A second-round pick is perhaps one of the more underrated assets in the NHL today.
Sure, it doesn’t have the raw appeal of a first rounder but a lot of the time, a player taken in the second round has just as good a chance to make the NHL as a late first-rounder.
The Edmonton Oilers are no stranger to this, having had a levy of recent second-round picks make some noise. Most notably is Ryan McLeod, who was taken 40th overall back in 2018 and has become one of Edmonton’s more important bottom six forwards.
We could also see Raphael Lavoie, #38 in 2019, step onto the roster this upcoming season.
The Oilers will be picking a bit later than those two instances, holding the 56th overall pick in this year’s draft.
It’s not a bad place to find some useful, homegrown talent. Those two examples are actually the last two times the team has selected in the second round, as trades have shipped out all the picks between 2020 and 2022.
A last-second trade could easily make that the case this time around as well, but if General Manager Ken Holland and co. hold onto it, who could they potentially target?
I’ve already done a deep dive on Adam Gajan, a Slovakian goaltender who burst onto the scene last season. Once Dylan Holloway and Lavoie become regulars, it might be a good bet that the Oilers decide to restock their forward cabinet this time around.
If so, there are bound to be a few intriguing options available.
Nico Myotovic, LW, Seattle Thunderbirds
One option that is expected to be around when Edmonton goes up to pick is Nico Myotovic of the WHL Champion Seattle Thunderbirds.
It wouldn’t be the first that that the Oilers have gone to Seattle with their first pick of the draft. Just last year the club selected Reid Schafer with the 32nd pick. So this is an area Edmonton scouts know well.
Myotovic played the role of one of Seattle’s most reliable two-way forwards during their Memorial Cup run. Initially lauded for his sound defensive play, Myotovic took a significant step with his offensive abilities last season.
He more than doubled his points last season going from 28 in 2021–22 to 60 in 2022–23.
He has good speed, can kill penalties and isn’t a defensive liability. He also has a good shot and can win board battles at both ends of the ice. In short, he plays a simple game, doesn’t make mistakes often and never seems to run out of energy on the ice, which are all attributes that should translate well to the pro level.– Adam Kierszenblat, The Hockey Writers
Draft projections typically have Myotovic going anywhere between picks 50 to 60. In fact, TSN’s Bob Mackenzie actually had the Canadian forward going right at 56 in his final draft rankings.
Considering his strong defensive play and Edmonton’s seemingly endless need for more reliable forwards in their own end, Myotovic could wind up being a useful piece a few years down the road.
For those concerned about size there should be no worries. At 18 years old, Mytovic stands tall at 6’2″ 182 lbs.
Nick Lardis, LW, Hamilton Bulldog
The next forward who provides an interesting element is Nick Lardis, an winger
Lardis might not have had the greatest start to last season, scoring just 19 points in 12 games with the Peterbourogh Petes, but caught fire after getting traded the Hamilton Bulldogs.
In Hamilton, Lardis torched the competition with 46 points in 33 games, 25 of which were goals. That continued into the playoffs where he added 10 more points in just six games and then tickled the twine four more times for Team Canada at the U18 Worlds.
Those offensive instincts is what makes Lardis such an intriguing talent but, according to his scouting report, there are a few things that muddy the water on his NHL future.
“Lardis is a capable goalscorer with a set of diverse and well-above-average releases. He pairs this with multiple plus-level tools. His passing (when he scans for teammates), skating, and handling are all clear strengths as well. That said, Lardis is a diminutive winger who regularly gets physically overpowered and is quite passive on the defensive side of the puck.”Sebastian High, Dobber Prospects
Lardis is a late birthday and will still be 17 years old when the draft rolls around later this week, so there is hope that those physical deficiencies could be made up with a couple years of development.
His offensive toolset appears already well on its way to being elite and that raw talent should be enough for a team to take the time to see through.
