After making the playoffs in 2017, the Edmonton Oilers have missed the postseason in each of the last two seasons and have qualified just once in the last 13 seasons.
The Oilers taken heat over the years for some bad drafting and bad trades, but new General Manager Ken Holland has a solid core to build around in his first draft. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Oscar Klefbom were taken in the first-round back in 2011 and have become integral, veteran pieces of this core. Since the Nail Yakupov blunder, drafting Darnell Nurse (No.7 in 2013), Leon Draisaitl (No.3 in 2014) and obviously, Connor McDavid (No.1 in 2015) gives the Oilers three great centres and two top-pairing defensemen to build around.
In more recent drafts, the Oilers still have high hopes for Jesse Puljujarvi (No.4 in 2016) and Kailer Yamamoto (No.22 in 2017) despite average returns so far. Evan Bouchard, who they took No.10 overall last summer had a fantastic season with the London Knights (OHL) and he will be a roster hopeful and future top-pairing defenseman for them as well.
Edmonton does not have a third or fifth-round pick in the draft (per PuckPedia.com) but Holland has two of the top 38 picks (No.8 and No.38) to put his stamp on this roster this June.
With the No.8 Overall Pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the Edmonton Oilers select…
Cole Caufield — RW — United States 🇺🇸
Caufield is one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft. The winger is under-sized (5-foot-7, 163 lbs) which means he naturally draws comparisons to fellow Americans Johnny Gaudreau (5-foot-9. 165 lbs) and Alex DeBrincat (5-foot-7, 165 lbs). Teams regret passing on both of those forwards in the first round but they aren’t going to make the same mistake with Caufield.
Caufield had a record-breaking season, scoring 72 goals with United States Development Team. A 72-goal season was the most for a USNTDP player, beating Auston Matthews by 17 goals. He only had 28 assists, but that was enough to make him the fourth USNTDP player to crack 100 points, joining Matthews, Jack Hughes and Clayton Keller for that honour. In addition to his 72-goal campaign, he tied Alex Ovechkin’s record by scoring 14 goals in seven games at the U18 World Juniors.
The diminutive winger has an absolutely explosive wrist shot and is capable of scoring in a variety of ways. The Oilers could use a player with his kind of goal-scoring ability. This past season, Draisaitl (50) and McDavid (41) combined for 39.7 percent of their goal-scoring and they only had six players with double-digit goals.
Caufield could either play with McDavid and re-create what the Erie Otters (OHL) had when they had McDavid and DeBrincat together. Or they can play him with Nugent-Hopkins to give them a dominant top-6. This makes the Oilers a logical landing spot for Caufield, especially given their willingness to draft small forwards in the past.
I project Caufield to be a star NHL winger due to his world-class shot, his elite hands and his great hockey sense. He should be a regular on the goal-scoring leaderboard in the NHL. Don’t underrate goals. Cole Caufield scored 72 goals. It’s a lot of goals. — Corey Pronman (The Athletic)
The hallmark of his game is his exceptional goal-scoring ability. He has a shot that absolutely leaps off his stick with pinpoint accuracy when he lets loose and a low centre of gravity that facilitates fast and flashy puck-handling at pace. He affords his linemates options by taking advantage of any allotted attention he garners, generating time and space by drawing guys in; he’s perpetually hard to play against. All-in-all, Cole Caufield is an electrifying goal-scoring machine that makes some of the most otherworldly plays look like child’s play. — Elite Prospects
- #11 — HockeyProspect.com
- #12 — Future Considerations
- #9 — ISS Hockey
- #8 — NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
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