Last year’s Edmonton Oilers slide was called the fall for Hall and after another losing season the team has once again captured the number one draft pick. The question for them is not only who do you pick but how do you ensure that you don’t end up with another number one pick a year from now.
High draft picks aren’t a guarantee of success especially with no veteran players around to teach the kids how to play the game. Hall and company didn’t end up being all they were cracked up to be this year and whoever the Oilers draft next year is likely to be in the same company. Hall is a talented player, that goes without saying, but other organizations with lower draft picks ended up with comparable or better talent in their lineups.
Ryan Couture of San Jose put up big numbers and was an extremely impressive player for them as was Jeff Carter for the Philadelphia. These are teams that have experienced players and strong lineups that rookies can be built into and learn from. Having one rookie making the occasional mistake is much easier to buffer when they are part of a strong team instead of the best player on the team.
Scouting, and the ability to pick talent and develop it are the keys to success in the NHL. It was plain to see that Hall was a good player but it is the teams that dig deeper and build up surprises that turn out to be incredible. Bringing in a few talented rookies every season is the way to keep a good team good.
Unfortunately for the Oilers their team looks a lot better on paper than they do on the ice. What they could really use is a couple of experienced players to anchor and ground the team — something along the lines of what Mikael Samuelson adds to the Canucks lineup. The Oilers hope they will end up like Chicago or Tampa Bay and not like Toronto. Their draft pick will be telling as will be the next year. They will either end up climbing the rankings or in free fall for no one in particular.