The skinny on the Oilers draft picks

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:10 PM ET

OILERS SECOND-ROUND PICK ANTON LANDER

"I was surprised they picked me. I talked with my teammmate Magnus after they picked him, and he was saying Edmonton is a great organization.

"I'm a two-way player who always gives 100% in every game, every shift, every practice, and always tries to work hard for my team.

"I hate to lose. I always want to win."

NEEDS TO IMPROVE ON: "My skating. I work on that to have the same power in the third period as I have in the first."

TONI RAJALA, A FIVE-FOOT-10 AND 163 POUNDER THEY PICKED IN THE FOURTH ROUND.

"I'm a very good skater and I have good hockey sense. I play next year in Finland. I get very much ice time. It's good for me."

Need to improve on ...."I must get stronger. That's the biggest thing. More power, get stronger.

OLIVIER ROY, THE GOALIE THE OILERS PICKED IN THE FIFTH ROUND.

"I had a great talk with those guys at the combine. I'm happy to be drafted by the Edmonton Oilers. There were one of the two or three teams I was really feeling comfortable with.

"I'm just going to go to the prospect camp and show them what I can do on the ice. Show them I will be ready to play for them soon."

OILERS HEAD SCOUT STU MACGREGOR ON THE TEAM'S DRAFT PICKS

40TH. C ANTON LANDER, SIX-FEET, 194-POUNDS.

Last season with Timra: 47 GP, 4 G, 6 A, 10 PTs, 17 PIMs

MacGregor: "Very excited about Anton. He's a player we look at as a potential second-line centre with for sure third-line ability. He's a great faceoff man, competitive at both ends of the ice. Smart, captain of the Swedish under-18 team. All of our interviews with all of the Swedish players this past year, everybody spoke extremely high of him. Their leader was Anton Lander."

71ST. D TROY HESKETH, SIX-FOOT-TWO, 178 POUNDS.

Last season with Minnetonka (high school): 25 GP, 7 G, 14 A, 21 PTs, 42 PIMs

MacGregor: "Pretty excited about Hesketh.He's going to play high school again next year. He already has a verbal scholarship to Wisconsin. He's a player that has some long term potential. He's a guy that Mike Peluso had extreme passion for, the way he's a solid defender and smart in his defending skills, his angles in taking away ice on the puck carrier.

82ND. RW CAMERON ABNEY, SIX-FOOT-FOUR, 192 POUNDS

Last season with Everette (WHL): 48 GP, 1 G, 3 A, 4 PTS, 103 PIMS

MacGregor: "Bob Brown had an extreme passion for him. He's a big kid, six-foot-four, who had a huge growth spurt in the last couple of years. A kid that has to improve skating, obviously, when you grow that much you're going to have to improve your skating. He has a great attitude, he's a lower mainland Vancouver kid. We needed to try and get some physicality and he's a young guy who we think is going to be a real asset for us. Doug Soetart, the GM in Everett, is a guy who really pushed him, really had a lot of support for him, so we're pretty happy there."

99TH. D KYLE BIGOS, SIX-FOOT-FIVE, 230 POUNDS

Last season with Vernon (BCHL): 58 GP, 8 G, 25 A, 33 PTS, 126 PIMS

MacGregor: "His game has done nothing but get better. He's going to Merrimac next year on a scholarship. A young man whose development curve is just starting to move forward. Great shot, skates well for a big guy, a guy that we see huge potential in down the road."

101ST. RW TONI RAJALA, FIVE-FOOT-10, 163 POUNDS

Last season with Finland Ilves Jr.: 31 GP, 14 G, 17 A, 31 PTS, 18 PIMS

MacGregor: "Not sure what caused him to drop so low. We had him on a good spot on our list. He led the under-18 world championships in scoring. He's a real competitive guy, maybe size is an issue a little bit, but he plays in the hard areas. He's a kid with really good speed and hockey sense. I don't know why he dropped back that far, but we're pretty happy to get him."

133RD. G OLIVIER ROY, FIVE-FOOT-11, 165 POUNDS

Last season with Cape Breton (QMJHL): 54 GP, 2935 MINS, 2.8 GA. 3 SO, .906

MacGregor: "Well we thought he would go a lot higher than that. He's been a No. 1 goaltender since he was 16 years old. He's one of those guys that has a lot of potential. He left Canada's camp for goaltenders in June and they were extremely happy with his play there. He's a guy who is going to have a chance to play at the world junior level in the next couple of years. We'll look to him to be a real good prospect."

LOCAL PRODUCTS DRAFTED

Jarmo Kekalainen, the assistant GM and director of amateur scouting for the St. Louis Blues, speaking on Brett Ponich, an Edmonton defenceman he picked in the second round.

"He's got two more years of junior. He's raw. He's a project. He's almost six-foot-seven. He's taking power skating right now as we speak, in Portland. Our background work tells us he's an extremely hard working kid and he's got a lot of desire to get better. He's got great patience with the puck for a guy that's very raw and his skating looks a little edgy some times. He hangs on to the puck, makes a good first pass, sees the ice, and he's tough. He's six-foot-seven and he's tough. Those guys are hard to play against. If you can get a fraction of Zdeno Chara, it's upside."

OTHER EDMONTON AREA PLAYERS PICKED YESTERDAY INCLUDED: Spokane left winger Levko Koper, who plays with Spokane, who went in the seventh round to Atlanta; Boston University goalie Kieran Millan, who went in the fifth round to Colorado; Saskatoon goalie Adam Morrison, who went in the third round to Philadelphia; and Western Michigan defenceman Kevin Connauton, who went in the third round to Vancouver. Also going in yesterday's rounds were: No. 86. Boston, Ryan Button, D, Prince Albert (WHL) and No. 105. Phoenix (from Florida), Justin Weller, D, Red Deer (WHL)


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