Oilers Draft Review

The 2019 NHL Draft went down last weekend in Vancouver and the Oilers went in holding the 8th, 39th, 85th, 100th, 162nd, and 193rd picks and they came out with Philip Broberg, Raphael Lavoie, Ilya Konovalov, Matej Blumel, Tomas Mazura, and Maxim Denezhkin.

The rest of this article will take a quick glance at the reaction to this draft and how I think the Oilers made out. Then take an in depth look at what some top evaluators are saying about the prospects and how they might make an impact within the franchise in the years to come.

When the Oilers went up to the stage holding the 8th overall pick many people were expecting the Oilers to take Philip Broberg. At least that is what the chatter had been online for the week or so building up to the draft. Though that was the chatter, it was not really what Oilers fans wanted.

Broberg is very fast skater, however I’m not sure about his vision and his puck-handling. He will play in the NHL, but is a reach at #8 in my opinion.— Simon Boisvert (@simonsnake70) June 22, 2019

Credit: @E.lisa_rachel Instagram

As seen in the video above, many Oilers fans were not happy with the pick. It’s not that they hate Philip Broberg, it’s just that Oilers fans (justifiably so) wanted a scoring winger who could one day line up alongside McDavid or Nugent Hopkins. Whereas Broberg is yet another Left Shooting defensemen in a pipeline that is full of them. The back end already seemed full before Broberg with the likes of Jones, Bouchard, Samorukov, Bear, Persson, and Laggesson. Broberg was also one of the most controversial players in the draft, some scouts having him inside the top 10 but a majority having him in the teens or even the twenty’s in the draft due to inconsistent defending and low point totals for a projected offensive defensemen. With Many good forwards still available Oilers fans were left frustrated after Friday night was over.

Saturday morning as the Oilers took to the draft floor again, Oiler fans were hoping for redemption and they got it in a big way as the Oilers used their second round selection on 6’4″ C/RW Raphael Lavoie who almost unanimously was pegged to be drafted in the first round. Often ranked inside the top 20. Oilers fans got what they wanted and were much happier to start day two of the draft then they were day one.

Raphaël Lavoie – QMJHL Highlights 2018-2019 https://t.co/8KW81F717d

Not your prototypical “Power Forward” this guy has high end puck skills and shot. Huge value pick at #38 (#19 on McKenzie’s Final List)— Oiler Positives (@positives_oiler) June 22, 2019

Personally I’m not in love with the Broberg pick, there were multiple scoring forwards who were available at #8. I would’ve liked to see the Oilers take Matt Boldy, a scoring forward from the USNDT. A left shooting 6’2″ sniper, who would’ve been a great asset for the Oilers organization. With Tyler Benson being the only notable prospect at Left wing, adding Boldy would’ve gave the system a massive boost. To add both Lavoie and Boldy would’ve been incredible.

I thought the Lavoie pick was perfect at 38, I was yelling at my TV for the Oilers to pick Lavoie, so when the Oilers actually picked him it felt very strange to see the Oilers do something I wanted them to.

Raphael Lavoie….big, skilled forward. He had 20 goals in 23 playoff games for Halifax Mooseheads. Turns 19 in September. A skilled forward who shoots right. Something Oilers needed in the system.

— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) June 22, 2019

The Konovalov pick was interesting, I didn’t think the Oilers would pick a goalie this year considering they already have, Skinner, Wells, Starrett, and Rodrigue in the system. Seeing his numbers in the KHL and learning that he will stay there for the next two years, not crowding the crease within the Oilers system made me feel better about the pick. He was a 4th year eligible prospect in the draft, but goalies do take forever to develop and are described as voodoo in accordance to development. So to get a goalie in his 4th year of eligibility instead of his 1st year means there’s that many fewer years of voodoo to navigate before we find out what he really is.

Matej Blumel was on overager in the draft, he put up 60 points in 58 games in the USHL last season, he’s committed to UConn, so he’s a project that will take a couple years, we will have to follow and see with him. Adds some depth to the wings in the sytem which is much needed.

Tomas Mazura a Center drafted out of US High School, I know nothing about him except that he and Matej Blumel are best friends and are over joyed to both be drafted to the same team.

Maxim Denezhkin is a small Center from Russia, put up decent numbers in the MHL last season. He will be playing for for the same KHL team as Konovalov, both of whom will be coached be Craig McTavish.

Those are my quick thoughts and first reactions, but what do the experts have to say about the Oilers draft picks from this years draft?

Philip Broberg – D – 6’3 203lbs Sh: L
All reports say that he is an Elite Skater, and from the few video clips I’ve seen of him at the Oilers Development Camp this week, I would have to agree. The guy flies around the rink effortlessly. That was his big calling card in the draft was his elite skating. He doesn’t appear to have high end passing or puck skills, but they aren’t terrible. Some sources say he shows his elite skating but very seldom plays to the inside with his skill and skates as a perimeter player not imposing his will on other players. He isn’t a super physical defensemen either.

One of Corey Pronman’s concerns with Broberg was “[he] found in league games he was hesitant to push the pace versus men like he did versus his peers. He has that ability and it may be a maturation thing.” (The Athletic). So hopefully as Broberg matures he can learn or get more confident in pushing the pace by himself and really be a driving force for the offence. If He can develop into a good offensive defensemen that would definitely help the Oilers on the back end to get the puck to McDavid in transition and increase the team’s overall offensive production. I can see Broberg making the jump to the NHL in Spring 2021.

Broberg in action in the Allsvenskan. Sweden’s 2nd Division. Broberg playing against Men.

