK, so let’s assume the Oilers follow the script and use that pick. Who should they go after? Choose from Central Scouting’s top 15 or write in a prospect of your own in the poll below (positions listed in parenthesis):
Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins
Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.
Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.
Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.
We’ll start to find out tonight.
Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.
— Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.
— Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.