Edmonton Oilers 2021 NHL Draft Recap

Edmonton Oilers 2021 NHL Draft Recap

The Edmonton Oilers headed into the 2021 NHL Draft with six selections. Without a pick in the second or third rounds, the team acquired forwards Andreas Athanasiou and Ryan Kuffner from the Detroit Red Wings. They sent back veteran Sam Ganger and a 2020 and 2021 second-round pick. In addition to this, general manager Ken Holland lost his original 3rd round choice in the deal for winger James Neal. Tied to a draft pick condition in the trade, the pick would be transferred if Neal scored 21 goals or more and veteran Milan Lucic scored ten or fewer goals than Neal during the 2019-20 season.

However, because the NHL underwent a shortened season, the league ruled that the franchise would have to send the Red Wings either their 2020 or 2021 third-round choice. The Oilers also landed center Tyler Ennis from the Ottawa Senators for a fifth-round choice to go along with these two deals. They ultimately decided to move back from their original 20th overall selection. Striking a deal with Minnesota, Edmonton sent pick 20 to the Wild for 22 and 90. Left with just four choices left after their pick in the bottom half of the third round, the team spread out their selections over the weekend by choosing four forwards and two defensemen.


Xavier Bourgault, C, Shawinigan Cataractes-QMJHL (Round 1, Pick 22)

Luca Munzenberger, D, Kölner EC U20-DNL U20 (Round 3, Pick 90)

Jake Chiasson, C, Brandon Wheat Kings-WHL (Round 4, Pick 116)


Matvei Petrov, LW, MHK Krylia Sovetov Moskva-MHL (Round 6, Pick 180)

Shane LaChance, LW, Boston Jr. Bruins-NCDC (Round 6, Pick 186)

Maximus Wanner, D, Moose Jaw Warriors-WHL (Round 7, Pick 212)

Electing to go with Bourgault with their first selection after moving down, look for him to provide the team with a dynamic player inside their top six. Lauded by scouts for his work ethic and relentless puck pursuit, the three-year Shawinigan Cataractes member can find the soft spots in the offensive zone to create scoring chances for himself. Furthermore, Munzenberger should provide the Oilers with a big physical defenseman down the line to help round out their core.


On the radar for scouts after a strong showing in the world junior tournament for team Germany, he was able to use his 6-foot-2, 194-pound frame along with his mobility to play significant minutes for Kolner EC in the country’s U20 league last season. Rounding out their selections, Chiasson is a shoot-first winger with high offensive upside, while Petrov and LaChance are both high-energy players with a strong hockey IQ and feel for the game.


Best Pick: Xavier Bourgault

Productive during his final two seasons in the Quebec Major Junior league, Bourgault recorded 53 goals and 58 assists for the team in 92 games. Hindered by a shortened season this past year, the team was able to play games in the fall. Forced to shut down, the league went on an extended hiatus before returning in the spring. Maintaining the ability to beat defenders with strong acceleration, the 18-year-old can beat opposing players to loose pucks with significant top-end speed.

Paired with a relentless work ethic in the offensive zone, he can get in on the forecheck and create havoc on opposing defenders. A natural goal scorer, Bourgault can fool goaltenders with a quick, decisive release. Effective at creating chances for his teammates, the L’Islet Quebec native uses excellent vision, anticipation, and hand-eye coordination to thread pucks through passing lanes.

Worst Pick: Maximus Wanner

A developmental pick with their final selection of the night at 212th overall, Wanner spent his last two seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors U18 AAA team. Making the leap to the Western Hockey League in 2020, he amassed four assists in 17 games played with the team while recording 12 penalty minutes. Known for his athleticism at 6-foot-3, the Saskatchewan native is a strong skater who can move the puck and make a solid first pass out of the zone.

The recently turned 18-year-old has a heavy shot from the blue line to pair with this, allowing him to get pucks through and on the net. However, he has little experience playing major junior hockey. Wanner is years away from making the jump to the NHL level, and with two more seasons left in Moose Jaw, a jump to the pro level is far from a guarantee.

Sleeper Pick: Matvei Petrov

Ranked inside the top 100 skaters heading into the draft by many analysts and scouts, Petrov is a high-energy winger. Dynamic with the puck on his stick, the Russian native has a natural scoring touch with a wrist shot and one-timer that can easily fool opposing netminders. Along with this, he has both the skating ability and puck protection skills to be a productive player at the pro level.

He totaled 22 goals and 48 assists in 58 games with MHK Krylia Sovetov Moskva in Russia’s top junior league, the MHL, in 2020. Furthermore, Petrov was a member of the country’s world junior team, where he racked up one point in four games. Reliable in the defensive zone, he represents one of the steals of the draft for an Oilers team in desperate need of depth, scoring lower down in the lineup.


Finishing in second place in the all Canadian North Division last season, Edmonton won 35 games. Dispassionately eliminated by the Winnipeg Jets in the opening round of the playoffs, the team saw significant underperformances from star centers Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. In addition to this, the group failed to muster any secondary scoring, with one even-strength goal coming from their bottom two lines.

Adding talent to a strong farm system during the draft, look for Bourgault to provide the group with top-six minutes if he can reach his full potential. Furthermore, Munzenberger is a big physical defenseman that can add to the franchise’s top-heavy defensive core. Closing out a strong weekend overall, both Petrov and LaChance represent two of the best value picks in the draft with their natural goal-scoring abilities and feel for the game.

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Main Image Credit: Photo via Shawinigan Cataractes


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