Sunday, May 8, 2011

The 2011 Draft, Time to Stock the Center Cupboard Once and For All

The Oilers biggest roster hole has been that of a true #1 center. We have a solid young core of wingers, some promising young D coming up through the ranks, but down the middle we are a hot mess.

We have a small but very weak center, a 3rd line center playing a top six role because of how putrid our center depth is, and Andrew Cogliano. The Oilers now have the ability to shore up their center depth for many years to come. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is the cream of the 2011 draft class and he just so happens to be a playmaker extraordinaire. The perfect fit for our young stud forwards, Nugent-Hopkins should form an incredible 1-2 punch with Taylor Hall for a long, long time.

However while it seems like it's all but inevitable that the Oilers select RNH first overall, that's not where it should end. We still need a second line center to compliment RNH. We also could use a top pairing defenseman obviously, but that might be hard to do at #19. Ideally we move up high enough to add Mark McNeill, Mika Zibanejad, or Mark Scheifele to compliment RNH because our other current centers are not cut out for that role with RNH being the lead dog.

The only reason that I could see them not going with centers with their top two picks is that they feel that Tyler Pitlick projects to be that big and physical two way center behind RNH. I feel that even if that's the case we could use one of the above mentioned centers as Pitlick can and has played on the wing. The Oilers need to address their top end defensive depth as well but that can wait until next season or be brought in via trade.

Slowly but surely significant deficiencies in our lineup are being wiped out, this should be the year that our top end down the middle goes from a glaring weakness to a strength long term in one days time. The beauty of the NHL draft where teams foundations are formed and weak teams get a glimpse of brighter days to come in a matter of hours.

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