Edmonton Oilers power forward Reid Schaefer 32nd overall

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Once all the dust has settled on the Zack Kassian Exchangethe Edmonton Oilers were left with the last pick of the first round, the one traditionally belonging to the Stanley Cup champions.

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In fact, the Colorado Avalanche handed out that pick and other assets last summer to acquire Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Darcy Kuemper — a player who was originally drafted 13 years ago with a pick that originally belonged to… wait… the Edmonton Oilers. What goes around comes around. Kind of.

In the short term, the cost was quite moderate: just a jump from 29th to 32nd overall in the current draft. The other 2 assets concerned are 2 and 3 years in the future.

By the time they finally made it to the stage, more than 4 hours into the marathon’s televised broadcast, the Oilers selected the Spruce Grove product Reid Schaefer Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL. A tall left-winger at 6’3, 214 pounds, Schaefer has put up some more big numbers in 2021-22, going 32-26-58 in 66 games, with 88 penalty minutes and a +29 rating. He went on to go 6-15-21 in 25 playoff games as the Thunderbirds made it to the WHL Finals before being eliminated by the Edmonton Oil Kings.

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In the previous 2 COVID-warped seasons, Schaefer went 25 WHL games scoreless and just 3 assists before bursting onto the scene in major fashion in 2021-22.

Schaefer is one of the oldest first-time draft eligibles, having missed out on 2021 eligibility by just 6 days. It’s become commonplace for the Oilers, especially among forwards. For the last 6 consecutive years, the best striker selected by Oil has had a “late birthday”, that is to say, among other things, that he only has one year left as a major junior before turning pro, and not two. All but one were born within a fortnight of the September 15 deadline; exception within 6 weeks.

  • 2017 — Kailer YamamotoSeptember 29, 1998
  • 2018 — Ryan McLeodSeptember 21, 1999
  • 2019 — Raphael Lavoie2000 September 25
  • 2020 — Dylan Holloway2001 September 23
  • 2021 — Xavier BourgaultOctober 22, 2002
  • 2022 — Reid Schaefer2022 Sep 21

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Schaefer is something of a ranks-based litter pick, which, with one exception (Craig Button of TSN) had him classified outside the first round.

Of course, these rankings don’t tell the whole story, especially in the time of COVID when development curves seem to be even more wobbly than normal. Schaefer is getting some love as a “late riser” according to this feature in EP Rinkside, in which he describes his own playing:

  • “I like going to the net. I like going to the paint and driving to the net. I can score crazy goals sometimes. I’ll take any goal I can, whether it’s a goal around the paint or a deflection. I’m proud to go to the net and get fat… I’m a pretty good skater for my size. I worked on my explosiveness and my lateral jump will help me next season and for seasons to come … I play with an advantage. I like to play on the edge. Physical and hard. Opposing teams are now looking for that, and I try to do it consistently. Playing this physical game adds space for me and my teammates Once I finish a check and go out with the puck, I have a lot more space and I can use my teammates more.

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So what are the experts saying?

corey pronman Athleticism ranked him 38thmore or less in line with where the Oilers picked him.

  • Schaefer was an important player for Seattle play in both special teams and score a lot of goals for the T-Birds. Schaefer’s call to the NHL is due to him being a 6-foot-3 winger with great puck skills and a scoring touch. He is able to use his size and hands to create an attack around the net, while also having an excellent wrist shot to score from distance. He has value away from the puck, with a strong work rate, good physique and can PK. I don’t see Schaefer driving a line as a pro due to his average speed and hockey savvy, but the tools are good enough to carve out a bottom six role with the potential to play higher up in a lineup .

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Chris Peters from sense of hockey had it in the same range at #39:

  • “The way it’s trending, chances are he won’t be on the board anymore at 38, but it could be. He’s a big, fast-scoring winger in the WHL playoffs and had a huge hand in Seattle to reach the conference finals. Good skater for its size, flowering a little late. He really came into his own this year, he has power and a really solid scoring ability. I think he’s a good candidate because he might not be that far away. His development has surged over the past year and he is a late riser in this draft season.

The reliable Scott Wheeler of Athleticism rated Schaefer a lowly #83 but with some positive comment:

  • “Schaefer always struck me as a straight-line shooting winger, what you see is what you get, net-focused, but the more I watched him this season the more my appreciation grew for his ability to make plays. . He was one of the steepest risers in the draftgoing from a “C” grade designating him as a late-round pick on the NHL Central Scouting’s initial players to watch list, to first-round marginal consideration and certainly a second-round selection. He was outstanding in the Seattle playoffs, scored 32 goals this year, weighs over 200 pounds, plays as his size and high penalty minute totals suggest, and scouts love his pro traits and approach. .

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Matthew Summa from Smaht Scouting Free this detailed analysis including video clips of the player in action. Among his verbal observations:

  • “With Schaefer, no two shifts are the same and it took more viewings than usual to read him well as a player…built like a power forward and uses his size and strength to separate defenders in the offensive zone. It was designed for board battles and can keep the pace of the game going if the puck gets stuck along the boards… skating is above average for a player of his size but not elite by any means… Schaefer’s greatest tool in the offensive zone, however, is his shooting. He’s got a grade A shot throw that can beat any WHL goaltender.. His shooting is also the complete package. It’s quick, precise and powerful with a lightning quick release… Where I start to doubt Schaefer’s true advantage is when I watch him in the neutral zone and in transition… seems like a project that could yield solid benefits. Right now, I would say his ceiling is that of a third-line winger, while his floor is somewhere around the AHL. He has the size, strength and scoring ability to find success in the pros, but his game is incredibly raw otherwise. His potential is intriguing, especially since he’s a good enough shooter to score at least 20 NHL-level goals.

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…while Ben Kerr of Top Leads likewise provided detailed report at Last word on sportsincluding these tidbits about his defensive game:

  • “Schaefer is also a good defensive player. He is well positioned and uses his height and active stick to reduce passing lanes. He’s also willing to put his body into play in order to block shots. Schaefer is ready to support the defense downstairs. He uses his size to defend against cycle play and keep opponents out and away from good shooting areas. He is physical and able to win battles along the boards. When a turnover is created, Schaefer is able to skate the puck out of harm’s way and make a good first pass to start the transition game.

Finally, here’s a set of highlights from the latest Oiler in action:

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