Edmonton Oilers Biggest Draft Boom and Bust Since 2000

Edmonton Oilers Draft

Welcome to Last Word’s Draft Boom and Bust series. As the 2020 NHL Entry Draft approaches, we decided to examine each team’s best and worst pick since the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. The biggest boom is a player that had the best value relative to where they were selected. Meaning, no one in the first round will be considered a team’s best value pick. However, the biggest bust picks will almost always be in the first round. We will examine each player, why they were picked where they were, and what their NHL career was like. Today, we look at the Edmonton Oilers draft, and their biggest boom and bust.

Edmonton Oilers Draft Boom and Bust

Biggest Boom: Jarret Stoll

Jarret Stoll spent his entire junior career playing with the Ice franchise in the WHL. He first joined the organization at the end of the 1997-98 season in Edmonton. After that, the team relocated to British Columbia and Stoll would spend the next four seasons with the renamed Kootenay Ice.

While playing with Kootenay, Stoll went through the NHL draft process twice. He was selected by the Calgary Flames 46th overall in 2000 but was unable to come to terms with the team. He re-entered the draft two years later and was taken in the second round, 36th overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 2002. To this day, Stoll is arguably the Edmonton Oilers’ biggest draft boom since 2000. 

Stoll was not as highly touted as other prospects in his draft (Rick Nash, Jay Bouwmeester, Alexander Steen, Joffrey Lupul) but quietly had a solid junior career. He captained the Kootenay Ice to a Memorial Cup during the 2001–02 season, and represented Canada twice at the World Junior Hockey Championships in 2001 and 2002.

Following his junior career, Stoll would spend most of 2002-03 with the Oilers’ affiliate team the Hamilton Bulldogs in the American Hockey League (AHL). That year Stoll amassed an impressive 54 points in 76 games as an AHL rookie and was fourth on the Bulldogs in scoring.  

NHL Career

Stoll solidified himself as a full-time NHL player for the Edmonton Oilers in 2003-04. He wasn’t an elite offensive player at the NHL level. Instead, he was a solid depth center that can be used in multiple situations. Best known for his superb faceoff abilities, Stoll was also a penalty-killing specialist. 

As a dependable two-way center, Stoll was a key part of the 2005-06 Edmonton Oilers team that fell one win short of winning the Stanley Cup. After being traded to the Los Angeles Kings, Stoll found even more success in the NHL. He helped the Kings win two Stanley Cups in three years from 2012-2014. Stoll had a lengthy career playing in a total of 872 games and amassed 388 points.  

Other Notables

Jeff Petry

Jeff Petry had a bit of a slow start to his NHL career, perhaps it was a product of playing some bad Oiler teams. But to this day, Petry another Oiler draft boom since 2000. Selected 45th overall by the Edmonton Oilers back in 2006, Petry already played in 680 NHL games and amassed over 250 points.

Petry is a bit of a late bloomer, but his career started to take-off in Montreal. He found himself in a top-four role on the blueline and has averaged over 22 minutes a night for four straight seasons. He has scored 40 or more points for the Montreal Canadiens in each of his last three seasons. At 32 Petry looks like he still has a few good years left. If he can stay healthy, he has a shot to reach the 1000 game plateau. 

Kyle Brodziak

Kyle Brodziak is another draft boom for the Oilers. He was taken in the seventh round, 214th overall by the Oilers back in 2003. Since then, he has carved a nice NHL career as a checking enter. Often relied upon as a defensive center, Brodziak also chipped-in offensively. He had a career-high 22 goals and 44 points for the Minnesota Wild back in 2011-12. The St. Paul, Alberta native appeared in 917 games NHL and amassed 296 points in his career.

Biggest Bust: Nail Yakupov

Not only is he considered as one of the biggest NHL draft busts of all-time, but Nail Yakupov is often considered as the Oilers’ biggest draft bust since 2000. He was a prolific scorer in junior for the Sarina Sting, scoring 49 goals and 106 points as a 16-year-old rookie. According to many scouts, he was the clear cut number one in his draft. Yakupov was also projected to be a prolific scorer in the NHL for years to come. 

NHL Career

Yakupov had a decent start to his NHL career. As a rookie, he scored 17 goals and 31 points in 48 games.  After a promising start, Yakupov’s stats and overall play did not improve over the next three seasons. From 2013-16, Yakupov averaged 11 goals and 27 points and a minus-28 rating as an Oiler.

Some argue that the Oilers might have rushed Yakupov into the NHL. Meanwhile, others believe he was not developed properly. Nonetheless, his tenure with Edmonton ended prior to the 2016–17 season. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues for prospect Zach Pochiro and a conditional third-round pick.

Yakupov continued to disappoint in St. Louis. He only managed to score three goals and nine points in 40 games and was a frequent healthy scratch that season. The Blues decided not to renew his contract in the summer of 2017. In an attempt to continue his NHL-career, Yakupov signed a one-year, $875,000 deal with the Colorado Avalanche in the off-season. His time in Colorado wasn’t glamorous either, as he only managed to score nine goals and 16 points for the club in 58 games.

After a disappointing six-year stint in the NHL, Yakupov decided to return to Russia to play in the KHL. He signed a two-year deal with SKA Saint Petersburg in the summer of 2018. 

Other Notables

Magnus Paajarvi

Selected tenth overall by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2009 NHL draft, Magnus Paajarvi was considered a steal for the Oilers at that time. With size, speed, and skill, many scouts projected Paajarvi to be a solid top-six forward for the Oilers for a long time. 

Paajarvi put up good numbers (15 goals, 34 points) as a rookie. Over time he slowly proved to be a  draft bust after that. He only scored 11 more goals for Edmonton in the next two seasons before being traded to the St. Louis Blues in the summer of 2013. Since leaving Edmonton, Paajarvi spent five underwhelming seasons in the Blues organization and played two more with the Ottawa Senators before heading to the KHL in 2019.

Paajarvi failed to set new career-highs for nine consecutive seasons after his rookie year in Edmonton. In retrospect, the Oilers misfired with their first-round pick in the 2009 NHL draft. Taking Paajarvi at number ten was a huge mistake. They passed on several players that panned out very well in the NHL. The list includes Ryan Ellis (11th), Zack Kassian (13th), Nick Leddy (16th), Chris Kreider (19th), Kyle Palmieri (26th) and Ryan O’Reilly (33rd).

Marc-Antoine Pouliot

Marc-Antoine Pouliot is another draft bust for the Oilers since 2000. Taken 22nd overall in the 2003 NHL draft, Pouliot appeared in 192 NHL games and scored 21 goals and 57 points. Those numbers are not great for a player taken in the first round. Considering the 2003 NHL Draft is arguably the deepest draft the NHL has ever seen. To put things into perspective, players like Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards, and Corey Perry were drafted a few spots after Pouliot. Meanwhile, players like Patrice Bergeron, Shea Weber, Corey Crawford, and David Backes were all drafted in the second round.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images