Raphael Lavoie – C/RW – 6’4 196lbs Sh: R
Lavoie put up 73 points in 62 games for the Halifax Mooseheads in the QMJHL. Though those point totals aren’t as great as some scouts hoped they’d be, he turned it up to another level in the playoffs, scoring 20 goals in 23 games! Lavoie is self described as a power forward, which is exactly something the Oilers have been looking for. A big frame, skates well, and score. It’s a rare commodity in today’s game, so the fact Lavoie fell this far is music to Oilers fans ears. The knock on Lavoie and presumably the reason he has fallen this far in the draft is due to consistency and decision making. He often shows flashes of brilliance that make him seem like a lock for top 6 work in the NHL and other nights it seems to disappear for a bit. Consistency is often something that comes with age, so it’s not something I’m too concerned with at this point for Lavoie.

Some nights, he skates like the wind and dangles his way through players, but other nights, he totally disappears.— Simon Boisvert (@simonsnake70) June 22, 2019

Lavoie is a motivated kid and one I think will make the most the year next year in the Q and be ready to compete for an Oilers spot in fall 2021.

Lavoie 2018/19 Season Highlights

Ilya Konovalov – G – 6’0 194lbs Catches: L
Konovalov had an outstanding year in the KHL posting a .930 sv% and took over starting goalie duties as a rookie in the league. These numbers are impressive and would catch anyone’s eye but Mikko Koskinen had a .937 sv% in the KHL before coming over to Edmonton. So that could bode well for Konovalov in the fact that Koskinen is playing games in the NHL. However, it could also make Oiler fans second guess the gaudy numbers because Koskinen hasn’t really been all that anyone (Chiarelli) hoped he would be. Nonetheless he’ll be back in the KHL for the next 2 seasons. If he can continue to consistently put up numbers like he did this year we’ll be talking about a real legitimate prospect in Konovalov. Ilya is described as a quick, smooth goalie who is rarely out of position. He won’t be seen on may highlight reels for his diving saves because he’s never out of position to have to dive across the crease in desperation. The knock on him is that he is small by goalie standards. Most goalies in today’s NHL are 6’2 or bigger, so not making that cut hurt Konovalov’s draft stock quite a bit. However, if he can keep playing at the level he currently is I don’t see him having any trouble cracking the Oilers roster in a few seasons. NHL Arrival 2021.

Konovalov Highlights from 2018/19 Season where he took over starting goalie duties as a rookie goaltender.

Matej Blumel – RW – 6’0 198lbs Sh: L
Blummel had 60 points in 58 games in the USHL as an 18 year old. anytime you’re put up over a point per game that means you’re doing something right. Corey Pronman of the Athletic had this to say about Blumel “He’s got good speed and skill, can score a few goals and works hard but I don’t see anything high-end/NHL in his game.” Definitely more of a long term project but heading to NCAA allows the Oilers and Blumel time for him to grow and work on his game. NHL Arrival 2023.

Edmonton takes Matej Blumel 100th overall. I had him listed as a sleeper last year and again this year. I love the kid’s work ethic and this year we saw more of his skill as he was a top performer for Waterloo. Glad to see him rewarded for a strong season. He’s committed to UConn— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) June 22, 2019

Blumel has a huge game against the Americans in a U-18 Game

Tomas Mazura – C – 6’2 – 170lbs Sh: L

PC commit Tomas Mazura of Kimball Union drafted by Edmonton in 6th round. Great story in the making. JV player 3 years ago, then missed a season with injury before breakout year in 18-19. Big upside— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) June 22, 2019

Had 54 points in 37 games at the High School level. From the Czech Republic but came to North America to pursue hockey. He has good hands and can put up points but his skating needs a lot of work, that will be one of his main focuses going into NCAA. NHL Arrival 2023.

Providence College commit Tomas Mazura of Kimball Union has interviewed with 11 NHL teams. @THNRyanKennedy ranks Mazura 102nd for this weekend’s NHL Draft. Big Czech expected to be one of top players in NE prep next winter— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) June 17, 2019

From Mazura’s own Youtube Channel, I would assume he put this video together himself to get himself recognized before the draft which is awesome. Respect

Maxim Denezhkin – C – 5’10 165lbs Sh: L

Speaking of Russian forwards in the seventh round, I quite liked Edmonton’s final selection of Maxim Denezhkin. He’s got nice upside if he can grow a little more. He scored MHL championship-winning goal. Seems like a good kid to gamble on. #Oilers #2019NHLDraft— Larry Fisher (@LarryFisher_KDC) June 22, 2019

Small forward from Russia, scored well in the Russian Jr. League, he’ll make the jump to the KHL this year and hopefully work and his all around game and getting better on and off the puck. NHL Arrival 2023.
There is only 1 video I could find of Denezhkin but I didn’t think it was worthwhile to add, blurry highlight of a second assist.

MHL is Russian Juniors btw
Danill Gutik seems pretty good, but Maxim Denezhkin is stealing the show for Loko.
Both are 2019-eligible prospects (as is Shabanov above). pic.twitter.com/kx09qkO3f5— Evan Oppenheimer (@OppenheimerEvan) December 11, 2018

Realistically I only see three NHL players out of this draft. The first three taken, Broberg, Lavoie, and Konovalov.
Konovalov is the prospect that intrigues me the most to follow and see how he progresses compared to Skinner, Wells, and Rodrigue.
Broberg and Lavoie seem like sure fire NHLer’s to me, Broberg will likely end up as a top 4 defensemen he reminds me a lot of Darnell Nurse. Lavoie has potential to be an impact top 6 forward but I feel like he may end up being a contributing top 9 forward (a good one). Which is something the Oilers desperately need.
Hopefully after sometime in college the Czech’s can change my mind but right now I don’t see them contributing much at the NHL level.
As for Denezhkin, I know nothing about him, so he’ll be a prospect I look into more as next season gets under way.

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