Oilers add eight forwards, two defencemen at 2013 NHL Entry Draft
NEWARK, NJ - The Edmonton Oilers came into the 2013 NHL Entry Draft with six picks, but they left with 10 used on a talented group of eight forwards and two defencemen.
Of them all, it was a bruising blueliner at the top of the list.
With an array of skilled players up for the grabs in the Top 10, the Oilers stepped to the podium and selected Soo Greyhounds defenceman Darnell Nurse seventh overall.
"I followed him from last year when he was at training camp going over to the (Ivan) Hlinka tournament," General Manager Craig MacTavish said. "I liked the competitiveness, I liked the toughness, I liked the character. I watched him a lot this year and saw him really develop as a player.
"He really gives us an element that I feel we're sorely lacking in."
With Nathan MacKinnon (Colorado), Aleksander Barkov (Florida), Jonathan Drouin (Tampa Bay), Seth Jones (Nashville), Elias Lindholm (Carolina) and Sean Monahan (Calgary) off the board, the Oilers' choice came down to either Nurse or KHL winger Valeri Nichushkin.
"Valeri is going to be an excellent player," Head Amateur Scout Stu MacGregor said. "But when you get in a situation where you can have an impact, physical defenceman who moves well and who will give us that edge we require, you have to do it.
"We don't have a whole lot of guys like Darnell."
Before stepping to the podium for a second time as No. 37 approached on the board, it was announced that the Oilers had swapped the second-rounder for Picks 57, 88 and 96 with the Los Angeles Kings.
MacTavish made a similar swing later in the evening, dealing No. 56 to the St. Louis Blues for 83, 94 and 114.
The Oilers used their remaining nine selections on Marc-Olivier Roy (Blainville-Boisbriand), Bogdan Yakimov (Nizhnekamsk), Anton Slepyshev (Russia), Jackson Houck (Vancouver), Kyle Platzer (London), Aidan Muir (Detroit), Evan Campbell (Langley), Ben Betker (Everett) and Greg Chase (Calgary).
"We addressed some of the needs that we talked about," MacTavish said. "We wanted guys that could potentially become impact guys as skilled players."
"We've talked a lot about adding skill," MacGregor added. "Gaining more picks gave us greater opportunity to gain value. We didn't know LA would be coming to us with three picks. That changed a lot for us. There was a lot of discussion previously that we might have even moved some of our picks, so it was a different draft than it could have been."
While the Oilers did consummate a pair of deals, MacTavish was unable to add bodies to the current roster. Throughout the night he and Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren were engaged in some animated discussion, but nothing transpired at Central Registry.
"If there's an announcement to be made, we'll make it, but for now you'll have to draw your own conclusions," MacTavish said. "When I said I would be willing to move the (seventh) pick, I would have. Over the course of this week there weren't a lot of deals made, but we'll continue to talk and have that dialogue with other clubs.
"There weren't a lot of deals done because all of us managers were being a little unreasonable in our demands. And at the end of the day, we'll default to the fact that no deal is better than a bad one."
With a button sewed on the 2012-13 season, the focus now shifts to the Oilers' annual Development Camp next week at Millennium Place. Many of the players drafted and dozens of other prospects will be in attendance with on-ice sessions beginning next week in Sherwood Park.