The Edmonton Oilers hold the 14th overall pick in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft on Tuesday, and it’s likely that’s where they’ll stay.
“I don’t see us moving up. I’m expecting that we’re going to pick it,” Oilers general manager Ken Holland said on Monday.
“I don’t see us drafting a defenceman given all the defencemen that we’ve got.”
If the Oilers go for a forward, they could see a smaller skilled forward available. Two possibilities come from the Western Hockey League. Portland’s Seth Jarvis (five-foot-nine, 175 pounds) had 98 points in 58 games. Brandon’s Ridly Greig (five-foot-11, 163 pounds) had 60 points in 56 games.
“Lots of the undersized people that you talk about… they’re really competitive,” Holland said.
“They play like they have a chip on their shoulder. They win one-on-one battles. The protect the puck. They go to the hard areas — and it doesn’t matter what size they are.”
The Oilers don’t have a pick in the second round. They have to give their third round this year or next to the Calgary Flames as part of the James Neal/Milan Lucic trade. Holland said it’s more likely they make the pick this year and give up the 2021 selection.
Holland also addressed reports suggesting defenceman Oscar Klefbom will have surgery on his shoulder and be out of action long term.
“He’s waiting to see if his shoulder is going to get to the point where he doesn’t need surgery,” explained Holland.
“Based upon the information I’ve got, I’m sort of leaning towards we won’t have him, or we won’t have him to start with.”
Holland explained that Klefbom has been playing in pain for the past couple of seasons and that a decision on surgery isn’t an easy one.
“He’s an important player on the team, but he’s also a person who has to make a decision very important to him going forward in his life. I have to respect that,” said Holland.
Also of note, Holland expects to add a new goaltender, likely though free agency, which opens on Friday.
He’s also had discussions with forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins about a contract extension.
“My goal is hopefully to have Nuge here for a long time,” said Holland.
Nugent-Hopkins’ deal expires next off-season. Holland said negotiations could continue into the start of next year.
Catch live coverage of the first round of the NHL Draft on 630 CHED starting at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
Watch below: Some Global News videos about the Edmonton Oilers.