Like many Oilers fans, I was checking the reverse standings daily near the end of the season to see where the Oilers might be slotted to pick in the 2013 Entry Draft. At the conclusion of the season (and after the lottery had no impact on Edmonton's selection), the Oilers were slated to choose 7th, a rather fortunate position in my mind since many observers of the draft, myself included, have surmised there to be a tier of 7 prospects at the top of this year's draft. Well, "a tier" is probably the wrong way to put it; most seem to have it organized as a group of 3 followed by another group of 4, or 4/5 players followed by 3/2 players. That group of 7 includes Jones, Drouin, and MacKinnon, who are generally seen as the top 3, followed by some order of C Barkov, C Monahan, C/W Lindholm, and W Nichushkin*. In any case, picking 7th assures that Edmonton will receive one of the players in this "top tier", should they view the draft in the same manner. I would argue that the most likely group of players to be selected in the top 6 is Jones, Drouin, MacKinnon, Barkov, Lindholm and Monahan. That isn't to be confused with a guess that it's more likely than not those 6 players will in fact be the first 6 drafted - maybe they will be, or maybe they won't, I'm only guessing the aforementioned group of 6 players more likely to be the first selected than any other single group of 6 players. I would be a bit surprised to see another player crack the top 6, but at the same time it isn't unusual to see a surprise or two near the top of the draft, like Hickey in 2007, or Fowler, Couturier, and Forsberg sliding in 2010, 2011, and 2012, respectively. If that group of 6 is in fact selected as the top 6, it would leave Nichushkin for the Oilers**. The problem, if you want to call it that, is that some of the circumstances surrounding both the Oilers and Nichushkin might conspire to move him down Edmonton's list. I'm going to attempt to make the case that, in spite of those potential pitfalls, it would be in Edmonton's best interest to draft Nichushkin if he is the player left available from that group of seven, "warts" and all.
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