LOS ANGELES — The Edmonton Oilers got their Taylor, and their Tyler.
Taylor Hall was their first pick in Round 1 of the NHL entry draft on Friday.
On Saturday, the Oilers grabbed centre Tyler Pitlick, the nephew of former NHL defenceman Lance Pitlick, with the first choice in Round 2 (No. 31 overall). He’s leaving Minnesota State to play for Willie Desjardins’s Medicine Hat Tigers in the Western Hockey League, a good career move.
Later in the second round, the Oilers decided to dump the rights to 2007 first-round draft pick (21st overall) Riley Nash to the Carolina Hurricanes after the Cornell University centre showed no interest in either leaving school and little inclination to play for the team that chose him three years ago.
With that pick, the Oilers selected huge Slovak defenceman Martin Marincin, who had caught the fancy of many NHL clubs after a starry world junior tournament. Then, with their No. 48, acquired in March for Denis Grebeshkov, they went for tough Saskatoon winger Curtis Hamilton, whose dad Bruce owns the Kelowna Rockets.
The Oilers bypassed an obvious need in net with Seattle Thunderbirds goalie Calvin Pickard, a first-round possibility, still on the board. Pickard went No. 49 to the Colorado Avalanche.
In Round 3, they took Ottawa 67s centre Ryan Martindale. Acadie-Bathurst defenceman Jeremie Blain came in Round 4 and they got their much-needed goalie, taking Tyler Bunz.
The two-way centre Pitlick was rated in the 27-to-30 range coming in, but didn’t get taken on Day 1.
“Who does he compare with in the NHL? Geez, I’m not good at that . . . maybe (David) Backes a bit,” said Oilers chief scout Stu MacGregor.
“He’s a very good two-way centreman, a very hard shot. Strong on the puck,” said MacGregor.
Pitlick, at 6-1, was surprised he didn’t go in Round 1, but shrugged it off. “I talked to my agent and he told me it’s not the end of the world. It’s how you play after that that count. Going first in the second round, I’m excited. The Oilers seem to have a team that’s rebuilding. I like that.”
Marincin is 6-5 and could go first in the import draft to the Prince George Cougars, but he might never see junior hockey.
“We might put him in the American League, we’re wondering if he can make that jump,” said MacGregor. “He was the captain of the Slovaks under-18 team, then moved up and played in the (under-20) worlds.”
Martindale played on the 67s top line with Tyler Toffoli, who went just before the Oilers selected Hamilton in Round 2.
The Oilers wound up taking seven forwards, two defencemen and one goalie.
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