According to online bookmaker Bodog, the Edmonton Oilers are most likely to draft Russian forward Nail Yakupov (-200) with the first overall pick this summer. After Yakupov, Canadian defenseman Ryan Murray (+150) is the next likeliest option, with “trade the pick/any other player” the longshot at +600.
Those who like to bet on this sort of stuff might want to note what Oilers president Kevin Lowe told 630 CHED in Edmonton yesterday (via Eye on Hockey) about Murray, who’s currently playing for Team Canada at the world championships.
“He’s played remarkably well for a young fellow and I’ve talked to the other GMs and scouts that are here and they all agree that he’s going to play in the National Hockey League next year, no question,” Lowe said.
”There’s no surprise why Central Scouting has him rated second. He’s the top player. And often with the top players, or occasionally with the top players, they’re not ready to play in the National Hockey League, but I don’t question his readiness for next year.”
If there’s one area the Oilers need to upgrade, it’s the back end. Up front, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall should provide offense for years to come.
Edmonton has some good prospects in defensemen Jeff Petry, Oscar Klefbom, and David Musil. However, Murray could be too good to pass up, and if he can play in the NHL next season, even better.
If we had to bet, we’d sooner wager $100 (to win $150) on Murray than $100 (to win $50) on Yakupov.