The rankings vary wildly on where he will exactly go but there is a decent chance Lardis will be available when pick 56 rolls around.
Kalan Lind, LW, Red Deer Rebels
From a forward with high offensive skill and a low physicality to a forward with high physicality that leaves a little more to be desired on the offensive side of things.
On the outside looking in, Kalan Lind just feels like the type of player the Oilers would draft in this position. He is a hulking forward who isn’t afraid to use the body and drop the gloves. Lind also uses this to his advantage when he is on the attack, demonstrating some decent puck protection skill.
On the offensive side of things there isn’t much to write home about. In 43 games with the Red Deer Rebels he scored just over a point-per-game with 44. The value he brings, according to his scouting reports, is through his physical play and staunch work ethic.
He projects safely as a 200-foot bottom-six energy guy. A top prospect coming up, there are some who believe he has more to offer offensively than the point-per-game clip he played at this season, too. He can also play both the wing and centre, which should help his odds at carving out a role.Scott Wheeler, TheAthletic
Despite the rough-and-tough play style you might be surprised to hear that there is still plenty of room for Lind to fill out his body, standing at just 6’0″ and 158 lbs.
The fact that Lind is able to play a certain way at a rather diminished frame bodes well for his draft position as teams look forward to seeing him evolve as he fills out. It appears he will be off the board by the early-to-mid 60s at the latest, making him a prime candidate for the Oil.
Roman Kantserov, RW, Magnitogorsk
Edmonton typically doesn’t have much luck drafting out of Russia, but could they try once again with Roman Kantserov?
The one thing that stands out with the Russian winger is his production. Kantserov has been prolific during his last two MHL campaigns with Magnitogorsk, scoring a combined 110 points in 100 games. In North America that may be a typical season for a top prospect, but in Russia it stands out a bit more.
Those points are the product of a creative player who combines some nifty puck skills with some above-average skating. While in the offensive end he becomes a dual threat with good enough vision to connect with a teammate and a deadly shot that can beat professional goaltenders.
His defensive zone play isn’t awful either, which is a huge advantage.
“Kantserov can generate a lot of controlled entries and make plays in transition. Kantserov has very good puck skills, showing great small-area skill and the ability to improvise with the puck.”Corey Pronman, TheAthletic
The rub with Kantserov may sound cliche, but it is his willingness to put in a consistent compete level with an undersized frame. When he’s one he can be a threat but, at 5’9″ 176 lbs, that might not be enough to cut it in the NHL.
Combine that with the on-going geo-political situations there is a chance that Kantserov could fall into the deepr depth despite being a top-50 talent. The risk-reward is pretty significant for this player, and will most likely be an option for the Oilers.
Jayden Perron, RW, Chicago Steel
Perhaps the most curious player out of the bunch is Jayden Perron, who could either be available when Edmonton goes to the podium or long gone before then.
Perron seems to be a very divisive player among scouts with some ranking him as a fringe first-rounder to as low as a early third round pick. Either way, the Winnipeg, Manitoba native tore it up with the Chicago Steel of the USHL.
In 61 games last season he was able to net 72 points and was second-highest scoring under-18 player in the league. The only one higher was Mack Celebrini, who is expected to go first overall in 2024. He was able to accomplish that with a high-end skating and excellent decision-making.
“He’s a first-round talent and was a clear play-creator on a team with a few of them in Chicago this year. I expect him to become a top point producer in college at the University of North Dakota. Players with his on-ice smarts almost always make it these days and I expect him to be no different.”Scott Wheeler, TheAthletic
The contention is his size, as he comes in at 5’9″ and 163 lbs. The worry is that while Perron is able to impress against players the same age as him, will those dynamic skills be able to work against professionals?
It’s a valid worry, but the skillset is very intriguing. There is enough noise around this player that he could easily squeak into first round with one of the later picks. Yet, there is also enough doubt that he could have the potential to fall right into Edmonton’s hands.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire