Jordan Eberle? No way. Picking Eberle as the player the Edmonton Oilers had their eye on at the Entry Draft in Ottawa wasn’t much of a long shot after chatting with the team’s scouting staff, so I’m not going to crow too loudly about making that prediction in this space Friday.
The only question was whether the talented 42-goal whiz from the Regina Pats was going to be around when the Oilers picked 22nd. As it turned out, he was, thanks to a couple of teams going somewhat off the board earlier, keeping the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Eberle in play.
That’s good news for the Oilers, who’ve done well in recent drafts with players along the lines of the diminutive Eberle, namely Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano. Short of having a top-10 prospect plummet all the way to the 22nd spot, there’s no way the Oilers weren’t taking him.
“He’s the guy we wanted when we came here,” said vice-president of hockey operations Kevin Prendergast.
“He’s a kid who fits everything we were looking for. He’s got great hands, great hockey sense. He knows how to score. He possesses a lot of things that Gagner has in terms of hockey sense — he knows how to play the game. He’s got skill. He brings everything that we’re looking for. It’s a kid we came here to get and we got him.”
LOWE WAS PITCHING
Kevin Lowe didn’t manage to swing a deal to land the top-three forward he wanted, but make no mistake, he tried to make a splash by taking a run at Mike Cammalleri of the Los Angeles Kings, who ended up being dealt to the Calgary Flames.
Right up until Cammalleri went to Cowtown, Lowe was a player in the sweepstakes to land him. My information is he was offering Jarret Stoll. That sounds a bit light to me.
Lowe also talked with the Toronto Maple Leafs more than once about Alex Steen. My understanding is he was willing to offer up Raffi Torres, but the teams couldn’t make the names fit when they talked after the conclusion of the first round.
Having touched base with so many of his peers in Ottawa, you can bet Lowe will be re-visiting a conversation or two in coming weeks. I’d be stunned if he stands pat.
The Oilers showed a lot of class by honouring scout Lorne Davis, who passed away last December after a battle with liver cancer.
Lowe and Prendergast arranged to have Glenn Anderson, who was scouted by Davis leading into the 1979 draft and coached by him with the Olympic program, in attendance. They also had Gagner there from the 2007 draft, which was Davis’ swan song in 30 years with the team.
In addition, the Oilers kept a chair vacant at their table for Davis, whose son Brad is a member of the scouting staff.
– In a decade covering the Edmonton sports scene, Robin Brownlee has been the news-breaker and insightful voice for sports fans in Oil Country.