According to a report by Jonathan Willis of The Athletic [subscription required], the Edmonton Oilers are quickly focusing on the NHL Entry Draft after being notified the draft could be sooner than expected.
With rumors the NHL might conduct a digital draft and with the leaue moving into Phase 2 of their return to action, there is buzz the draft may happen in June, when previous reports were things might happen in later July. As such, general manager for the Edmonton Oilers, Ken Holland is getting his team ready, including preparing himself for what he thinks he needs to do to help his team.
Holland said, “We’ve been forewarned that this draft could happen way sooner than we had ever anticipated.” And, he knows he’s got some work to do. The Oilers do not have a pick in the second round or the fourth round thanks to trades that landed Andreas Athanasiou and Mike Green. And, while he thinks the team will get to hang onto their third-round draft choice, the NHL has not officially notified the Oilers that they’ll be keeping the conditional pick thrown in as part of the James Neal trade.
Jonathan Willis of the Athletic writes that Holland knows he needs to get the team more picks. He says:
Regardless, Holland said he’d strongly consider trading down – a tactic he used in Detroit – to secure more draft picks for Wright and his staff.
“The scouts need picks,” Holland said. “I understand that I have a responsibility to do that.”
And, while he works on that, Holland has given director of amateur scouting Tyler Wright autonomy to proceed as he sees fit. That includes starting to video interview prospects.
The Oilers won’t interview the top-end prospects, since the Oilers are projected to pick at No. 20 but there are about 10-15 prospects they will talk to and that process could begin shortly, once the NHL finalizes the date of the draft.
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