SUN Hockey Pool

All talk, no action ahead of draft

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

There'll be more talk because there's still no action.

NHL scouting staff can't wait for commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA boss Bob Goodenow to get a deal done on a new collective bargaining agreement before they do their due diligence for the 2005 Entry Draft - and that means more talking for the Edmonton Oilers this week.

With a weighted lottery planned to determine selection order in the draft - assuming a CBA gets done - the Oilers will interview more than 60 players in Toronto this week during the NHL's annual combine for draft-eligible players. They usually talk to somewhere around 45.

"There's going to be a draft. I don't know if it's going to be nine rounds or seven rounds, whatever, but there's going to be a draft," said Oilers chief scout Kevin Prendergast, who'll jet to Toronto today.

"When they sign a deal, Bettman is not going to give us two weeks to get ready. It's going to happen very quickly after they sign a deal."

Under a lottery setup, the Oilers could pick anywhere from first to 30th in the first round, and that means Prendergast and his staff can't zero in on a handful of prospects who'd likely be available if they knew where they were picking.

Prendergast, assistant GM Scott Howson, along with amateur scouts Stu MacGregor and Brad Davis, will be conducting interviews during the week before gathering for scouting meetings in Edmonton.

OIL'S WELL: Robbie Schremp of the London Knights got the sip of champagne and Marc-Antoine Pouliot of the Rimouski Oceanic settled for the consolation prize in Sunday's Memorial Cup final. But both Oilers prospects made a positive impression on Prendergast, Howson and GM Kevin Lowe.

"We're happy with the way Marc-Antoine played," Prendergast said.

"He certainly didn't do anything to hurt his chances with me. Schremp played really well, too. He had a ton of chances to score. Every time he was on the ice he made things happen."

Pouliot, the Oilers' first pick, 22nd overall in 2003, finished the tournament with 3-6-9 and was right behind linemate Sidney Crosby in scoring. Schremp posted 1-5-6.

Towering winger Troy Bodie of Kelowna, taken 278th last June, scored 2-0-2. Edmonton boy Tyler Spurgeon, taken 242nd, tallied 1-2-3 for the defending champs.

"Bodie and Spurgeon both played the way they're capable of playing," said Prendergast. "From the hash marks down to behind the net, Bodie is as good as any player in junior hockey. He's got to work on his skating, but he's six-foot-five."


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